F-35A Declared Operational

Yesterday, Tuesday, Aug. 2, the Air Force declared the F-35A had reached IOC - initial operational capability. This means that the Air Force can now send the Air Force's first F-35 squadron, the 34th Fighter Squadron from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, into combat operations anywhere in the world.

Video: First Firing of F-35 Gun Pod

F-35 with gun pod
Bad news about the F-35's combat capabilities, development, and its cost is nothing new. We've already reported on several bumps in the road for the fighter, including its dogfight with an F-16, potentially dangerous ejection seat, limited arsenal, and more!.

However, it's not all bad news - the F-35's stealthy external gun pod, which will be carried on the Marine Corp's F-35B and the Navy's F-35C, has finally been tested!

USAF Aircraft Aging: F-15, F-16 and A-10 Must Carry On

F-15E, A-10, F-16, and F-15C in formation
We've talked about the Air Force's looming financial difficulties before, but it looks like the USAF's aircraft fleet may get quite a bit older as well as smaller in the coming years.

Video: RAF F-35B in 4K

F-35 JSF

The first F-35B delivered to the British Royal Air Force was joined by two USMC F-35Bs at the RIAT (Royal International Air Tattoo) at RAF Fairford, and they put on a nice demonstration - not only of the F-35's maneuverability, but also the B-variants ability to land vertically.

Forget Pilot Videos - Here's One By Crew Chiefs!

A-10 Crew Chief

Hawg Smoke - a competition between 13 A-10 teams at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona - took place this year from June 2-4, and this video gives a little bit of "behind-the-scenes" action from the perspective of the crew chief getting an A-10 ready for a flight.

USAF Can't Afford Aircraft in 5 Years

According to a recently released report by the Pentagon, the Air Force's budget problems are made clear. According to the Annual Aviation and Inventory Funding Plan for fiscal years 2017-2046, the USAF runs out of money to support it's fighter fleet in 2021 - just five years from now.

The full report, which can be read on DefenseNews.com, paints a grim picture of the Air Force in the next few years. According to the report:

F-35 Flies With Thunderbirds

F-35 and Thunderbird's F-16 in formation

A neat picture of the F-35 keeping up with the Thunderbird's F-16 in a relatively low-speed formation was posted a few days ago on the Thunderbird's Facebook page, and now we have video of this awesome formation!

New Class of F-16 Grads at Holloman, AFB

A new class of F-16 pilots has just graduated from the 311th Fighter Squadron “Sidewinders”, and what would a graduating class be without a cool video, so:

Some Good F-35 News, For Once!

F-35 In Flight

It looks like the F-35 program finally has some good budget-related news to pass along. Or, at least 1/3 of the F-35 program does!

USAF Short 500 Pilots

US Air Force pilots

If you want to be a fighter pilot, there's no time like the present, since the US Air Force is currently about 500 pilots short of what they need, and deficit is expected to grow to about 800 pilots short by 2022, according to a DefenseNews.com article.