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An MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle and F-16 Fighting Falcon return from an Operation Iraqi Freedom combat mission. Both aircraft provide intelligence, search and reconnaissance gathering features, as well as munitions capability to support ground troops and base defense. (U.S. Air Force photo/Shannon Collins) The Contrails: Aircraft, Weapons Systems: MQ-1B Predator
Manufacturer: General AtomicsFunction: Armed Reconnaissance, Airborne Surveillance and Target AcquisitionService Date: 1996Speed: Up to 135 mphCrew (GCS): TwoProduction: 186 Inventory: 126Commentary: An operational Predator system includes four air vehicles, a ground control station (GCS), satellite link, and 55 personnel for 24-hour operations.
0 12/06
2016
An Air Force U-2 Dragon Lady flies a training mission.(U.S. Air Force photo/Rose Reynolds) The Contrails: Aircraft Weapons Systems: U-2S/TR-1 Dragon Lady
Manufacturer: Lockheed MartinFunction: High-AltitudeReconnaissance Service Date: 1955Speed: 410+ mphCrew: 1Production: 35 Inventory: 33Commentary: Although the U-2 was designed initially in the 1950s, current aircraft were produced primarily in the 1980s, when the production line was reopened to produce the TR-1, a significantly larger and more
0 11/29
2016
An HH-60 Pavehawk helicopter lands during a medivac mission in Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Brian Ferguson)

The Contrails: Aircraft, Weapons Systems: HH-60G Pave Hawk
Manufacturer: SikorskyFunction:Special Operations/Personnel Recovery Service Date: 1982  Speed: 184 mphCrew: FourProduction: 105 Inventory: 99Commentary: The HH-60 is a specially modified version of the H-60 Blackhawk used primarily for combat search and rescue, also aeromedical evacuation, casualty evacuation, civil SAR, and other support
0 11/21
2016
The CV-22 Osprey is a tilt-rotor aircraft that combines the vertical takeoff, hover and vertical landing qualities of a helicopter with the long-range, fuel efficiency and speed characteristics of a turboprop aircraft. Its mission is to conduct long-range infiltration, ex-filtration and resupply missions for special operations forces. (U.S. Air Force photo)
The Contrails: Aircraft, Weapons Systems: CV-22A Osprey
Manufacturer: Bell Helicopter and BoeingFunction: Special Operations Long RangeSpeed: 277 mph (cruising speed)Crew: FourProduction: 50 (planned)Inventory: 17 Commentary: The USAF received its first aircraft in January 2007. IOT&E was completed by summer 2008. The first operational deployment, to Africa, took place in November 2008, and the first
0 11/15
2016
Air Force One is flown over Mount Rushmore in Keystone, South Dakota. (U.S. Air Force photo) The Contrails: Aircraft, Weapons Systems: VC-25 Air Force One
Manufacturer: BoeingFunction: Presidential Air TransportService Date: 1990Speed: 630 mphCrew: 26Production: 2 Inventory: 2Commentary: The VC-25 is most famous for its role as Air Force One, the call sign of any US Air Force aircraft carrying the President of the United States. The two aircraft currently in US service are highly modified versions of
0 11/09
2016
A KC-10 from McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey, is flown over the Middle East. (U.S. Air Force photo by Cherie Thurlby) The Contrails: Aircraft, Weapons Systems: KC-10A Extender
Manufacturer: McDonnell DouglasFunction: Aerial Tanker/TransportService Date: 1981Speed: 619 mphCrew: FourProduction: 60 Inventory: 59Commentary: The KC-10 is the militarized variant of the DC-10 commercial aircraft modified for aerial refueling and aeromedical transport. Because it has both types of tanker refueling equipment installed, the KC-10A
0 11/02
2016
A KC-135R Stratotanker refuels an F-22 fighter aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo) The Contrails: Aircraft, Weapons Systems: KC-135R/T Stratotanker
Manufacturer: BoeingFunction: Aerial Refueling/AirliftModified Functions: Special Mission, ReconnaissanceService Date: 1957Speed: 530 mphCrew: Three (Tanker)Production: 732 Inventory: 204Commentary: Currently the Mainstay of the USAF tanker fleet, the long-serving KC-135 is similar in size and appearance to commercial 707 aircraft but was designed
0 10/26
2016
Maj. Paul Prosper, an assistant professor in the U.S. Air Force Academy’s Management Department, teaches class Oct. 24, 2016. Prosper keeps a busy schedule balancing his duties as an educator with improving the lives of children and at-risk young adults in Colorado Springs. (U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Kaplan)   Service before self: Volunteer work links Academy officer to Colorado Springs
A young man from Jamaica beat the odds to become an Air Force officer and an advocate for youth in Colorado Springs.Maj. Paul Prosper didn’t always concern himself with volunteer work. His main concerns growing up were crime, poverty and academic challenges.Prosper is an assistant professor in the Academy’s Management Department. He keeps a busy
0 10/26
2016
AF-3, Flt 230, Maj. Andrew Rollins flies an F-35 Lightning II above the southern California desert. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Darin Russell The Contrails: Aircraft, Weapons Systems: F-35 Lightning II
Manufacturer: Lockheed MartinFunction: Multirole FighterService Date: 2011Speed: 1,200 mphCrew: OneProduction: 1,763 (planned)Commentary: USAF’s F-35A will replace its current force of F-16 and A-10 aircraft with a stealthy multirole fighter that will comprise the bulk of USAF’s fighter fleet for up to 50 years.
0 10/17
2016
Two Air Force F-22 Raptors from the 95th Fighter Squadron, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., fly over the Baltic Sea in 2015. (Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Jason Robertson) The Contrails: Aircraft, Weapons Systems: F-22A Raptor
Manufacturer: Lockheed Martin, BoeingFunction: Air Dominance, Multi-Role FighterService Date: 2002 Speed: Mach 2.25 Supercruise: Mach 1.82Crew: OneProduction: 187 Inventory: 183Commentary: The F-22A reached IOC in December 2005, and on Jan. 21, 2006, it flew its first operational sortie from Langley AFB, Va., as part of Noble Eagle. The Pentagon
0 10/11
2016
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