• 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.
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Service before self: Volunteer work links Academy officer to Colo. 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
  • 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.
  • 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