¡á More than 1,000 people gathered to bid farewell to the 440th U.S. Air Force Reserve Airlift Wing at General Mitchell International Airport. The unit will move to the Pope Air Force Base in North Carolina this summer. The transfer of the 440th and the closure of the Air Reserve Station are part of the 2005 Base Realignment. Master Sgt. Frank Weiss, who plans to retire in June after 34 years of service and almost 30 with the 440th said he was sorry to see the unit move. ¡°It¡¯s sad to see all the years and efforts go away,¡± he said. ¡°I¡¯m seeing supervisors that were here when I started ... and we won¡¯t have these opportunities to get together anymore.¡± Retired Senior Master Sgt. Osbee Sampson Jr. logged more than 6,500 flight hours from 1953 to 1996. ¡°This is like family - today it¡¯s just like I¡¯m going to a wake,¡± Sampson said.
¡á More than half the Air Force¡¯s secondary inventory, worth an average of $31.4 billion, was not needed to support required on-hand and on-order inventory levels from fiscal years 2002 through 2005. DOD regulations provide guidance for developing materiel requirements based on customer expectations while minimizing inventories. However, the value of Air Force on-order inventory not needed to support required inventory levels increased by about 7.8 percent, representing an average of 52 percent ($1.3 billion) of its on-order inventory. The Air Force has continued to purchase unneeded on order inventory because its policies do not provide incentives to reduce the amount of inventory on order that is not needed to support requirements.
¡á India has expressed interest in purchasing the U.S.-built C-130J transport aircraft for its Air Force. The purchase would be the first American-made military purchase since India currently uses Russian aircraft. The Indian Air Force cited the aircraft¡¯s ability to land and takeoff on short airfields without lights as appealing features. India would like to buy an unspecified number of the aircraft via the U.S. government¡¯s Foreign Military Sales program but no contract has been signed.
¡á Delta Scientific announces a government installation in the Middle East has just received shipment of the 2,000th DSC501, the only K54-certified vehicle barricade in the world. Set in a foundation only 18 inches (46 cm) deep, the Delta DSC501 will survive and operate after a 5.4 million foot pound impact. That¡¯s equivalent to a 65,000-pound (29,484 kg) truck hitting it at 50 mph (80 kph). Stopping the truck dead in its tracks, the DSC501 protects against a ¡°second hit¡± risk from a second vehicle.
¡á The Air Force¡¯s first unmanned aircraft systems wing stood up May 1 at Creech Air Force Base, Nev. Forming an unmanned aircraft systems wing has been in the works for about four years, according to Col. Christopher Chambliss. The new wing is an evolution in the Air Force¡¯s UAS program and provides the next step forward in medium- and high-altitude unmanned air systems,¡± he says. UASs have been ¡°an unblinking eye that can pack a punch when necessary,¡± says Colonel Chambliss, referring to the MQ-1 Predator¡¯s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities coupled with its abilities to fire Hellfire missiles.
¡á The Marine Corps¡¯ MV-22 Osprey aircraft will make its combat debut in Iraq when Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263 deploys to Al Asad Air Base in September, Commandant Gen. James Conway announced. Lt. Gen. John Castellaw, deputy commandant for aviation, said the Osprey¡¯s primary job in Iraq will be ¡°to take Marines into combat,¡± but that it will be used ¡°for a variety of missions¡± currently performed by the Corps¡¯ aging fleet of CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters.
¡á In April nearly 5,000 Air Force reservists received letters telling them they have to make career decisions because of authorization reductions. To help pay for force modernization, the Air Force Reserve Command will reduce its manpower authorizations by 7,700 over the next four years. Part of that reduction will come from not funding close to 5,000 individual mobilization augmentee positions. ¡°We tried to make this whole process as individualized as possible,¡± said Col. Roxane Towner, the commander of AFRC¡¯s Readiness Management Group. ¡°Our people are important to us and we¡¯re going to do everything possible to ensure we maintain our unrivaled wingman commitment both to our reservists and their gaining major commands.¡±
¡á Air Force officials have announced plans for the replacement combat search and rescue helicopter, the CSAR-X. To foster open communications and a fair and open competition, Air Force officials expect to release a draft Request For Proposal amendment to the CSAR-X offerors this month, and will conduct meetings with the offerors to address comments and answer questions prior to the release of the official RFP amendment. ¡°We believe the RFP amendment will meet both the letter and spirit of the (Government Accountability Office) recommendation,¡± says Sue C. Payton, the service acquisition executive.
¡á In May, the Democratic-controlled House failed to override President Bush¡¯s veto of an Iraqi war spending bill with timetables for troop withdrawals. The 222-203 vote, far short of the two-thirds majority needed for a veto override, occurred just ahead of a White House meeting that Bush called to begin compromise talks with congressional leaders of both parties on new legislation to finance the war, now in its fifth year. ¡°The president has turned a tin ear to the wishes of the American people,¡± Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said during the hour-long debate before the vote. ¡°The president wants a blank check. The Congress will not give it to him.¡± Negotiations for a new spending bill could prove difficult. Both parties agree it should include benchmarks for progress in Iraq, but many Democrats insist they be tied to timelines for U.S. troop withdrawals if they are unmet. Bush and his congressional allies say such links are unacceptable.
¡á On April 23, Ellis Air Force Base in Nevada, celebrated the groundbreaking for the construction of North America¡¯s largest solar photovoltaic power system. The Nellis Solar Energy System, once operational, will generate 25 million kilowatt-hours of ¡°clean¡± electricity for the base. The project is scheduled for completion in early 2008. Rated at about 15 megawatts, the array will supply the base with more than 25 percent of its energy during peak summer months. The 70,000 solar panels that makeup the array are expected to save the Air Force more than $1 million in annual energy costs. ¡°This savings allows the Air Force to apply these funds toward higher priority mission requirements,¡± says Col. Michael Bartley, 99th Air Base Wing commander. ¡°The array provides a semi-secure and independent power source, a capability other military installations will soon move to acquire.¡±
¡á The first four two-seat training L-159T1 aircraft for the Czech Air Force (CzAF) took off from the factory airport of Aero Vodochody a.s. and made its maiden flight. The two-seat training aircraft, s/n 6069, was rebuilt from the original single-seat CzAF L-159A aircraft. The prototype is the first off-the-shelf L-159T1. Test pilots Rostislav Stroin and Vladimir Kvarda climbed to 33,000 feet during the initial flight.
¡á Premier Engineering & MFG., Inc. has recently concluded production of four deicing trucks, Model MT43P21-EA, for the Canadian Department of National Defense. The contract was awarded in December of 2006 based on cost, simplicity of design, maintenance and ease of operation, among other factors.
¡á The Canadian Air Force has selected the Predator B UAV for domestic and international surveillance missions, but the government has balked at the proposed sole-source purchase and ordered the service to re-examine whether other UAVs can be considered. The government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper is uneasy after allowing similar noncompetitive deals for the purchase of billions of dollars of equipment in the last year, according to defense industry sources. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, San Diego, had teamed with General Dynamics Canada to propose the Predator B for the Air Force¡¯s 500 million Canadian dollar ($420 million USD) Joint Unmanned Surveillance and Target Acquisition System (JUSTAS) program. MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates (MDA), Richmond, British Columbia, has joined forces with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Lod, Israel, to propose the Eagle 1 and 2 UAVs.
¡á Velcon Filters Inc. has been awarded a contract for a new Modular Fuel System (MFS) used by the U.S. Army. Velcon will supply the filter separator and monitor vessels to be used on each of the pumping modules. The complete system is designed as a portable and flexible modular design which is easily moved to a designated location and set up for fueling operations.
¡á Nexergy, a designer, integrator and manufacturer of battery packs and chargers, announces the completion of a new portable power system for an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). The unique high-reliability solar and battery powered system, developed in conjunction with SION Power Corporation, utilizes SION lithium sulfur battery cells in a custom battery pack complete with a sophisticated charging circuit. The new UAV is designed to eventually stay airborne for months at a time at altitudes exceeding 50,000 feet. In initial test flights, the new Nexergy/SION lithium sulfur portable power system increased the UAV¡¯s battery-operated flight time by 80 percent.
People in the News
¡á After 54 years of military and civil service, Howard L. McKellip has retired from the position of chief of training support flight for the 361st Training Squadron, 82d Training Group, 82d Training Wing at Sheppard AFB, Texas. While serving, he provided oversight, guidance and support for four flights at Sheppard AFB, Texas and two geographically separated units at Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Fla. and Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., consisting of 53 courses and graduating more than 8,000 students annually. A native of Rock Island, Ill., McKellip has 27 years of civil service and is a retired Chief Master Sergeant with 26 ¨ö years in aircraft maintenance career fields.