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

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Outdated technology and government wastefulness seem to go hand in hand, but this time the two are combining for a startlingly huge money sink: the Pentagon is planning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

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 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 9:57pm 1/02/14 9:57pm

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

Inside the Pentagon's Trillion Dollar F-35 Embarrassment

It's not news that the Pentagon's fated F-35 program is riddled with dilemmas. For more than a decade, it's bumped into roadblock after roadblock. When the planes aren't grounded, they're forbidden to fly in bad weather, combat missions or at night. Vanity Fair just published a lengthy look at just how bad a mess it… » 9/16/13 2:00pm 9/16/13 2:00pm

How the USAF Keeps Tabs on Space Junk

In the 1980s, the US Air Force only knew about roughly 5,000 pieces of space debris orbiting our planet. By 2010, that number had tripled to 15,639 objects. And our current space trash tracking system can't even detect some of the smaller bits zipping around up there. That's why the USAF is developing a new iteration… » 8/07/13 12:00pm 8/07/13 12:00pm

Watch Boeing's X-51A WaveRider Scramjet Blast Off to Mach 5.1

Boeing's X-51A WaveRider Scramjet has had its share of bad luck. While its first test flight in 2010 went fine, the two that followed ended with unsatisfactory plops. Now, the USAF has just completed the fourth and final test, and the result was a screaming 370 seconds of scramjet glory and literally hypersonic speeds. » 5/04/13 12:00pm 5/04/13 12:00pm