Thursday, January 04, 2007

New AFA Mag

Couple of interesting articles in the Jan issue of the AFA magazine. First one is something that SJS will appreciate. A brief history of airborne early warning and associated control systems. Next is some pretty cool plane pron, featuring the two newly activated aggressor squadrons out at Nellis. Lots of gorgeous shots of Eagles and Vipers in the really cool Flanker Blue and Lizard aggressor paint schemes.

Third is a well written editorial discussing a report I had never heard about: the "Committee Defense Review" released by Rep. Duncan Hunter and the rest of the GOP members of the House Armed Services Committee (Dem members didn't sign; read the editorial for the whole story). I'll be discussing this topic more in coming weeks, as it's been on my mind recently, but the bottom line is that the U.S. doesn't have a big enough military. The country is robbing peter to pay paul, and it's going to come back to bite us in the ass. We (we being the USAF and the USN) have been saying this for awhile, but no one's willing to listen to us because they don't want to hear the cold truth: despite all the talk of transformation, all the talk of counter-insurgencies and low-intensity warfare, the Army and Marines don't go anywhere without the USAF and the USN. They don't get air support without the USAF and the USN. They don't have shit for supplies without the USAF and the USN. We hear talk of how the Army is broken, and how we need to expand the Marines, but there is no outcry for the Air Force tankers that are so old a grandson of the original pilots could fly them, or of the grounding of a sizeable portion of our tactical airlift fleet, or of the Navy's Little Crappy Ship, and the associated lack of any sort of credible anti-mine or anti-sub capability.

I'm getting ahead of myself, because like I said, I'll be addressing the topic in the future. Suffice to say that the CDR will be getting a chunk of my attention.

Finally, just because I know the Navy pogues will give me crap if I don't include it, yes, there was an article about a *gag* NAVY *gag* fighter in the issue as well...and yes, it's made by Grumman. As seems to be just about everything the Navy has ever flown, Lex's loveable plastic bug notwithstanding.

UPDATE: Almost forgot this extremely cool article on the future of UAVs in the USAF. It's been said before, but we really are rapidly approaching the point at which all piloting will be done in a chair on the ground; the F-35, honestly, will be the last manned fighter we procure. Oh, and the last (manned) fighter pilot has already been born. The next front is an unmanned bomber; I'd give 50/50 odds that the 2018 bomber is unmanned.