Archive | USAF RSS for this section

100K MHS Series Pistols and Counting

New Hampshire-based Sig Sauer announced last week that they have reached a milestone in delivering new pistols to the U.S. Armed Forces.

Since winning the contentious Modular Handgun System contract in 2017, beating out big-name pistol makers from around the globe to replace the M9 Beretta, Sig has exceeded performance standards and recently delivered the 100,000th MHS series gun to the military.

The MHS system comprises the Sig Sauer M17 full-size, and M18 compact handguns, each based on the company’s P320 series pistols, as well as Winchester Ammunition’s 9x19mm M1152 Ball, M1153 Special Purpose, and M1156 Drilled Dummy Inert cartridges.

Over the coming five-to-seven years, upwards of 350,000 handguns and 100 million rounds of ammunition are scheduled for delivery to the Pentagon.

More in my column at Guns.com 

The Gipper gets an Unexpected Guest

Lockheed Martin Skunk Works recently partnered with the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Insitute and National Museum of the USAF by reconfiguring F-117 Nighthawk 82-0803, nicknamed “Unexpected Guest” for permanent display at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.

Just 64 (5 YF-117As, 59 F-117As) Nighthawks were produced with one, 82-0806 Something Wicked, shot down over Serbia.

Of interest, four of the early YF-117A Scorpion prototypes are on public display with Unexpected Guest being the first production Nighthawk put on a pedestal. The aircraft formerly flew 78 combat missions with the USAF 8th FS during Operation Allied Force over Kosovo in 1999 and Operation Enduring Freedom over Iraq in 2003 and was last spotted in the air in 2007 at Nellis. 

Retired in 2008, Unexpected Guest has been in climate-controlled storage since then with the rest of the F-117 fleet, which is still seen in the air over Tonopah from time to time. 

“The F-117 Nighthawk reminds us of our country’s ability to rapidly develop disruptive technology critical to national security,” said Michele Evans, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. “Lockheed Martin is proud to partner with the Air Force and the Reagan Foundation to install a permanent symbol of American innovation at the Reagan Library for all to see.”

Remember, today is not about saving upto 20% on select merchandise

Division Cemetery, Okinawa, 1945, Photo via Marine Corps Archives

In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words

To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…

Stargazer still pumping em out after 25 years

The U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing, NASA, and Northrop Grumman used the latter’s Pegasus XL rocket to heft the Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) spacecraft into orbit last night.

The cool thing about Pegasus is that it was carried aloft by the L-1011 Stargazer aircraft, which took off from the Skid Strip runway at CCAFS before reaching an altitude and location where the rocket was released for launch.

The Stargazer serves as the “air-breathing reusable first stage” of Pegasus, which, according to Boeing, is the first winged vehicle to accelerate to eight times the speed of sound.

A converted Air Canada Lockheed L-1011 TriStar built in 1974, Stargazer has logged at least 43 missions, launching 94 satellites since 1994.

That’s just not something you see every day

Well, Christmas IS right around the corner

The end of the U.S. military’s almost century-long love affair with seaplanes and flying boats came to an end when the Grumman Albatross was put to pasture in 1983.

While nearly 500 were made, and the platform was fielded by not only the U.S. Air Force and Navy but also by the Coast Guard as a SAR platform, only about three dozen or so airframes remain around the globe today, with an even smaller number still airworthy.

And, for fans of Jimmy Buffett and/or 20th Century Curtiss radial engines, this sweet circa 1951 HU-16E Albatross is up for grabs at Platinum.

Via Platinum

Using a pair of old-school Wright R1820s, she has just 822 hours on her since restoration and carries Coastie livery with her actual serial number.

“Flown regularly. Well maintained. Now only $395,000!”

From what I can tell, the serial number (51-7226) is from the USAF’s range back when they were classified as SA-16Bs, but she spent most of her career in Coast Guard service (UF-1G, USCG 7226) and was sold from the Smithsonian’s inventory in 1984.

For more information head to Platinum.

Vale, Nine O Nine and those who flew on her

In March 2014, I had to good fortune to take advantage of a leg of the Collings Foundation’s Wings of Freedom Tour and visited a three-aircraft flight that included a Consolidated B-24J Liberator (SN 44-44052, “Witchcraft”) a TP-51C Mustang fighter (42-103293, “Betty Jane”) and a late block 85 Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress (44-83575, painted as 42-31909, “Nine O Nine”).

It was a beautiful day and they were beautiful, and increasingly machines.

The original Nine O Nine survived the great Augsburg raid and 18 roundtrips over Berlin with the 8th Air Force over a 140 mission career in WWII. SN 44-83575, shown above in the more famous Fortress’ colors, was built too late for combat, then served as a rescue aircraft, Atomic instrumentation aircraft, and forest fire bomber until she was restored to her original WWII configuration in the 1980s by the Collings Foundation. (Photo: Chris Eger)

Sadly, yesterday at Connecticut’s Bradley International Airport, Nine O Nine was destroyed in the crash, and seven of the thirteen people on board were killed.

Sorry, no Peashooter II

The Boeing/Saab T-X was selected on 27 September 2018 by the Air Force as the winner of the Advanced Pilot Training System program to replace the aging Cold War-era Northrop T-38 Talon. The downright cute little twin tail trainer will, in all likelihood, be around for decades provided it is successful.

The USAF currently has some 500~ T-38A/B/C models in inventory, with the newest example coming off the lines in 1972. It is envisioned that some 351 new T-X aircraft and 46 simulators are to be supplied by Boeing as part of the $9 billion program to put the venerable Talon to bed.

The T-X could also go on to be a sweet little scooter for budget air defense/COIN if given underwing hardpoints, after all, Saab runs the Gripen and in the past developed the Viggen, Draken, Lansen, and Tunnan, which all had a solid pedigree.

The T-X does look pretty sweet though.

Both of the current two Boeing T-Xs in flight.

While I suggested “T-60 Peashooter II” as a name update, in honor of Boeing’s last cute little combat-ish trainer, I have been overruled and the U.S. Air Force has named it the T-7A Red Hawk to honor the Tuskegee Airmen who famously flew the red-tailed North American P-51 Mustang in World War II (after working their way through P-39s, P-40s, and P-47s). The “Red Tails” of the 332nd Fighter Group were renowned for their work plastering Axis ground targets and successfully escorting B-17s and B-24s in the ETO in 1944 and 1945.

Which is better than the Peashooter II anyway.

 

Station HYPO

Celebrating the Past, Present and Future of Navy Cryptology

National Guard Marksmanship Training Center

Official site for National Guard marksmanship training and competitions

tacticalprofessor

Better to stay out of trouble than to get out of trouble.

Yokosuka Sasebo Japan

The U.S. Navy and the Western Pacific

The Writer in Black

News and views from The Writer in Black

Stephen Taylor, WW2 Relic Hunter

World War 2 Historian, Relic Hunter and expert in identification of WW2 relics

USS Gerald R. Ford

Mission Ready, Qualified & Competent, On Time Execution!

The Unwritten Record

Exploring History with the National Archives Special Media Division

Stuff From Hsoi

Writing about whatever interests me, and maybe you.

Louisville Gun

Thoughts and Musings on Gun Control & Crime

CIVILIAN GUNFIGHTER

Identifying the Best Training, Tools, and Tactics for the Armed Civilian!

MountainGuerrilla

Nous Defions!

Under Every Leaf.

A Site for the British Empire 1860-1913

JULESWINGS

Military wings and things

Western Rifle Shooters Association

"Democracy always demands we defend it. It's high time we start asking democracy what it has done to defend us." - Francis Berger

Meccanica Mekaniikka Mecanică

The Mechanix of Auto, Aviation, Military...pert near anything I feel relates to mechanical things, places, events or whatever I happen to like. Even non-mechanical artsy-fartsy stuff.

%d bloggers like this: