The UAVs Have It

Gen. Tom Hobbins is sold on unmanned aerial vehicles, telling NATO representatives of the phenomenal growth in the number and capability of UAVs. He called the advance of UAVs into the information age “perfect timing,” turning unmanned systems into “a...

A Shift Toward Equal Deployments?

The Air Force is changing the deployment tour lengths for some specialties to render them the same as those of the other services, reports The Robins Rev-Up. Already more than 40 percent of current USAF deployments exceed the Air Force’s professed standard of four-month rotations, stated the Robins AFB, Ga., newspaper. If this is in fact a new trend, it would certainly resolve what Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace, Joint Chiefs Chairman, recently said was the “biggest morale factor” he has encountered in talking with troops. One of the prime drivers in the Air Force’s shift to longer tours appears to be the use of airmen to fill Army jobs—the so-called “in lieu of” taskings. And, if Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has his way, more airmen—those that remain after the 40,000-man cut—will be filling in for ground forces.

The Annual Money Marathon

The good folks at Kunsan AB, South Korea, actually got to spend some of the money they saved by being frugal with their precious dollars. According to the Wolf Pack Warrior, 8th Fighter Wing got more than $8 million in “fallout” money for Fiscal 2006. Actually, this is an annual occurrence—and marathon—around the Air Force, where money left over from buying items more cheaply than estimated goes into an end-of-year pot. The trick is to race to spend the fallout money before the midnight curfew rings on the current fiscal year. The 8th FW, like other USAF units, didn’t spend its fallout money on frills; instead it went for such items as aircraft parts and land mobile radios and some quality of life things, such as heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems for dorms.

Here Come the Hogs

The Arkansas Air National Guard’s 188th Fighter Wing in Fort Smith, Ark., is actually happy to be trading their F-16 fighters for A-10 attack aircraft, reports the Times Record. The reason is that the A-10 has a longer projected shelf...

A Patriot Express Revival?

US Transportation Command plans to restructure the Patriot Express flight service rather that eliminating it entirely. The Air Mobility Command-run commercial charter service lost an average of $35.8 million per year from roughly 1998 to 2002, prompting DOD to tell...

Not Just Pretty Faces

The airmen who operate and maintain US Air Forces in Europe’s C-20 distinguished visitor aircraft are not immune to deployments to combat operations areas. The Kaiserslautern American reports that a C-20H team from the 76th Airlift Squadron at Ramstein AB,...

A Little Help From Friends

The Missile Defense Agency has redeployed the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system equipment from White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico to the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii via four USAF C-17 airlifters. Soldiers at Ft. Bliss, Tex.,...

Keeping an Eye on His Handiwork

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) recently spent some time at Vance AFB, Okla., making one of his routine visits to military facilities in Oklahoma, reports the Vance Airscoop. Inhofe is slated to become chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, should Republicans retain a majority after mid-term elections next month. At Vance, Inhofe said that he likes to visit state facilities every couple of months “just to be up on everything.” However, he noted that this visit offered his first opportunity to see Vance’s new family housing, which he called “most impressive.”

Making a High-Speed Escape Safer:

The Air Force’s aircrew egress systems technicians provide that extra measure of security for pilots flying USAF’s high-speed warplanes, when all the pilots have is 1.8 seconds to survive, reports Air Force journalist SSgt. Alice Moore in the Red Tail Flyer. Moore talked with the egress airmen who maintain, repair, and modify—when needed—the F-16 Vipers at Balad AB, Iraq. They check every egress system on each Viper every 30 days or more often if something seems amiss, working 24/7 to “provide the men and women who fly our aircraft into battle with the safest, most reliable ejection system possible,” says SSgt. Steven Rosenberg, an egress craftsman with the 332nd Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron.

Preserving a Nuclear Workforce:

The Pentagon wants the Defense Science Board to tackle the question of whether the nation is able to sustain an adequate nuclear deterrent workforce. Pentagon acquisition chief Kenneth Krieg has instructed the DSB to form a task force to build...

Air Sorties in the Global War on Terrorism

Oct. 18, 2006 Sortie Type OIF OEF OIF/OEF Total ISR 21 9 30 CAS/Armed Recon 40 32 72 Airlift 150 150 Air refueling 31 31 Total 61 41 181 283 OIF=Operation Iraqi Freedom OEF=Operation Enduring Freedom ISR=Intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance