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​​​​​Airmen perform a pre-flight check on a MQ-9 Reaper at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, Jan. 16, 2019. USAF photo by SSgt. Jeremy Mosier

​One Reaper Shot Down Over Yemen, Another Targeted Over Gulf of Oman

One American MQ-9 was shot down by a Houthi SA-6 surface-to-air missile over Yemen on June 6, and another was targeted by an Iranian SAM in the Gulf of Oman shortly after the attack on two ships there, US Central Command said June 16. The altitude in the June 6 attack “indicated an improvement over previous Houthi capability,” which CENTCOM attributes to Iranian assistance, said Lt. Col. Earl Brown, the command’s spokesman. The second attack—the morning of June​ 13–was not successful, Brown said. Read the full story by Jennifer Hlad.​

SDA Director Outlines Why Agency is Needed Despite Congressional Skepticism

Four months into the job, Space Development Agency Director Fred Kennedy made the case for why the Pentagon needed another space acquisition group, even as lawmakers raised questions in a draft version of the 2020 defense policy bill. Kennedy said the SDA, which sits within the Pentagon research and engineering chief’s office and would move to a Space Force or Corps if one is created, isn’t interested in chasing the long-term problems that existing development organizations tackle through a deliberative, slower process, even though Senate defense authorizers and House appropriators both listed concerns about duplicative research efforts in their recent legislation. Kennedy said he sees the work as complementary. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

KC-46 Begins Initial Operational Test and Evaluation at McConnell

A KC-46 assigned to the 344th Air Refueling Squadron at McConnell AFB, Kan., refueled two F-16s on June 4, kicking off initial operational test and evaluation for the new tanker. The flight is the latest in a series of milestone refuelings for the aircraft. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.
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New Commanders at 9th, 19th Air Forces

Maj. Gen. Chad Franks took command of 9th Air Force and Maj. Gen. Craig Wills took the reins of 19th Air Force in separate change of command ceremonies June 13. Franks assumed command from Maj. Gen. Scott Zobrist, who is retiring after more than 30 years in uniform, during a ceremony at Shaw AFB, S.C. Franks previously served as the deputy commander of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve and as the vice commander of 14th Air Force. Wills took over 19th Air Force from Maj. Gen. Patrick Doherty during a ceremony at JBSA-Randolph, Texas. He previously served as the deputy chief in the Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq at the US Embassy in Baghdad. The Air Force hasn’t officially announced Doherty’s next move. —Brian Everstine

US Delegation to be the Largest at the Paris Air Show, Beginning June 17

The US Defense Department will have the largest national contingent at the Paris Air Show, a premiere display of the global private and military aerospace industry that kicks off June 17. From the USAF, it will include the F-35, C-130J, F-15E, and the KC-46, which will make its international air show debut. Additionally, the US Navy will send a P-8 and the US Army is sending CH-47 and AH-64 helicopters. About 130 aircrew and support personnel from bases in Europe and the US will attend, according to US Air Forces in Europe. “Participation in this event highlights the strength of the US commitment to European allies and partners and demonstrates that US industry is producing equipment that is critical to the success of current and future military operations,” USAFE said in a statement. Ellen Lord, the Pentagon’s undersecretary of defense for acquisition, said June 6 the major US goal is to “advocate for US industry” and further foreign military sales. Air Force Magazine will attend the show at Le Bourget north of Paris, with coverage beginning June 17. —Brian Everstine 

Lockheed Promotes Aeronautical Programs in Advance of Paris Air Show

Lockheed Martin has been in talks with US Transportation Command about providing Airbus A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transports to the US Air Force, either as a sale, lease, or “fee for service” platform, to supplement the Air Force’s aging tanker fleet, Michele Evans, company executive vice president of aeronautical programs, told reporters on June 13 in advance of the Paris Air Show. Evans also discussed the status of other major Lockheed aeronautical programs, both those in production as well as future projects, saying Boeing’s extremely low bids—and contract victories—on the Air Force T-X trainer, UH-1N replacement helicopter, and Navy MQ-25 were “tough losses for us.” However, she noted it also drove a “digital transformation” at Lockheed, as well as “model-based engineering, all the way to a factory of the future.” Read the full story by John A. Tirpak.

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RADAR SWEEP


Mortar Attack on Iraqi Base Home to US Troops; No Casualties
Militants in Iraq fired three mortar shells early Saturday into an air base just north of Baghdad where American trainers are present, causing no casualties, the Iraqi military said. The military statement said the attack on Balad air base caused small fires in bushes on the base, which were extinguished immediately. AP

General Dynamics CEO ‘Alarmed’ by Tech Industry Reaction to Pentagon
General Dynamics head Phebe Novakovic said she was “alarmed” by members of Silicon Valley who refuse to work with the Pentagon, in perhaps the most pointed comments from a defense company CEO toward colleagues in the tech community. Defense News

New Commander Takes Over Horn of Africa Mission Ahead of Proposed US Shift
Army Maj. Gen. Michael Turello assumed command of US military efforts in East Africa, where a proposal may shift the mission focus from multinational training and counterterrorism to a permanent presence that seeks to strengthen American influence on the continent. Stars and Stripes

Retired Air Force General Assumes Top US Diplomatic Seat in Asia
Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. David Stilwell was confirmed by the Senate on June 13 as US assistant secretary of state for Asian and Pacific affairs, the top diplomatic position in the region. The seat has had no permanent replacement since Daniel Russel left in early 2017 while Barack Obama was still President. Stars and Stripes

Who Does What for DOD Cyber? Congress Wants to Know
Cyber Command’s cadre of cyberwarriors reached full operational capability in May 2018 and the services are continuing to build out headquarters organizations used to plan, conduct, and synchronize cyber operations and teams. Hill staffers, for at least the past year, have been concerned with how the command and its mission forces are maturing, including how forces are used. Their questions highlight how little the broader cyber community understands about how the military deploys cyber teams. Fifth Domain

One More Thing … 

Seriously, You Have to Watch This Security Forces Hip Hop Video
When a couple of airmen get together to make a music video about their jobs, the results often can be somewhat iffy. But not this trap-inspired ode to Air Force security forces airmen, which hit YouTube earlier this week. Air Force Times