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America’s Air Superiority Crisis

Posted by David Deptula on


  The Air Force already has a big hole in its capabilities for the future: it needs what it is calling Penetrating Counter Air, a very fast, long-range, sensor-loaded and furiously lethal aircraft. But that effort is designed to fill a need in 2030. Dave Deptula, head of the Air Force Association’s Mitchell Institute and… Keep reading →

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Trump’s Promised Big Boost To DoD Evaporates In 2018 Budget

Posted by Mark Cancian on


Campaign promises of a larger, more ready and fully modernized military have slammed into budget realities as the Trump administration’s fiscal 2018 budget for the Pentagon shows only modest growth above what the Obama administration had projected. Funding at those levels will support a 305-ship Navy, not the 350 ships that candidate Trump proposed back in… Keep reading →

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F-35A Will Fly At Paris Air Show; JSF Boasts High Readiness Rates In Europe

Posted by Colin Clark on


WASHINGTON: The F-35A demonstrated higher mission capable rates during its just-concluded European deployment than the fourth generation aircraft it is replacing. “It’s very important to know that we are experiencing reliability rates rates that are unheard of in our legacy fleet with this jet. We’ve seen a very, very high rate of success with just… Keep reading →

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Reaper Drones: The New Close Air Support Weapon

Posted by Colin Clark on


CORRECTS: Name and title of operations group commander CREECH AIR FORCE BASE: Over two days of briefings here by everyone from pilots to maintainers to the operations group commander of the 432nd Wing, one message rang out loud and clear: the Reaper has grown into a key Close Air Support (CAS) tool for the US military and… Keep reading →

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Hey GAO: Fighter Gap Means We Should Buy F-35 Faster

Posted by Doug Birkey on


The GAO’s recommendation against boosting acquisition rates for F-35 components misses the mark while the United States faces severe security threats in multiple regions around the world. America faces a dangerous fighter gap that requires buying more F-35s faster. The only way to make this happen in the present budget environment is to drive the price down —… Keep reading →

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Drones Do Excellent Urban Close Air Support; Mideast F-35A Deployment In Several Years

Posted by Colin Clark on


WASHINGTON: If Congress was skeptical of bombers and fighters doing Close Air Support, how will they react to MQ-9s doing the toughest CAS mission around — taking out targets in the close confines of an urban fight? Gen. Hawk Carlisle, the soon-to-retire head of Air Combat Command, told reporters this morning that the Reaper is… Keep reading →

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A-10 To Fly Til 2021; Plans To Buy More F-35As: Goldfein

Posted by Colin Clark on


WASHINGTON: Congressional supporters can heave a sigh of relief with word from Air Force Chief of Staff David Goldfein that the ugly and effective A-10 will keep flying through 2021. But Goldfein seemed to make pretty clear that the plane will probably be retired after that because Close Air Support missions can be carried out by… Keep reading →

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If Trump Wants Lower F-35 Costs, He Should Compete F135 Engine

Posted by John Venable on


Donald Trump has bemoaned the “over budget, behind schedule” F-35 program. He opened his first press conference as president-elect with a vow to do “big things” to bring down the aircraft’s cost and improve performance. That will take more than jaw-boning. Applying heat to Lockheed will reduce costs to a degree, but it would take another… Keep reading →

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KC-46 Passes Milestone — Finally; Kendall OKs LRIP

Posted by Colin Clark on


WASHINGTON: After more than a decade of missteps by the Pentagon, the Air Force and Boeing, the airborne tanker program today took a major step forward as the KC-46 passed Milestone C. “The KC-46 is ready to take the next step,” Gen. Dave Goldfein, Air Force Chief of Staff, says in a statement announcing the approval… Keep reading →

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What the F-35 v F-16 Dogfight Really Means: Think Pilots

Posted by Dan Ward on


When the story broke about the Joint Strike Fighter’s shortcomings as a dogfighter, the reaction among JSF advocates was swift and predictable. Most objected that the F-35’s poor performance is perfectly acceptable and even expected because that jet was never supposed to do air-to-air combat anyway. That claim does not hold up well to scrutiny and… Keep reading →

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