The Silent Eagle has landed:
A top-secret space plane landed Friday at an Air Force base on the Southern California coast.
The plane spent nearly two years circling Earth on a classified mission. Known as the X-37B, it resembles a mini space shuttle.
I noted it on the way up.
And I first mentioned it four years ago in the hope that it represented a move by the Air Force to become the Aero-Space Force:
I think the Air Force needs to go up to space and let the ground guys take over the aerial missions needed to directly support the troops.
Air superiority (including counter-air missions against enemy airfields), space control (both offensive and defensive), ICBMs, air transport, and electronic warfare should be the Air Force missions. Missions that are directly in support of ground forces should be controlled by those services with either helicopters or UAVs.
Science fiction calls space assets "ships" but there is no reason we must have a space navy in the future. Aim high, Air Force. Space Force has a nice ring, too.
I later added cyber-warfare--plus include missile defense that they do now, too.
I remain unclear about what could motivate the Air Force to aim high--the thought of Chinese competition or U. S. Navy competition--rather than fixating on Army aviation as the real threat.
There is speculation about the payload of the X-37B and what such a small craft can do. I believe that while as designed it could do interesting work, the craft is a scaled down version of what could be a larger space vessel. Then it gets real interesting.