John A. Tirpak

John A. Tirpak is Editorial Director of Air & Space Forces Magazine, with more than 25 years at the publication and more than 34 years in defense journalism. He has written for Aviation Week & Space Technology, Aerospace Daily, and Jane’s, reporting from all 50 U.S. states and 25 countries. He has been recognized with awards for journalistic excellence from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Aviation and Space Writer’s Association, the Association of Business Publications International, and was the recipient of the 2018 Gill Robb Wilson Award in Arts and Letters from the Air & Space Forces Association. He has lectured at the National War College and did postgraduate research at the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum.   

Recent stories by John A. Tirpak

Brown: Air Force Subtracting A-10 from ‘4+1’ Fighter Plan

The Air Force's “4+1” fighter plan is rapidly becoming the “4” plan as the service retires A-10s faster than it expected to, Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr. said March 15. The retirements are needed to pay for new systems to keep USAF ...

Deliveries of New F-35s Resume After Three Months

Lockheed Martin is again delivering F-35s after a three-month hiatus, following a back-to-flight approval on March 8. Investigators continue to plumb the cause of a Dec. 14, 2022 crash and implement a fix to an issue with the F135 engine. The first aircraft delivered after ...

Air Force Skips AETP Engines for F-35, Presses on with NGAP

The Air Force couldn't find a place for Adaptive Engine Technology Program powerplants on the F-35 in its fiscal 2024 budget request, opting to harvest what it can from its $4 billion investment and press on to the Next-Generation Advanced Propulsion program.

In 2024 Budget, USAF Pushes Major New Aircraft Starts

Among the new aircraft programs the Air Force included in its fiscal 2024 budget request are uncrewed, autonomous wingmen for its fighters, a next-generation tanker program, a fast-as-possible replacement for its aged E-3 AWACS air battle management jets, and a new airborne command post. It ...

Air Combat Command Planner: Misconception that CCAs Will Be ‘Attritable’

Collaborative Combat Aircraft should be viewed as force-builders and not expendable vehicles, senior USAF and industry leaders said at a panel discussion during the AFA Warfare Symposium in Colorado this week. Building 1,000 such aircraft in the needed timelines will require tapping the commercial industrial ...

Entire F-35 Fleet to Get Fix for Engine Vibration Issue

The entire F-35 fleet is slated to get the retrofit engine maker Pratt & Whitney has identified to mitigate the problem that led to suspended deliveries and flight restrictions for some aircraft for nearly two months—a move that will affect hundreds of fighters globally. The decision ...

Testing Underway for New B-52 Engines

Rolls-Royce has started testing the F130 engine that will replace the B-52's aged TF33, the company announced. Two F130s housed in a twin-engine nacelle are mounted on a test stand at Stennis Space Center, Miss., where they will perform crosswind and engine control tests, Rolls ...

USAF Selects Boeing’s E-7A Wedgetail as Successor to AWACS

Boeing will build a prototype E-7A Wedgetail air battle management aircraft for the U.S. Air Force under a $1.2 billion contract awarded Feb. 28, the service announced. Production is set begin in 2025 and the first E-7A will be operational by 2027.

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