||US AIR FORCE
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USF-2011-12 - C-130
USF-2011-12 WORLD AIR FORCE AIRPLANES
USF-2011-12 WORLD FLIGHT FLEET
USF-2011-12 WORLD GOVT TRANSPORT FLEETS
USF-2012-10 - SECURE COMMUNICATIONS
USF-2013-09 - NEW AIR FORCE ONE
USF-2014-10 - KC-46 TANKER UPDATE-A
USF-2014-10 - KC-46 TANKER UPDATE-B
USF-2015-07 - KC-46 Tanker Delay.jpg
USF-2015-11 - Bomber Contract-A.jpg
USF-2015-11 - Bomber Contract-B.jpg
USF-2015-11 - Bomber Contract-C.jpg
USF-2015-11 - Bomber Contract-D.jpg
USF-2015-11 - Bomber Contract-E.jpg
USF-2015-11 - Bomber Contract-F.jpg
MILITARY JET TRANSPORT OPERATOR.
USA (United States of America) was established in 1776, it covers an area of 9,363,123 sq km, its population is 280 million, its capital city is Washington DC, and its official language is English.
APRIL 1996: ACCDT: (USF) CT-43A (737) (WITH COMMERCE SECRETARY, RON BROWN & 34 OTHER FATALITIES) RAN INTO MOUNTAIN IN BAD WEATHER ON APPROACH TO DUBROVNIC, CROATIA.
AUGUST 1996: $365 MILLION 4 ORDERS 757-200 (PW2040) DESIGNATED AS C-32A, TO REPLACE AGING 707 VIP'S (VC-137'S) TO BE OPERATED BY 89TH AIRLIFT WING FOR VIP TRAVEL. (UAL) WILL PROVIDE LOGISTICS SUPPORT AT ANDREWS (AFB), MARYLAND FOR 10 YEARS, INCLUDING HEAVY MAINTENANCE FOR AIRCRAFT, ENGINES & SPARES.
JANUARY 1997: $10 MILLION CONTRACT TO BOEING WICHITA FOR RE-ENGINE OF 10 KC-135'S (707'S) FOR FOREIGN MILITARY SALES. (J57) ENGINES TO (CFM56). BRINGS TOTAL NUMBER OF RE-ENGINED TO 424. IN LAST 15 YEARS, BOEING DELIVERED 411 KC-135'S.
MAY 1997: 757 VIP'S TO HAVE AUXILIARY FUEL TANKS, RETRACTING CREW LADDERS, HIGH CAPACITY POTABLE WATER SYSTEM ALL KITS FROM PATS TO BE INSTALLED BY BOEING WICHITA. $93 MILLION FOR 28 (CFM56-2)'S RE-ENGINE OF RC-135 RECONNAISSANCE AND KC-135 REFUELING TANKER AIRCRAFT,
SEPTEMBER 1997: $111 MILLION ORDER (DECEMBER 2001) FOR 2 737-700'S TO REPLACE C-9 (DC-9) TRANSPORTS. 29 C-9'S (17 NEW IN 1973 TO 1982, 12 USED IN MID-1980'S). TO REPLACE ONLY 3. THESE ARE FOR (USN).
DECEMBER 1997: BOEING SELECTS (UAL) FOR 757 (C-32A) MAINTENANCE. 1ST 2 WILL DELIVER EARLY NEXT YEAR TO REPLACE 707'S (VC-137) UNDER 89TH AIRLIFT WING AT ANDREWS (AFB) (16/45 CREW/PAX).
MARCH 1998: 1ST 757 (VC-32A) (29025) IS 98-0001, NEXT 3: 98-0002, 99-0003, 99-0004. 1 ORDER (1999) 747-400F FOR USE AS AIRBORNE LASER WEAPON SYSTEM DEVELOPED BY BOEING/(TRW)/LOCKHEED MARTIN UNDER $1.1 BILLION CONTRACT. PLANS FOR FLEET OF 7 LASER-CARRYING AIRPLANES.
APRIL 1998: VC-137C (707) (18461) AIR FORCE ONE (1962 - 1990) RETIRED FOR DISPLAY AT WRIGHT-PATTERSON (AFB).
JULY 1998: $1.5 BILLION 9 YEAR CONTRACT FOR MAINTENANCE, REPAIR & MODIFICATIONS FOR 59 KC-10 EXTENDER TANKERS AT KELLY (AFB), SAN ANTONIO. ALSO INCLUDES BASE SUPPLY SERVICES AT MCGUIRE (AFB), NEW JERSEY, TRAVIS (AFB) CALIFORNIA, RAMSTEIN (AFB), GERMANY, AND YOKOTA (AFB), JAPAN. C-32A (757) DELIVERY, THE CENTERPIECE OF THE 89TH FLEET, MAINTENANCE BY UNITED (UAL) AND BOEING (TBC), BASED AT ANDREWS (AFB), MARYLAND.
NOVEMBER 1998: +4 C-32A (757) EXECUTIVE JETS FOR GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL TRANSPORTATION, TO REPLACE C-137'S (707'S).
DECEMBER 1998: DELIVERED 45TH C-17 WITH 75 REMAINING ON ORDER THROUGH 2004. +15 FOR SPECIAL OPERATIONS. THIS WAS 33RD CONSECUTIVE C-17 DELIVERED AHEAD OF SCHEDULE.
FEBRUARY 1999: MAJOR PROGRAMMED DEPOT MAINTENANCE ON KC-135 STRATO TANKERS AT BOEING AEROSPACE SUPPORT CENTER AT FORMER KELLY (AFB), NEAR SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS, AIMED AT UPGRADING SYSTEM & EXTENDING SERVICE LIFE. SIMILAR WORK BEING ACCOMPLISHED ON OTHER LARGE MILITARY & COMMERCIAL TRANSPORTS, INCLUDING KC-10, C-17, AND CONVERSIONS OF PASSENGER CONFIGURED DC-10/MD-10'S TO FREIGHTER. >20 AIRPLANES UNDERGOING MAINTENANCE & MODIFICATIONS AT FACILITY WHICH STARTED OPERATIONS IN AUGUST 1998.
APRIL 2000: 4 757'S (VC-32A) INTERIOR MODIFICATIONS TO GREENPOINT TECHNOLOGIES, WASHINGTON.
FEBRUARY 2001: $28 MILLION, 10-YEAR MAINTENANCE SUPPORT CONTRACT FOR (USF)/(USN) C-40A'S TO DELTA (DAL). 2/9 ORDERS (FEBRUARY 2002) C-40B (737-700) INCLUDING 10-YEAR SUPPORT CONTRACT.
APRIL 2001: 737 (T43A) (20688, N146JS), SOLD TO JETT RACING & SALES INC (JTZ).
SEPTEMBER 2001: LAST 707-253B (27000) FLOWN AS "AIR FORCE ONE" WHEN PRESIDENT BUSH RETIRED IT AND DISPATCHED IT TO THE REAGAN PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY IN CALIFORNIA.
DECEMBER 2001: $20 BILLION ORDER FOR 100 767-200ER TANKERS, LEASED TO REPLACE AGING KC-135 (707) TANKER FLEET. BOEING (TBC) MADE 732 KC-135'S, OF WHICH 540 ARE STILL IN SERVICE.
FEBRUARY 2002: $112 MILLION CONTRACT TO BOEING (TBC) FOR INSTALLATION OF CONNEXION SATELLITE BROADBAND SYSTEM ON 4 C-32A'S (757-200) VIP TRANSPORTS FOR USA VP, CABINET MEMBERS AND OTHER HIGH RANKING OFFICIALS.
August 2002: $9.76 billion 5-year contract to Boeing (TBC) for 60 C-17's. Already has contract to build 120 C-17'S by 2004. $2 billion contract to (P&W) for C-17 engines. Since 1st flight in 1991, 89 C-17's have been delivered.
December 2003: USA Department of Defense (DOD) is now reviewing the 767 Tanker program with Boeing (TBC) following the dismissal of two prominent executives (including the CFO) and the resignation of Phil Condit, (TBC) Chairman. The allegations are that the acquisition process was tainted. Just recently, an agreement had been reached on a $27.6 billion, 20 lease/80 purchase deal.
January 2005: 737-700 BBJ (C-40B) (33500), Boeing (TBC) leased.
February 2005: 3 orders 737-700 BBJ's (C-40C) for total 6.
November 2005: Awards Lockheed Martin $98 million for support, engineering and technical services plus software maintenance for its C-5 avionics modernization program until late 2010.
September 2006: ACCDT: On the night of September 26, a Kyrgyz Air (KYR) Tu-154 with 6 (FC)-(CA)/52 passengers on board, taking off from Manas Airport in Bishkek, Kyrgyztan, had its right wing pass under a (USF) KC-135 with 3 on board, holding by the side of the runway, but clipped the KC-135 number one engine (left outboard engine) destroying it and a portion of the wing in the fiery aftermath. Despite losing about 2 m/6 ft of its right outboard wing in the collision, the Tu-154 was able to continue its takeoff and was able to return to the airport for a successful emergency landing. The accident resulted in in heavy damage to both airplanes, but no fatalities. The USA military Accident Investigation Board (AIB) stated the "principal" cause of the mishap was the Kyrgyz airport's Air Traffic Controller (ATC) clearing the Tu-154 for takeoff, before making sure that the KC-135 was clear of the runway. There were other contributing factors which were cited - see related photos and article from "Flight International."
November 2006: Boeing (TBC) is working with the US Air Force (USF) to show how network-centric computer tools can streamline airborne battle management, using E-3A Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) airplanes as a test platform.
The intent, according to Boeing (AWACS) Development Manager, Kevin Jones, is to help the Air Force (USF) prioritize its investment in net-centric technology. The two-year, Boeing-funded Cooperative Research & Development Agreement (CREDA) is not, however, part of the airplane’s current Block 40/45 upgrade.
“What this does is give us the ability to look at the problem of net-centric warfare and quantify the specific military benefits,” Jones said. “A lot of it has to do with basic infrastructure, like quality of service and level of connectivity. We have to determine the nature and quantity of the data we want to move and how fast it has to travel to support the mission.”
(AWACS)-based research has centered on the replacement of voice communications with digital relays, in a bid to speed up time-sensitive targeting. In addition, operator displays are being enhanced with data from sources besides the airplane’s on board radar. The package includes “decision aids,” such as color-coded symbols denoting target status as it evolves in combat.
One likely scenario involves a potential enemy target broadcasting radar signals — known in the early warning business as an “emitter.” An airplane with a passive (ISR) system locates the site and conveys the information to the Coalition Air Operations Center (CAOC) on the ground. The (CAOC) requests more information and adds the target to a list. Can Special Operations Forces or space-based (ISR) assets identify it?
(AWACS) operators watch the scenario develop, while the target moves higher on the list. Using the new net-centric tools, they match airborne strike assets with the target. If a formation of F-15E strike airplanes was on call, for example, the (AWACS) could verify their fuel status and arrange midair refueling, if needed.
“Using forward-based radar sensors to extend (AWACS) visibility, gives us much earlier target identification and faster reaction time,” Jones said.
Software and other features proven during the (CREDA), if developed, could reach the (AWACS) fleet by 2013, according to Boeing (TBC).
Another candidate for the net-centric treatment could be the Boeing P-8A, a 737-derived airplane slated to be the US Navy (USN)’s next antisubmarine warfare/(ISR) airplanes.
“For now, we’re focused on supporting the (AWACS) modernization road map, of which the network is key,” Jones said. “It shortens the kill chain and increases bombs on target.”
Based on the 707 airliner, the E-3A (USE) is in its fourth decade with the Air Force (USF), which operates 33 of the type. (NATO) has 17 (AWACS) airplanes in service, while Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF)has seven. Saudi Arabia and France fly five and four, respectively.
Block 40/45 — the most recent (AWACS) upgrade — incorporates numerous enhancements, including replacement of 1970s-vintage mainframe computers and displays with modern devices.
December 2006: $2 billion, 10 orders C-17s transport airplanes for US Air Force (USF), adds to the 180 C-17 airplanes bought by (USF), and extends production through October 2009.
January 2008: Boeing (TBC) won a US Air Force (USF) contract, valued up to $1.3 billion, to enhance the C-17 cargo airplane fleet, according to the Defense Department.
August 2008: The USA Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) flight-test program for the Pratt & Whitney (P&W) (JT8D-219) 707 re-engining program is underway at Mojave, California, USA. The engine is being used to re-engine the US Air Force (USF)'s Boeing E-8C JSTARS and NATO (NAT) E-3 (AWACS) surveillance airplane derivatives of the 707. The (JT98D-219)s will be provided on an operational lease basis by (P&W). The upgrade will provide up to 22% fuel burn reduction and a take-off noise reduction of 40dB over the existing (P&W) (TF33)/(JT3D) engines. The program was developed with the help of Dublin-based 707 operator Omega Air (OMG) and its San Antonio, Texas subsidiary, Seven-Q-Seven. SEE ATTACHED PHOTO AND ARTICLE - - "USF-707-AUG08."
November 2008: See video "USF-AIR FORCE ONE 747 TOUR-A/B" - -
January 2009: Raytheon (RAY)/(HAC) has won a $12.2 million US Air Force (USF) contract to study the feasibility of adding a radio frequency data link and increased power output for a possible Block II version of its developmental miniature air launched decoy jammer, with roughly 925 km/500 nm range for service entry in fiscal year 2013.
January 2011: As a testament to the C-17 mission tempo, the airplane passed its two millionth flight hour just four years after passing its first million-hour mark, and the first million hours took 16 years to reach. Although Air Mobility Command (AMC) officials estimate the international C-17 fleet passed the milestone on December 14, the achievement was commemorated on a December 10 airdrop mission out of Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. “It’s definitely an honor,” said Captain Rick Kind, the airplane commander of the airdrop mission. “I think it’s great the Air Force (USF) is utilizing us for what we’re designed to do and using us at full capacity. We’re flying nonstop, but it’s great flying.”
(USF) schedulers have doubled the number of airdrops in the USA Central Command area of responsibility every year since 2006. Helping fellow service members in remote locations is what motivates C-17 crews to meet the high demand. For example, air deliveries keep approximately 970 trucks off dangerous roads per month. A few weeks prior to the milestone mission, Captain Kind and his crew had delivered fuel to soldiers. They were later informed on the radio that “if they hadn’t received fuel that day, they were basically gonna’ go dry.” “In my perspective, combat airdrops in Afghanistan are some of the best flying I’ve ever known,” said the pilot (FC), who’s flown the C-17 since 2003. “We’re making a difference with USA and coalition troops out on the ground in middle of nowhere. Anything they need, which in this case is fuel, we deliver.”
The two-million hour total includes C-17 hours flown by international partners. However, approximately 94% of the hours was flown by (USF) C-17s, said Captain Mark Szatkowski, the (AMC) C-17 weapon system manager. The C-17 fleet is helping to meet the demand of the current high operations tempo as it blurs strategic and tactical lines in theater, conducting airdrop and air land missions, flying into unimproved airfields and consistently being re-tasked for emergency aero-medical evacuation and humanitarian relief missions. One reason for the C-17′s success is its versatility in both strategic and tactical airlift operations. The C-17 has broken airdrop records monthly during the past year, keeping an estimated 970 trucks off of hazardous roads per month. It also plays an integral role in airlift and the 98% survivability rate in aero-medical evacuation operations.
The aero-medical evacuation continuum success rate depends on a series of dominoes falling on time and in order, according to Colonel Chris Benjamin, the commander of Task Force MED-EAST Afghanistan.
“Each link in that chain has to be sound for the really critically injured to have a chance,” he said. He said that if he needs to get a patient to follow-on care in Germany or the USA, “I don’t want to have to wait until tomorrow.” Also dependent on the C-17′s reliability are the aerial porters at the busiest military airport in the world. According to Lt Col Kirk Peterson, the commander of the 455 Expeditionary Aerial Port Squadron at Bagram, his Airmen and the maintenance personnel there can work seven C-17s at one time to turn them around for their next missions.
Aerial porters at the Afghanistan airfield handle approximately 100 missions, 1,500 passengers and 800 short tons of cargo daily, based on third-quarter figures, the commander said. More than >83% of the cargo moved at Bagram moves in three days or less. “One goal of air mobility is to see how quickly you can move cargo. The C-17 really enables that,” Colonel Peterson said.
During the week prior to the commemorative mission, Bagram Airmen saw 77 Globemasters. Another goal of air mobility is flexibility. Integral to the hectic symphony at Bagram is the ability to re-task missions, such as reassigning a mission airlifting cargo to become an airdrop or aero-medical evacuation mission. According to Bagram’s airfield nerve center, the Air Terminal Operations Center, 42% of missions that flow in receive line changes, which means they get re-cut for another mission; and many of these are C-17s. This flexibility enabled C-17s to be among the first airplanes on scene in Pakistan and Haiti this year, helping victims of natural disasters. Captain Kind was part of the second C-17 crew in Haiti after the earthquake. “Our airplane was diverted from its original mission this summer to take an urban rescue team from New York to Haiti to help recover earthquake victims there,” Captain Kind said. “We were there right after the earthquake happened.
Ever since the first C-17 Globemaster III was delivered to the Air Force (USF) more than >17 years ago, the plane has become a centerpiece and “workhorse” of the (USF)’s airlift force. In 2010 alone, C-17s and the Airmen who fly and maintain them have supported humanitarian operations in Haiti and Pakistan, a surge of +30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, and are part of a record-breaking year for airdrops in Afghanistan.
The December 10 milestone mission was a low-cost, low-altitude assignment to deliver 70 thousand pounds of fuel to a remote location in Afghanistan. The airplane, dubbed with the call sign “Moose 75,” was from Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina. The air crew comprised Airmen deployed with the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron in Southwest Asia. Its members included Captain Kind, Captain Patrick Murphy, Captain Jordan Leicht, and Senior Airman Carrie Symons from McChord (AFB), Washington; as well as Staff Sgt Paul Trowbridge from Hickam (AFB), Hawaii, and Staff Sgt Jason Fatjo from Charleston (AFB), S.C.
(Master Sgt Scott Sturkol, AMC Public Affairs, contributed to this story.)
February 2011: The Air Force (USF) for the first time has certified a 50/50 biofuel blend for use in a military airplanes. In tests with a C-17 transport plane, the (USF) said it found no performance degradation when plant-based fuel was mixed with JP-8 jet fuel. "When blended as we've done, this is a potential drop-in solution for jet fuel for our airplanes, requiring no modification to systems or special handling or monitoring," said the head of the (USF)'s alternative fuel certification office.
June 2011: There are currently 232 C-17s in service worldwide — 22 with international customers. The US Air Force (USF), including active Guard and Reserve units, has 210. Other international customers include the Qatar Emiri Air Force, the UK Royal Air Force (RRR), the Canadian Forces, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAA), and the 12-member Strategic Airlift Capability initiative of (NATO) and Partnership for Peace nations.
The C-17 is the only airplane capable of performing all the airlift requirements — strategic and tactical, military and humanitarian, brigade airdrop and aeromedical evacuation — using either standard runways or short, austere airfields. The C-17 can transport large payloads across vast ranges without refueling and operate in extremely hot and cold climates. With a full payload of 170,000 pounds, a C-17 can fly 2,400 nautical miles and land in 3,000 feet or less.
As a member of the worldwide C-17 “virtual fleet,” C-17s will be supported through Boeing (TBC)’s C-17 Globemaster III Sustainment Partnership (GSP), a proven multinational Performance-Based Logistics program. Through the virtual fleet concept, C-17 customers receive comprehensive worldwide logistics support (spares, support equipment, Tech Orders, sustaining Engineering, and on-site field teams) through use of shared resources across the entire fleet. This highly successful program ensures high levels of mission readiness by providing all C-17 customers — regardless of fleet size — cost-effective access to an extensive support program.
July 2011: Boeing (TBC) on July 9 joined the US Air Force Reserve at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to commemorate the base’s transition to the C-17 Globemaster III airlifter. Wright-Patterson, home of the 445th Airlift Wing, previously flew the C-5A Galaxy and is the latest Air Force Reserve Command unit to transition to a fleet of C-17s.
The unit will be equipped with a total of nine C-17s by the end of fiscal year 2012. C-17s have provided airlift capability to USA and allied forces in Afghanistan and Iraq and deployed on every major humanitarian mission in the past decade.
Boeing (TBC) has been awarded a $99.5 million contract by the US Air Force to integrate three major modifications on the B-1 Lancer bomber fleet. This contract is for the first lot of modification kits of a planned multi-lot production contract to upgrade the service’s B-1s. The upgrades include delivery of kits with parts for the Vertical Situation Display Unit in the forward cockpit and for the Fully Integrated Data Link and the Central Integrated Test System in the aft cockpit. All three programs will be installed concurrently from late 2012 through 2019 in a single modification called the Integrated Battle Station (IBS).
“The (IBS) upgrades will provide B-1 bomber aircrews with a higher level of situational awareness and a faster secure digital communication link,” said Rick Greenwell, B-1 Program Director for Boeing. “This will enable the aircrews to perform at an even more effective level and will make the B-1 cockpit more reliable and supportable. Combining the separate upgrades into one production kit will enable us to deliver a more affordable upgraded airplane to our customer in a timelier manner.”
The three upgrades are in various stages of final ground and flight tests in preparation for installation on the B-1 Lancer bomber fleet.
The Vertical Situation Display Unit upgrades the B-1’s forward cockpit by replacing two unsupportable, monochrome pilot and co-pilot displays with four multi-functional color displays, giving the pilots more situational awareness data in a user-friendly format.
The B-1 Fully Integrated Data Link will give the aft cockpit new digital avionics including a Link 16 data link, which adds line-of-sight capability to the B-1's existing beyond line-of-sight Joint Range Extension Applications Protocol (JREAP) data link, and integrates the JREAP data onto new, full-color displays with intuitive symbols and moving maps.
The Central Integrated Test System adds a new color display in the aft cockpit and replaces an obsolete computer that continuously monitors the aircraft’s performance. It also is used by ground support personnel to identify and troubleshoot B-1 system anomalies.
Boeing (TBC) unveiled its updated KC-46 Aerial Refueling Trailer at "Rodeo 2011," a US Air Force (USF) and Air Mobility Command readiness competition at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. The trailer showcases the state-of-the art technologies (TBC) is incorporating into the new KC-46 tanker fleet. The trailer traveled throughout the United States prior to Boeing (TBC)’s win of the contract to replace the Air Force’s aerial refueling tankers.
“We’ve updated the KC-46 tanker trailer to reflect the latest KC-46 system configuration, enhancing the experience for visitors,” said Maureen Dougherty, Boeing VP & KC-46 Tanker Program Manager. “Rodeo presents an exciting opportunity to highlight the next generation of tanker capability, efficiency and affordability to the ‛best of the best’ Air Force personnel selected to participate in this year’s event.”
The trailer is 53 feet long and weighs 40,000 pounds. It features an upgraded Flight Deck Demonstrator and Aerial Refueling Operator Station, giving visitors the opportunity to experience what it’s like to fly the new tanker and conduct refueling operations with a variety of airplanes. The trailer also showcases an interactive display of Boeing (TBC)’s past, present and future tanker solutions, as well as cutaway models of the new tanker’s multi-role configurations.
“Visitors will see that the KC-46 will be equipped with the most advanced technology,” Dougherty added, “and that it will meet or exceed the Air Force’s requirements for offloading fuel and transporting cargo, passengers and patients.”
Boeing (TBC)’s KC-46 tanker trailer was on display at "Rodeo 2011" through July 29 and at several key industry trade shows and events later this year.
On February 24, (TBC) received a contract to build 179 next-generation aerial refueling tanker airplanes that will begin to replace the Air Force’s fleet of 416 KC-135 tankers. The contract calls for Boeing (TBC) to design, develop, manufacture and deliver 18 initial combat-ready tankers by 2017.
Based on the proven Boeing 767 commercial airplane, the KC-46 tanker is a wide body, multi-mission airplane updated with the latest and most advanced technology to meet the demanding mission requirements of the future, including a digital flight deck featuring 787 Dreamliner electronic displays and a flight control design philosophy that places aircrews (FC) in command to maximize combat maneuverability. The KC-46 also features an advanced KC-10 boom with an expanded refueling envelope, increased fuel offload rate and a fly-by-wire control system.
SEE ATTACHED - - "USF-KC-46 TANKER-2011-07."
September 2011: BAE Systems will design and test mission computers for 37 C-130 airplanes under a US Air Force (USF) contract worth approximately $23 million. BAE Systems will develop, qualify and test the new computers, integrate existing software, and manufacture the kits the Air Force uses for final installation.
This award builds on BAE Systems’ strong history of performance in support of C-130s. The company has designed, supported and completed more than >200 modifications to C-130 variants since the late 1990s. Earlier this year, BAE Systems won an $8 million contract to develop, test and install more than 85 crash-worthy seat systems to enhance the survivability of C-130s.
The new contract for the computers was awarded by the Air Force Materiel Command at Warner Robins Air Force Base in Georgia. The work will be conducted at BAE Systems facilities in Warner Robins and San Antonio, Texas, and at various government locations.
The new mission computers will replace the current versions on about 20 MC-130H variants and 17 AC-130U variants used by Special Operations Forces. BAE Systems will also conduct ground and flight testing for the computers.
October 2011: Boeing [TBC] has received a performance based logistics (PBL) contract from the USA Department of Defense for the C-17 Globemaster III Integrated Sustainment Program (GISP).
In performance-based contracting, the customer pays for an agreed-to level of readiness and cost versus a traditional transactional spares-and-support contract for individual parts or services. Under the terms of the new (GISP) contract, (TBC) will be responsible for C-17 sustainment activities including material management and depot maintenance support. Materials and labor have been negotiated and funded at $1.4 billion for fiscal year 2012. The $11.7 billion ceiling price period of performance is 2012 to 2021.
C-17 (GISP) is based at a US Air Force and Boeing (TBC) combined program office at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. The partnership capitalizes on (TBC)’s experience working with Air Force depots to ensure readiness levels that consistently meet or exceed the warfighter’s needs.
“C-17 (GISP) is a proven successful system-level (PBL) program. Since 1998, in partnership with the Air Force, (TBC) has provided the highest mission-capable rate in Air Force airlift (>85%) and one of the lowest costs per flying hour,” said Gus Urzua, Boeing VP & C-17 (GISP) Program Manager. “This award marks the beginning of the Air Force’s 10-year sole source sustainment strategy, and the program remains committed to continuing to deliver the best-value sustainment solution for our US Air Force and international customers.”
(TBC) became the first contractor to operate as an Air Force depot with the establishment of an inventory control point under the initial C-17 (PBL) contract award in 1998. (TBC) took over the responsibility of forecasting, purchasing and material management for the C-17, as well as all C-17-unique support.
The program started with 42 airplanes in the field at two operating bases (Charleston, South Carolina, and Altus, Oklahoma. Today, (TBC) supports 236 C-17s worldwide (211 with the US Air Force, including active duty, Guard and Reserve units, and 25 with international customers, including the UK Royal Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force, Royal Canadian Air Force, Qatar Emiri Air Force, United Arab Emirates Air Force & Air Defence, and the 12-member Strategic Airlift Capability initiative of (NATO) and Partnership for Peace nations. All benefit from the economies of scale found in purchasing materials for the entire fleet worldwide and from the (PBL) approach.
December 2011: SEE ATTACHED "FLIGHT INTERNATIONAL" ARTICLE ON - - "USF-2011-12 - C-130."
February 2012: The US Air Force (USF) has detailed plans to retire 227 airplanes, or 4% of its total fleet. "Where possible, we attempted to retire all airplanes of a specific type, which allowed us to divest the training and logistics support for that airplane. Where that was not possible, we looked to retire the oldest airplane first," the (USF) said.
Retirements include the Alenia North America-supplied C-27J tactical transport and Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 30, both virtually new platforms. No decisions have been made as to the ultimate fate of the airplanes, nor their retirement schedule. The (USF) also will retire 102 Fairchild-Republic A-10Cs, as outlined last month as part of planned cuts for fiscal year 2013.
July 2012: GE Aviation (GEC) announced that they signed an agreement with The Boeing Company (TBC) potentially worth up to $180 million to provide the mission control system for the US Air Force’s KC-46A tanker. The agreement includes design, development and production throughout the life of the program.
“We are committed to bringing our next-generation technologies to this new tanker platform,” said Lorraine Bolsinger, President & (CEO) of (GE) Aviation Systems. “These systems will enable the airplane to perform with navigation precision not currently available to the tanker fleet and will help enable efficient operations in our future airspace.”
(GE) Aviation (GEC) was selected for the mission control system including the flight management system (FMS). The (FMS) provides the ability to fly shorter flight paths and idle-thrust descents which reduce fuel consumption, while lowering emissions and reducing community noise impact. (GE)’s mission control system will provide the integrated communications management function to support air traffic management (ATM) data link, including the first implementation of the Aeronautical Telecommunications Network on a (USA) (DoD) air vehicle to facilitate efficient operations in the future NextGen airspace infrastructure.
Software and hardware updates provide the latest technology to continue to meet the needs of the world’s evolving airspace, offering safe and efficient improvements to airplane operations. (GE)’s optimized descent flight management system is an ecomagination product.
Boeing (TBC) will build up to 179 next-generation aerial refueling tanker airplanes that will begin to replace the Air Force’s fleet of 416 KC-135 tankers. To learn more about the KC-46A Tanker, visit http://www.UnitedStatesTanker.com.
October 2012: Boeing (TBC) will continue assuring the worldwide availability of C-17 airplanes, which provide vital military and humanitarian airlift capability, through a $2 billion follow-on contract it recently received from the USA Department of Defense.
The C-17 Globemaster III Integrated Sustainment Program (GISP) provides support services such as forecasting, purchasing and material management for the C-17 and all C-17-unique support. This Performance-Based Logistics (PBL) program, which started in 1998 with 42 airplanes, now covers 246 worldwide. It provides lower costs through economies of scale from supporting the entire global fleet. The latest contract covers fiscal years 2013 through 2017.
Under a (PBL) arrangement, a customer receives an agreed-to level of system readiness, as opposed to a traditional contract for specific spare parts and support services. This integrated logistics approach (in which Boeing manages U.S. assets as a designated Inventory Control Point) has allowed Boeing (TBC) to apply innovative spares forecasting and modeling tools to maximize airplane availability while lowering costs. In many cases, (TBC) has provided readiness levels beyond those spelled out in the agreements.
The Department of Defense recently recognized the USA Air Force - Boeing (GISP) team with the 2012 Secretary of Defense “system-level” (PBL) Award. “This contract award and the recognition from the Secretary of Defense are testaments to the long-standing partnership between the US Air Force and Boeing (TBC),” said Gus Urzua, Boeing VP & (GISP) Program Manager.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Autonomous High-Altitude Refueling (AHR) program recently completed successful flight demonstrations of technology that allows unmanned airplane systems (UAS) to automatically refuel in-flight.
(DARPA) conducted the flights in collaboration with Northrop Grumman (GRU) and the (NASA) (NAS) Dryden Flight Research Center using two (NASA) Global Hawk (UAS)s.
The (DARPA) agency said that the two Global Hawks successfully flew in close formation (as close as 30 feet) for more than >2.5 hours at 44,800 feet. The close formation flight showed the ability of (UAS) to operate autonomously under in-flight refueling conditions.
"The technical developments that enabled these two high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned Global Hawks in close formation is an outstanding accomplishment for the (AHR) program," said Fred Ricker, VP & Deputy General Manager for Northrop Grumman (GRU) Aerospace Systems' Advanced Programs & Technology. "Coupled with the advanced design and technical implementation of aerial refueling systems on board both airplanes, the demonstration has truly brought a concept to life, which has the potential to change the operations for unmanned airplane utility and enable mission flexibility never before realized."
Northrop Grumman (GRU), (DARPA) and (NASA) (NAS) Dryden Flight Research Center successfully completed a series of flight demonstrations, moving the (DARPA)'s Autonomous High-Altitude Refueling program closer to demonstrating the first autonomous aerial refueling between two unmanned, high-altitude airplanes. The flights, which used two (NASA) (NAS) Global Hawk unmanned airplanes ( one configured as a tanker and the other as a receiver) were conducted at Edwards Air Force Base, California.
The Boeing (TBC) Family of Advanced Beyond Line-of-Sight Terminals (FAB-T) team recently completed a combined preliminary design review and critical design review with the US Air Force, representing significant milestones for the program.
The reviews occurred at the same time the company began internal software deliveries that will enable new capability requirements that were added to the contract earlier this year.
These achievements come after the program was converted to a firm-fixed-price contract in late April. “The combined reviews represent significant progress that we were able to complete one week earlier than required,” said Boeing VP & FAB-T Program Manager, Paul Geery. “This achievement indicates we are ready to begin implementation of our design. Boeing (TBC)’s initiative to convert the contract to a fixed-price structure demonstrates our commitment to providing best value and our confidence in our technical solution.”
The combined design reviews validated design enhancements to add Presidential & National Voice Conferencing (PNVC), which, when complete, will be a worldwide, survivable, secure satellite-based capability used by the President, the Secretary of Defense, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and other senior US national and military leaders for secure communications. The design reviews also covered engineering changes required to synchronize the terminals with changes on the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellites. Once operational, (FAB-T) also will relay the commands that control the (AEHF) and legacy Milstar constellations.
Completion of the combined reviews also cleared the way for the software teams to begin “drops,” or internal software deliveries. The first such drop, which streamlined the (FAB-T) architecture by removing a number of interfaces that are no longer required, has already been completed. Other drops scheduled for the coming months will continue the satellite-terminal synchronization process and the addition of (PNVC) capability.
Under the current (FAB-T) program, Boeing (TBC) will develop nuclear-survivable terminals capable of using multiple waveforms and communicating with both the (AEHF) and the legacy Milstar satellite constellations. These development terminals will operate in fixed and transportable ground installations and aboard B-2 and B-52 bombers, RC-135 reconnaissance airplanes, and the E-4B National Airborne Command Post and E-6B “Take Charge and Move Out” airplane fleets.
SEE ATTACHED - - "TBC-2012-10 - SECURE COMMUNICATIONS."
April 2013: ACCDT: A National Airlines (MUA) 747-428BCF (960-25630, /93 N949CA) freighter crashed and was destroyed shortly after take-off from Bagram, Afghanistan, on April 29. The 747-428BCF was performing a cargo flight on behalf of the US Air Force (USF) Mobility Command.
SEE VIDEO OF ACCIDENT: http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=c32_1367332518
A National Air Cargo (MUA) 747-428BCF freighter operating on behalf of US Mobility Command, registration (N949CA) performing cargo flight N8-102 from Bagram (Afghanistan) to Dubai Al Maktoum (United Arab Emirates) with 7 flight crew (FC) and cargo consisting of 5 military vehicles, crashed shortly after takeoff from Bagram Air Base's runway 03 at 15:30L (11:00Z) and erupted into flames near the end of the runway within the perimeter of the Air Base. All 7 flight crew (FC) perished in the crash.
Afghan Authorities immediately denied claims that the crash of a large civilian cargo airplane was the result of enemy activities. A large fire erupted after the airplane impacted the ground. It appears all flight crew (FC) were killed.
Coalition Forces reported a civilian large cargo plane crashed shortly after takeoff. At the time of the accident, there was no enemy activity around the aerodrome. The Air Base was locked down and the aerodrome was closed.
National Air Cargo (MUA) confirmed their airplane (N949CA) with 7 flight crew (FC) crashed at Bagram.
Several observers on the ground reported the National Air Cargo (MUA) 747-428BCF had just lifted off and was climbing through approximately 1,200 feet when it's nose sharply rose, the airplane appeared to have stalled and came down erupting in a blaze.
According to a listener on frequency the flight crew (FC) reported the airplane stalled due to a possible load shift.
The airplane was carrying 5 military vehicles.
National Air Cargo (MUA) operated three 747-428BCFs with the registrations (N952CA, N919CA and N949CA).
The USA National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is assisting the Afghanistan Ministry of Transportation & Commercial Aviation in the investigation of the crash of a National Airlines (MUA) 747-428BCF freighter. (NTSB) Senior Air Safety Investigator, Tim LeBaron is the USA accredited representative for the investigation. He will lead a team of three additional investigators from the (NTSB) as well as representatives from the (FAA) and Boeing (TBC).
National Airlines (MUA) is based in Orlando, Florida, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of National Air Cargo Holdings. It operates scheduled and on-demand cargo service globally and charter passenger service in the Middle East.
May 2013: ACCDT: The US Air Force (USF) has confirmed the crash of a Boeing KC-135 flying from its base in Manas, Kyrgyzstan.
Kyrgyzstan's emergencies ministry has also confirmed the crash of a large transport airplane west of the capital Bishkek, and identifies the jet as a Boeing 707 tanker, probably signifying the KC-135 version of the civil airframe.
It states that the airplane was associated with the Transit Center at Bishkek's Manas international airport.
The airplane came down at 14:55 local time in the Panfilov district, between the villages of Cholok-Arik and Chorgolu, some 90 km west of Bishkek, near the border with Kazakhstan.
(USF) confirmed three died in the KC-135 crash.
Manas' Transit Centre became active in late 2001 during the deployment of coalition forces involved in operations in Afghanistan. The center performs aerial refuelling, airlift and troop movement services.
Images of the crash scene and part of the airplane's tail indicate that the tanker involved was registered as 63-8877. Flightglobal's MiliCAS database records this KC-135R as having entered use in 1964. Tail markings show that the airplane was home based at McConnell (AFB) in Kansas.
The KC-135 is routinely operated with a three-person crew, comprising two pilots (FC) and one boom operator.
June 2013: Boeing (TBC) began assembly at its Everett, Washington, manufacturing facility of the first US Air Force (USF) KC-46A aerial refueling tanker. The KC-46A, a military variant of the Boeing 767-200ER, is a replacement for the US Air Force's aging fleet of KC-135 aerial refueling tankers. Assembly began with the loading of the first wing spar, the 82-foot main structural component of the wing that provides support for flight loads and the weight of the wing when the airplane is not flying.
“From the enhanced flight deck to the modernized boom, our tanker will provide unequaled capabilities that will allow it to offload more fuel and carry more passengers, cargo and medical patients," said Maureen Dougherty, Manager of the Boeing KC-46A Program.
Next month, Boeing will enter the program's next major contractual milestone, the Air Force's critical design review. In June 2014, the company will begin installing and testing military-unique systems on the airplane. Boeing expects to deliver the first 18 KC-46As to the Air Force by 2017.
September 2013: Boeing (TBC) is launching production of its next-generation aerial refueling tanker after passing a critical design review earlier this summer, a top USA Air Force official said. Assembly of the first two KC-46As is under way as part of the military's $52 billion project to replace its current fleet of KC-135 refueling tankers. Based on the commercial 767-200ER airframe, the KC-46A can carry twice as many passengers as the KC-135 and is equipped with 787 cockpit avionics.
If the Air Force (USF) exercises all options from a contract signed with Boeing (TBC) in 2011, the company will deliver a total of 179 tankers with the first 18 scheduled for delivery by 2017.
The (USAF) is in search for a new Air Force One because of the increased maintenance burden of the present 747-based VC-25As - - SEE ATTACHED "FLIGHT INTERNATIONAL" ARTICLE - - "USF-2013-09 - NEW AIR FORCE ONE."
The B-52 Stratofortress will soon receive a software upgrade that will keep the airplane at the forefront of the USA strategic bomber fleet. As new equipment and advanced weapons are added to the B-52 fleet, the B-52 Software Block (BSB) upgrades allow the airplane to utilize the full potential of those new and improved systems.
“Think in terms of your home,” Air Force Global Strike Command B-52 Program Analyst, Nathan Dawn said. “This is similar to when your cable provider gives you a new cable modem, so you upgrade the software on your wireless receiver to take better advantage of the modem’s updated capabilities.”
Many systems that make the B-52 a formidable force on the battlefield can be improved and enhanced by (BSB) upgrades, and new systems can be added as they become available, he said. “The Offensive Avionics System, (GPS), (GPS) Interface Unit, and Advanced Targeting Pod computer are examples of hardware that are affected during (BSB) updates,” Dawn said. “Typically, new lines of code are created to access new weapon or equipment capabilities such as the new ability to attack fast moving ground targets with smart weapons.”
One of the primary purposes of (BSB) cycles is to correct software errors and patch deficiencies not found during development and testing, Dawn said. Similar to home computer operating systems, new and more complex software is susceptible to errors. When one is found in any of the B-52′s systems, it is documented and becomes a high priority for repair in the next cycle of (BSB) upgrades.
The newest (BSB) upgrade is scheduled to attain full operational capability this fall, Dawn said. With it, the B-52 can continue to remain viable by adapting to the rapid advancement of technology in the battlespace.
October 2013: Boeing (TBC) is assembling a third KC-46A test airplane for the US Air Force’s next-generation aerial refueling tanker program at (TBC)’s Everett, Washington, factory, keeping the program on schedule to complete production of four test airplanes by the third quarter of 2014. “In addition to the three KC-46A tankers now in production, our System Integration Labs are operational and we’re assembling a second boom,” said Maureen Dougherty, Boeing VP & KC-46 Tanker Program Manager. “We remain on track to deliver the initial 18 KC-46A tankers by 2017.”
The KC-46A is based on the Boeing 767 commercial jetliner, a proven airframe in service as an airliner, freighter and tanker. Boeing has delivered more than >1,050 767s worldwide. "Our teams are maintaining their focus on quality and productivity as we move the first tankers through production," said Scott Campbell, VP & General Manager of the 767 program.
The first test airplane will roll out early next year. The first test flight of a fully provisioned KC-46A tanker is projected for early 2015, and the first delivery of a production airplane to the Air Force is planned for early 2016. Boeing expects to build 179 tankers by 2027 if all options under the contract are exercised.
November 2013: News Item A-1: See video "USF-JFK AIR FORCE ONE" - -
News Item A-2: Rockwell Collins will develop the next generation of software for the Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) close air support system under a new $15 million contract from the US Air Force, the company said. The (TACP), scheduled for completion by late summer 2016, will provide a graphic user interface with updated airplane capabilities and the integration of (TACP) modernization systems, Rockwell said.
“The Rockwell Collins (TACP) 1.4.5 software offering capitalizes on our company’s vast experience in close air support system solutions,” said Tommy Dodson, VP & General Manager of Rockwell Collins Surface Solutions.
December 2013: On a grey, chilly afternoon 20 years ago today, the first operational B-2 stealth bomber, the "Spirit of Missouri," circled the airfield at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, once, then landed, marking the start of a remarkable history that has given the USA one of its most powerful defensive (and diplomatic) weapons.
Developed, produced and sustained by a USA Air Force (USF)/Northrop Grumman Corporation (GRU)-led industry team, the B-2 is the nation’s premier long range strike airplane. The fleet of 20 bombers is based at Whiteman, near Kansas City, ready to defend the nation’s interests anywhere in the world, anytime, day or night. “For 20 years, the B-2 has been one of the nation’s most decisive, most effective weapon systems for defending America’s interests around the world. It deters our enemies and assures our allies of our capabilities and our commitment,” said Brig. Gen. Thomas Bussiere, commander of the Air Force’s 509th Bomb Wing.
The B-2, which can carry both conventional and nuclear weapons, is the only airplane that combines stealth, long range, large payload and precision weapons. Its stealth characteristics allow it to penetrate sophisticated enemy air defenses and threaten heavily defended targets. “The strength of the B-2 lies not simply in its war fighting capabilities, but also in the passion and the spirit of innovation of the men and women who have kept it lethal and effective against evolving threats for the past 20 years,” said Dave Mazur, VP & B-2 Program Manager, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems (GRU). “It remains one of America’s most important symbols of strength and freedom.”
Northrop Grumman (GRU) leads all B-2 modernization efforts. It also performs programmed depot maintenance on the fleet at its B-2 program office in Palmdale, California. Current modernization efforts will enhance the bomber’s communications, defensive and weapons capabilities. “The capabilities of the B-2, and the technological innovations behind it, are part and parcel of USA defensive and diplomatic leadership around the world,” said Mazur. “As it has helped define the present, so it will continue to inform and help define the future.” SEE ATTACHED PHOTO - - "USF-B-2 STEALTH BOMBER - 2013-12."
Boeing (TBC) has been selected to fulfill a $750 million five-year contract for work on the US Air Force fleet of B-1 bombers, the Pentagon announced on December 30. The contract includes integrated engineering services such as computer network support, technical analysis, flight safety analysis, and potential enhancement work, according to the US Defense Department digest of major contracts. Also included in the contract are four one-year options and a one-year base period.
January 2014: Boeing (TBC) is assembling the fourth and final KC-46A test airplane - - SEE ATTACHED - - "USF-KC-46A - TANKER - 2014-01" for the US Air Force’s next-generation aerial refueling tanker program at the company’s Everett factory, keeping the program on track to deliver the initial 18 tankers to the Air Force by 2017.
“All four test airplanes moving through production to support our transition to ground and flight testing later this year,” said Maureen Dougherty, Boeing VP and KC-46 Tanker Program Manager. “Our joint Boeing and US Air Force team continues to deliver on our commitments to the warfighter.”
The airplanes are commercial derivatives of the Boeing 767 jetliner; their design features aerial refueling capabilities that will be installed later at Boeing Field in Seattle. The 767 is a proven jet in service as an airliner, freighter and international tanker, with more than >1,060 delivered worldwide.
The first flight of an Engineering and Manufacturing Development KC-46 tanker program test airplanes, without its aerial refueling systems, will take place at midyear, followed by the first flight of a KC-46A tanker in early 2015. The first delivery of a production airplane to the Air Force is planned for early 2016. Boeing (TBC) expects to build 179 tankers by 2027 if all options under the contract are exercised.
March 2014: Rolls-Royce (RRC) has been awarded a contract for $182.7 million by the US Air Force (USF) to expand the company’s support of the C-130J transport fleet. The "MissionCare™" contract covers sustainment services for the (RRC) (AE 2100) engines as well as nacelles and propellers on the US Air Force (USF) C-130J fleet. The work includes logistics and program management support, engineering services, spares and technical data support. The (USF) increased its order for spares and spare parts, as well as adding (RRC) Field Service Representatives at two new bases.
Rolls-Royce (RRC) now provides C-130J support at 12 US Air Force bases, with 10 in the USA and two overseas.
Paul Craig, (RRC) President Defence Customer Services, said, “We continually seek new ways to deliver innovative and cost effective support to the US Air Force and we are delighted to be expanding our services on their behalf.“
Through MissionCare, Rolls-Royce offers a suite of services, tailored to each military customer’s needs. The US Air Force contract is in the seventh option year, providing a variety of support for the fleet of C-130J airplanes, (RRC) has met availability metrics every year, while helping the (USAF) meet its combat deployments overseas. Through proactive fleet management, (RRC) has maintained greater than 90% parts and fleet availability.
The (RRC) (AE 2100) engine is part of the (AE) product family, which has over >5,800 engines in service and nearly 60 million flight hours. (RRC) also supports the C-130J engine fleet through its new Defense Operations Center in Indianapolis, providing 24/7 real-time engineering support for operators of a variety of airplanes for the USAF and other military branches.
May 2014: A US Air Force (USF) flight crew (FC) ferried the first Travis Air Force Base, California, C-5M Super Galaxy from the Lockheed Martin facilities - - SEE PHOTO - - "USF-C-5M-2014-05."
Airplane (87-0042) was flown by Lieutenant General Brooks L Bash, Vice Commander, Air Mobility Command at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois to the 60th Air Mobility Wing, giving Travis the 19th overall Super Galaxy in the Air Force.
June 2014: News Item A-1: The first Air Force One - Ike's Plane - - Who knew? - - See video "USF - THE FIRST AIR FORCE ONE" - -
The C-5M is in a class of its own, having already set 43 world aviation records. A total of 52 Super Galaxy aircraft are scheduled to be delivered to the Air Force.
August 2014: Boeing (TBC) recently delivered a comprehensive training center for the C-17 Globemaster III airlifter to the Memphis Air National Guard base in Tennessee, improving the service’s training capabilities while reducing travel, maintenance and other operating expenses.
The highly realistic training system prepares C-17 pilots (FC) and loadmasters for a host of scenarios, including sophisticated mission operations and emergency procedures. Having that capability on site means the 155th Airlift Squadron no longer needs to send personnel elsewhere for training. “The Boeing (TBC) team enabled us to increase training efficiency while reducing travel time, airplane fuel and operating costs, which is an extremely important factor during this era of increased fiscal restraints and tightened budgets,” said Major Joel Taylor, Chief Aircrew Training for the 155th Airlift Squadron.
The Memphis training center is the Air Force’s 25th C-17 trainer and the fourth of five ordered under a 2010 contract from the service. The fifth of those training centers will be delivered to Shepherd Field Air National Guard Base in Martinsburg, West Virginia, later this year.
September 2014: See video "USF-AIR FORCE ONE 747" - -
October 2014: Boeing (TBC) said the first test plane for its KC-46 (767-200ER) Air Force aerial-refueling tanker program is expected to fly in late November or early December. Despite the delay, Boeing remains on track to fulfill its contract requirement of having 18 tankers built and ready to deploy by late 2017. The US Air Force plans to buy a total of 179 of the tankers to be delivered through 2027. SEE ATTACHED - - "USF-2014-10 - KC-46 (767-200ER) TANKER UPDATE-A/B."
April 2015: News Item A-1: Elon Musk's SpaceX (SPX) and the US Airforce (USF) suffered from a "stark disconnect in perceptions" over (SPX)'s efforts to to win approval to compete for military satellite launches, according to an independent review commissioned by the (USF) Secretary, Deborah James after the service failed to meet a December goal to certify (SPX) for satellite launches. Launches are now handled exclusively by a Boeing (TBC)-Lockheed Martin joint venture (JV). While (SPX) and the (USF) have become conciliatory and say they expect (SPX) to be certified for launches by June, the report lays out a cultural collision between Musk's entrepreneurial impatience and the (USF)'s methodical bureaucracy.
News Item A-2: See video "USF-2015-04 - Close Up Footage of Stealth Bomber Refueling" - - http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=0bc_1428285879
This video shows Utah Air National Guard members from the 191st Air Refueling Squadron executing an air refueling mission from a KC-135 Stratotanker on February 18, 2015. A B-2 Spirit from the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman (AFB), Missouri participated during this training mission.
May 2015: "C-17 Fleet Celebrates 3 Million Flying Hours"
By Marcel van Leeuwen, aviationnews.eu, May 8th 2015.
The C-17 Globemaster III has proved again that it remains the world’s premier airlifter after the total C-17 fleet celebrated the historical milestone of achieving 3 million flying hours on May 5.
The C-17 is the only strategic airlifter in the world that has tactical capabilities that allow it to fly between continents; land on short, austere runways and airdrop supplies precisely where needed. The C-17 fleet is in its 22nd year of operation; it was first delivered in June 1993.
Getting to the 3 millionth flying hour all started on September 15, 1991, when the C-17 made its maiden flight. The C-17 passed the 1-million-hour mark in March 2006 and the 2-million-hour mark in December 2010.
A ceremony was held at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, and Joint Base Charleston to commemorate the fleet’s milestone. As part of the ceremony, a combined Charleston aircrew and Boeing (TBC) team flew a ceremonial flight.
“It is such a great privilege and an honor to be a part of the C-17 program,” said Colonel Amanda Meyers, the C-17 System Program Director. “In the C-17’s relatively short history, it has done extraordinary things.
The platform provides unparalleled strategic and tactical airlift and airdrop capability to the USA as well as eight other partner nations,” Meyers continued. “It has become the airlifter of choice for the US Air Force. The incredible partnership between US active-duty, Reserve forces and National Guard make the C-17 a huge enabler for the USA. It not only allows the USA to fight and win its wars, but also to provide humanitarian assistance at an international level.”
The US Air Force owns 222 C-17s and USA's international allied partners have 44 of these strategic airlifters. “Our partner nations also benefit greatly from the capabilities that the C-17 brings to their defense organizations and national global contributions,” Meyers said.
Meyers, who became the C-17 Program Director last summer, realizes now how much heavy lifting the C-17 does. “Every time the news is on and there’s a call for assistance or unquestionable capability, the C-17 is part of the story,” she said. “Last summer, I turned on the news to see a Royal Australian Air Force (RAA) C-17 conducting a dignified transfer after the MH17 (crash). Last week, I turn on the news to hear about the earthquake in Nepal and see an Indian Air Force C-17 providing humanitarian help, quickly followed by C-17s from the USA, Canada and UK.
“The C-17 is where and when the nation calls, wherever that is, to go to war or promote peace,” Meyers continued. “Our mission is to acquire and obtain safe, effective and unrivaled global reach capability.”
Along the flight with Meyers was retired Major General Robert McMahon, the Boeing Director Field Operations. “As many know, this is Boeing (TBC)’s 100th anniversary, and we have challenged each employee to build something better,” McMahon said. “I will tell you that with the C-17, we have accomplished just that. The world’s premier airlifter.” McMahon recognized that the success of the airplane lies with the people that built it, maintain it and fly it.
“We and Boeing (TBC) are tremendously proud of those that designed and built this airplane, those today that maintain and sustain this airplane and those that currently operate the airplane,” he said.
Over time, the world has come to see the C-17 as the vehicle that carries hope and freedom.
“What makes the C-17 special is each and every day, no matter the condition, this airplane carries something very special, and that is hope to the people on the ground,” McMahon said. “Whether that was in Iraq or Afghanistan, or whether that’s the streets of New Orleans during the floods, or whether that’s someplace like Nepal today. When that t-tail shows up each and every day, what that means to the people on the ground, is hope for the future. That’s what these tremendous flight crews (FC) deliver.”
Following the preflight ceremony at Robins (AFB), Charleston Airmen prepared for takeoff as they had their eyes set on returning home.
Once the crew arrived at Charleston, Colonel John Lamontagne, the 437th Airlift Wing commander, addressed those in attendance at the ceremony. “Today is an amazing celebration recognizing 3 million hours in the C-17,” Lamontagne said. “We’ve come a long way since we first arrived here in July of 1993. Lots of lessons (have been) learned. It’s a fantastic airplane built by Boeing (TBC) for the US Air force.
“The US Air Force talks about ‘do something amazing,'” Lamontagne said. “This airplane does something amazing.”
July 2015: See attached report on KC-46 Tanker Delay by Dominic Gates, Seattle Times Aerospace Reporter, July 22, 2015:
"USF-2015-07 - KC-46 Tanker Delay.jpg."
August 2015: News Item A-1: The latest Lockheed Martin C-5M Super Galaxy takes off on its delivery flight on August 5, 2015.
Lockheed Martin delivered another (C-5M) Super Galaxy to the US Air Force (USF) on August 5.
A Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) aircrew ferried the aircraft from the Lockheed Martin facility here to Travis Air Force Base, in Fairfield, California, where it will be permanently based. It will be the 12th Super Galaxy assigned to Travis.
The aircraft (US Air Force (USF) serial number 86-0026), as originally delivered to the (USF) in June 1988, and has recorded approximately 20,230 flight hours over its career. This (C-5M) was delivered more than >6 weeks ahead of the contract commitment delivery date.
News Item A-2: The US Air Force (USF) has awarded Thales (THL) a contract to provide Deployable Instrument Landing Systems (D-ILS). The systems will be used in airfield environments, where the ability to provide precision guidance to aircraft on final approach during low-visibility or low-ceiling weather conditions are critical.
The (D-ILS) will provide the equivalent of fixed-based Instrument Landing System (ILS) capability at tactical airfields and environmentally diverse regions such as areas of natural disaster or humanitarian relief efforts. Thales (THL)’s (D-ILS) is a Commercial-Off-the-Shelf (COTS) system based on the company’s (ILS 420) (a fixed- based, dual-frequency (ILS) for civil and military applications).
The contract includes delivery of two Production Representative Units (PRUs) along with technical orders and provisional technical documentation, training development and conduct, system analysis, architecture and engineering, and contractor support. The (USF) plans to purchase up to 38 systems over the coming years.
Thales (THL) has extensive experience in designing and supplying Navigation and Surveillance systems in configurations that meet the unique needs of customers worldwide. For more than >80 years, (THL) has partnered with the aviation community, providing air traffic management (ATM) solutions to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the USA Department of Defense, as well as Air Navigation Service Providers and airports worldwide. Today, over >99% of the instrument landing systems (ILS) at USA airports are (THL) systems, and more than >7,000 (THL) navigation aids are deployed around the world.
September 2015: News Item A-1: "Boeing, US Air Force KC-46A Tanker Completes Successful First Flight" by "aviation news.eu" Rob Vogelaar, September 27, 2015.
The flight paves the way to aerial refueling and Milestone "C" testing.
The Boeing (TBC) and US Air Force team successfully completed the first flight of a KC-46A tanker airplane, taking off from Paine Field at 1:24 pm (PST) and landing four hours later at Boeing Field in Seattle. This was the first flight of a KC-46A tanker-configured airplane, following ongoing flights of the program’s first test airplane, a 767-2C. During the flight, Boeing (TBC) test pilots (FC) performed operational checks on engines, flight controls and environmental systems, and took the tanker to a maximum altitude of 35,000 feet prior to landing.
“This first tanker flight is a key milestone for the program and we’ll now begin free air stability tests and flight controls of the boom and wing aerial refueling pods (WARPs) before conducting aerial refueling tests where the KC-46 will make contact with other military airplanes down the road,” said Colonel Christopher Coombs, US Air Force KC-46 System Program Manager. “Today’s flight reinforces that we are moving in the right direction and are on track to begin planned Milestone "C" testing later this year,” said Tim Peters, Boeing KC-46 Tanker VP & Program Manager. “This is an aerospace industry first and the culmination of a lot of hard work by the team, including Boeing (TBC), our suppliers, and the US Air Force.”
The Boeing (TBC) team now will conduct a post-flight inspection and calibrate instrumentation prior to the next series of flights, during which the tanker boom and (WARP)s systems will be deployed. Before the end of the year, the KC-46 will begin conducting aerial refueling flights with a number of US Air Force airplanes. Those flights, along with the mission systems demonstrations and a recently completed ground cargo handling test, will support the planned Milestone "C" decision in 2016.
As part of a contract awarded in 2011 to design and develop the US Air Force’s next-generation tanker airplanes, Boeing is building four test airplanes (two are currently configured as 767-2Cs and two KC-46A tankers). The KC-46s will fly as fully equipped tankers through the (FAA) and military certification process, while the 767-2Cs enter flight test prior to receiving their upgrade to the KC-46A configuration and the addition of their aerial refueling systems.
The program’s first test aircraft (EMD-1), a 767-2C, has completed more than >150 flight test hours to date, since making its first flight in December 2014. The KC-46A is a multirole tanker Boeing (TBC) is building for the US Air Force, that can refuel all allied and coalition military airplanes compatible with international aerial refueling procedures, and can carry passengers, cargo and patients. Overall, Boeing (TBC) plans to build 179 KC-46 airplanes for the US Air Force.
A multi-year effort to make major avionics and engine upgrades to the US Air Force (US) fleet of C-5 Galaxy long-haul military transport aircraft finally may be wrapping up as the final 11 of 52 aircraft are set to receive new engines.
Officials of the Air Force Air Mobility Division at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, announced a $32.5 million contract modification to the Lockheed Martin Corporation Aeronautics segment in Marietta, Georgia, to provide the final lot of 11 aircraft to the C-5M fleet as part of the C-5 Galaxy Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program (RERP).
The (RERP) is the second of two major upgrades to Air Force C-5 jumbo transport jets. The (RERP) modifications consist of more than >70 improvements and upgrades to the C-5 airframe and aircraft systems, and include new high-thrust and reliable turbofan engines.
October 2015: News Item A-1: "US Air Force Selects Northrop Grumman (GRU) as Partner on Long-Range Strike Bomber" by www.aviationnews.eu Rob Vogelaar, October 28, 2015.
The US Air Force (USF) has selected Northrop Grumman Corporation (GRU) to deliver the nation’s new Long-Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B)
- - see attached - - "USF-Long-Range Strike Bomber - 2015-10.jpg. This selection continues the company’s 35-year partnership with the Air Force in providing the world’s most advanced long-range strike systems.
“The Air Force has made the right decision for our nation’s security,” said Wes Bush, Chairman, (CEO) & President, Northrop Grumman (GRU). “As the company that developed and delivered the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber, we look forward to providing the Air Force with a highly-capable and affordable next-generation Long-Range Strike Bomber. “Our team has the resources in place to execute this important program, and we’re ready to get to work,” Bush added.
News Item A-2: "Northrop Grumman (GRU) to Refine Radar Software for Global Hawk Ground & Airborne Surveillance (UAV)" by www.militaryaerospace.com John Keller Editor, October 18, 2015.
HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Massachusetts, October 12, 2015: - Surveillance radar experts at Northrop Grumman Corporation (GRU) are refining software in an advanced radar system aboard the Global Hawk Block 40 long-range unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that tracks slow-moving ground vehicles and low-flying cruise missiles.
Officials of the US Air Force (USF) Life Cycle Management Center at Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts, announced a $17 million contract modification to the Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems segment in El Segundo, California, for radar software corrections for the Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program (MP-RTIP).
The (USF)'s (MP-RTIP) program is developing a modular, active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar system scalable for the Global Hawk UAV and the Air Force Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint (STARS)).
The Raytheon Company (RAY) Space & Airborne Systems segment in El Segundo, California, is a primary subcontractor on the (MP-RTIP) program, and is in charge of the radar system's hardware development.
The (MP-RTIP) system is being created from previously developed Northrop-Grumman (GRU) radar technology, including the (USF)'s E-8 Joint (STARS) aircraft and the existing Global Hawk radar system.
The block 40 Global Hawk is larger than the original Global Hawk models, with a longer fuselage, larger payload capacity, larger electrical output, and longer wingspan.
The (MP-RTIP) radar that Northrop Grumman (GRU) and Raytheon (RAY) are developing will be able to track slow-moving ground vehicles and low-flying cruise missiles. Compared with existing ground-surveillance radar systems, the (MP-RTIP) will have enhanced resolution and will be able to collect ground moving target indicator imagery and synthetic aperture radar still images simultaneously.
Northrop Grumman (GRU) and Raytheon (RAY) started developing the (MP-RTIP) radar system in late 2000, and company experts have finished the system's basic design, development, testing, and systems integration.
The Block 40 configuration of the RQ-4 Global Hawk first flew in late 2009. Northrop Grumman (GRU) began integrating the (MP-RTIP) radar aboard the Global Hawk Block 40 in 2012.
On this contract modification, Northrop Grumman (GRU) will do the work in El Segundo, California, and should be finished in November 2016.
For more information contact Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems online at www.northropgrumman.com, or the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at www.wpafb.af.mil/aflcmc.
November 2015: News Item A-1: "LRS-B Jet Bomber Starting Out on the Right Track, But We Should Keep a Close Eye on This Project" by www.militaryaerospace.com John Keller Editor, November 3, 2015.
The US Air Force (USF) appears to be on the right track with its plan to develop a new jet bomber (the Long-Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B)). Some of the best aspects that have come out of limited (LRS-B) details so far are cost, avionics upgradeability, and pilot (FC) safety.
Air Force leaders announced last month their choice of the Northrop Grumman Corporation Aerospace Systems segment in Redondo Beach, California, to develop the (LRS-B). The contract, of undisclosed value, is for Engineering & Manufacturing Development (EMD) (the Pentagon's term for full-scale development).
I especially like three things about the (LRS-B) project, which if the (USF) can stay on course will bode well for the big jet bomber project and most likely prevent its cancellation in the future. Plans now call for the (LRS-B) to join the (USF) aircraft fleet in the mid 2020s:
1. First is cost. (USF) leaders say they plan to develop a bomber that can deliver conventional and nuclear weapons anywhere in the world from bases within the Continental USA at a cost of about one-third of today's most advanced (USF) bomber, the Northrop Grumman (GRU) B-2 Spirit stealth bomber.
2: Second is technology. The (USF) seeks to use an open-systems architecture for the plane's avionics and other subsystems. This approach will help mitigate the effects of electronics component obsolescence and has the potential to ensure the bomber can be designed and retrofitted with the latest electronic technologies over the duration of its lifetime.
3. Third is the (USF)'s plan to introduce optionally piloted versions of the (LRS-B) sometime after the plane's introduction. This plane won't see action for at least 10 years, and just imagine the advances in unmanned aircraft technology that will come over the next decade.
While the (LRS-B) today is envisioned primarily as a piloted aircraft, I would imagine that ultimately the plane's operations mostly will be unmanned. Let's face it, for most of that aircraft's routine missions there won't be much need for human pilots (FC) to be aboard (even in heavily contested environments).
I suspect that (LRS-B) pilots (FC) nearly all the time will be safely on the ground at unmanned aircraft operating centers at (USF) air bases. In addition, we don't know what the next 10 years will bring in aircraft automation technology.
With apologies to today's (USF) bomber pilots (FC), it may turn out that the (LRS-B) will be more effective and survivable without human pilots (FC) on board. Think of what it takes to accommodate a human pilot (FC): air conditioning, survival gear, protective systems, oxygen, and the list goes on. Might the space on that aircraft be better used for weapons, sensors, electronic warfare equipment, and other systems dedicated to the attack mission?
All this sounds good on paper, but we'll see how things play out as the (LRS-B) program moves forward. It's rare for major weapons programs to avoid deep problems like cost overruns, requirements creep, or compromising capability to stay within budget constraints.
Curiously, the only references to dollar figures in (USF)'s (LRS-B) announcement were to 2010 dollars (that's five-years-ago dollars, not this-year's dollars). It comes across as deceptive, as if the (USF) is trying to conceal what the real (LRS-B) program costs will be.
Each dollar-value reference, furthermore, is based on an estimate (again in five-years-ago dollars). "The independent estimate for the (EMD) phase is $21.4 billion in 2010 dollars," reads one passage. Here's another: "Based on approved requirements, the Average Procurement Unit Cost (APUC) per aircraft is required to be equal to or less than <$550 million per aircraft in 2010 dollars, when procuring 100 (LRS-B) aircraft. The (APUC) from the independent estimate supporting today’s award is $511 million per aircraft, again in 2010 dollars."
So what's with the shell game of estimating program costs based on what money was worth half a decade ago? This doesn't sound good to me at all. The Pentagon is very experienced with shuffling cost estimates on major weapons programs to make things sound good.
On aircraft programs there is program cost, which takes the entire cost of the program (the anticipated costs of research and development, manufacturing, maintenance, and upgrades) and dividing that by the number of aircraft to be made. You can see how changing the number of aircraft to be built, VASTLY changes the program cost of each airplane.
Then there's fly-away cost, which is an estimate simply of what it costs to build one airplane, without including research, development, and other non-manufacturing program costs. There are other kinds of cost estimates as well, of which that come in handy when the (USF) approaches Congress or the public to give program updates.
Right now, (USF) leaders say they want to build 100 Long-Range Strike Bombers. I couldn't imagine the actual number will come anywhere close to that.
Then there are technology challenges. Radar-evading stealth technologies are only a part of what will be necessary for the (LRS-B) to operate and prevail on a modern technology-dominated battlefield. Not only do USA adversaries have advanced radar systems, but they also have infrared, acoustic, and other kinds of sensors that could put the plane in jeopardy.
Electronic warfare, optical warfare, and cyber warfare capability also will be paramount to enable the new bomber to avoid modern surface-to-air missiles and other aspects of air defenses in-depth. No matter how technologically advanced the new plane might be, it still has to fight and survive in the most dangerous airspace the world has ever imagined.
Will the (LRS-B) be expensive? Of course it will. Will there be technological roadblocks to overcome? Certainly. The real question is what kind of national security value will we get for what the (LRS-B) will cost? For now, so far, so good. All of us, however, would be well-advised to keep a very close eye on this program.
News Item A-2: See attached - - "USF-2015-11 - Bomber Contract-A/B/C/D/E/F."
News Item A-3: "Boeing to Upgrade Radar Systems on 46 Air Force (USF) F-15C/D Jet Fighters & F-15E Fighter-bombers" by John Keller
www.militaryaerospace Editor, November 6, 2015.
WRIGHT-PATTERSON (AFB), Ohio, November 6th, 2015: - Jet fighter experts at the Boeing Company (TBC) will install 46 upgraded radar systems in US Air Force F-15 combat jets under terms of a $281.7 million contract announced earlier this month.
Officials of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio are asking the Boeing Defense, Space & Security segment in St Louis to install the upgraded radar systems on Air Force F-15C/D jet fighters, and F-15E fighter-bombers.
Boeing (TBC), the original manufacturer of the F-15C/D and F-15E combat jets, will install the Raytheon (RAY) (APG-63(V)3) radar on 17 F-15C/D jet fighters, and the (Raytheon AN/APG-82) radar systems on 29 F-15E fighter-bombers under the terms of the contract.
The F-15, built by Boeing predecessor, McDonnell Douglas Corporation, is a twin-engine, all-weather tactical air-superiority jet fighter. It was designed in the late 1960s and first entered service in 1976. The F-15E is a ground-attack version of the original F-15 that first entered service in 1989.
The Raytheon (RAY) (APG-63(V)3) and (AN/APG-82) radar systems use active electronically scanned array (AESA) technology, which is a phased-array radar approach that can steer the radar beam without mechanically moving the radar transceiver antenna.
(AESA) radar use many solid-state transceivers in an antenna array. It steers the radar beam by emitting separate radio signals from each module. This kind of radar is difficult to detect over background noise and enables F-15 combat jets to broadcast powerful radar signals, while still remaining somewhat stealthy.
The Raytheon (RAY) (APG-63(V)3) is a more modern variant of (RAY)'s (APG-63(V)2), and applies the same kind of (AESA) technology that Raytheon (RAY) uses in the company's (APG-79) designed for the Navy Boeing F/A-18 Hornet fighter-bomber. The (APG-63(V)3) has been in service since 2006.
The Raytheon (AN/APG-83) radar for the F-15E, meanwhile, combines the processor of the (APG-79) radar with the antenna of the (APG-63(V)3) (AESA) being on the F-15C/D. This radar upgrade is part of the F-15E Radar Modernization Program (RMP). The new radar includes a wideband radome that enables the radar array to operate on more radar frequencies, and has improvements to environmental control and electronic warfare (EW) systems.
On this contract, Boeing (TBC) will do the work in St Louis and should be finished by early 2019.
For more information contact Boeing Defense, Space & Security online at www.boeing.com/defense, or the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at www.wpafb.af.mil/aflcmc.
December 2015: Marietta, Georgia., December 21, 2015: – US Air Force (USF) flight crews (FC) recently ferried two additional C-130J Super Hercules aircraft from the Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) facility. These aircraft are a C-130J-30 Super Hercules assigned to Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, and an HC-130J Combat King II assigned to Moody Air Force Base, Georgia.
March 2016: See video - "USF - AWACS TNT":
April 2016: "Why BAE Systems is Well-positioned to Score Big on the Air Force's Secret B-21 LRS-B Bomber"
by http://www.militaryaerospace.com April 7, 2016.
The (BAE) Systems Electronic Systems segment in Nashua, New Hampshire, USA is set for big contracts in the future to provide sophisticated electronic warfare (EW) equipment for the next-generation US Air Force (USF) Northrop Grumman B-21 Long-Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B).
(BAE) Systems (formerly Lockheed Sanders, and Sanders Associates before that) is one of the world's foremost (EW) houses, and is in a position to design the kind of electronic protection that the new B-21 penetrating bomber will need.
It's still too early for any contractor involved in the B-21 program to start counting profits, however. It's far from certain if the B-21 will evolve into a large procurement program. Tight military budgets, and competition with unmanned aircraft, could prevent that from happening.
July 2016: Carlsbad, California-based broadband services company ViaSat was awarded a contract to provide internet and connectivity services to "Air Force One" (USF) and other senior US government airplanes, the company announced July 25.
Face value of the contract is $33 million. Work on the contract began June 1 and will carry through to May 31, 2017, with two six-month option periods. The total cumulative face value of the contract is $73.2 million, ViaSat said.
The award covers support for Boeing VC-25s (the military version of a Boeing 747-200B, utilized as "Air Force One," the US president’s personal aircraft), Boeing C-17s (a military transport aircraft), Boeing C-32s (military version of a Boeing 757), C-37s (military version of a Gulfstream V business jet), Boeing C-40s (military version of a Boeing 737-700C) as well as (VIP) and special air mission aircraft, ViaSat said.
According to ViaSat, “the service enables ‘a Situation Room in the Sky’ [using] the in-flight broadband connection to stream full-motion high-definition video for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, en route Command and Control and Search and Rescue missions; maintain two-way communications through HD video conference calling or voice over internet protocol calls; [and] access real-time intelligence and other location-based, live-sensor data.”
ViaSat provides the satellites as well as high-speed connectivity through its Ku-/Ka-band system. “The hybrid terminal and radome enables automatic in-flight network switching across Ku- and Ka-band satellite networks for an advanced ‘global roaming capability’,” ViaSat said.
ViaSat’s Ku/Ka dual-band inflight internet service, marketed as “Exede in the Air,” is in use on JetBlue (JBL), Virgin America (VUS) and El Al Israel Airlines (ELA)’s aircraft. ViaSat has also partnered with Australia’s National Broadband Network to provide in-flight connectivity on Qantas (QAN).
June 2017: RC135 64-14841 arriving at Mildenhall.
February 2018: "Venerable B-52 May Outlive Snazzier, Younger Bombers
By Robert Burns, Associated Press (national-security writer), February 12, 2018.
Washington DC, USA — The B-52, which people have called “aging” seemingly for ages, is now likely to outlive its younger, snazzier brother bombers, the swing-wing B-1 and the stealthy B-2.
US Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson announced February 12 that her service will begin retiring the B-1 and B-2 fleets as soon as it has built enough B-21s, the next-generation bomber that is still on the drawing board and is expected to begin entering service in the mid-2020s. The pace of retirement will depend on how quickly the B-21 is acquired.
A US Air Force spokeswoman, Ann Stefanek said the B-1 and B-2 are likely to keep flying into the early 2030s. The B-52 is expected to soar past those timelines, remaining part of the combat force until mid-century.
Aware of the political ramifications of any change in the structure of the bomber force, Wilson said the number of bomber bases will not shrink. “If the force structure we have proposed is supported by the Congress, bases that have bombers now will have bombers in the future,” Wilson said. “They will be B-52s and B-21s.”
Officially nicknamed the "Stratofortress" and informally known as the "Big Ugly Fat Fellow," the B-52 gained lasting fame in Vietnam as an aerial terror. It is scheduled to stay in service until 2050, assuming it gets planned upgrades, including new engines. In its 2019 budget request, the Air Force asked for $280 million for B-52 upgrades.
Boeing (TBC) built 8 different models of the B-52 between 1952 and 1962. There are 75 planes left, split between Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota and Barksdale Air Force in Louisiana. No longer the saturation bomber associated with the Vietnam War, the B-52 had been updated and adapted to a range of combat missions. It has been used extensively in the war in Afghanistan as well as in the air campaign against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. Just last week a B-52 pummeled a Taliban site in N Afghanistan.
“The aircraft has played a leading role in Air Force operations for decades, and was recently reconfigured with a conventional rotary launcher to increase its reach and lethality,” the US military said in announcing the Afghanistan attack.
The B-1 has an unusual history. It was initially developed in the 1970s, canceled and then revived by President Ronald Reagan. It originally was designed for either nuclear or conventional attack but is now strictly for non-nuclear combat.
The B-2, the world’s first radar-evading bomber, was developed in secrecy by Northrop (now known as Northrop Grumman (GRU)) in the 1980s and was initially best-known for its stunning price tag of >$1 billion per aircraft, of which 21 were built.
Click below for photos:
USF-2011-12 - FLEET
USF-747-AIR FORCE ONE
USF-B-21 - 2016-04.jpg
USF-B-52 Bomber 2018-02.jpg
USF-B1B - 2013-12
USF-B2 STEALTH BOMBER - 2013-12
USF-C-17A - 2016-08.jpg
USF-C-5 Galaxy Mods - 2015-10.jpg
USF-C-5M Super Galaxy - 2015-08.jpg
USF-F-15 - 2015-11.jpg
USF-K-46A - TANKER - 2014-01
USF-KC-46A - 2012-07
USF-Long-Range Strike Bomber - 2015-10.jpg
USF-LRS-B - 2015-11.jpg
USF-UAV Global Hawk - 2015-10.jpg
1 707-300 (64-14841), SEE PHOTO 2017-06 ARRIVING AT MILDENHALL, ENGLAND, UK).
1 707-3D3C (852-20495, /71 95-0122, EX-(RJA)/(GRU).
5 707-323C (610-19381, /67 81-0895; 50-583, /67 81-0894), EX-(AAL).
6 707-338C (546-19293, /67 94-0284, 73-0626, /68 86-0416), EX-(QAN)/(GRU), REFURB TE-8A.
1 707-353B (862-20630, /72 72-7000). 27000 RETIRED 9/01.
1 707-382B (836-20297, /70 85-6974), EX-(TAP).
1 707-396C (786-20043, /69 85-6973), EX-(WDA)/(FGZ).
415 KC-135R/T TANKERS.
11 727-35 (85-18811, /64 83-4610, EX-(NAL); 94-18812, /64 83-4612, EX-(PAA); 112-18816, /65 83-4615, EX-(NAL); 118-18817, /65 83-2616, EX-(NAL).
12 737-T43A (317, /73 71-1403; 363, /74 73-01156), 20688 ST (JTZ) 2001-04. NAVIGATOR TRAINERS.
3/8 ORDERS 737-700 (C-40B) (2002-02):
2 737-7DM BBJ (C-40B) (CFM56-7B) (684-29971, 2000-10 N371BJ; 02-0042, 2011-10).
3 737-7CP BBJ (C-40B) (CFM56-7B) (481-30753, /00 N329K, 2002-08; 545-30755, /00 N330K, 2002-08; 33500, 2005-01), EX-(FMC), (TBC) LSD.
2 737-700 BBJ (C-40C) (CFM56-7B), 2005-02.
4 747-E4B (CF6-50) (202-20682, /72 73-01676; 204-20683, /72 73-01677; 232-20684, /74 74-00787; 257-20949, /75 75-00125), GOVT "AIR FORCE ONE."
1 747-4G4F (1238-30201, 2000-01 00-00001) (CF6-80C2F).
2 757-2G4 (C-32) (PW2040) (783-29025, /98 80001; 787-29026, /98 80002; 824-29027, /98 90003; 829-29028, /98 90004) (C-32A), 16 FC, 45 PAX, VIP, NOT (ETOPS) EQ'PD.
179 ORDERS (2017-02) 767-200ER (KC-45) TANKERS, LEASED (18 TO BE BUILT AND READY TO DEPLOY BY LATE 2017):
1 DC-9 (C-9C) (774-47671, 31683), VIP.
14 B-2 STEALTH BOMBER.
1 B-21 LRS-B BOMBER.
75 B-52 STRATOFORTRESS BOMBER.
73 C-5A/B/C/M (CF6-80C2) GALAXY (86-0026, 2015-08).
28 C-9C, VIP.
222 C-17 GLOBEMASTER III (21101, 2016-08).
90 +12/17 ORDERS C-130J.
0 C-130E (3782; 3906; SCRAPPED 2005-02).
DR HEATHER WILSON, US AIR FORCE (USF) SECRETARY.
MS MAUREEN DOUGHERTY, BOEING VP & KC-46 TANKER PROGRAM MANAGER.
BRIG GEN THOMAS BUSSIERE, COMMANDER AIR FORCE 509TH BOMB WING.