Thursday, June 30, 2005

HH-60G Pave Hawk

The primary mission of the HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter is to conduct day or night operations into hostile environments to recover downed aircrew or other isolated personnel during war. Because of its versatility, the HH-60G is also tasked to perform military operations other than war. These tasks include civil search and rescue, emergency aeromedical evacuation (MEDEVAC), disaster relief, international aid, counter-drug activities and NASA space shuttle support and rescue command and control.

Features

The Pave Hawk is a highly modified version of the Army Black Hawk helicopter which features an upgraded communications and navigation suite that includes integrated inertial navigation/global positioning/Doppler navigation systems, satellite communications, secure voice, and Have Quick communications.

All HH-60Gs have an automatic flight control system, night vision goggles with lighting and forward looking infrared system that greatly enhances night low-level operations. Additionally, Pave Hawks have color weather radar and an engine/rotor blade anti-ice system that gives the HH-60G an adverse weather capability.

OPERATION SOUTHERN WATCH -- An HH-60G Pave Hawk flies through the sky after refueling from an HC-130P Combat Shadow during a training mission at an operating location in support of Operation Southern Watch. The primary mission of the HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter is to conduct day or night operations into hostile environments to recover downed aircrew or other isolated personnel during war. Because of its versatility, the HH-60G is also tasked to perform military operations other than war. These tasks include civil search and rescue, emergency aeromedical evacuation (MEDEVAC), disaster relief, international aid, counter-drug activities and NASA space shuttle support. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dave Nolan)OPERATION SOUTHERN WATCH -- An HH-60G Pave Hawk flies through the sky after refueling from an HC-130P Combat Shadow during a training mission at an operating location in support of Operation Southern Watch. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dave Nolan) Download Full High Resolution Image


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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

CH-47 Chinook

Description and Specifications Description and Specifications: The venerable twin-engine, tandem rotor Chinook helicopter has undergone numerous upgrades since the first CH-47A model was delivered to the Army for use in Vietnam. Beginning in 1982 and ending in 1994, all CH-47A, B and C models were upgraded to the CH-47D version, which remains the U.S. Army standard and features composite rotor blades, an improved electrical system, modularized hydraulics, triple cargo hooks, avionics and communication improvements, and more powerful engines that can handle a 19,500 lb load - nearly twice the Chinook's original lift capacity. An upgrade program exists to remanufacture 300 of the current fleet of 425 CH-47D's to the CH-47F standard. The MH-47E is the Special Forces variant of the Chinook and will be remanufactured to the MH-47G.

The Chinook's cockpit accommodates two pilots and an observer. The communications suite includes jam resistant HF and UHF radio systems and the helicopter is equipped with an Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) interrogator. Three machine guns can be mounted on the helicopter, two in the crew door on the starboard side and one window-mounted on the port side. Additionally, the helicopter is equipped with a suite of countermeasure systems, which could include one or more of the following: a missile approach warner, jammers, radar warner, and chaff and flare dispensers. The Chinook has a triple hook system, which provides stability to large external loads or the capacity for multiple external loads. Large external loads such as 155mm howitzers can be transported at speeds up to 260km/h using the triple hook load configuration.

CH-47 ChinookMission Transport ground forces, supplies, ammunition and other battle-critical cargo in support of worldwide combat and contingency operations. Entered Army Service in 1962. Photo Credit: army.mil
Images on the Army Web site are cleared for release and are considered in the public domain. Request credit be given as "Photo Courtesy of U.S. Army" and credit to individual photographer whenever possible.
CH-47F ChinookA new CH-47F Chinook flies over a training area on Fort Campbell, Ky., during the Aug. 15 rollout of the upgraded aircraft.

Photo by Gregory Frye, August 17, 2007
Soldiers sling-load a vehicle to a CH-47 Chinook helicopter during an operation near Bagram, Afghanistan. The Soldiers are assigned to the 25th Infantry Division, supporting the Joint Logistics Command during Operation Enduring Freedom. This photo appeared on www.army.mil. July 29, 2004 by Sgt. 1st Class Sandra WatkinsKeoughSoldiers sling-load a vehicle to a CH-47 Chinook helicopter during an operation near Bagram, Afghanistan. The Soldiers are assigned to the 25th Infantry Division, supporting the Joint Logistics Command during Operation Enduring Freedom. This photo appeared on www.army.mil.
July 29, 2004 by Sgt. 1st Class Sandra Watkins Keough

Multiple external loads can be delivered to two or three separate destinations in one sortie. The cabin provides 42 cubic meters of cargo space and 21 square meters of cargo floor area and can accommodate two HMMWVs (High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle) or a HMMWV together with 105mm howitzer and gun crew. The main cabin can hold up to 33 fully-equipped troops. For medical evacuation, the cabin can accommodate 24 litters (stretchers). Ramp operations can be carried out on water using an optional power-down ramp and water dam configuration. The Chinook is equipped with two T55-GA-714A turboshaft engines, which are pod-mounted on either side of the rear pylon under the rear rotor blades. The self-sealing fuel tanks are mounted in external fairings on the sides of the fuselage. The fixed tanks hold 1,030 gallons of fuel.

Three additional fuel tanks can be carried in the cargo area. In-flight refueling can extend the range of the MH-47 helicopter. The CH-47F upgrade program involves the installation of a new digital cockpit and modifications to the airframe to reduce vibration. The upgraded cockpit will provide future growth potential and will include a digital data bus that permits installation of enhanced communications and navigation equipment for improved situational awareness, mission performance, and survivability. Airframe structural modifications will reduce harmful vibrations, reducing operations and support (O&S) costs and improving crew endurance. Other airframe modifications will reduce by approximately 60% the time required for aircraft tear down and build-up after deployment on a C-5 or C-17. These modifications will significantly enhance the Chinook's strategic deployment capability.

First Unit Equipped (FUE) date for the CH-47F is September 2004. A separate but complementary effort involves the installation of more powerful and reliable T55-GA-714A engines that improve fuel efficiency and enhance lift performance by approximately 3,900 lbs (enabling it to carry the M198 155mm towed howitzer). Installation of an improved crashworthy extended range fuel system (ERFS II) will enable Chinook self-deployment and extend the operational radius of all other missions. A program is also underway to reduce O&S costs through the joint development with the United Kingdom of a low-maintenance rotor hub.

Max gross weight: 50.000 lbs Empty weight: 23,401 lbs Max speed: 170 knots / 184 mph Normal cruise speed: 130 knots / 137 mph Rate of climb: 1,522 ft/min Rotor system: three manual-folding blades per hub (two hubs); 225 revolutions per minute; 60-ft rotor span; Troop capacity: 36 (33 troops plus 3 crew members) Litter capacity: 24 Sling-load capacity: 26,000 lb center hook; 17,000 lb forward/aft hook; 25,000 lb tandem Minimum crew: 3 (pilot, co-pilot, and flight engineer) Manufacturer Aircraft - Boeing (Philadelphia, PA); Cockpit Upgrade - Rockwell Collins (Cedar Rapids, IA); Engine Upgrade - Honeywell (Phoenix, AZ); ERFS II - Robertson Aviation (Tempe, AZ)

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

X-35, Joint Strike Fighter

For the U.S. Navy, the JSF will be used in a "first day" of war, as a survivable strike fighter aircraft to complement F/A-18E/F. The U.S. Air Force will employ it as a multirole aircraft, primary-air-to-ground, which will replace the F-16 and A-10 and to complement the F-22. The Marine Corps will use the Short Takeoff and Vertical Landing (STOVL) variant of the aircraft to replace the AV-8B and F/A-18A/C/D. The United Kingdom's Royal Navy and Royal Air Force multirole aircraft will replace the Sea Harrier and GR7.

What is commonly known today as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program had its origination in several programs from the 1980s and early 1990s.

Over the years, several tactical aircraft acquisition programs have attempted to deliver new warfighting capabilities to the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and our close allies. Most of those programs failed while the JSF program excelled.

The experience gained from previous programs has made JSF what it is today, the world's foremost stealthy, supersonic, survivable, lethal, supportable and affordable multi-role fighter.

LOCKHEED MARTIN X-35, Joint Strike Fighter. Nears completion of flight testing at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The JSF is being built in three variants: a conventional take-off and landing aircraft (CTOL) for the US Air Force; a carrier based variant (CV) for the US Navy; and a short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft for the US Marine Corps and the Royal Navy. (U.S. Air Force photo)
LOCKHEED MARTIN X-35, Joint Strike Fighter. Nears completion of flight testing at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The JSF is being built in three variants: a conventional take-off and landing aircraft (CTOL) for the US Air Force; a carrier based variant (CV)
for the US Navy; and a short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft for the US Marine Corps and the Royal Navy. (U.S. Air Force photo) Download Full High Resolution Image

Monday, June 27, 2005

F/A-22 Raptor

Mission: The F-22 Raptor is the Air Force's newest fighter aircraft. Its combination of stealth, supercruise, maneuverability, and integrated avionics, coupled with improved supportability, represents an exponential leap in warfighting capabilities. The Raptor performs both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions allowing full realization of operational concepts vital to the 21st century Air Force.

The F-22A , a critical component of the Global Strike Task Force, is designed to project air dominance, rapidly and at great distances and defeat threats attempting to deny access to our nation's Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps. The F-22A cannot be matched by any known or projected fighter aircraft.

The application of advanced avionics software in the F/A-22 is key to the Raptor's revolutionary performance advantage over any other fighter. In the air-to-air arena, the stealthy F/A-22 will be virtually unseen on radar, while its sophisticated array of sensors and advanced radar will allow it to reach out and strike adversary aircraft undetected from long range. The advanced software package will also enhance the Raptor's ability to deliver precision air-to-surface weapons on target, day or night, in any weather.

F-22 RAPTORThe F-22A has a significant capability to attack surface targets. In the air-to-ground configuration the aircraft can carry two 1,000-pound GBU-32 Joint Direct Attack Munitions internally and will use on-board avionics for navigation and weapons delivery support.
In the future air-to-ground capability will be enhanced with the addition of an upgraded radar and up to eight small diameter bombs. The Raptor will also carry two AIM-120s and two AIM-9s in the air-to-ground configuration. HIGH RESOLUTION IMAGE

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ABOVE THE MOJAVE DESERT -- The Air Force's new superiority fighter will dominate the future air combat arena by integrating advanced avionics, stealth and supercruise. With approximately 80 percent of development complete and two test aircraft flying, the F/A-22 Raptor program is nearing completion of a 13-year development program. (U.S. Air Force photo Judson Brohmer)ABOVE THE MOJAVE DESERT -- The Air Force's new superiority fighter will dominate the future air combat arena by integrating advanced avionics, stealth and supercruise. With approximately 80 percent of development complete and two test aircraft flying,
the F/A-22 Raptor program is nearing completion of a 13-year development program. (U.S. Air Force photo Judson Brohmer) Download Full High Resolution Image

Sunday, June 26, 2005

F-16C Fighting Falcon

F-16 FIGHTING FALCON - Mission: The F-16 Fighting Falcon is a compact, multi-role fighter aircraft. It is highly maneuverable and has proven itself in air-to-air combat and air-to-surface attack. It provides a relatively low-cost, high-performance weapon system for the United States and allied nations.

Features : In an air combat role, the F-16's maneuverability and combat radius (distance it can fly to enter air combat, stay, fight and return) exceed that of all potential threat fighter aircraft. It can locate targets in all weather conditions and detect low flying aircraft in radar ground clutter. In an air-to-surface role, the F-16 can fly more than 500 miles (860 kilometers), deliver its weapons with superior accuracy, defend itself against enemy aircraft, and return to its starting point. An all-weather capability allows it to accurately deliver ordnance during non-visual bombing conditions.

In designing the F-16, advanced aerospace science and proven reliable systems from other aircraft such as the F-15 and F-111 were selected. These were combined to simplify the airplane and reduce its size, purchase price, maintenance costs and weight. The light weight of the fuselage is achieved without reducing its strength. With a full load of internal fuel, the F-16 can withstand up to nine G's -- nine times the force of gravity -- which exceeds the capability of other current fighter aircraft.

F-16C Fighting Falcon, U.S. Air Force photoFilling up on freedom - Lt. Col. Gary Middlebrooks gives a "thumbs up" after successfully refueling his F-16 Fighting Falcon from a KC-10 Extender Oct. 17 in Southwest Asia. Aircraft from the 908th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron, assigned to the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing including the KC-10 and KC-135 Stratotanker, provide fuel for coalition aircraft missions for Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
Colonel Middlebrooks from the 332nd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron at Balad Air Base, Iraq, and is deployed from the 114th Fighter Wing of the South Dakota Air National Guard. (U.S. Air Force Photo) High Resolution Image
OVER NEVADA -- An F-16C Fighting Falcon, assigned to the 27th Fighter Wing, Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., heads out for a mission over the Nevada Test and Training Ranges during Red Flag 04-3 here Aug 20. More than 100 aircraft and 2,500 participants are involved in this exercise. Red Flag is a realistic combat training exercise involving the U.S. Air Force and its allies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Kevin Gruenwald) OVER NEVADA -- An F-16C Fighting Falcon, assigned to the 27th Fighter Wing, Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., heads out for a mission over the Nevada Test and Training Ranges during Red Flag 04-3 here Aug 20.
More than 100 aircraft and 2,500 participants are involved in this exercise. Red Flag is a realistic combat training exercise involving the U.S. Air Force and its allies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Kevin Gruenwald) Download Full High Resolution Image

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The cockpit and its bubble canopy give the pilot unobstructed forward and upward vision, and greatly improved vision over the side and to the rear. The seat-back angle was expanded from the usual 13 degrees to 30 degrees, increasing pilot comfort and gravity force tolerance. The pilot has excellent flight control of the F-16 through its "fly-by-wire" system. Electrical wires relay commands, replacing the usual cables and linkage controls. For easy and accurate control of the aircraft during high G-force combat maneuvers, a side stick controller is used instead of the conventional center-mounted stick. Hand pressure on the side stick controller sends electrical signals to actuators of flight control surfaces such as ailerons and rudder.

Avionics systems include a highly accurate inertial navigation system in which a computer provides steering information to the pilot. The plane has UHF and VHF radios plus an instrument landing system. It also has a warning system and modular countermeasure pods to be used against airborne or surface electronic threats. The fuselage has space for additional avionics systems.

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Saturday, June 25, 2005

F-15E Strike Eagle

F-15E STRIKE EAGLE - Mission: The F-15E Strike Eagle is a dual-role fighter designed to perform air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. An array of avionics and electronics systems gives the F-15E the capability to fight at low altitude, day or night, and in all weather.

Features: The aircraft uses two crew members, a pilot and a weapon systems officer. Previous models of the F-15 are assigned air-to-air roles; the "E" model is a dual-role fighter. It has the capability to fight its way to a target over long ranges, destroy enemy ground positions and fight its way out.

The aircraft's navigation system uses a laser gyro and a Global Positioning System to continuously monitor the aircraft's position and provide information to the central computer and other systems, including a digital moving map in both cockpits.

The APG-70 radar system allows aircrews to detect ground targets from long ranges. One feature of this system is that after a sweep of a target area, the crew freezes the air-to-ground map then goes back into air-to-air mode to clear for air threats. During the air-to-surface weapon delivery, the pilot is capable of detecting, targeting and engaging air-to-air targets while the WSO designates the ground target.

The low-altitude navigation and targeting infrared for night (LANTIRN) system allows the aircraft to fly at low altitudes, at night and in any weather conditions, to attack ground targets with a variety of precision-guided and unguided weapons. The LANTIRN system gives the F-15E unequaled accuracy in weapons delivery day or night and in poor weather, and consists of two pods attached to the exterior of the aircraft.

F-15 Eagle, U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Ben BlokerSky patrol LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. -- Maj. John Braun patrols the sky during a combat air patrol mission from here July 1. Pilots patrolled the sky over the Washington, D.C., area providing presidential support during the Fourth of July weekend.
Major Braun is an F-15 Eagle pilot with the 94th Fighter Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Ben Bloker) High Resolution Image
OVER THE NORTH SEA -- An F-15E Strike Eagle from the 494th Fighter Squadron, Royal Air Force Lakenheath, United Kingdom, banks away after receiving fuel during a training mission here July 19. The F-15E Strike Eagle is considered the most advanced two-seat tactical aircraft in the world. The 'E's' radar system allows aircrews to pick out bridges and airfields on the radar display from distances more than 80 miles away. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Tony R. Tolley)OVER THE NORTH SEA -- An F-15E Strike Eagle from the 494th Fighter Squadron, Royal Air Force Lakenheath, United Kingdom, banks away after receiving fuel during a training mission here July 19.
The F-15E Strike Eagle is considered the most advanced two-seat tactical aircraft in the world. The 'E's' radar system allows aircrews to pick out bridges and airfields on the radar display from distances more than 80 miles away. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Tony R. Tolley) Download Full High Resolution Image

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The navigation pod contains terrain-following radar which allows the pilot to safely fly at a very low altitude following cues displayed on a heads up display. This system also can be coupled to the aircraft's autopilot to provide "hands off" terrain-following capability.

The targeting pod contains a laser designator and a tracking system that mark an enemy for destruction at long ranges. Once tracking has been started, targeting information is automatically handed off to GPS or laser-guided bombs.

One of the most important additions to the F-15E is the rear cockpit, and the weapons systems officer. On four screens, this officer can display information from the radar, electronic warfare or infrared sensors, monitor aircraft or weapons status and possible threats, select targets, and use an electronic "moving map" to navigate. Two hand controls are used to select new displays and to refine targeting information. Displays can be moved from one screen to another, chosen from a "menu" of display options.

In addition to three similar screens in the front seat, the pilot has a transparent glass heads up display at eye level that displays vital flight and tactical information. The pilot doesn't need to look down into the cockpit, for example, to check weapon status. At night, the screen is even more important because it displays a video picture nearly identical to a daylight view of the world generated by the forward-looking infrared sensor.

The F-15E is powered by two Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-220 or 229 engines that incorporate advanced digital technology for improved performance. For example, with a digital electronic engine control system, F-15E pilots can accelerate from idle power to maximum afterburner in less than four seconds, a 40 percent improvement over the previous engine control system. Faster engine acceleration means quicker takeoffs and crisper response while maneuvering. The F100-PW-220 engines can produce 50,000 pounds of thrust (25,000 each) and the F100-PW-229 engines 58,000 pounds of thrust (29,000 each).

Each of the low-drag conformal fuel tanks that hug the F-15E's fuselage can carry 750 gallons of fuel. The tanks hold weapons on short pylons rather than conventional weapon racks, reducing drag and further extending the range of the Strike Eagle.

For air-to-ground missions, the F-15E can carry most weapons in the Air Force inventory. It also can be armed with AIM-7F/M Sparrows, AIM-9M Sidewinders and AIM-120 advanced medium range air-to-air missiles (AMRAAM) for the air-to-air role. The "E" model also has an internally mounted 20mm gun that can carry up to 500 rounds.

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Friday, June 24, 2005

F-117 Nighthawk

F-117A NIGHTHAWK - Mission: The F-117A Nighthawk is the world's first operational aircraft designed to exploit low-observable stealth technology. This precision-strike aircraft penetrates high-threat airspace and uses laser-guided weapons against critical targets.

Features: The unique design of the single-seat F-117A provides exceptional combat capabilities. About the size of an F-15 Eagle, the twin-engine aircraft is powered by two General Electric F404 turbofan engines and has quadruple redundant fly-by-wire flight controls. Air refuelable, it supports worldwide commitments and adds to the deterrent strength of U.S. military forces.

The F-117A can employ a variety of weapons and is equipped with sophisticated navigation and attack systems integrated into a digital avionics suite that increases mission effectiveness and reduces pilot workload. Detailed planning for missions into highly defended target areas is accomplished by an automated mission planning system developed, specifically, to take advantage of the unique capabilities of the F-117A.

During Operation Desert Storm in 1991, F-117A's flew approximately 1,300 sorties and scored direct hits on 1,600 high-value targets in Iraq. It was the only U.S. or coalition aircraft to strike targets in downtown Baghdad. Since moving to Holloman AFB in 1992, the F-117A and the men and women of the 49th Fighter Wing have deployed to Southwest Asia more than once. On their first trip, the F-117s flew non-stop from Holloman to Kuwait, a flight of approximately 18.5 hours -- a record for single-seat fighters that stands today.

F-117 Nighthawk, U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Derrick C. GoodeOPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM -- An F-117 from the 8th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron out of Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., flies over the Persian Gulf on April 14, 2003. The 8th EFS has begun returning to Hollomann A.F.B. after having been deployed to the Middle East in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Derrick C. Goode) High Resolution Image
f-117NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- An F-117 Nighthawk flies over the Nevada desert. The unique design of the single-seat F-117 provides exceptional combat capabilities. The fighter can employ a
variety of weapons and is equipped with sophisticated navigation and attack systems integrated into a digital avionics suite that increases mission effectiveness and reduces pilot workload. Detailed planning for missions into highly defended target areas is accomplished by an automated mission planning system developed, specifically, to take advantage of the unique capabilities of the Nighthawk. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron D. Allmon II) Download Full High Resolution Image

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In 1999, 24 F-117A's deployed to Aviano Air Base, Italy, and Spangdahlem AB, Germany, to support NATO's Operation Allied Force. The aircraft led the first Allied air strike against Yugoslavia on March 24, 1999.

Returning to the skies over Baghdad, F-117A's launched Operation Iraqi Freedom with a decapitation strike on March 20, 2003. Striking key targets in the toppling of Saddam Hussein’s regime, 12 deployed F-117s flew more than 100 combat sorties in support of the global war on terrorism.

The F-117A program demonstrates that stealth aircraft can be designed for reliability and maintainability. It created a revolution in military warfare by incorporating low-observable technology into operational aircraft. The aircraft receives support through a Lockheed-Martin contract known as Total System Performance Responsibility.

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Thursday, June 23, 2005

A-10 Thunderbolt II

A-10/OA-10 THUNDERBOLT II - Mission: The A/OA-10 Thunderbolt II is the first Air Force aircraft specially designed for close air support of ground forces. They are simple, effective and survivable twin-engine jet aircraft that can be used against all ground targets, including tanks and other armored vehicles.

Features: The A-10/OA-10 have excellent maneuverability at low air speeds and altitude, and are highly accurate weapons-delivery platforms. They can loiter near battle areas for extended periods of time and operate under 1,000-foot ceilings (303.3 meters) with 1.5-mile (2.4 kilometers) visibility. Their wide combat radius and short takeoff and landing capability permit operations in and out of locations near front lines. Using night vision goggles, A-10/ OA-10 pilots can conduct their missions during darkness.

Thunderbolt IIs have Night Vision Imaging Systems (NVIS), goggle compatible single-seat cockpits forward of their wings and a large bubble canopy which provides pilots all-around vision. The pilots are protected by titanium armor that also protects parts of the flight-control system. The redundant primary structural sections allow the aircraft to enjoy better survivability during close air support than did previous aircraft.

The aircraft can survive direct hits from armor-piercing and high explosive projectiles up to 23mm. Their self-sealing fuel cells are protected by internal and external foam. Manual systems back up their redundant hydraulic flight-control systems. This permits pilots to fly and land when hydraulic power is lost.

A-10 Thunderbolt II, (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Robert Wieland)Thunder and lighting 1st Lt. Dale Stark fires an AGM-65 Maverick missile from an A-10 Thunderbolt II April 24 over the Pacific Alaska Range Complex during live-fire training. Lieutenant Stark is an A-10 pilot from the 355th Fighter Squadron from Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska.
Members from the 355th FS are tasked to provide mission ready A-10s and a search and rescue capability, in Alaska and deployed sites worldwide. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Robert Wieland) High Resolution Image
FORT POLK, La. -- An A-10 Thunderbolt II drops several flares after destroying a ground target during a live-fire engagement as part of Air Warrior II here. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stephen Otero)FORT POLK, La. -- An A-10 Thunderbolt II drops several flares after destroying a ground target during a live-fire engagement as part of Air Warrior II here. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stephen Otero)
Download full High Resolution Image. The newly designed C-model A-10 Thunderbolt II was flown for the first time here Jan. 20. The aircraft, modified with precision engagement technology, can now accept more high-value target missions.

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The Thunderbolt II can be serviced and operated from bases with limited facilities near battle areas. Many of the aircraft's parts are interchangeable left and right, including the engines, main landing gear and vertical stabilizers.

Avionics equipment includes communications, inertial navigation systems, fire control and weapons delivery systems, target penetration aids and night vision goggles. Their weapons delivery systems include heads-up displays that indicate airspeed, altitude, dive angle, navigation information and weapons aiming references; a low altitude safety and targeting enhancement system (LASTE) which provides constantly computing impact point freefall ordnance delivery; and Pave Penny laser-tracking pods under the fuselage. The aircraft also have armament control panels, and infrared and electronic countermeasures to handle surface-to-air-missile threats. Installation of the Global Positioning System is currently underway for all aircraft.

The Thunderbolt II's 30mm GAU-8/A Gatling gun can fire 3,900 rounds a minute and can defeat an array of ground targets to include tanks. Some of their other equipment includes an inertial navigation system, electronic countermeasures, target penetration aids, self-protection systems, and AGM-65 Maverick and AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

U-2 Dragon Lady

U-2S/TU-2S - Mission: The U-2 provides high-altitude, all-weather surveillance and reconnaissance, day or night, in direct support of U.S. and allied forces. It delivers critical imagery and signals intelligence to decision makers throughout all phases of conflict, including peacetime indications and warnings, low-intensity conflict, and large-scale hostilities.

Features: The U-2S is a single-seat, single-engine, high-altitude reconnaissance and surveillance aircraft. Long and narrow wings give the U-2 glider-like characteristics and allow it to quickly lift heavy sensor payloads to unmatched altitudes, keeping them there for extended periods of time. The U-2 is capable of gathering a variety of imagery products, including multi-spectral electro-optic, infrared, and synthetic aperture radar in addition to the high-resolution, broad-area synoptic coverage provided by a traditional “wet film” optical bar camera.

The U-2 also has the capability to carry a signals intelligence payload. All intelligence products except for wet film can be transmitted in near real-time anywhere in the world via air-to-ground or air-to-satellite data links, rapidly providing critical information to combatant commanders.

Routinely flown at altitudes over 70,000 feet, the U-2 pilot must wear a full pressure suit similar to those worn by astronauts. The low-altitude handling characteristics of the aircraft and bicycle-type landing gear require precise control inputs during landing; forward visibility is also limited due to the extended aircraft nose and “taildragger” configuration. A second U-2 pilot normally “chases” each landing in a high-performance vehicle, assisting the pilot by providing radio inputs for altitude and runway alignment. These characteristics combine to earn the U-2 a widely accepted title as the most difficult aircraft in the world to fly.

After Katrina: ACC's intel team applies lessons learned. The U-2 Dragon Lady is considered the leader among manned intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance sytems. An aircraft such as this collected images over the Gulf Coast region last year after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
(U.S. Air Force Photo) High Resolution Image
An Air Force U-2 Dragon Lady flies a training mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Rose Reynolds)An Air Force U-2 Dragon Lady flies a training mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Rose Reynolds) The U-2 is a single-seat, single-engine, high-altitude, reconnaissance aircraft.
Long, wide, straight wings give the U-2 glider-like characteristics. It can carry a variety of sensors and cameras, is an extremely reliable reconnaissance aircraft, and enjoys a high mission completion rate. Because of its high altitude mission, the pilot must wear a full pressure suit. The U-2 is capable of collecting multi-sensor photo, electro-optic, infrared and radar imagery, as well as performing other types of reconnaissance functions. However, the aircraft can be a difficult aircraft to fly due to its unusual landing characteristics. The aircraft is being upgraded with a lighter engine that burns less fuel, cuts weight and increases power. The entire fleet should be reengined by 1998. Other upgrades are to the sensors and adding the Global Positioning System that will superimpose geo-coordinates directly on collected images. Download Full High Resolution Image

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The U-2 now has a General Electric F118-101 engine, fuel efficient and lightweight, which negates the need for air refueling on long duration missions. The U-2S Block 10 electrical system upgrade replaced legacy wiring with advanced fiber-optic technology and lowered the overall electronic noise signature to provide a quieter platform for the newest generation of sensors. The Block 20 upgrade provides a complete redesign of the cockpit with digital color multifunction displays and up-front avionics controls to replace the 1960s-vintage round dial gauges.

Future modifications include an advanced electronic warfare system; an improved dual data link, electro-optical pilot viewsight, and improved signals intelligence payload.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

B-1 Lancer

B-1B LANCER: Mission - Carrying the largest payload of both guided and unguided weapons in the Air Force inventory, the multi-mission B-1 is the backbone of America's long-range bomber force. It can rapidly deliver massive quantities of precision and non-precision weapons against any adversary, anywhere in the world, at any time.

Features - The B-1B's blended wing/body configuration, variable-geometry wings and turbofan afterburning engines, combine to provide long range, maneuverability and high speed while enhancing survivability. Forward wing settings are used for takeoff, landings, air refueling and in some high-altitude weapons employment scenarios. Aft wing sweep settings – the main combat configuration -- are typically used during high subsonic and supersonic flight, enhancing the B-1B's maneuverability in the low- and high-altitude regimes.

The B-1B's speed and superior handling characteristics allow it to seamlessly integrate in mixed force packages. These capabilities, when combined with its substantial payload, excellent radar targeting system, long loiter time and survivability, make the B-1B a key element of any joint/composite strike force. The B-1 weapon system is capable of creating a multitude of far-reaching effects across the battlefield.

The B-1 is a highly versatile, multi-mission weapon system. The B-1B's offensive avionics system includes high-resolution synthetic aperture radar, capable of tracking, targeting and engaging moving vehicles as well as self-targeting and terrain-following modes. In addition, an extremely accurate Global Positioning System-aided Inertial Navigation System enable aircrews to autonomously navigate globally, without the aid of ground-based navigation aids as well as engage targets with a high level of precision.

B-1B LANCER, U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Justin Weaver.Red Flag-Alaska strengthens coalition forces A B-1B Lancer from Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., takes off April 6 from Eielson AFB, Alaska, for a Red Flag-Alaska 07-1 orientation flight. Red Flag-Alaska enables aircrews to practice large-scale combat missions.
The exercises are conducted on the Pacific Alaskan Range Complex, with air operations flown out of Eielson and nearby Elmendorf AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Justin Weaver. High Resolution Image
Bomber power, INDIAN SPRINGS AIR FORCE AUXILIARY FIELD, Nev. - A B-1 Lancer performs a fly-by during a firepower demonstration here recently. The bomber is from the 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Robert W. Valenca)Bomber power, INDIAN SPRINGS AIR FORCE AUXILIARY FIELD, Nev. - A B-1 Lancer performs a fly-by during a firepower demonstration here recently. The bomber is from the 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas.
B-1 Lancer (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Robert W. Valenca) Download Full High Resolution Image

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The recent addition of Combat Track II radios permit an interim secure beyond line of sight reach back connectivity until Link-16 is integrated on the aircraft. In a time sensitive targeting environment, the aircrew can receive targeting data from the Combined Air Operations Center over CT II, then update mission data in the offensive avionics system to strike emerging targets rapidly and efficiently. This capability was effectively demonstrated during operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

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Monday, June 20, 2005

B-52B

B-52 STRATOFORTRESS - Mission: Air Combat Command's B-52 is a long-range, heavy bomber that can perform a variety of missions. The bomber is capable of flying at high subsonic speeds at altitudes up to 50,000 feet (15,166.6 meters). It can carry nuclear or precision guided conventional ordnance with worldwide precision navigation capability.

Features: In a conventional conflict, the B-52 can perform strategic attack, air interdiction, offensive counter-air and maritime operations. During Desert Storm, B-52s delivered 40 percent of all the weapons dropped by coalition forces. It is highly effective when used for ocean surveillance, and can assist the U.S. Navy in anti-ship and mine-laying operations. Two B-52s, in two hours, can monitor 140,000 square miles (364,000 square kilometers) of ocean surface.

All B-52s are equipped with an electro-optical viewing system that uses platinum silicide forward-looking infrared and high resolution low-light-level television sensors to augment targeting, battle assessment, and flight safety, thus further improving its combat ability and low-level flight capability.

Pilots wear night vision goggles (NVG) to enhance their vision during night operations. Night vision goggles provide greater safety during night operations by increasing the pilot's ability to visually clear terrain, avoid enemy radar and see other aircraft in a covert/lights-out environment.

NASA's B-52B launch aircraft takes off carrying an X-43A hypersonic research aircraft on an evaluation flight Sept. 27. The B-52, the oldest still flying, was officially retired from service during a ceremony at Edwards Air Force Base Dec. 17. (National Aeronautics and Space Administration photo by Tom Tschida)B-52 'Mothership' retires, OVER EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- NASA's B-52B launch aircraft takes off carrying an X-43A hypersonic research aircraft on an evaluation flight Sept. 27.
The B-52, the oldest still flying, was officially retired from service during a ceremony at Edwards Air Force Base Dec. 17. (National Aeronautics and Space Administration photo by Tom Tschida) Download Full Image
B-52 Stratofortress, U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Christopher BoitzA B-52 Stratofortress is airborne at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., during a nine-ship rapid-launch generation exercise on Thursday, April 27, 2006. Generation exercises test the base's ability to perform its mission.
(U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Christopher Boitz) High Resolution Image

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Starting in 1989, on-going modifications incorporates the global positioning system, heavy stores adapter beams for carrying 2,000 pound munitions, and a full array of advance weapons currently under development.

The use of aerial refueling gives the B-52 a range limited only by crew endurance. It has an unrefueled combat range in excess of 8,800 miles (14,080 kilometers).

The aircraft's flexibility was evident in Operation Desert Storm and again during Operations Allied Force. B-52s struck wide-area troop concentrations, fixed installations and bunkers, and decimated the morale of Iraq's Republican Guard. The Gulf War involved the longest strike mission in the history of aerial warfare when B-52s took off from Barksdale Air Force Base, La., launched conventional air launched cruise missiles and returned to Barksdale -- a 35-hour, non-stop combat mission.

During Operation Allied Force, B-52s opened the conflict with conventional cruise missile attacks and then transitioned to delivering general purpose bombs and cluster bomb units on Serbian army positions and staging areas.

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Sunday, June 19, 2005

B-2 Spirit

Mission: The B-2 Spirit is a multi-role bomber capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear munitions. A dramatic leap forward in technology, the bomber represents a major milestone in the U.S. bomber modernization program. The B-2 brings massive firepower to bear, in a short time, anywhere on the globe through previously impenetrable defenses.

Features: Along with the B-52 and B-1B, the B-2 provides the penetrating flexibility and effectiveness inherent in manned bombers. Its low-observable, or "stealth," characteristics give it the unique ability to penetrate an enemy's most sophisticated defenses and threaten its most valued, and heavily defended, targets. Its capability to penetrate air defenses and threaten effective retaliation provides a strong, effective deterrent and combat force well into the 21st century.

The revolutionary blending of low-observable technologies with high aerodynamic efficiency and large payload gives the B-2 important advantages over existing bombers. Its low-observability provides it greater freedom of action at high altitudes, thus increasing its range and a better field of view for the aircraft's sensors. Its unrefueled range is approximately 6,000 nautical miles (9,600 kilometers).

OVER THE PACIFIC OCEAN -- A B-2 Spirit soars through the sky after a refueling mission here May 2. The B-2 is assigned to the 393rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. The bomber is currently deployed to Andersen AFB, Guam, as part of a continuous bomber presence in the Asia-Pacific region. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo)OVER THE PACIFIC OCEAN -- A B-2 Spirit soars through the sky after a refueling mission here May 2. The B-2 is assigned to the 393rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. The bomber is currently deployed to Andersen AFB, Guam,
as part of a continuous bomber presence in the Asia-Pacific region. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo Download Full High Resolution Image

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The B-2's low observability is derived from a combination of reduced infrared, acoustic, electromagnetic, visual and radar signatures. These signatures make it difficult for the sophisticated defensive systems to detect, track and engage the B-2. Many aspects of the low-observability process remain classified; however, the B-2's composite materials, special coatings and flying-wing design all contribute to its "stealthiness."

The B-2 has a crew of two pilots, a pilot in the left seat and mission commander in the right, compared to the B-1B's crew of four and the B-52's crew of five.

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C-5 Galaxy

C-5 GALAXY - Mission, The gigantic C-5 Galaxy, with its tremendous payload capability, provides the Air Mobility Command intertheater airlift in support of United States national defense. The C-5, the C-17 Globemaster III and the C-141 Starlifter are partners of AMC's strategic airlift concept. The aircraft carry fully equipped combat-ready military units to any point in the world on short notice then provide field support required to help sustain the fighting force.

The Galaxy carries nearly all of the Army's combat equipment, including such bulky items as its 74-ton mobile scissors bridge, from the United States to any theater of combat on the globe.

Four TF39 turbofan engines power the big C-5, rated at 43,000 pounds thrust each. They weigh 7,900 pounds (3,555 kilograms) each and have an air intake diameter of more than 8.5 feet (2.6 meters). Each engine pod is nearly 27 feet long (8.2 meters).

The Galaxy has 12 internal wing tanks with a total capacity of 51,150 gallons (194,370 liters) of fuel -- enough to fill 6 1/2 regular size railroad tank cars. A full fuel load weighs 332,500 pounds (150,820 kilograms).

Lockheed Martin photo from Air Force LinkA modernized version of the C-5 Galaxy, known as the C-5M, made its maiden flight at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Ga., on Monday, June 19.
Upgrades to the venerable airlifter include new, more powerful engines; a modern cockpit with a digital, all weather flight control system, a new communications suite and enhanced navigation and safety equipment. (Lockheed Martin photo from Air Force Link) High Resolution Image
BUSH FIELD, Ga. -- Airmen unload vehicles from a C-5 Galaxy here June 11. The Galaxy and its crew are providing transportation for cargo being used during Exercise Golden Medic 2005 which is being held simultaneously at three locations -- here, Fort Gordon, Ga., and Fort McCoy, Wis. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Efren Lopez)BUSH FIELD, Ga. -- Airmen unload vehicles from a C-5 Galaxy here June 11. The Galaxy and its crew are providing transportation for cargo being used during Exercise Golden Medic 2005
which is being held simultaneously at three locations -- here, Fort Gordon, Ga., and Fort McCoy, Wis. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Efren Lopez C-5 Galaxy Download Full high Resolution Image

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A C-5 with a cargo load of 270,000 pounds (122,472 kilograms) can fly 2,150 nautical miles, offload, and fly to a second base 500 nautical miles away from the original destination -- all without aerial refueling. With aerial refueling, the aircraft's range is limited only by crew endurance.

The Galaxy carries nearly all of the Army's combat equipment, including such bulky items as its 74-ton mobile scissors bridge, from the United States to any theater of combat on the globe.

Four TF39 turbofan engines power the big C-5, rated at 43,000 pounds thrust each. They weigh 7,900 pounds (3,555 kilograms) each and have an air intake diameter of more than 8.5 feet (2.6 meters). Each engine pod is nearly 27 feet long (8.2 meters).

The Galaxy has 12 internal wing tanks with a total capacity of 51,150 gallons (194,370 liters) of fuel -- enough to fill 6 1/2 regular size railroad tank cars. A full fuel load weighs 332,500 pounds (150,820 kilograms). A C-5 with a cargo load of 270,000 pounds (122,472 kilograms) can fly 2,150 nautical miles, offload, and fly to a second base 500 nautical miles away from the original destination -- all without aerial refueling. With aerial refueling, the aircraft's range is limited only by crew endurance.

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Saturday, June 18, 2005

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