Two F-16s, like the ones shown here, assigned to the Oklahoma Air National Guard's 138th Fighter Wing collided over Kansas during a training sortie on Oct. 20, 2014. Air Force photo.
assigned to the Oklahoma Air National Guard's 138th Fighter Wing collided around 2:30 p.m. Monday during a training sortie
near Moline, Kansas, forcing one of the pilots to eject, according to an Oct. 21 release. The pilot who ejected was taken to the hospital at
McConnell AFB, Kan., for medical evaluation and has since been released. The second pilot safely
recovered the other F-16 involved in the mishap and flew the fighter back to the
unit's base in Tulsa. Neither aviator was seriously
injured in the accident, wing officials announced. “Our airmen are our most valuable asset because they protect the
United States from our adversaries," said Col.
David Burgy, commander of the 138th FW. “Fortunately both pilots are going to be all right and have been
reunited with their families.” Members of the 138th Maintenance Group, also based in Tulsa, Okla., "are assessing the damage to the aircraft that landed there," states the release. Two F-16Cs assigned to the District of Columbia
in a similar accident off the coast of Virginia last August. Investigators latter attributed that accident to pilot error. Air Force investigators will
probe the Oct. 20 incident and publish further details after the conclusion of a formal
accident investigation board.
Pentagon officials would not confirm the
validity of an ISIS video posted Tuesday that apparently shows its fighters in
possession of one of the supply
bundles C-130s dropped to Kurdish forces in the city. “The short answer is,
we don’t know,” Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said Tuesday when asked
during a Pentagon press briefing if ISIS had taken possession of one of the
bundles, which reportedly features small arms components and rocket propelled
grenade launchers. He said analysts at US Central Command headquarters and at
the Pentagon were analyzing the video to determine its veracity. Kirby
confirmed small arms, ammunition, and grenades were among the items dropped in
the resupply effort, but stressed DOD is confident the vast majority of the 28
bundles dropped in the operation “ended up in the right hands,” with only one
going off course. CENTCOM confirmed
one of its six strikes on Monday targeted “a stray resupply bundle from a US
airdrop” in order to prevent the supplies from falling into ISIS control, but
Kirby would not confirm whether the supplies that were destroyed were the
supplies pictured in the ISIS video. “I’m not making any definitive judgments
until we get an analysis,” he said.
The Pentagon revised its assessment of the
security situation in the Syrian city of Kobani after USAF C-130s airdropped
bundles of weapons, ammunition, and medical supplies to besieged Kurdish
fighters. Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John
Kirby said Kurdish forces now control “the majority of the city,” but
conditions remain tenuous. US and coalition aircraft flew six more airstrikes
in and around the city on Monday and early Tuesday. Kirby said the US did not
get involved in the inventory of the supplies dropped, but Kurdish officials in
Iraq arranged the supplies and requested the airlift. Kirby would not comment
on discussions with the Turkish government or whether the Turks would or would
not allow the land transport of resupply through Turkey to Kobani, which sits
on the Turkish border. “Air relief was determined to be the best, most efficient
way to deliver supplies in this case,” he said, adding it is likely the US may
determine future air resupply sorties could be used in the campaign against
ISIS. The strikes and air resupply have helped degrade ISIS capabilities, such
as key equipment and vehicles in addition to killing several hundred fighters.
Since the group lacks maintenance capability for many vehicles, the losses
degrade the group’s overall capability, Kirby noted.
Lockheed Martin reported lower quarterly earnings and margins for it aeronautics division Tuesday, reflecting a recent industry trend, but the program manager for its biggest project—the F-35—said there's no government "war" on corporate profit. Rather, "we have a war on cost," Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan said in a recent interview with Air Force Magazine. The Defense Department writ large is "not trying to reap savings of defense dollars by cutting profit," he said, but shifting contracts away from straight fee payments to cost-reduction incentive approaches. "As they reduce costs, which is what we're really after, we'll share with them the added money saved" through efficiencies, "and the fee, plus the cost savings, becomes profit for them." There's "absolutely not" an anti-profit sentiment, Bogdan said, because "that doesn't help the industrial base, that doesn't help the supply chain, because they'll pass that down to their suppliers." He said contractors generally "have to recognize that part of their profit has to be earned, and not just given to them. And that's where we are in the F-35 program, in balancing fee and cost reduction. ... They have to complete things in order to earn that money." Lockheed's aeronautics unit saw a 12 percent reduction in earnings to $362 million, and about a one-percent drop in operating margin for the last quarter. The aeronautics division also reported lower C-130 sales numbers.
Much of the award fees that Lockheed Martin stands to make on the F-35 program are still to come, program executive officer Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan said. In a recent interview with Air Force Magazine, Bogdan said F-35 program award fees are largely tied to achieving specific milestones that haven't happened yet. About $100 million is tied to declaring initial operational capability for the Marine Corps' F-35B in July of 2015, he explained, and "the remaining $230 million or so is tied to the final capability that they deliver in 2017," when USMC and the Air Force are operational and the 3F version of the software is fully delivered and tested. "But, they don't get it unless they meet the criteria that we set forth," he said, noting that some fee will be sacrificed if the program is late. Pratt & Whitney, maker of the fighter's F135 engine, has "in the last two years ... had an opportunity to earn about $36 million, and I think they have ... lost the opportunity to earn about $10 million" of that amount, Bogdan said. Pratt is laboring to correct an engine deficiency that led to an F-35 catching fire in June.
Representatives came from JB Langley-Eustis, Va.; Ellsworth AFB, S.D.; Beale
AFB, Calif.; Tinker AFB, Okla.; Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz.; Nellis AFB, Nev.; and
Hill AFB, Utah. Among the items tested at the Oct. 7-14 event was the joint
service aircrew mask, which was evaluated for tactical aircraft as well as the
F-35 for its ability to keep aircrew safe from airborne contamination. Other
equipment for the F-15E Strike Eagle and F-22 Raptor was put to the test to see
if improvements could be made for better integration. Each aircrew’s chemical,
biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) defense flight suits were sprayed
with fluorescent particles during testing, simulating exposure to biological
and chemical agents. After spraying, the test participants went through an
aircrew contamination area to manage contaminated equipment and to simulate
disinfecting and neutralizing potential hazards. Results from testing were
compiled and sent to the joint program office for CBRN defense at Edgewood, Md.
Force Materiel Command boss Gen. Janet Wolfenbarger and Maj.
Gen. Theresa Carter, commander of the provisional Air Force Installation
and Mission Support Center, recently welcomed new
members into the center during a town hall meeting at JBSA-Lackland, Texas.
Lackland’s Air Force Civil Engineer Center, Air Force Security Forces Center,
Air Force Materiel Command Services Directorate, and several local squadrons
assigned to the Air Force Installation Contracting Agency, in addition to the
Financial Management Center of Expertise in Denver and Air Force Financial
Services Center at Ellsworth AFB, S.D., all
realigned under AFMC as of Oct. 1. They are now attached to AFIMSC(P).
"We determined there was merit in figuring out how we could centralize
installation management functions that today are executed across all of the
major commands, put those together, realize some synergies, and reduce
resourcing as a result," Wolfenbarger said. "This was the biggest
strategic initiative that was put on the table in response to the Secretary of
Defense's mandate to reduce management headquarters by 20 percent."
An Air Force MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft suffered a "hard landing" in Niamey, Niger, following an unarmed reconnaissance and surveillance sortie in support of operations in West Africa on Monday, officials said. The impact "damaged the runway at Diori Hamani International Airport in Niamey" but caused no injury to military or civilian personnel, US Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa spokesman Capt. William-Joseph Mojica told Air Force Magazine. The RPA was reportedly supporting French military operations against Islamist militants in neighboring Mali, according to a Reuters report. "The US government is working closely with the government of Niger to secure the scene and mitigate inconveniences caused by the incident," Mojica added in an Oct. 21 statement. The service is currently investigating the incident and will provide further information pending the results, according to USAFE-AFAFRICA officials.
Greek TA-7C Corsair II symbolically breaks away from a formation of the
Hellenic Air Force's current fighter types during its retirement ceremony after
39 years of Greek service at Araxos AB, Greece, Oct. 17. Hellenic Air Force
ally Greece retired the last operational A-7 Corsair IIs in service world-wide
with a final fly-by at Araxos AB, Greece, Oct. 17, officials announced.
The Air National Guard retired its final A-7D/K—known affectionately as the “Sluff”—
in 1992. The bulk of Greece's A-7s were transferred from US Navy stocks when
the service retired its fleet after Operation Desert Storm, according to an IHS
Thailand and Portugal also operated ex-Navy A-7s into the early 2000s, leaving
Greece as the last Corsair II operator in the world. The venerable A-7 clocked
some 355,000 sorties, racking up approximately 440,000 flying hours during its
39 years of Greek service, according to the press report. The Hellenic Air
Force's final Corsair II unit, 336 Squadron, is slated to join its sister unit
flying the F-16C/D from Araxos in northwestern Greece. (USAF A-7D/K factsheet)
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