us air force fighter pilot aircraft The United States Air Force (USAF) is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on 18 September 1947 under the National Security Act of 1947. It is the most recent branch of the U.S. military to be formed, and is the largest and one of the world’s most technologically advanced air forces. The USAF articulates its core functions as Nuclear Deterrence Operations, Special Operations, Air Superiority, Global Integrated ISR, Space Superiority, Command and Control, Cyberspace Superiority, Personnel Recovery, Global Precision Attack, Building Partnerships, Rapid Global Mobility and Agile Combat Support.
The U.S. Air Force is a military service within the Department of the Air Force, one of the three military departments of the Department of Defense. The USAF is headed by the civilian Secretary of the Air Force, who is appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. The highest-ranking military officer in the Department of the Air Force is the Chief of Staff of the Air Force who exercises supervision over Air Force units, and serves as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Air Force combat forces are assigned, as directed by the Secretary of Defense, to the Combatant Commanders, and neither the Secretary of the Air Force nor the Chief of Staff have operational command authority over them.
The U.S. Air Force provides air support to ground troops and aids in the recovery of troops in the field. As of 2012, the service operates 5,484 aircraft, 450 ICBMs and 63 satellites. It has a $140 billion budget with 332,854 active personnel, 185,522 civilian personnel, 71,400 reserve personnel, and 106,700 air guard personnel.
Air Superiority is “that degree of dominance in the air battle of one force over another which permits the conduct of operations by the former and its related land, sea, air, and special operations forces at a given time and place without prohibitive interference by the opposing force” (JP 1-02).
Offensive Counterair (OCA) is defined as “offensive operations to destroy, disrupt, or neutralize enemy aircraft, missiles, launch platforms, and their supporting structures and systems both before and after launch, but as close to their source as possible” (JP 1-02). OCA is the preferred method of countering air and missile threats, since it attempts to defeat the enemy closer to its source and typically enjoys the initiative. OCA comprises attack operations, sweep, escort, and suppression/destruction of enemy air defense.
Defensive Counterair (DCA) is defined as “all the defensive measures designed to detect, identify, intercept, and destroy or negate enemy forces attempting to penetrate or attack through friendly airspace” (JP 1-02). A major goal of DCA operations, in concert with OCA operations, is to provide an area from which forces can operate, secure from air and missile threats. The DCA mission comprises both active and passive defense measures. Active defense is “the employment of limited offensive action and counterattacks to deny a contested area or position to the enemy” (JP 1-02). It includes both ballistic missile defense and air breathing threat defense, and encompasses point defense, area defense, and high value airborne asset defense. Passive defense is “measures taken to reduce the probability of and to minimize the effects of damage caused by hostile action without the intention of taking the initiative” (JP 1-02). It includes detection and warning; chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear defense; camouflage, concealment, and deception; hardening; reconstitution; dispersion; redundancy; and mobility, counter-measures, and stealth.
Airspace control is “a process used to increase operational effectiveness by promoting the safe, efficient, and flexible use of airspace” (JP 1-02). It promotes the safe, efficient, and flexible use of airspace, mitigates the risk of fratricide, enhances both offensive and defensive operations, and permits greater agility of air operations as a whole. It both deconflicts and facilitates integration of joint air operations.
Global Precision Attack
Global Precision Attack is the ability to hold at risk or strike rapidly and persistently, with a wide range of munitions, any target and to create swift, decisive, and precise effects across multiple domains.
Strategic Attack is defined as “offensive action specifically selected to achieve national strategic objectives. These attacks seek to weaken the adversary’s ability or will to engage in conflict, and may achieve strategic objectives without necessarily having to achieve operational objectives as a precondition” (AFDD 3–70, Strategic Attack).
Air Interdiction is defined as “air operations conducted to divert, disrupt, delay,
a single-seat fighter pod is a fairly NIC thing to be the treats that make a good fighter pilot are absolutely universal no matter what plane he's flying he's got to be able to multitask be very effective at making good decisions obviously be athletic and in good physical condition the ability to feel the aircraft it's really important capability for evil to maximize the maneuvering of you of your aircraft no doubt about that they've done everything they can do prior to the mission to try to eliminate as many of the unknowns as we possibly can there's always risk but there's always an understanding of what the risk is with versus the reward what we're trying to do is to kind of challenge everybody and take them to the right to the peak of their proficiency it's the young guys that are flying it and they say wow this was supposed to do this but I can take it and I can do a whole new thing first time you take the f-22 into a large force employment exercise like red flag that's when we really start to appreciate what doesn't even technology gives you we get to give them the best training in the world we get to put them through those bloodless battles and then there'll be so much better for it when they're actually when they actually have to go execute the mission the challenge for us is to know that there are threats out there that could present a serious challenge to our air superiority and that we always need to be on the cutting edge we would like to think that every graduate of the United States Air Force test ball school has a potential to be a senior leader in our Air Force it is difficult but if they weren't able to hack it they probably wouldn't be if we can get those talented people into the test world now they can be the smart people who are testing those weapon systems make them better to the warfighter as fast as we can so that they can use them in the environment and that's that's what I'm excited about it's one thing to do science in a lab it's another to do science inverted at 450 knots pulling a few G's I mean that's that's it's a blast now we're in the 21st century the limit is out there you know how how much are we willing to press that limit red-flag offers us that rare opportunity to to fly very close to what we would actually have to do where we called in the combat operations when I went through pilot training there's one thing I wanted to be and that was to be an f15 sea pilot a single-seat fighter pod is a fairly unique thing to be very task saturating because you not not only have to worry about maintaining visual your flight lead but you're working the radar listening to your radar warning receiver to make sure people aren't targeting you so that states air forces maintain your spear already it's not just because of the aircraft like the f-15 it's also because of the superior training of our pilots and red flag is a key component of that the good news is that we have full air superiority in Iraq and Afghanistan that might not be true on the first night of any any combat operation that we would see in the future and so we're taking our young people right now who are very used to operations in a place where they have air superiority and putting them in a situation where they don't where they actually have to go get air superiority and that is a very different animal for them to try to figure out red flag for 35 years has been providing the most realistic combat training that we can present our forces what's changed over the 35 years as the threat continues to get better in the current fights they are using very critical skills with you know friendly lives and national interests on the line but they're not always using every system they're not contested by air threats and surface threats cyber threats here will let them get together with their international allies their joint partners and they have to bring all those capabilities into one cohesive plan to achieve the objectives that fight their way through a very tough adversary what we want to replicate is being outnumbered we think one on one will be anyone we're but if it's one on three or one on or or do we have the capability to our missiles work do our tactics work the history of red flag evolves from a study that was done out over World War two and what that study told us was that if you could survive your first ten flights as a pilot you have a very good chance of surviving the rest of the war so what we do at red flag is we try to simulate as close as we can those first ten flights and they very hot more we take off and we go through this realistic training and it does involves quite a bit of air-to-air activity and one of the great things that we're able to do is we're able to simulate the surface-to-air threats that can that can shoot at us in the real world the idea of red flag is to train like you fight so you get the opportunity to experience what combat is like without the actual threat of loss you'll also get the chance to integrate with ground assets get shot out by simulated surface tear missiles the beauty of red flag is you have all sorts of different players anywhere from about 16 15 tankers AWACS all those different types of aircraft you have one mission and that is to deliver bombs on target on time well with the b-52 since we have a lot of guests we need to take off before everybody and hold for 30 minutes or so it's an orchestration as what it is we go out and hold and wait for all our fighter assets and all over a whole package to check in and then they'll clear out some airspace for us and clear out some ground threats and we'll push in and get some targets there's a quite a bit of competition here you imagine getting all these type-a personalities and what tell him out there and go out there and go by you can come and get experience from other weapon systems find out what they can do for you what you can do for them beef of these two might not be quite as nimble but you just have to plan ahead and give give some time for reaction our adversary tactics group are the experts they know teach and replicate every system and every threat region on the globe our aggressors with the f-15s and f-16s do the best they can it's a pretty selective process to become an aggressor almost all of our new guys that we get in have at least one fighter tour mostly – most of them are instructor pilots when they show up here in the aggressors we have a mantra of no teach and replicate the threat so a big part of that is is knowing what the thread aircraft can do out there and then teaching that to the combat air forces but when we replicate a threat out there we don't try to replicate the country all we're doing is we're replicating a capability that a threat aircraft might present we definitely tailor it to obviously the current conflicts that we're in but we also try to look forward to what future conflicts we might have and kind of get a worst-case scenario so that hopefully anything that they see here hopefully will be worse than anything they see in real life we typically will go up against a a pretty significant red force and that would include aircraft in the in the tens to 20s as well as surface-to-air threats the adversaries are experts on their weapon systems and in simulating bad guy trusts the average their tactics are very unpredictable and that's the challenge of it is you have to react and make sure you overcome and adapt to whatever presentation they give you as far as the blue players the good guys we usually work together and make sure we get things done before we get that pride get in the way the bad guys we call it red air and we go out and fight against them and nobody wants to make a mistake nobody wants to be the guy that caused the package to get shot down everyone remembers when they were killed on the Nellis ranges and that is intentional we make it very difficult that that happens to them that they're put in a position where they're threatened by all the domains in training so that when it happens in combat they know what to do they see things going bad quicker and so what we're trying to do is build their confidence in a more complex operation any sort of combat engagement at least the ones that I've been on looked remarkably similar to red flag package I know for me going my first red flag and seeing stealth up-close talking on the radio integrating them into our our Strike Packages paid huge dividends for us later on in a life force and operations over Kosovo the great part about being in red flag is that you've been there before you've seen it your nerves are a little bit calmer you recognize when things are going right and when things are going wrong and you can react appropriately the challenge for us is to know that there are threats out there that can present a serious challenge to our air superiority and that we always need to be on the cutting edge of pushing forward making sure that we're still staying prepared you just came from fighting the fight you're now going to fight the future red-flag is a gift that was given to us by those who came for us they gave us the gift of realistic training don't get too high and don't get too low you get too old they shoot it at him and your Lord they'll probably hit you I did a combat tour at you Dorn in 1969 to 1970 I was in the in the triple nickel we flew f-14s we were all young we were all aggressive we are all trying to do the best we could do with what we had there was a tremendous belief when we left Vietnam that there were a whole bunch of things that we could have done better some of those changes in our culture and the way we did things actually happen during the war and so when we came out it was just a logical extension to keep going with us some of the things that we had been taught in our training we want to combat with it did not work against what we call dissimilar adversaries what you would do against another f4 attacking you wasn't necessarily the right thing to do if a very small smokeless hard to see highly maneuverable nigut clear you really have to have dissimilar training dissimilar adversaries and we we we brought that lesson out of the war well one of the ways that we teach them how to do it is red flag they wanted realism they wanted red flag to be like it was over hell and they wanted it to be that way even to the extent of getting real-time feedback where they would say blue 3 you're dead and he would have the patio plane would have to leave the fight the challenge for the f-15s 16 guys who are in amateur weapon system I think the challenge for them is being able to work with mixed forces in the fifth-generation airplane like the f-22 the challenge for them is getting enough flying hours because it's a new system first time you take the f-22 into a large force employment exercise like red flag first time you get this aircraft in there you almost don't believe it's real until all of a sudden sure enough you roll in on somebody that have absolutely no clue that you're there having previously flown in f-15c we had to take multiple sensors on that aircraft put them together and create a picture within our own mind this aircraft actually takes those sensors puts it together and it gives us one integrated picture then we're able to make decisions off of that computer technology frees me up a little bit to make better decisions faster decisions on the battlespace bring the technology bring the with the weapons and capability of this aircraft but they're much much sooner and more effectively what we're trying to do is we kind of challenge everybody and take them to them right to the peak of their proficiency but until you put the airplane in their hands and they go fly it you really don't know how far it can go you know the basic occasion but the young guys are the ones that take it in this horizons never before envisioned I think what they really need to have is curiosity and a love of aviation their relationships that you cultivate at test ball school you will have for the rest of your career it is difficult but if they weren't able to hack it they probably wouldn't be here can you give you a dynamic so you're actually making more of pitch damping you just came from fighting the fight you're now going to fight the future you are going to be involved in ensuring that some kid who you do not know some kid who's going through junior high right now that he or she 15 years from now can have better weapon systems than what you had because the stakes will continue to be high you're doing higher level math since day one and you're doing very challenging flying in airplanes that you may not have previously been familiar with from day one this program is like no other and that you learn more about airplanes than anybody ever knew was possible you get to fly all kinds of different airplanes so it exposes us to so many different types shapes sizes of aircraft so that when we do get out to the test world were prepared for whatever might come our way my last assignment was at Kadena Air Base in Japan I was flying at 15 seas out there you know I loved the combat type environment but I also recognized while I was there that there is a lot more to getting weapon systems ready for that kind of environment than I ever knew possible have 23:7 there was one a tennis reaches there were talented people behind the scenes in the f15 who worked on all those systems before I ever got it as a war fighter and I wanted to be one of those people for us who are engineering minded it's a great place to be because we get to apply the engineering side of it or if you will the math physics side whatever your degree happens to be – the flying aspect of it and it melds those really well they will be able to answer a variety of questions they will be dealing from everything from advanced electronically scanned array radars we talk about electronic warfare we deal a lot with airborne networks we deal a lot with systems integration weapon delivery weapon guidance navigation and control the flying side has been awesome I think I've blown five different airplanes in one week you know and that's challenging in itself you know you go through pilot training a whole year and now you're back in it again but now it's ten times harder than what pilot training was you know not only do you have the flying which is the same tempo but now you get all the reports and the academics that go along with it academically it was exhausting to go back to those college days of doing all the nerd stuff dusting off those old books and learning how to get back into the academic side of the house is extremely challenging deployment of a lot Air Base Iraq is a four and a half month tour there for the 55th Fighter Squadron in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom f-16 stealing there and Iraq we fly a mission a day therefore I ended up at login about fifty-five sorties while I was there doing the mission day-to-day seeing how it impacts the ground troops so it's a much more challenging what I thought it would be but pilot training and the previous you know six or so years of my life has really prepared me for this adventure you're working on projects that as soon as you complete it the warfighters the guys operating the aircraft are going to see that change and likes that kind of immediacy that kind of contact directly with the operator with the warfighter was something that really drew me to the test world out of all indeed I was working at the Air Force Research Lab at Kirtland Air Force Base was an interesting place to be a very diverse group a lot of a lot of civilians a lot of senior scientists test particle is great because it it combines that cerebral approach that a lot of US scientists engineers are used to with the visceral thrill of fly it's been exciting it's one thing to do science in a lab it's another to do science inverted at 450 knots corner to geez I mean that's that's it's a blast the impact we have the combatants the capabilities the weapon systems even in tactics to a certain degree is astounding they are trained to look into the future and and realize that this may be an issue ten years hence we can identify issues challenges much earlier on and the developmental cycle of a program than anybody else out there there's still you know the best in the brightest and say they certainly have been low for the past two number 150 years and the applicants to the school then were absolutely the best in the brightest coming out of World War two the flight test division add a lot of new combat combat pilots they brought on board many of them were fighter aces many of them great in combat because they could respond and react and kind of improvise but flight testing requires precision flying it requires the pilot to fly a mission exactly as it has been plotted by the engineers many of whom had been aces found this kind of boring and and hence they found they didn't have the discipline and the patience for a flight test job they looked for people who were detail-oriented more meticulous willing to complete particular planning and preparation they look for people with if you will a high technical aptitude at least that they were oriented towards machines maybe they couldn't understand them intellectually but they had a great feel Chuck Yeager was such a great example of that then like Yeager in an age fascinated by hire fast barber he's made a worldwide crane in the 50s you'd have a new airframe a new fighter almost every years we had a lot of accidents you know Yeager has told me many times general Yeager my heck back in those days we we disputed as part of the cost of doing business but today with the high cost of these airplanes and systems bad news is bad news and it's not good for any program now this adds a level of risk and a requirement for a degree of courage that the pilots of the 50s didn't appreciate didn't feel I think that the test pilots then as the test pilots today see their primary role is ensuring that that their peers out there in the operational Air Force go into harm's way we think the absolute best and safest most effective combat systems in the world I want to get my Bros in the field the best tools that I can so that they can do the mission better you got to take it step by step not rush any steps not shortchange any of the tests out there so that you do present have 100 percent f-35 ready to go to the warfighter one of the things that we constantly try to ensure that we're doing a test ball school is having a curriculum that is relevant to the combatant and the needs of the combatants 10-15 years from now risk mitigation and ensuring that we get the best combat capability for our prior Airmen that's really the bottom line we're incorporating remotely piloted aircraft to our curriculum it's actually going to be essentially the same as our weapon systems officer curriculum right now the typical RPA student that we're seeing applying to the Air Force test ball school is a rated officer that transitioned pilot or wizzo who transitioned to our pas they have a strong background and they're manned weapon system for the most part we have the same type of individual as for the traditional courses they are passionate about aviation they are intellectually curious and they have a very strong background in math science and engineering and that's exactly the person we want we are keeping our pilots and all our air crews who are doing developmental tests in our pas current in some other platform where they can get some current recent operational exposure I flew a kc-135 yesterday and talking to our student peer that had flown the kc-135 I have an utmost appreciation for the handling qualities that he was compensating for likewise he's learned about fighter aviation ultimately our students are going to go through the program and have the same exact background as their peers so they can also bring that point of view from other weapon systems to the development of these remotely piloted aircraft I want to be as a efficient and effective as possible at getting the operator what it is that that they've requested with regards to capability I think I've done my job if at the other side of this school the operator gets a better technology than they expected to get years ago we focus on keeping our graduates sharp by providing them opportunity to test and be involved in a variety of tests I think it's going to be big it's huge it's a whole totally different ballgame what we're dealing with with JSF you know we're going leaps and bounds with what the f16 provides you know in the f-15 provide yeah with a fighter background I'd love to continue in the fighters JSF of course who doesn't want to go into that that's the test right now that's the program to be in as far as getting that impact to the warfighter you're going to take it step by step not rush any steps not shortchange any of the tests out there so that you do present that 100% f-35 ready to go to the warfighter there's always something in my heart for the f-15 so I'd love to go and do at 15 testing but I'd also love to get into some of the fifth-generation fighters the f-22 we're at 35 I think those are great platforms and I'm looking forward to working with them and working with the people who've built them and those who are already flying them I think that there are challenges with that and that the pilot is not directly linked with your sensor so there's all kinds of computers in between and the interfaces and making sure that those are correct and try to figure out you know if something is wrong what is it is that the sensor is that the computer in between is the operator and there's all kinds of things the transition from that fourth-generation fighter fleet like the f15 f-16 to the f-22 the fifth-generation in the f-35 is really a huge leap in technology in the f-22 flying against multiple other aircraft especially in a large portion environment it's amazing that the the core of our aircraft is stealth the speed the agility that that really does work and it's proven time and time again especially in the larger force exercises with multiple players it gives us an increased capability to help fourth-generation fighters that we may be integrating with and we may be fighting with especially joint and coalition partners in my opinion the biggest difference in the aircraft that we fly today and say 10 15 years ago is we are have the ability to share our combat data with each other from airplane to airplane teamwork is key and if you can share that data without actually having the talk on the radio we can become together as a team in a way that's much more effective than we ever had were able to when all we had connecting us was the radios you know more sophisticated avionics so that allows you to do more things in the battlefield allows you to control more assets back in World War two it's probably just you and your wingman or maybe you worked with a small group but now you're responsible if you're the mission commander for many different aircraft 40-50 sometimes 60 aircraft the basic mindset hasn't changed since the beginning of flying combat aviation and our young pilots are no different than we were the difference is they are so much smarter they grew up in a technical world where we grew up in an analog age so they are so much better at being able to process data and manipulate the Scopes that are in their cockpits then Venice dinosaurs were ever able to do as a mission commander you can lead a 40 50 ship package out there every day every night building confidence that really helped you on further in your career so hopefully the combat experience that I've had in the past being able to get to the warfighter that 100% mission capable mission ready aircraft this looks very important you