The Pentagon is spending billions on unmanned aerial vehicles or “drones” so it’s understandable if military pilots feel like an endangered species.
And now there’s a new reason for pilots to worry.
Instead of designing UAVs from the ground up, Boeing is taking old mothballed jets and tweaking them so they can fly without a pilot.
An American B-1B bomber crashed in Montana on Monday during a routine training mission, the Air Force said in a statement.
The crew of four ejected and injuries were reported although further details were not available.
The cause of the accident involving the unit from the 28th Bomb Wing near the town of Broadus was under investigation.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - An Air Force nuclear missile unit failed a safety and security inspection this week, the second wing of its kind to stumble on tests this year.
The latest involves the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana, which operates about a third of the 450 Minuteman III nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles, according to an Air Force statement.
The wing received an "unsatisfactory rating" after making "tactical level errors" during one of several exercises conducted as part of the inspection.
A review is underway to determine accountability.
The errors were not related to the operation of nuclear missiles, one Air Force official said. The precise issue was not disclosed.
The wing, which includes about 3,000 personnel, was not "decertified" to conduct nuclear operations, which would have indicated a more significant failure.
Earlier this year, another wing, based at Minot North Dakota did poorly in an inspection, resulting in the removal of 17 military personnel from their jobs.
The third wing is located at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming.
By Jamie Crawford
Editor's note: This is one in a series of stories and opinion pieces surrounding the Aspen Security Forum currently taking place in Aspen, Colorado. Security Clearance is a media sponsor of the event, which is taking place from July 17 to 20 in Aspen, Colorado.
Forced spending cuts known as the sequester, and the furloughs to the workforce that have come with it, are compromising the Air Force's readiness for unknown contingencies and its ability to modernize, the top officer said Wednesday.
"We are trading modernization against readiness. It's the only place we have to go for funding because of this arbitrary mechanism that is sequestration, and it’s causing a real problem on the readiness side of the house and putting our ability to modernize over time at risk," Gen. Mark Welsh, chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force, said.
Welsh spoke at the opening session of the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado during a discussion moderated by CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.
By Jennifer Liberto
About 300 fighter jets, including the Air Force's Thunderbirds, will begin flying again.
Since April, about a third of the Air Force's combat flying fleet has been grounded due to federal spending cuts. The Air Force won a temporary reprieve from the cuts, which will allow the jets to begin flying again.
Congress gave the Air Force and other agencies the power to re-allocate money within their budgets. The Air Force on Monday decided to reinstate $208 million to restore the flights.
The move also affects the grounded Thunderbirds. They resume training with hopes of performing aerial shows next year. There will be no Thunderbird shows this year.
By Barbara Starr
The Obama administration tentatively plans to deliver four F-16 aircraft to Egypt, but is reviewing all U.S. military aid arrangements, according to a Pentagon official.
The planes were scheduled to be shipped by the end of August, but the delivery could be made more complicated if there is no Egyptian military plan to transition to civilian rule and the United States were compelled to formally declare a military coup had taken place, the official said.
If that declaration were made, it most likely would result in aid being halted. The official declined to be identified because of the sensitive nature of the information.
Until Thursday, all indications had been that the deliveries would go through as part of a $1.3 billion 2010 military aid package that called for 20 F-16s and Abrams tank parts to be sent to Egypt. A second Pentagon official had previously said the deliveries "were on track."
By Larry Shaughnessy
An Air Force officer charged with sexual battery stemming from an incident in Northern Virginia had received training for his job heading up a military unit aimed at preventing sex assaults, military records show.
Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, a 1994 graduate of the Air Force Academy who served tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan, was arrested early on Sunday for allegedly grabbing a woman's buttocks and breasts in a parking lot in Arlington County not far from the Pentagon.
A police report said the unidentified woman fought off her assailant, who appeared intoxicated.
Krusinski, 41, is due in an Arlington County court on Thursday after local officials refused a request from the Air Force for it to handle the case.
By Barbara Starr
In an unprecedented action, an Air Force commander has stripped 17 of his officers of their authority to control and launch nuclear missiles.
The 17 are being sent to undergo 60 to 90 days of intensive refresher training on how to do their jobs. The action comes after their unit performed poorly on an inspection and one officer was investigated for potential compromise of nuclear launch codes, according to Lt. Col. John Dorrian, an Air Force spokesman.
The story was first reported by The Associated Press.
The action was taken by the deputy commander of the 91st Operations Group, Lt. Col. Jay Folds, whose officers run launch control centers for the Minuteman III nuclear missiles from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota.
By Larry Shaughnessy
The general at the center of a military and legal controversy is telling his side of the story for the first time since throwing out the sexual assault conviction of an Air Force officer.
Lt. Colonel James Wilkerson III was found guilty last year by a jury of Air Force officers of sexually assaulting a woman at his home outside Aviano Air Base in Italy.
He spent four months in a Navy brig before Lt. General Craig Franklin, the convening authority in the case, threw out the verdict.
Franklin was the officer who ordered Wilkerson's court martial at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. But military law allowed him to have the final say.
By Brad Lendon
(CNN) - The nation's best military fliers have had their wings clipped, thanks to the forced spending cuts imposed on the federal government this year.
The U.S. Navy on Tuesday announced it was canceling all the air shows its Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Squadron had scheduled for the rest of the year. The Navy action follows the Air Force's April 1 announcement that its Thunderbirds team would not perform again this year.
Read the full story here.