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​Air Mobility Command recently conducted a study to determine how best to protect its tankers in a contested environment. Here, four USAF F-16C Fighting Falcons and four Swedish Air Force JAS 39 Gripens fly in formation together behind a USAF KC-135 Stratotanker during aerial refueling training in Swedish airspace, Feb. 8, 2018. US Air Force photo by A1C Luke Milano.

​AMC is Studying Ways to Better Protect Tankers in a Contested Environment

Air Mobility Command recently conducted its High Value Airborne Asset Study, which is modeled after USAF’s Air Superiority 2030 Flight Plan, to determine how the command can better protect its tankers and mobility aircraft in a contested environment. The study found three major capability areas that needs to be developed: secure communication, battlespace awareness, and self-protection systems. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

First Combat Rescue Helicopter Enters Final Assembly

The first HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopter, the Air Force’s replacement for the Pave Hawk, entered final assembly this month. Its first flight is expected by the end of the year, which would be two months ahead of schedule if the schedule holds, according to a Lockheed Martin release. The Air Force plans to buy 112 of the helicopters, stemming from a 2014 $1.28 billion development contract. The new helicopter, which is derived from a UH-60M Black Hawk, includes a new Tactical Mission Kit of sensors, radar, and multiple defense systems. The Engineering Manufacturing Development aircraft is the first assembled at Sikorsky’s Stratford, Conn., facility. Lockheed Martin acquired Sikorsky in 2015. —Brian Everstine

House Democrat Calls for Explanation of Air Force Courts-Martial Figures

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), the senior Democrat on the House Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee, accused the Air Force of having “different spanks for different ranks,” and asked USAF Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Seve Wilson to provide a memo explaining why out of some 70,000 USAF courts-martial there has not been a single USAF general officer court-martialed. See the full story by Steve Hirsch.

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Mattis: New Non-Deployable Policy Aimed at Fairly Sharing the Combat Load

The Pentagon’s new personnel policy aimed at kicking out non-deployable personnel is aimed at “fairness” and evening out the burden of military service, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Friday. The Defense Department last week unveiled the new policy stating that service members who are non-deployable for 12 months will now immediately be processed for administrative separation or referred to a disability evaluation system. Service members who are pregnant, postpartum, or received a waiver by a service Secretary are exempt, the policy states. “You’re either deployable, or you need to find something else to do,” Mattis told reporters on Friday. “I’m not going to have some people deploying ... constantly, and then other people who seem to not pay that price to be in the US military.” There is an “expectation of deployability” in the military, but if some personnel are not able to deploy, that means others will have to deploy more often to makeup that gap. “This is a deployable military,” Mattis said. “It’s a lethal military that aligns with our allies and partners. If you can’t go overseas in your combat load … then obviously someone else has got to go. I want this spread fairly and equitably across the force.” —Brian Everstine

Air Force Seeks Research Ideas for Human-Centered ISR Program

The Air Force has asked for research concepts for its Human-Centered Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Division. The division is part of the Air Force’s 711th Human Performance Wing at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. The research should focus on improving capabilities to identify, track, and locate human targets as well as the performance of those who produce, process, and disseminate intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance information. That includes work on human bio-signatures, human interactions with other humans and with machines, and technologies to improve analyst performance and testing of new technologies. —Steve Hirsch

ATAC to Open Center of Excellence for Adversary Air

Airborne Tactical Advantage Company, which is part of Textron Airborne Solutions, has announced plans to open an Adversary Center of Excellence at Fort Worth Alliance Airport, Texas. The center will serve as the maintenance, logistical, and operating hub for the company’s fleet of Mirage F1 fighters “as they conduct adversary air and other training missions in support of US military forces,” according to an ATAC release. The center of excellence will employ up to 200 maintainers. ATAC, which has more than 90 “high performance and supersonic tactical fighter aircraft flying in excess of 5,000 hours per year,” is one of several companies vying for the Air Force’s Nellis Adversary Air contract as well as a piece of its larger Combat Air Forces Adversary Air Contract. (See also: Nellis Adversary Air Industry Day Includes “Lively” Discussion on Requirements.) —Amy McCullough

Introducing Show Daily

The Daily Report team is heading to Orlando for AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium, so this will be the last Daily Report you receive until Tuesday, Feb. 27. However, you will receive a Show Daily with complete coverage of the conference, including updates from Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein, Air Combat Command boss Gen. Mike Holmes, and other senior Air Force and industry leaders in the interim.

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—An F-16 from the 35th Fighter Wing at Misawa AB, Japan, had an engine fire Monday morning and had to jettison two external fuel tanks in the area of Lake Ogawara, but the aircraft was recovered safely and there were no injuries to the pilot or personnel on the ground: USAF release.

—A service member supporting Operation Inherent Resolve died Feb. 19 in a non-combat-related incident, details will be released “at the discretion of the pertinent national authorities:” CENTCOM release.

—The Sunday launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with a PAZ payload from Vandenberg AFB, Calif., has been delayed until Wednesday to allow time for final checkouts of the fairing, the Air Force said Saturday: USAF Release.

—Fort Carson, Colo., is close to reaching full capability with its dozen Gray Eagle drones, each packing four Hellfire air-to-surface missiles and the ability to stay in the air for 24 hours: Colorado Springs Gazette.

—Gen. Tod Wolters, US Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa commander, visited Norway recently, where Norwegian defense leaders briefed him on their country’s activities in the Arctic and North Atlantic: USAF release.

—Lockheed Martin has begun work on a new 225,000-square-foot Orlando, Fla., facility for employees supporting programs for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, which mainly designs builds and supports advanced combat, missile, rocket, manned and unmanned systems for customers including the Pentagon, NASA, and US allies: Lockheed Martin release.

—Boeing and Oerlikon, a Swiss technology and engineering group, have signed a five-year agreement to develop standard materials and processes for metal-based 3D printing: Boeing release.

—The Missile Defense Agency and the Israel Missile Defense Organization on Monday completed a flight test of the Arrow 3 weapons system, designed to defend against ballistic missile attacks above the atmosphere: DOD release.

—South Korea and the United States are expected to announce plans by the end of next month for a postponed military exercise; the two countries put the joint exercise off until after the Winter Olympics and Paralympics: Reuters.