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An F-22 Raptor assigned to the 1st Fighter Wing at JB Langley-Eustis, Va., taxis at Spangdahlem AB, Germany, Oct. 13, 2017. F-22s, this time from Tyndall AFB, Fla., once again arrived at Spangdahlem on Aug. 8. Air Force photo by SSgt. Jonathan Snyder.


Tyndall Raptors Land in Germany

A squadron of F-22 Raptors and airmen from the 95th Fighter Squadron at Tyndall AFB, Fla., deployed to Spangdahlem AB, Germany, on Aug. 8 and will remain in theater for several weeks, US Air Forces in Europe announced. During the deployment, which is funded in part by the European Deterrence Initiative, the Raptors will forward deploy to operating locations in Germany and other NATO nations “in order to maximize training opportunities” and deter regional aggression, according to USAFE. Read the full story by Amy McCullough and Brian Everstine.


USAF Gives Boeing Funding for Risk Reduction on First KC-46

The Air Force has awarded Boeing more funding for KC-46 risk reduction on the first Pegasus, just months before the aircraft is scheduled to be delivered. On Tuesday, the Air Force awarded Boeing a $10 million contract modification for a Block 1 risk reduction study, which looks at the development and integration of new capabilities on the first KC-46. The contract covers short-term work, expected to be finished by Nov. 6, 2019. The Air Force and Boeing last month agreed on a delivery schedule for initial KC-46s, with the first delivered in October and 17 more by next spring. Air Mobility Command boss Gen. Carlton Everhart said last week the schedule is “aggressive” and he is unsure if that timeframe will hold based on the program’s history. —Brian Everstine


USAF Extends Contract for Private Drones at Afghan Bases

The Air Force is extending a contract for privately operated unmanned aerial systems to protect US assets at Bagram and Kandahar Airfields in Afghanistan. The service on Tuesday awarded AAI Corp. a $12.8 million contract to provide contractor-owned and –operated drones for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance at the bases. The funding follows a January award to AAI for the drone operations. At the time, AFCENT said the contract called for full motion video of up to 600 hours per month to help protect the bases. —Brian Everstine

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South Dakota Guard F-16s Deploy to Bagram

F-16s and airmen from the 175th Fighter Squadron deployed to Afghanistan in late July to fly combat operations against the Taliban and ISIS, the Air Force announced this week. The aircraft and airmen, from the South Dakota Air National Guard, landed at Bagram Airfield on July 27, replacing the 125th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron of the Oklahoma Air National Guard.  “The airpower the South Dakota Air National Guard brings to this area of responsibility will continue to assist the Afghan government and security forces in their fight against Taliban, Al-Qaeda, ISIS, and other insurgents, and prevent re-establishment of international terrorist safe havens,” said Lt. Col. Cory Kestel, commander of the 175th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, in a release. The Lobos deployed as US operations have increased in Afghanistan. As of the end of June, US aircraft have released 2,911 bombs in that theater, more than double the amount that was dropped at the same point in 2017, according to Air Forces Central Command. —Brian Everstine

412th Operations Group Trying Contracted Test Support Chase Aircraft

The 412th Operations Group at Edwards AFB, Calif., is trying out two contracted Alpha Jets as chase aircraft for test flights. Christopher Klug, the 412th Operations Group technical director, said the main test support aircraft, the F-16, is “very capable,” but that demand for test support exceeds F-16 capacity, and the Alpha can be used for test support flights that do not require “higher-end capabilities.” Edwards uses chase plans to provide “visual feedback, serve as a flying target,” and to take photos and videos of test sorties, according to a USAF release. The Alphas, contracted through Modern Technology Solutions, Inc. and Gauntlet Aerospace, were designed as light attack and trainer aircraft in the 1970s by a French-German partnership, and the aircraft is still in service in several countries around the world. Klug said the Alphas can be appropriate for shorter test support missions at about 30,000 feet and less than 0.8 Mach, and have been used to support test missions with F-16s, F-15s, F-22s, B-1s, and F-35s. As is the case with all Edwards testing, data will be analyzed to see if the Alphas can be used permanently to support tests in the future. —Steve Hirsch

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RADAR SWEEP


—SrA. Joshua Wright, from the 87th Security Forces Squadron at JB McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., died Monday, the base said in a Facebook post that did not specify the cause of death: Air Force Times.

—Columbus AFB, Miss., has suspended T-38C flying operations after three maintenance workers were injured when the rear cockpit ejection seat fired off during a T-38 inspection on Tuesday: WCBI-TV.

—White House national security adviser John Bolton said North Korea had not taken steps toward denuclearizing, telling Fox News Channel, “The United States has lived up to the Singapore declaration. It’s just North Korea that has not taken the steps we feel are necessary to denuclearize:” Washington Post.


—China said Friday it had tested a hypersonic aircraft that can carry nuclear weapons and penetrate missile defense systems, China’s Global Times has reported: Fox News.

—The correct remains of Richard Lane, a World War II B-17 pilot whose plane was hit and crashed in Austria in 1944, are being returned home to Filley, Neb., for burial, according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, replacing misidentified remains that had been buried earlier: Air Force Times.

—Aerojet Rocketdyne has succeeded in two hot-fire tests of a rocket booster for an air-launched tactical glide hypersonic vehicle: Flight Global.

—Robert Martin, a Tuskegee Airman shot down over occupied Europe in 1945, on his 64th mission, and who spent five weeks trying to get back to Allied lines, has died at 99 years old: Birmingham Patch.


—The 510th Fighter Squadron, based at Aviano AB, Italy, on Aug. 6 completed a two-week training deployment to RAF Lakenheath, England, focusing on joint readiness and interoperability with NATO and other USAF assets: DOD release.

—Specialists at Dover AFB, Del., will oversee the identification of the 55 boxes of remains released Aug. 1 by North Korea: Delaware News Journal.

—Air Force Special Operations Command MQ-9 Reapers participated in Red Flag training for the first time; Air Combat Command MQ-9s have been in Red Flag before, but those crews face different logistics considerations: Air Force release.

—Air Force and Purdue University scientists are working on new lighter and stronger materials for airmen to wear on battlefields in hot climates and for parachutes based on the properties of spider silk: Military.com.