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US Air Force

For a plane that's now being flown by the original crews' grandchildren, the B-52 is still going strong. For its latest upgrade, Boeing has installed a new weapons bay launcher that will allow the venerable bomber to carry smart weapons inside and reduce fuel consumption. Read More
Boeing and the US Air force have announced the successful first test flight of the KC-46A tanker program. Set to replace the Air Force's aging fleet of KC-135 Stratotankers, the KC-46A is designed to act primarily as an airborne refueling tanker, but can also carry passengers and cargo, or act as a medivac airplane. Read More
On Monday at 12:18 pm PDT off the coast of San Diego, California, the F-35C Lightning II made its first arrested landing on an aircraft carrier. Taking place on the first day of a two-week sea trial, the landing of the F-35C test aircraft CF-03 on the flight deck of the nuclear-powered supercarrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) with test pilot commander Tony Wilson at the controls marked a major step towards the carrier variant of the Joint Strike Fighter entering operational service. Read More
A secret mission came to a public end this morning as the US Air Force’s top secret X-37B spaceplane landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The unmanned reusable spacecraft touched down on the runway like a conventional aircraft this morning at 9:24 am EDT after a record-breaking 674 days in orbit. According to the Air Force, the automatic landing was monitored by the 30th Space Wing and occurred without incident. Read More

The US Air Force’s reusable unmanned spacecraft, the X-37B, is scheduled to return to Earth this week. Although the exact day and time remains undetermined, preparations are underway at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California in anticipation of the arrival of the mini-shuttle as it ends its classified Orbital Test Vehicle mission 3 (OTV-3). Read More

High energy laser (HEL) systems have been the subject of military research for decades, but it is only in recent years that the technology has advanced to the point where it is feasible for such systems to be mounted on military ground vehicles and sea vessels. Initial flight tests have now been conducted on a new aircraft laser turret that will help pave the way for HEL systems to be integrated into military aircraft. Read More
The Predator B (AKA the MQ-9 Reaper) is a pretty impressive bit of machinery. The unmanned military drone has an official range of 1,151 mi (1,852 km, 1,000 nautical miles), and a flight endurance when fully loaded of 14 hours, but for the US Air Force that isn't good enough. At this year’s Farnborough Airshow, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc, the builder of the Predator B, announced the second successful endurance flight of its Predator B Extended Range (ER) Remote Piloted Aircraft (RPA), which flew from June 17 to June 18 as part of a program to improve the Predator’s endurance and capabilities. Read More
For a besieged soldier or a disaster victim, a plane dropping supplies is the most welcome sight in the world – unless the drop ends up drifting off out of reach. To help make sure that airdrops end up where they belong, the US Air Force Research Laboratory has awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin to adapt its WindTracer wind measurement system for a Precision Air Drop system to help aircrews land supplies faster and on target. Read More
What might it take to put a former Indy Racecar League driver back in the driver’s seat after a racing accident renders him quadriplegic? Perhaps a customized Corvette C7 Stingray, decked out by military and industry engineers to allow Sam Schmidt, now an owner of his own Indy team, to take back the metaphorical wheel. Read More
The B-52 heavy bomber is a bit like the Queen of England – sometimes it seems as though both of them are going to go on forever. Last week, Boeing announced a new program to extend the life of the US Air Force B-52 fleet by expanding its capacity to carry smart weapons by 50 percent as part of a new US$24.6 million contract. Read More
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