Open main menu

Portal:United States Air Force

The United States Air Force portal

Emblem of the United States Air Force

The United States Air Force (USAF) is the aerial and space warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the five branches of the United States Armed Forces, and one of the seven American uniformed services. Initially established as a part of the United States Army on 1 August 1907, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the U.S. Armed Forces on 18 September 1947 with the passing of the National Security Act of 1947. It is the youngest branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, and the fourth in order of precedence. The USAF is the largest and most technologically advanced air force in the world. The Air Force articulates its core missions as air and space superiority, global integrated ISR, rapid global mobility, global strike, and command and control.

The U.S. Air Force is a military service branch organized within the Department of the Air Force, one of the three military departments of the Department of Defense. The Air Force, through the Department of the Air Force, is headed by the civilian Secretary of the Air Force, who reports to the Secretary of Defense, and is appointed by the President with Senate confirmation. The highest-ranking military officer in the Air Force is the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, who exercises supervision over Air Force units and serves as one of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Air Force forces are assigned, as directed by the Secretary of Defense, to the combatant commanders, and neither the Secretary of the Air Force nor the Chief of Staff of the Air Force have operational command authority over them.

Along with conducting independent air and space operations, the U.S. Air Force provides air support for land and naval forces and aids in the recovery of troops in the field. As of 2017, the service operates more than 5,369 military aircraft, 406 ICBMs and 170 military satellites. It has a $161 billion budget and is the second largest service branch, with 318,415 active duty personnel, 140,169 civilian personnel, 69,200 Air Force Reserve personnel, and 105,700 Air National Guard personnel.

Show new content...

Picture spotlight

Airman in the field.jpg

Photo credit: Staff Sergeant Jocelyn Rich, 3 August 2009. USAF photo.
Airmen in the field

A Tactical Air Control Party during an exercise in Germany.

photo source: USAF Public Affairs

Article spotlight

Air Force One over Mt. Rushmore.jpg

Air Force One is the call sign for any USAF aircraft carrying the President of the United States (POTUS). The first aircraft dedicated to presidential airlift was a specially outfitted C-54 Skymaster nicknamed Sacred Cow served Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman. The name 'Air Force One' was first used in 1953 after an incident in which Dwight D. Eisenhower's aircraft shared a call sign with a commercial flight. A number of different airframes have been used for presidential transport, including a C-118 Liftmaster, C-121 Constellation, and a C-137 Stratoliner. Currently Air Force One is most commonly a modified Boeing 747-200B designated as VC-25 by the Air Force.

USAF news

Service considering retrofitting late-model C-130's with new engines

Summary: The U.S. Air Force is interested in procuring commercial off-the-shelf engines to replace antiquated propulsion systems on C-130 aircraft. At a technology summit in Arlington, Virginia, General Philip Breedlove told of the service's efforts to follow up on the successes of the C-130J upgrade with commercially available fuel efficient engines. Breedlove says the prioritization of use of C-130J's in inter-theater operations for cost savings has tied up logistics. The C-130 also suffers from performance and maintenance issues that have led to the cancellation of the FCS Manned Ground Vehicles program that was unable to fall within weight parameters while maintaining protection requirements. While enhancing the current generation of aircraft, the Air Force is also heading an initiative to develop fuel efficient technologies for the next generation of propulsion systems. the ADaptive Versatile ENgine Technology program seeks to develop an engine that is 30% more efficient than the F119 or F135 engines that power the F-35 Lightning II and F-22 Raptor fifth-generation stealth fighter aircraft. The Versatile, Affordable, Advanced Turbine Engines and Highly Efficient Embedded Turbine Engine programs are also being pursued to develop propulsion technologies for sub-sonic military aircraft.

News Archive

Aerospace vehicle spotlight

Agm-129 acm.jpg

The AGM-129 ACM (Advanced Cruise Missile) is the United States Air Force's current nuclear-armed air-launched cruise missile, replacing the earlier AGM-86 ALCM (Air Launched Cruise Missile). The AGM-129 includes a new inertial guidance system, a laser-based mapping system, and a number of stealth features to improve accuracy and penetration ability.

The AGM-129 is currently only carried by the B-52H Stratofortress, although capable of being utilized by other aircraft. The B-52 uses external wing mounts that give six missiles per launcher per wing for a twelve AGM-129 missile payload.

Biography spotlight

Joseph McConnell.JPG

Captain Joseph C. McConnell (1922–1954) is the highest scoring American ace from the Korean War. He was originally from Dover, New Hampshire. He entered the Army Air Forces during World War II and served as a B-24 Liberator navigator. After the war he entered flight training and became a fighter pilot.

After the Korean War broke out McConnell was assigned to the 39th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron flying an F-86 Sabre named "Beautious Butch" in honor of his wife, Pearl "Butch" Brown. McConnell acquired all of his aerial victories during a four-month period, from January-May 1953. In April he was shot down, but successfully ejected and was rescued in the Yellow Sea. On 18 May he shot down 3 MiGs bringing his total to 16 victories. After that he was removed from combat duty and was reassigned to the United States. For his efforts McConnell was awarded a Distinguished Service Cross and a Silver Star.

After he returned to the U.S. McConnell was assigned as a test pilot flying the newest Sabre model, the F-86H. During one of his test flights the control system malfunctioned. The aircraft crashed, killing McConnell.

Did you know...?

AFIT Graduation.jpg

... that the Air Force Institute of Technology offers master's and doctorate degrees in 24 fields? In addition, the school also offers continuing education classes in a number of technical and logistical fields across the Air Force.


37 Lyndon Johnson 3x4.jpg

The Air Force comes in every morning and says, 'Bomb, bomb, bomb' … And then the State Department comes in and says, 'Not now, or not there, or too much, or not at all.'

- Lyndon Baines Johnson, 36th President of the United States

USAF topics

USAF categories

Things you can do

Military history WikiProject open tasks


Related portals

Associated Wikimedia

The following Wikimedia Foundation sister projects provide more on this subject:






Learning resources