in july, the air force completed the initial test flights of their remotely piloted aircraft (rpa) armed forces testbed (aft). aft is a man-in-the-loop drone known as "superbird."" the air force plans to complete the initial operational capability in 2018, followed by the full operational capability in 2021. the air force is investing approximately $630 million to develop and procure aft to replace the current avenger drone.
in addition, the air force, as part of the global emerging manufacturers innovation center, completed the contract with stemun, an israeli-based company, to develop and manufacture the afrp (air force remotely piloted aircraft program).
in august, the air force received certification on the legacy modernization program, a transformation of the kc-46 pegasus global pipeline. the end goal is to produce and deliver 40 aircraft with an improved flight envelope. the air force and boeing plan to test the first kc-46 pegasus in the first half of 2016.
in september, the air force pilots school and the air combat maneuvering school held their air force special operations command jump school. the air force plans to certify the schools by december 2016. these courses will prepare students for combat jump training.
in june, the air force released its engineering design for the f-35j joint strike fighter (jsf). the jsf was officially designated as the "fifth-generation fighter" earlier this year after the air force plans to acquire 2,456 of the aircraft. the air force also released documents indicating the aircraft will eventually operate from different bases throughout the united states. 3d9ccd7d82