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​A 380 Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron airman prepares to assist a U-2 pilot in exiting the aircraft at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, Feb. 2, 2017. The extremely hot temperatures in the Middle East, where the U-2 operates daily, are challenging for the aircraft and its crew. Air Force photo by SrA. Tyler Woodward.


U-2 Pilots, Maintainers Work to Overcome Extreme Heat

July in the Middle East means triple-digit temperatures and extreme humidity that makes the outside air feel more like a solid than a gas. It’s a challenge for everyone in the region, but the heat really takes a toll on the U-2, which “doesn’t like the heat,” according to a pilot in an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia. “We know there’s going to be thermals when we get close to the runway because it’s super hot out, we know we have to be careful when we taxi because the tail wheel likes to melt all the time,” he said. Read the full report by Jennifer Hlad.

House Passes $696 Billion NDAA

The House voted 344-81 to approve the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act on Friday. The bill contains $621 billion in base budget spending and $75 billion in the overseas contingency operations (OCO) fund. It also contains a provision to establish a separate Space Corps within the Air Force. The bill’s authorized spending increases remain in doubt, however, because they exceed the spending caps of the 2011 Budget Control Act by $72 billion. Read the full report by Wilson Brissett.

Pawlikowski: Air Force Needs Faster Software Development

The Air Force is working to change the way it develops new software through several pathfinder programs focused on business and logistics systems, Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, commander of Air Force Materiel Command, said Friday at an AFA Mitchell Institute event. While “software is at the heart of most of what we do,” Pawlikowski said the Air Force continues to prioritize hardware development on major weapons systems—leaving software development as an afterthought. But in the multi-domain command and control warfare of the future, speed of networking and decision-making will be decisive, she said, and a responsive, agile software development process will be indispensible. Read the full report by Wilson Brissett.

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House Introduces Legislation to Reform GI Bill

Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, and ranking member Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minn.), introduced new legislation on July 13 that would expand the educational benefits of the GI Bill. The legislation would remove a 15-year time limit on benefits, making it possible for new service members to use them throughout their lifetimes. It would also streamline existing GI Bill programs into a single program, simplifying benefits for recipients. Roe said the bill “makes lasting changes to the GI Bill by expanding educational benefits for our nation’s heroes, their dependents and surviving spouses,” according to a press release. Walz said the bill improves on the current program by “enhancing existing benefits, correcting current gaps in eligibility, and providing new benefits to help our veterans in today’s economy.” —Wilson Brissett

DARPA Is Coming For Your Brain

A year and a half after announcing it’s trying to implant devices into humans that can communicate with the digital world, DARPA announced it has awarded six contracts to five organizations and a company to support its Neural Engineering System Design program. Read the full story by Gideon Grudo.


Gulfstream’s Vision for a Militarized BizJet Future

Gulfstream wants everyone to know that the notion of business jets as small, cramped, and inappropriate as major mission aircraft is wildly out of date. Larger, faster, efficient, and with power to spare, the company is pushing their airplanes for missions traditionally met with big gas-guzzlers. Read the full story John A. Tirpak, who recently traveled aboard a Gulfstream 650ER from Washington, D.C., to its facility in Savannah, Ga.

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RADAR SWEEP


—Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford received the Legion of Honor from French Chief of Defense Gen. Pierre de Villiers on July 13. He was honored for his work improving military relations between the US and France: DOD release.

—Boecore, Inc., will provide maintenance and sustainment for the Shared Early Warning System at Peterson AFB, Colo., over a five-year period. The Colorado Springs, Colo., small business received a $93 million contract for the work, which will begin in July: Global Strike press release.

—Technicians from the 407th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron recently tested and re-certified the aircraft arresting system at a location in Southwest Asia. The system consists of a large cable stretched across the runway with hooks attached and is used to stop aircraft in the event of an emergency on takeoff or landing: AFCENT release.

—New changes give commanders more authority in nominations for developmental education: USAF release.

—A researcher from the Air Force Research Laboratory recently teamed up with members of the 455th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, to explore new methods of countering unmanned aerial systems: AFCENT release.