The Air Force just cut the time it needs to train pilots almost in half - We Are The Mighty
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The Air Force just cut the time it needs to train pilots almost in half

Seven Air Force officers made history by becoming the first to graduate from a new pilot program earlier this month.

The “Accelerated Path to Wings” (nicknamed XPW) program promises to significantly shorten the time it takes for pilot candidates to finish their basic education.

Normally, the Air Force can create new pilots in about 12 months. The new pilot program slices five months out of that and produces pilots in just seven.

During the XPW program, pilot candidates completed their undergraduate training curriculum in the T-1 Jayhawk, making it simpler than if they were using more airframes for their basic education. The XPW program is part of the Air Education and Training Command’s (AETC) attempt to transform, improve, and shorten the current pilot program.

“We had students from various backgrounds, including five who had completed their initial flight training and two who had earned their private pilot’s license,” Lieutenant Colonel Eric Peterson, the commander of the 99th Flying Training Squadron, said in a press release.

“This is a great program for students who want to go fly heavy aircraft in Air Mobility Command, or who want to go fly certain aircraft in special operations or in Air Combat Command.”

The Air Force just cut the time it needs to train pilots almost in half
Graduates from the first-ever “Accelerated Path to Wings” class gather in front of a T-1 Jayhawk aircraft after receiving their pilot wings March 12, 2021 at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas. Accelerated Path to Wings is part of Air Education and Training Command’s pilot training transformation program, a two phase T-1 only pilot training tract. The 99th Flying Training Squadron is responsible for executing the seven month training mission that culminates with students earning their pilot wings. (U.S. Air Force photo by Sean Worrell).

Traditional pilot training is divided into three phases where pilot candidates first fly the T-6 Texan II before going over to the T-1 Jayhawk. The XPW program, which has two phases, does without the T-6 Texan II phase and puts students straight in the cockpits of the T-1 Jayhawk. After the standard preflight academics and aviation terminology phase, students go on the simulator where they develop extensive training profiles.

“It feels amazing to have endured the last seven months of pilot training to reach this point. It’s all been worth it. I’m extremely proud. I can’t wait to begin flying around the world,”  2nd Lt. Kassandra Fochtman, who is slated to fly the KC-135 Stratotanker out of McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, said.

The Air Force just cut the time it needs to train pilots almost in half
An air-to-air view of a T-1 Jayhawk during a training mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Terry Wasson).

“Graduating from the first XPW class is pretty special,” said 2nd Lt. Andrew Button. “I volunteered for this not knowing if it would work out or not, but I just put my trust in the Air Force. I want to give credit to my family and the world-class instructor pilots at the 99th FTS.” Button is slated to fly the C-17 Globemaster III transport out of Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina.

The Air Force is suffering from a shortage of qualified pilots, a shortage so big that now the service is offering close to half-a-million bonuses for pilots to stay. If implemented fully, the XPW program might help address the issue.

Feature photo: U.S Air Force Col. Jeannie Leavitt, 4th Fighter Wing commander, signals her crew chief before taking flight at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., July 17, 2013. After being stood down for more than three months, the 336th Fighter Squadron was finally given the green light to resume flying hours and return to combat mission ready status. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brittain Crolley/Released)

This article originally appeared on Sandboxx. Follow Sandboxx on Facebook.

Articles

The Most Famous Photograph Of World War II Was Taken 70 Years Ago

The Air Force just cut the time it needs to train pilots almost in half


The most famous photograph of World War II was taken 70 years ago at the Battle of Iwo Jima.

Just five days into a battle that would last a total of 35 days, Marines scaled Mount Suribachi and planted the American flag. Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal was there to capture it on Feb. 23, 1945.

Also Read: The Battle Of Iwo Jima Began 70 Years Ago — Here’s How It Looked When Marines Hit The Beach 

Via CNN:

It might be hard today to comprehend how a single image can become iconic, exposed as we are to streams of photographs and videos every day from our news and social media feeds. But Rosenthal’s image resonated with all who saw it and was swiftly reproduced on U.S. government stamps and posters, in sandstone (on Iwo Jima, by the Seabee Waldron T. Rich) and most famously in bronze, as the Marine Corps War Memorial in Washington. The photograph won a Pulitzer Prize in 1945 and is considered one of the most famous images of all time.

Rosenthal’s image was the second raising of the flag on Suribachi that day. A few hours before the famous image was captured, a Marine photographer captured the first flag raising, which saw much less fanfare. The first, and smaller flag, was taken down and replaced since a U.S. commander thought it was not large enough to be seen at a distance, reports CNN.

There were five Marines and one Navy corpsman who raised the second flag. Although the image was thought to represent triumph and American might, it was also a reminder just how deadly the battle for Iwo really was. Three of the six photographed would later lose their lives on that island.

According to the The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal, American military planners thought the battle would only be a few days. Instead, it dragged on for five weeks, at a cost of more than 6,800 American lives. The Japanese lost more than 18,000.

NOW: 21 Pulitzer Prize-Winning Photos That Capture The Essence Of War 

OR: This Guy Kept Fighting The War For 30 Years After Japan Surrendered 

Intel

Chinese hackers strike US government servers targeting people with Chinese ties

China is at it again, starting off the first 100 days of the Biden Presidency with a number of cyberattacks aimed at shaking American businesses, local governments and even those agencies with their own interests in what happens inside the Chinese government.

The latest round of Chinese attacks on American data services was one of the most advanced hacks yet, especially in terms of the measures taken to evade detection. This time, the hackers weren’t necessarily targeting the Department of Defense or critical infrastructure, they were targeting individuals with information China would consider valuable.

A hacking group called Advanced Persistent Threat 5 (or APT5)  is the culprit in the latest round of attacks according to Charles Carmakal, chief technology officer of Mandiant, a division of FireEye. FireEye has routinely aided the U.S. government in its cybersecurity efforts and has detected or thwarted a number of high-profile attacks in the past decade. 

Charles Carmakal, chief technology officer of Mandiant, a division of FireEye (LinkedIn)

“This looks like classic China-based espionage,” Carmakal told the Washington Post. “There was theft of intellectual property, project data. We suspect there was data theft that occurred that we won’t ever know about.”

Though the defense department was a target of this round of hacking, a number of other U.S. government agencies were, along with some critical defense contractors. The attacks began in June of 2020 and may even be ongoing. The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), acknowledged as much in an April 2021 alert.

This time, the flaws exploited by Chinese hackers were inside of Pulse Secure virtual private network servers (VPN) that allow remote working employees to access company servers while offsite. 

Hackers also got into hardware devices near the victims’ locations, and renamed their servers to mimic those of current employees. Hiding in plain sight with a common name and the accounts of persons they just hacked is what made the intrusion so difficult to detect. 

FireEye has a long history of exposing high-profile hacks from state actors. In 2015, the company discovered Chinese hackers exploiting vulnerabilities in Microsoft Word and Office applications as well as Adobe Flash Player. In 2016, it discovered a vulnerability in the Android mobile operating system that allowed hackers to access text messages and phone directories. 

The cybersecurity firm was also a target of hackers itself in 2020, when state-funded hackers stole the FireEye toolkit. FireEye had to then begin to fight its own software, releasting tools to make the use of its toolkit more difficult in cyberattacks. 

The Air Force just cut the time it needs to train pilots almost in half
Tech. Sgt. Bryan Dauphinais, 103rd Communications Flight cyber transport journeyman, analyzes simulated cyberattacks during exercise Cyber Yankee at the Windsor Locks Readiness Center, Windsor Locks, Connecticut, July 30, 2020. The exercise connects Guardsmen throughout New England with state and federal agencies, and has them work alongside critical infrastructure utilities to combat simulated cyber attacks from threat actors. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Steven Tucker)

Most importantly, FireEye detected the 2020 SolarWinds attack and reported it to the National Security Agency (NSA). The SolarWinds attack allowed hackers to breach multiple government agencies, grant themselves privileged access to their networks. This attack was allegedly conducted by hackers working for the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, or SVR.  

In response, President Biden implemented seeping sanctions on the Russian economy upon taking office. There is no word yet on retaliation against China from the Biden Administration, the White House has only commented that it was aware of the situation and was monitoring it closely. 

The most recent cybersecurity breach by APT5 is the third detected attack in 2021, all suspected to have links to China’s Communist Party. One of the previous two attacks hit 30,000 Americans in small business and local government, the other targeted tech giant Microsoft. 

Intel

33 of America’s most terrifying nuclear mishaps

Since the beginning of the U.S. nuclear program, there have been 33 nuclear weapons accidents, known as “broken arrows,” according to Eric Schlosser in his book: Command and Control. A “broken arrow” is the Pentagon’s phrase for an unexpected event involving nuclear weapons that result in the accidental launching, firing, detonating, theft, or loss of the weapon.


An example of a “broken arrow” is the Goldsboro accident in which a B-52 carrying two nuclear bombs broke apart, dropping the bombs over Goldsboro, North Carolina. Or the time in 1966 when a B-52 crashed into a KC-135 Stratotanker during a refueling operation, releasing four thermonuclear bombs over Spain. It’s hard to believe, but there are 31 more times these doomsday scenarios played out.

Here is a brief, terrifying history of some of America’s nuclear mishaps:

NOW: The 7 weirdest nuclear weapons ever developed

OR: The US nuclear launch code during the Cold War was weaker than your granny’s AOL password

Intel

This New Zealand Army war cry is actually a farewell to fallen comrades

Like the US military with service and unit mottos, each service and unit within the New Zealand forces has a haka.


From Encyclopedia Britannica:

Haka, (Maori: “dance”) Maori posture dance that involves the entire body in vigorous rhythmic movements, which may include swaying, slapping of the chest and thighs, stamping, and gestures of stylized violence. It is accompanied by a chant and, in some cases, by fierce facial expressions meant to intimidate, such as bulging eyes and the sticking out of the tongue. Though often associated with the traditional battle preparations of male warriors, haka may be performed by both men and women, and several varieties of the dance fulfill social functions within Maori culture.

This video shows the soldiers of 2/1 RNZIR Battalion performing their unit haka as a final farewell to their fallen comrades:

NOW: The 9 most badass unit mottos in the Marine Corps

OR: Japanese Twitter users are mocking ISIS with photoshopped memes

Intel

This First-Person Video Shows What Tankers See While Blowing Targets Away

Tanks firing isn’t something many people think of as requiring marksmanship, but tankers take it very seriously. A new video shows Marines engaging targets at the range, and most of the footage is from the perspective of the tankers.


Also Read: 7 Incredible Narco Tanks Built By Mexican Cartels

With tanks firing, the big gun is, of course, the main draw. The 120-mm smoothbore can accurately fire shells over 2 kilometers.

The Air Force just cut the time it needs to train pilots almost in half

But the video also shows the operations of the loader, the crew member who feeds the gun.
The Air Force just cut the time it needs to train pilots almost in half

The tanks are on a firing line and there are great shots of one tank firing right after another.
The Air Force just cut the time it needs to train pilots almost in half
Machine guns on the tank are not as flashy but crucial for protecting the crew. They get to spit some brass, too.
The Air Force just cut the time it needs to train pilots almost in half

Check out the full video on Youtube:

NOW: These Crazy Photos Show 30+ Ton Tanks In Flight

OR: How Well Do You Know The M4 Sherman Tank? Take the quiz

Intel

“Severe Clear” is the Iraqi War through the eyes of frontline Marines

Shot by First Lt. Mike Scotti on his home camera,and told through the journal entries of Kristian Fraga, “Severe Clear” is a first-person account of the Marines who were on the front lines of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.


“Here is the truth about being a Marine that you won’t find on the local news,” Scotti says behind a jiggling, hand-held camera. “We’re loud. We drink too much, fight too much and swear too much. Truth be told, our rifles are the only things we think about more than sex.”

Watch this brief clip that captures some of the ups and downs of this roller coaster documentary:

Video: Dominic Mason, YouTube

Watch the full movie on YouTube or Amazon Prime for free.

Intel

Here’s why Japan doesn’t hate the US after dropping the bomb (twice)

The United States’ use of the atomic bomb against Japan is credited with ending World War II. Over 300,00 people were killed between Hiroshima and Nagasaki, according to CNN.


Despite the devastation, less than 100 years later, Japan and the U.S. have become close political and social allies. This video shows how America’s involvement in post-war Japan helped the country become the thriving nation it is today.

Watch:

NOW: Japanese Twitter users are mocking ISIS with photoshopped memes

OR: This guy kept fighting the war 30 years after Japan surrendered

Articles

DARPA’s new robot can jump hurdles, chase you down, and haunt your dreams

With backing by DARPA, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has developed a robot that can run 13 mph and jump over obstacles without guidance from a human. A video of it in action was released yesterday, though it doesn’t appear to be running at full speed.


Looks like it’s time to start training. “Terminator” robots are going to be way faster than we ever imagined.

Some of the technology is explained in the video available below.

For more information on the robot, check out the full article on it over at Wired.

NOW: The 8 most iconic Marine Corps recruiting slogans

AND: Marines Improvise an awesome waterslide during a rainstorm

Intel

Air Force offers pilots $420K bonus to stay in the cockpit

When the Air Force tells its pilots to “aim high,” they sure as heck mean it. In a bid to offset its persistent pilot retention woes, the Air Force is reportedly offering its aviators a bonus of up to $420,000 to stay in uniform.

The payments are to be doled out over time or in lump sums, and vary in their value according to different types of aircraft. For example: bomber, fighter, special operations, air mobility, and combat search and rescue fixed-wing pilots can receive an additional $25,000 annually for contracts lasting five to seven years, and up to $35,000 annually for contract lengths of eight to 12 years.

Those pilots also have the option to receive a lump sum payment of $100,000 for the five-to-seven-year contracts and $200,000 for the eight-to-12-year contracts.

The Air Force just cut the time it needs to train pilots almost in half
F-35A Lightning II pilots from the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings are met by family and friends as they return home on May 10, 2020, after a six-month deployment to the Middle East. Photo by R. Nial Bradshaw/US Air Force, courtesy of DVIDS.

Remotely piloted aircraft pilots can receive the same benefits, except they can only opt for a $100,000 lump sum payout for contract lengths of eight to 12 years. Combat search and rescue rotary-wing pilots are set to receive annual bonus payments of $15,000 for contracts lasting five to seven years, and up to $25,000 annually for contract lengths of eight to 12 years.

The stress of more than two decades of constant combat deployments has spurred many Air Force pilots to hang up their spurs, so to speak, and head for the airlines or other civilian careers. In March 2020, the Air Force reported that it was 2,100 pilots short of the 21,000 required to execute the National Defense Strategy.

In its fiscal year 2021 budget request to Congress, the Air Force described its crop of pilots as “a force that remains inspired to serve, but are nevertheless stressed by nearly two decades of sustained combat.”

The bonuses are intended to keep pilots in the Air Force. However, with the commercial airline industry in turmoil from the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of pilots looking to leave the service may already be set to decrease in the coming years. Nevertheless, the diminished pull of the commercial aviation economy could be offset if the tempo of military operations ticks up again in the coming years.

The Air Force just cut the time it needs to train pilots almost in half
US Air Force Lt. Col. Frederick M. Wilmer III, a KC-10 Extender pilot with the 76th Air Refueling Squadron, 514th Air Mobility Wing, has apple cider poured on him by his daughter, Samantha, after completing his final flight at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., May 18, 2018. Photo by Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen/US Air Force, courtesy of DVIDS.

“Retention of these valued aviators remains at risk should operational demands continue to outpace our available force structure, shifting the burden of a high operations tempo onto our already stressed aircrew,” the Air Force budget document added.

To make up the pilot shortfall, the Air Force is also looking to add more pilots; the service’s stated goal is to train 1,480 new aircrew annually by 2024.

“Increasing production of new aviators remains the most significant lever we have to arrest aircrew shortages,” the Air Force stated.

To ramp up its pilot “production,” the Air Force is experimenting with an expedited pilot training curriculum for certain types of aircraft.

The Accelerated Path to Wings program trains transport pilots in about seven months, as opposed to the traditional 12-month undergraduate pilot training program. The expedited curriculum cuts flight time in the T-6 Texan II aircraft — which includes training in aerobatics and other skills that aren’t necessarily essential to pilots of large transport aircraft. Rather, Accelerated Path to Wings student pilots perform all their training in the T-1A Jayhawk.

The Air Force is also experimenting with “augmented reality training” to accelerate the pilot training curriculum and cut down on costs.

This article originally appeared on Coffee or Die. Follow @CoffeeOrDieMag on Twitter.

Intel

Thailand Has An Aircraft Carrier With No Aircraft

The Air Force just cut the time it needs to train pilots almost in half
Photo: PH3 Alex C. Witte/US Navy


For a brief period in the late 1990s, Thailand was the only country in southeast Asia that possessed one of the ultimate symbols of military strength: an aircraft carrier.

Its carrier, the HTMS Chakri Naruebet, was meant to be a point of pride for Thailand and symbolize the developing country’s power.

Also Read: 37 Awesome Photos Of Life On A US Navy Carrier

Then the late 1990s Asian financial crisis hit Thailand. Bangkok’s grand plans for its carrier were significantly hobbled. Commissioned in 1997, the same year the financial crisis struck the country, the Chakri Naruebet — which means “Sovereign of the Chakri dynasty,” the Thai monarchy’s ruling family — was mostly consigned to sitting in port due to lack of funding.

Now, according to The Motley Fool, Asia has plenty of aircraft carriers, as China, India, Japan, and South Korea all have carriers of different sizes. Not wanting to be left out, Singapore is on its way to constructing a carrier too.

All this competition has only made Thailand’s once-proud carrier look like a bizarre reminder of the country’s dysfunction, rather than the symbol of growing prestige that it was intended to be.

According to The Diplomat, Thailand’s AV-8S Matador (Harrier) accompanying jet fleet was withdrawn from service in 2006, leaving Bangkok with an aircraft carrier without aircraft. Thailand experienced a military coup that same year, along with a second one in 2014.

Thailand ordered its aircraft carrier from Spain in 1992. The vessel was commissioned five years later, in 1997

The Air Force just cut the time it needs to train pilots almost in half
Photo: Wikimedia

Almost immediately, Thailand ran into budget constraints. The Chakri Naruebet was put to port for the better part of each month and in 2006 its associated air wing was withdrawn. The Harriers are now over 30 years old.

The Air Force just cut the time it needs to train pilots almost in half
Photo: PH3 Alex C. Witte/US Navy

Even while operational, the carrier has been outclassed by the larger vessels of India and China, not to mention the US’s super carrier fleet pictured below. It’s now the smallest functioning aircraft carrier in the world.

The Air Force just cut the time it needs to train pilots almost in half
Photo: PH3 Alex C. Witte/US Navy

The Chakri Naruebet was built to carry 9 Harrier aircraft and 14 helicopters, with a 605-person crew. Some of those planes are decades old, and the carrier reportedly doesn’t have a functioning anti-aircraft defense system.

The Air Force just cut the time it needs to train pilots almost in half
Photo: Wikimedia

Still, despite its shortcomings, the Chakri Naruebet has proved useful in humanitarian missions. The Diplomat notes that the carrier was used after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami as well as in rescue operations after flooding in Thailand in 2010 and 2011.

More from Business Insider:

This article originally appeared at Business Insider Defense Copyright 2015. Follow BI Defense on Twitter.

Intel

Delta Force copied insurgents’ use of IEDs with ‘XBox’

The Air Force just cut the time it needs to train pilots almost in half
Photo: US Army


In Iraq, IEDs quickly became the deadliest weapon U.S. troops faced. But not all IEDs were created equal. In 2006, Iranian collaborators from the Quds force were accused of providing devices and knowledge to Iraqi insurgents to make the bombs even more deadly.

Sean Naylor, a contributing editor at Foreign Policy, writes in a new book that Army Delta Force operators countered by creating a bomb of their own, dubbed “XBox,” to take out the top Iraqi bomb makers and possibly their Iranian collaborators.

The IEDs were carefully crafted to look and perform exactly like the bombs used by insurgents — except they were triggered by Delta Force operators instead of the bad guys.

According to Naylor, the operators would stake out a target for days to learn the bomb maker’s patterns and then plant an IED in the target’s vehicle, detonating it when the target was in an isolated area away from civilians and U.S. personnel.

For more, check out this article at Bloomberg or read Naylor’s book, “Relentless Strike: The Secret History of Joint Special Operations Command.”

NOW: These 4 books show the inner workings of Delta Force

Intel

Navy plane captains get jets flying to the danger zone

If you’ve watched Top Gun, you probably enjoyed the dogfight scenes. Meanwhile, the ladies in the audience fiercely debated over who was more handsome, Maverick or Iceman (though the mustache fans out there might opt for a dark-horse candidate in Goose). But Top Gun, like many military aviation films, left out a crucial person who’s response for getting those jets ready to fly into the danger zone and blast MiGs out of the sky.


The Air Force just cut the time it needs to train pilots almost in half

Lance Cpl. Nicholas Levins, an F/A-18 aircraft mechanic with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 323 and an Issaquah, Wash., native, poses inside of an intake of an F/A-18 Hornet aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif.

(U.S. Marine Corps)

The Air Force just cut the time it needs to train pilots almost in half

One of the jobs a plane captain has is making sure the canopy is absolutely spotless.

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Dave Hites)

That person is the plane captain. According to a United States Navy release, he or she is responsible for making sure that a plane is fit to fly. This includes performing daily checks on all aircraft and additional checks made before and after each flight. Some of the things a plane captain looks for include cracks on the plane, missing fasteners (which could allow foreign objects to damage an engine), emergency oxygen levels, and canopy cleanliness.

The Air Force just cut the time it needs to train pilots almost in half

Plane captains assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 113 carry intake screens on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70).

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Nicolas C. Lopez)

Here’s the kicker: The people responsible for this are some of the newest, youngest personnel in the unit. We’re talking men and women who are anywhere from 19 to 21 years of age. They spend up to six months learning everything necessary to be responsible for a high-performance fighter. A Marine Corps release notes that these people spend as much as 14 hours per day keeping a jet ready. Oh, and they don’t get any overtime pay or comp time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0s16W5Fg0dk

www.youtube.com

The real challenge is to keep from becoming complacent. After all, one mishap could cost the United States a multi-million dollar jet and the life of the pilot (or the crew). But the plane captains, like the pilots, get their name on the jet.

Learn more about what plane captains do in this Korean War-era film from the United States Navy.

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