To Join the Military Police, You Must Get Pepper Sprayed in the Face

So you want to join the military police? Well then, get ready to get blasted with a a level-one contamination of oleoresin capsicum. In plain English: You'll be pepper sprayed in a very painful way. And then you'll have to work out! » 3/13/15 5:45pm 3/13/15 5:45pm

A fascinating view into the US Air Force boneyards

You can zoom in this 48-megapixel image of the USAF boneyard in Tucson, Arizona—stitched from Bing Maps satellite images—and try to identify all those airplanes. Or you can watch this USAF documentary on how the US stockpiles thousands of planes in deserts around the country to keep the active fleet flying.* » 2/26/15 1:53pm 2/26/15 1:53pm

I Want to Play With This Tiny Air Force Base All Day Long

Look at this neat model of air base! Those perfectly executed aircraft models: an AWACS, B-52, KC-135, E-2, F-15, F-16, F-18 and even more. That regiment of lead soldiers! I wanna play with them for hours and hours. Wait, what, this is real? » 2/26/15 5:15am 2/26/15 5:15am

The U.S. Is Starting to Sell Armed Drones to Allies

The unmanned strike aircraft of the U.S. are much sought after by other nations—which means there's a massive export opportunity. Now, the country has decided is to permit the widespread sale of armed drones to allied countries. » 2/18/15 4:30am 2/18/15 4:30am

Pentagon Scolds Air Force for Wasting Nearly $9 Billion on Drones

Drones are expensive. Aircraft like General Atomics's MQ-1 Predator or MQ-9 Reaper cost millions of dollars piece, while the cost of maintaining the fleet stretches into the high tens of billions dollars over their lifespans. The Pentagon's internal watchdog is aware of this, and recently lambasted the Air Force for… » 1/22/15 10:33am 1/22/15 10:33am

The Trillion Dollar F-35 Won't Even Be Able to Shoot Its Gun Until 2019

At this point, it's not even funny how much the Pentagon has screwed up the development of its new stealth fighter jet, the F-35. But the latest report that the jet's 25mm cannon won't be operational until 2019 at the earliest is just laughable. Even more laughable is that it probably doesn't even need the gun to… » 12/31/14 2:48pm 12/31/14 2:48pm

The Air Force's Mysterious Spy Plane Is Landing After 2 Years in Space

For nearly two years, the Air Force's X-37B autonomous space plane has been circling around the Earth doing who knows what. Now it's finally coming back to Earth, carrying all its secrets with it. » 10/13/14 7:33pm 10/13/14 7:33pm

How Fighter Jets Lock On (and How the Targets Know)

The primary technology that a military aircraft uses to lock and track an enemy aircraft is its onboard radar. Aircraft radars typically have two modes: search and track. In search mode, the radar sweeps a radio beam across the sky in a zig-zag pattern. When the radio beam is reflected by a target aircraft, an… » 10/10/14 1:28pm 10/10/14 1:28pm

Watch a Pilot Snag Cold War Spy Satellite Footage as It Falls From Orbit

The Corona program was the opening salvo in the effort to peer into Soviet-controlled territory from orbit. In order to recover the top-secret physical photographs it took, Air Force pilots took to the sky for what amounted to a claw arcade game, played miles above the Earth. Here's a rare look at it in action. » 9/02/14 12:14pm 9/02/14 12:14pm

Inside the Classroom Where the Air Force Teaches Drone Pilots

Flying a drone for the Air Force is like any other skill; you have to learn it. The Atlantic got a rare look inside the classroom where that instruction happens. It's a lot like most classrooms you've probably been in, except the word problems they're working through involve killing people. » 6/04/14 11:00am 6/04/14 11:00am

The Pentagon Can't Keep Track of Ammo So It's Destroying $1B in Bullets

Outdated technology and government wastefulness seem to go hand in hand, but this time the two are combining for a startlingly huge money sink: the Pentagon is planning on destroying $1.2 billion in excess bullets and missiles, some of which could still be used by troops. And it's all because the military has no way… » 4/30/14 12:45pm 4/30/14 12:45pm

Northrop's Flying Ram Would Have Sliced Enemy Planes in Midair

War drives technological innovation like little else. No proposal is too ambitious, impractical, or downright foolhardy for consideration if it provides a strategic advantage. This school of thinking has led to atomic bombs, autonomous vehicles, and, in 1945, a short-lived fighter prototype that could cut through… » 4/17/14 11:42am 4/17/14 11:42am

The Air Force Just Fired 9 Nuclear Missile Commanders for Cheating

This is a little unsettling. A year-long investigation into alleged cheating on proficiency exams has resulted in the dismissal of nine nuclear missile commanders at the Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana. The military expects to punish dozens of junior officers, as well. » 3/27/14 6:00pm 3/27/14 6:00pm

Air Force Is Sending Brand New Cargo Planes Straight to the Boneyard

The C-27J Spartan is a hell of a plane. Famous for its ability to take off from unfinished runways, it's a staple used by militaries around the world, including the United States. At least it was until recently. The Air Force is sending its latest batch of beautiful, brand new C-27Js straight to the boneyard in… » 2/03/14 7:00pm 2/03/14 7:00pm

This is how the US Air Force showers its giant cargo planes

Ever wondered how the US Air Force cleans its planes? Here's one way: They use a giant shower on a runway—or a planewash if you must. Here you can see it cleaning the salt accumulated on a Lockheed Martin WC-130 Hercules after flying through storms over the Gulf of Mexico. » 1/12/14 8:49pm 1/12/14 8:49pm

This swarming horde of black stealth fighter jets is not a movie scene

We're not preparing to fight the aliens. This isn't a scene from Independence Day 2. It's just a throwback photo of 25—yes, twenty five—Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk black stealth fighter jets celebrating its 25th anniversary back in 2006. What a beautifully intimidating celebration of power it was. » 1/02/14 7:28pm 1/02/14 7:28pm

So this is how Santa Claus delivers all those presents (in a F-16!)

It's 2013. Of course Santa Claus has traded in his sleigh and reindeers for a fighter jet. That way he can zip around the world in the coolest rig possible. The US Air Force posted this picture of a pilot in a Santa costume for a bit of holiday cheer. Happy Holidays everybody! » 12/19/13 10:30pm 12/19/13 10:30pm

SpaceX celebrated a flawless launch of its Falcon 9 spacecraft from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Wednesday. It delivered an SES-8 satellite into orbit without a glitch bringing the Falcon 9 one flight away from being qualified to fly missions for the Air Force. [SpaceX via BoingBoing] » 12/04/13 6:40pm 12/04/13 6:40pm

Air Force Officers Keep Leaving the Doors to Our Nuclear Missiles Open

Not to scare you or anything, but Air Force officers have left the blast doors to nuclear-tipped missiles open at least twice in the past year. These are the guys who help guard the launch codes who are also tasked with watching over the arsenal. Leaving the missiles available and unattended is a very, very big no-no. » 10/22/13 4:40pm 10/22/13 4:40pm

The Air Force Is Converting Its Old F-16s Into a Fleet of Drones

An awkward thing happens late in the life of a fighter jet. It becomes too decrepit for combat but too functional for the junkyard. Don't worry, though. The Air Force has a plan: convert them all into drones in order to offer fighter pilots in training more realistic target practice. » 9/24/13 12:20pm 9/24/13 12:20pm