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Thread: USAF Gameplan

  1. #1

    USAF Gameplan

    SecAF unveils service's game plan in future security environment

    (Source: U.S Air Force; issued January 22, 2010)

    WASHINGTON, D.C. --- The Air Force's top civilian addressed Air, Space and Cyberspace Power in the 21st Century during his portion of the 38th Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis-Fletcher Conference on National Security Strategy and Policy Jan. 20, here.

    Air Force Secretary Michael Donley noted the service's challenge to "plan for uncertainty in a complex security environment," with a multi-faceted approach to supporting combatant commanders and national leadership.

    The secretary also discussed strategies to allow the service to plan for uncertainty and ambiguity, mitigate the possibility of surprise, and both shape and recover from what Secretary of Defense Robert Gates described as likely "imperfect assessments" about the future.

    Strategies include "engaging with partners and shaping the environment, making careful decisions in posturing U.S. forces abroad, developing balanced forces, promoting operational innovation, and developing the institutional capacity for change," the secretary said.

    He underscored the significance of joint initiatives, increased capabilities and reduced vulnerabilities in a 21st century security environment.

    "The complex, hybrid nature of future conflict will continue to challenge us and will demand coalition, whole-of-government and joint applications of power," Secretary Donley said.

    The secretary added that national and international security will continue to be a "team sport" as the service confronts a wide range of strategic challenges such as global terror networks, nuclear deterrence, space, cyber and "rising economic and regional powers whose intentions may be unclear."

    "The Air Force needs to remain vigilant in tying our work to the National Security Strategy, the (Quadrennial Defense Review) and other authoritative guidance that sets the direction for DoD and the larger national security community," he said.

    Secretary Donley cited that Air Force presence in regions of interest is critical to building partnerships and partner capacity along the way. "Engagement provides early warning and helps us understand the direction and pace of change through the eyes of potential adversaries and partners in the region."

    He added that continuous engagement also creates avenues for sharing perspectives of the strategic environment and opportunities to shape that environment in ways favorable to the U.S.

    "Well-developed air forces often seek partnership with us in the most advanced weapon systems, like the Joint Strike Fighter and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance or space-based capabilities," Secretary Donley said.

    The secretary continued that building partner capacity as an Air Force core function must be "sufficiently robust and flexible to address a broad range of engagement needs."

    Secretary Donley described basing access as "the lifeblood" of a globally oriented Air Force as the service seeks the right balance between the forward stationing of U.S. forces in key regions and periodic rotations and deployments. He explained sending the right message of long-term interest and commitment while preserving greater flexibility in the service's global posture.

    He said that the identification and exercise of contingency basing remains important to the force, particularly the mobility and tanker forces that facilitate joint movement and logistics.

    "This is why we also sustain periodic deployments of long-range strike aircraft in the Pacific," he said, "and why, as we eventually field the (F-35) Joint Strike Fighter, we will consider the need for early beddowns outside the continental U.S."

    "(The service) must build in the flexibility that enables our forces to operate effectively across the spectrum of conflict," he said.

    This flexibility includes enabling such capabilities as C4, mobility, air refueling and ISR, on which the entire joint force depends at any level of conflict.

    According to the secretary, the balance also reflects the need for a broad range of capabilities. "While reinforcing our counter-insurgency capabilities, we're also building the Joint Strike Fighter. While working on command and control for missile defense, we're building light attack armed reconnaissance and light air support aircraft. While planning for the recapitalization of the tanker fleet, we're strengthening space situational awareness and cyber defense. And, while building up language and cultural competency, we continue research on directed weapons," Secretary Donley said.

    With contingency operations and humanitarian missions in Haiti in full swing, the secretary noted that the conference was occurring "at a most important time."

    "We are challenged to meet today's requirements while preparing for tomorrow's and doing both with fewer resources than we'd like," he said.

    Noting such pitfalls as planning too far ahead, getting mired in processes or locking into a single approach for success, Secretary Donley emphasized the institutional competence for change as the most important capability the service can foster.

    "We need the capacity and culture to anticipate and recognize change early and respond quickly and effectively to new facts and circumstances," he said. "Developing new joint initiatives, capabilities and closing vulnerability gaps will be important as we move into the future."


  2. #2

    USAF 30-Year Plan Lays Out Aircraft Acquisition Through 2040

    By bruce rolfsen

    Published: 6 Mar 2010 16:07

    The U.S. Air Force is taking a long look down the road at buying and fielding new airplanes.

    A U.S. Air Force B-2 Spirit bomber is towed to a parking spot Feb. 12 at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii. The 30-year Air Force plan calls for development of a new long-range strike aircraft by 2020. (TECH. SGT. SHANE A. CUOMO / U.S. AIR FORCE) Mandated by Congress, the "Aircraft Investment Plan" maps out how many planes the Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Navy plan to buy through 2020 and sets goals for 2021-2040. It does not include helicopters.

    The report calls for a joint approach to long-range strike and electronic warfare but does not drastically alter the Air Force's announced plans for its two main acquisitions this decade - the F-35 Lightning II and KC-X tanker

    By aircraft, what the report foresees for the Air Force:


    ■ Bomber: The Air Force could spend $2 billion to $4 billion a year to develop a new long-range strike aircraft by 2020.

    Whether the plane will have a pilot onboard or will fly at supersonic speeds is undecided. The report says: "A study is underway to identify the right mix of manned and unmanned technologies and to determine the right balance between range, payload, speed, stealth, and onboard sensors."

    Until the new bomber arrives, the Air Force will keep about 160 B-52 Stratofortresses, B-1B Lancers and B-2 Spirit bombers.

    ■ F-22 Raptor: The service will spend $1.9 billion to upgrade its 180 fighter jets with improved communications and avionics gear. Retirement of the Raptors could begin in 2025.

    ■ F-35: The Air Force is in line to buy 602 F-35s through 2020 at a cost of about $70 billion. Two-thirds arrive in 2016 or later. The Air Force fleet will eventually total 1,763 jets.

    ■ MQ-9 Reapers: Forecasts call for the service to buy 372 of the attack and reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicles from 2011 through 2018. The price tag: about $820 million. Later models will have an electronic warfare capability.

    ■ RQ-4 Global Hawks: Four to five remote-controlled jets will arrive each year through 2017. There is no projection for later years.

    The report did not offer an overall cost for the RQ-4s; for 2011, the Air Force wants $737 million for four Global Hawks, their payloads and logistics support.


    ■ KC-X: The service is set to spend about $30 billion through 2020 to develop and buy 109 new tankers.

    ■ Intra-theater airlift: The Air Force should continue to buy C-130J Hercules to replace older C-130 E and H models. The study projects buying 63 C-130Js through 2020 for about $6 billion.

    ■ Strategic airlift: The service wants to maintain an fleet of 314 large cargo planes, a mix of 223 C-17s and 91 C-5s. The report recommends the Air Force begin development of a new cargo jet starting in 2015.

    E-mail: brolfsen@militarytimes.com

  3. #3
    Supreme Overlord ARH v.4.0's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    The fifth circle of hell

    Retirement of the Raptors could begin in 2025.
    This really is starting to look like $69 billion down the shitter! The entire program seems to be misspent resources.

    The darkest hour of Humanity is upon us. The world
    shall meet it's end and we shall be submerged into a
    new dark age. Repent your sins, for the apocalypse,
    and the end, is extremely f@#king nigh!

  4. #4

    I was just thinking that, the history books might remember the Raptor saga a little differently to the stuff currently trotted out by the F-22 Uber Alles crowd... it's a real shame about the fleet-wide issues they've had, if only they'd gone about designing the systems in a different way. Could have been almost as capable as the fanboys would have you believe... almost.

  5. #5

    The 26 page plan can be downloaded from here:


    Interesting stuff.

    Meet the demand for persistent, unmanned, multirole intelligence, surveillance, and
    reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities. The number of platforms in this category—Global
    Hawk-class, Reaper, and Predator-class systems— will grow from approximately 300 in FY
    2011 to more than 800 in FY 2020, including the Army’s Extended-Range/Multipurpose
    unmanned aerial system (UAS) and the Navy’s Broad-Area Maritime Surveillance UAS
    aircraft. This nearly 200 percent capacity increase will be effectively multiplied by
    capability improvements afforded by the acquisition of vastly improved sensors and the
    replacement of Air Force Predators with more capable Reapers. This plan calls for growth in
    Air Force unmanned Predator and Reaper platforms from a capacity of 50 orbits in FY 2011
    to 65 by FY 2013. The Department will assess the need for more capacity in future plans.
    200% increase in ISR capability from FY11 to FY20.

    By FY 2040, almost all of today’s
    “legacy” force will have retired and the Department will have begun recapitalization of its
    fifth-generation force. These far-term recapitalization plans cannot be defined with any
    degree of precision today, making investment projections difficult beyond the wellunderstood
    procurement plans for the JSF. The Department is continuing to evaluate
    projected threats and the alternative means for defeating those threats. It is anticipated that a
    family of systems—mixes of manned and unmanned aircraft, with varying stealth
    characteristics, and advanced standoff weapons—will shape the future fighter/attack
    inventory. These tradeoffs are being examined now, and subsequent aviation plans will
    reflect the resulting acquisition decisions.
    2040 the key date for next generation air combat (ie fighter) capability.

  6. #6

    Was the Raptor really that much of a flop or was it simply good but over hyped?

  7. #7

    Quote Originally Posted by McDethWivFries View Post
    Was the Raptor really that much of a flop or was it simply good but over hyped?
    McDeth, if you go to the URL below and read the comments appearing under the article (specifically, the comments made by gf0012-aust - does he still frequent T5C?), you should get a pretty good idea of some of the problems. I certainly found it very interesting.


  8. #8

    Cheers Tim

  9. #9

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim View Post
    McDeth, if you go to the URL below and read the comments appearing under the article (specifically, the comments made by gf0012-aust - does he still frequent T5C?), you should get a pretty good idea of some of the problems. I certainly found it very interesting.

    GF is very busy at the moment but should be back soon enough.................

  10. #10

    US Air Force prefers extending old fighters' life

    Air Force Chief of Staff Norton Schwartz told reporters that any move to buy new F-15 fighters built by Boeing Co (BA.N) or F-16s built by Lockheed would take money away from the F-35 fighter program.

    Instead, the service would prefer to do service life extensions for the older fighters, at about 10 to 15 percent of the cost of buying new planes.

    "We do not think it is wise to dissipate the limited pool of resources that we have available for F-35 by procuring new, lesser capable aircraft that will last as long," Schwartz said after addressing an Air Force Association breakfast.

    He acknowledged that the service needs to verify that service life extensions are possible to the older planes.

    "We do not think it prudent to utilize precious procurement dollars for anything but fifth-generation aircraft," he said. (Reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa)

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