IRIS Independent Research

United States

IRIS Independent Research

United States

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Grant R.,IRIS Independent Research
Air Force Magazine | Year: 2012

The article discusses how the USAF does not have monopoly on remotely piloted capabilities. The MiG-29 was not the first fighter to down an RPA. On the eve of the Iraq War of 2003, an Iraqi aircraft destroyed a USAF Predator. An Israeli F-16 shot down a Hezbollah RPA over the Bay of Haifa in 2006. In the postwar years, the Soviet Union and China tried to develop their own drones for offensive use, but they never became more than curiosities. Limitations on guidance and performance kept early RPAs subordinate to manned aircraft. Iraq and a few others also made attempts. For the most part, though, development of RPAs bumped along slowly until fairly recently. Iran, for example, claims its new Shaparak RPA can fly for more than three hours at 15,000 feet with a 17-pound payload. Such RPAs are viewed by regional militaries and rogue states alike as a possible means for striking against technologically superior forces and landing disruptive blows.


Grant R.,IRIS Independent Research
Air Force Magazine | Year: 2012

Significant changes were made in the way the leadership of the US Air Force over a period of time. The post of Chief of Staff was transformed when Gen. Norton A. Schwartz completed his four-year stint as USAF Chief of Staff in August 2012. He was the first uniformed leader who was neither a fighter nor bomber pilot, and came from the special operations and mobility fields. The general makeup of Corona four-star meetings was changing, which was a good development for the service. The membership comprised of fighter pilots, officers drawn from the mobility, bomber, space, acquisition, and financial management communities. The group also included the Air Force's first female four-star, Gen. Janet C. Wolfenbarger, head of Air Force Materiel Command at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.


Grant R.,IRIS Independent Research
Air Force Magazine | Year: 2012

The US Air Force (USAF) made $213.6 million down payment on its future by launching a new Adaptive Engine Technology Development (AETD) research program. USAF laid the foundation for a new class of engines with the adaptive engine program. The goal was to demonstrate a variable cycle propulsion system enabling a 25 percent or greater specific fuel consumption reduction. Senior officials said the success in adaptive engine technologies would deliver better range, persistence, performance, and energy savings for multiple types of combat aircraft. AETD technologies were expected to improve fuel efficiency, durability, and thrust performance for a wide range of air vehicles and applications. This engine could be used in a whole host of platforms should it ever reach the point of being a development program.


Grant R.,IRIS Independent Research
Air Force Magazine | Year: 2012

Although the war in Iraq is over and Afghanistan is winding down, the momentum for ISR (intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance) capability continues. The unblinking eye is really a set of ISR capabilities, from fine-tuned 30 frames per second video covering a tiny area to sophisticated radar tracks spanning whole swaths of a country. New wide-area motion imagery (WAMI) packages such as the Gorgon Stare system will enable a single ISR aircraft, manned or unmanned, to cover several areas at once. With Gorgon Stare, the Predator can establish a citywide view or isolate simultaneous spot image areas with greater resolution. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has developed another wide area imaging process called Autonomous Real-time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance, or ARGUS, which can cover about 40 square miles. Radar sensors remain the key to an unblinking eye for theater-wide views, all-weather imaging, and track detection.


Grant R.,IRIS Independent Research
Air Force Magazine | Year: 2012

The article describes how Merrill McPeak and Donald Rice dramatically reshaped the Air Force in 1991 and 1992, creating the organization still used today. The Berlin Wall came down in 1989, Germany reunited, and the Soviet Union dissolved in December 1991. The strategy embraced the end of the Cold War and prepared for an uncertain 'new world order' where the main military challenges would come from regional conflicts. The subtext here resonated with issues raised by Air Force operations from Vietnam through Desert Storm. In those conflicts, SAC had kept jealous control of its bombers and its crucial tankers. Regional air force commanders had to work out agreements with SAC for use of their assets, as SAC still had a nuclear deterrent to maintain. However, commanders chafed at having to deal with SAC while also deploying and fighting.


Grant R.,IRIS Independent Research
Air Force Magazine | Year: 2012

The US executed Linebacker II, the largest B-52 bombing campaign of all time, in December 1972. B-52 crews flew 729 nighttime sorties. Their Air Force and Navy fighter escorts provided another 769 sorties for suppression of air defenses, combat air patrol against MiGs, escort, and chaff dispensing. The air campaign of Linebacker II had forced the North Vietnamese to accept US terms and declare that Hanoi would soon return to the peace talks in Paris. President Richard M. Nixon was so optimistic about the tentative peace agreement reached on October 8, 1972, that, on October 23, he suspended all US bombing north of the 20th parallel. Several B-52s were destroyed in the USA-Vietnam war in 1972 and were unable to sustain the war terror. The December 26 and December 27 attacks marked the apex of Linebacker II. On December 28, Kissinger called Nixon to tell him Hanoi had accepted the proposal to return to the peace table and get serious about an agreement.


Grant R.,IRIS Independent Research
Air Force Magazine | Year: 2012

Technical advances have the Air Force on the verge of refueling operations with no human present. Flight tests beginning in the mid- 2000s have pioneered methods for automation routines. And more is coming. Summer 2012 may see tests of one unmanned aircraft refueling another. The real impetus toward automated air refueling came from research in the early 2000s on a Joint Unmanned Combat Air System program, dubbed J-UCAS. This program ultimately did not proceed, and part of it was spun off to create the Navy UCAS demonstrator now flying as the Northrop Grumman X-47B. True autonomy is a different beast. It stems from command routines based on sensor inputs exclusive of human intervention. In 2009, Boeing again won the Air Force Research Laboratory's contract, this time worth $49 million for a full test program. Reports at the time hinted that part of the reason for AFRL's interest was to explore automated refueling of an optionally manned new long-range strike bomber.


Grant R.,IRIS Independent Research
Air Force Magazine | Year: 2013

Responding to new growth in the cyber mission poses a challenge to the Air Force. The Air Force made its first deliberate move to create a cyber force structure when it brought Semi-automatic Ground Environment, or SAGE. SAGE was a unique step toward cyberspace because the system was conceived from the beginning as an information architecture. Air Force requisites for SAGE carved out many of the tools for cyberspace. First was a fast computer with programmable memory. SAGE also utilized primitive modems, the skeletal structure of cyberspace. SAGE also stressed systems engineering skills because of the difficulty of developing and exploiting new computer and communications technology. By the 1970s, much of the ground-breaking work in cyberspace was performed under the Pentagon's Advanced Research Projects Agency, ARPAnet. By the 1970s, USAF was also routinely exploiting the online environment for data management and display.


Grant R.,IRIS Independent Research
Air Force Magazine | Year: 2014

The high-tech systems ordered during the 1980s revitalized the Air Force and helped win the Cold War. Americans knew that rebuilding the military was a top priority for the new President. To Reagan, the defense investment was part one of a larger plan. Reagan favored a military increase to counter Soviet forces in the Third World without dangerously draining forces from Europe. He wanted to bring US forces up to parity, but most of all he wanted to reduce tensions and nuclear arms stockpiles. In the Reagan buildup, quality counted-as seen in acquisition of systems such as the F-117, F-15E, and advanced blocks of the F-16 fighter. In the early 1980s, technology excellence was the byword. However, most of the significant work on stealth, battlefield sensors, and other systems had started under previous Administrations. The Carter Administration nurtured a number of secret projects, including stealth aircraft, the predecessors to JSTARS, and early work on the concept of the Global Positioning System.


Grant R.,IRIS Independent Research
Air Force Magazine | Year: 2014

Advances in information management, vehicles, and weapons have opened the door to highly complex applications of autonomy with far less human intervention in the mission timeline. Threat is a driver, too: Technical advances in autonomy can improve reaction time and chances for mission success in contested or denied airspace. The Pentagon says full speed ahead. In November 2012, then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter issued new guidelines on autonomous weapons development. The guidelines authorized combatant commanders to incorporate more weapon systems with autonomy into operational missions. Autonomy technologies stand to make a major difference in the contested battlespace-but they will be contested in public debate, too. Increasing levels of autonomy stir controversy when they touch on deep-seated fears and values surrounding the use of force.

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