in the launch of the Air Force’s first two Geosynchronous Space Situational
Awareness Program satellites, originally scheduled for July 23, may impact
United Launch Alliance’s ability to launch the GPS IIF-7 satellite on July 31, Air
Force Space Command officials said Friday. “If the Delta IV rocket carrying the
GSSAP satellites does not get off the ground tonight, then we are … prepared to
launch tomorrow, if necessary,” said Walter Lauderdale, Air Force Space Command
GPS IIF-7 mission director. “If we have an attempt tomorrow, the team will have
to re-evaluate whether Thursday is supportable.” Col. Bill Cooley, director
of the Global Positioning System Directorate, said balancing the Air Force priorities with
launch sustainability is key. “It’s always a compromise in discussion between
the constellation sustainment and the launch manifest, and so those decisions
have yet to be made,” Cooley said. The GPS IIF-7 is scheduled to leave from
Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., July 31 with a launch window beginning at 11:27 p.m.
Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics,
speaks at a roll-out ceremony for the first two F-35 Lightning II joint strike
fighter aircraft for the Royal Australian Air Force at Lockheed Martin’s
facility in Fort Worth, Texas, July 24, 2014. Courtesy
The first two F-35 strike fighters for the Royal
Australian Air Force officially rolled off the line at Lockheed Martin’s Fort
Worth, Texas, facility on July 24. The aircraft, dubbed AU-1 and AU-2, will
undergo functional fuel system checks and flight tests over the next few
months, before they are delivered to RAAF later this year, according to a July
release. Both aircraft will be based at Luke AFB, Ariz., where they will be
used for pilot training. “For both our nations, this program represents an
exponential leap in capability on the cutting edge of technology, and an
integral component of our ongoing joint commitment to stability and peace in
the Asia-Pacific,” said Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition,
technology, and logistics. Australia already has contracted $412 million dollar
to its F-35 program and is expected to spend up to $6 billion in “expected
manufacturing orders over the life of the program, “states the release. “It’s
fitting that in the year Australia commemorates 100 years of military aviation,
we also mark the arrival of the most advanced fighter ever developed,” said Lockheed
Martin President Marillyn Hewson.
Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, who previously led US and coalition troops in
Afghanistan, will succeed Gen. James Amos to be the next commandant of the Marine
Corps. Amos has served in the top Marine since October 2010. Army Gen. John
Campbell also was confirmed to replace Dunford as commander of International
Security Assistance Force and US Forces in Afghanistan. Navy Adm. Bill Gortney,
who currently serves as commander of US Fleet Forces Command, was confirmed to
be commander of US Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense
Command. And, Army Lt. Gen. Joseph Votel also was confirmed to receive his
fourth star and to serve as commander of US Special Operations Command. Votel,
who previously led Joint Special Operations Command, will replace Adm. William
McRaven, who is slated to retire.
Russia declared it will expand military cooperation with the Iraqi government, after working to provide Baghdad with attack jets earlier this year. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told the ITAR-Tass state news wire on July 24 that expanding military cooperation with the Iraqis is a "strategic priority" for the Russians. Shoigu and his Iraqi counterpart, Defense Minister Saadun al-Dulaimi, reportedly discussed future prospects for cooperation, future military sales contracts, and potential training for officers during a recent meeting. Al-Duliami said Iraq is seeking to further Russian cooperation because the country is facing "difficulties" in its fight with Islamic State of Iraq in the Levant (ISIL) militants. In late June, Iraq received a shipment of Su-25 ground attack aircraft in a deal brokered by the Russians. At the same time, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki criticized the US effort to provide the Iraqis with F-16s, declaring the process was "long winded." Pentagon officials have since maintained the original delivery and training schedule for F-16 deliveries holds firm, and the Defense Department has said the Iraqis have given no indication they do not want to fulfill the terms of the F-16 agreement.
China's state run Xinhua news service announced the completion of a new "land-based anti-missile technology experiment," citing sources at the Ministry of Defense, but offering few details as to the target and parameters of the test. The test "achieved the desired objectives" the Chinese officials declared, adding the system could aid development of an anti-missile shield which could intercept incoming ballistic missile warheads. It is the third publicly acknowledged anti-missile test by the Chinese since 2010, with the last one occurring in January 2013. The launch comes as China is building up both its traditional defense capabilities, and increasing anti-missile and anti-satellite technology tests, such as the launch of a rocket in May 2013 believed to be related to a new ASAT weapon.
During a recent visit to RAF Alconbury and RAF
Molesworth, United Kingdom, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James emphasized
the importance of the European theater moving forward. "I
have full confidence that the airmen of US Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces
Africa are well positioned to be forward, ready, now," James said. "I
expect the operations tempo of the Air Force to remain high for what I consider
to be the foreseeable future," she said. "Of course we are winding
down combat operations in Afghanistan as we enter a new phase, but it's a very
busy rest of the world." James said Air Force readiness “is not where I’d
like it to be,” but even in spite of budget cuts and force reduction plans
already in place, the Air Force is “making a big push to get those readiness
levels up.” (USAF release.)
Republic of Singapore air force crew chief
assigned to the 428th Fighter Squadron at Mountain
Home AFB, Idaho, waits for the arrival of an F-15SG aircraft
prior to the start Red Flag 14-3, July 11, 2014 at Nellis AFB, Nev.
Force photo by A1C Thomas Spangler.
The recently completed Red Flag 14-3 at Nellis
AFB, Nev., marked a new first for relations between USAF and Singapore’s Air
Force, with the debut
of Singapore's top fighter. The Republic of Singapore Air Force’s 428th Fighter
8 F-15SGs to Nellis in early July, along with 8 F-16s, CH-47s, and some 290
personnel from Singaporean detachments co-located at US bases. The US has been working
to expand defense cooperation with Singapore, particularly through
multilateral events. The Singaporeans joined 83 other aircraft at the exercise,
as well as a French C-130. “This high-end exercise provides the RSAF with an
opportunity to benchmark itself against other leading air forces,” said Lt.
Col. Tham Yeow Min, the RSAF detachment commander. Red Flag 14-3 also marked
the first time RSAF’s top of the line F-15SG fighters participated in Nellis’
Red Flag franchise. Tham noted the RSAF has always done well at the Nellis
event, and the F-15SG crews “will continue to uphold the high standards.” The
RSAF’s 428th FS is based at Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, home
of the “Peace Carvin V” program between the US and Singapore. The base also
serves as the schoolhouse for all RSAF F-15SG training.
Air Force Space Command is planning to start
using GPS satellite tracking, as opposed to radar tracking, to determine the
positions of satellites in orbit, officials told reporters during a
teleconference Friday. The July 31 launch of the seventh GPS IIF satellite will
be the last one that uses the C-Band radar tracking, said Walter Lauderdale, Air Force Space Command GPS
IIF-7 mission director. “The Delta IV launch vehicles have been, for
several missions, since last year, flying with GPS metric tracking, and
starting with the Worldview on the West Coast in the first part of August,
Atlas V will also be solely on GPS metric tracking,” he said. AFSPC began
pushing for the change in 2008, and United Launch Alliance and the Air Force
began transitioning to the GPS system earlier this year. The move is said to
help cut costs and provide enhanced range safety information, officials said.
a period of a few days, Air National Guardsmen and Air Force Reservists from
around the US helped battle forest fires in northern Utah. They brought along
eight Modular Airborne Firefighting Systems-equipped
C-130s and launched six sorties from the National
Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, according to a July 24 release.
Firefighters can request these C-130s when they need a “surge
capability,” said Col. Charles Davis III, commander of Air Expeditionary Wing
Wildland Firefighting. Each C-130 carries a
3,000-gallon tank filled with fire retardant but airmen don’t put out the fire.
“We’re more [about] containment,” said Davis. “We do not put [the retardant] on
the flames. We put it around the fire to stop it from expanding.” Airmen hailed from the California Air National Guard’s
146th Airlift Wing, North Carolina ANG’s 145th AW,
Wyoming ANG’s 153rd AW, and the Air Force
Reserve’s 302nd AW in Colorado.
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