An F-16C from Holloman AFB, N.M., crashed during a training sortie over the White Sands Missile Range last week, officials announced. The pilot successfully ejected before the jet impacted rugged terrain approximately 70 miles northwest of the base, near Truth or Consequences, N.M. The 314th Fighter Squadron pilot was rescued in "good condition" and taken to a local medical facility for evaluation after the Nov. 25 incident, according to an Air Education and Training Command update. The 314th FS stood up as Holloman's second F-16 training squadron, relocating from Luke AFB, Ariz., to make room for F-35 training there back in July. Holloman’s F-16 training squadrons report to the 56th Fighter Wing at Luke. Loss of the aircraft is pegged at $25 million, and officials are convening an official inquest to determine the cause of the crash, according to the release.
Boeing employees move the center barrell of the 279th and final C-17 at the company’s Long Beach, Calif., facility. Screenshot photo from Boeing video.
Boeing officially ended C-17 Globemaster III production, closing its facility at Long Beach, Calif., with the departure of the last C-17 on Nov. 29, the company announced. "This is truly the end of an era. It’s a sad day, but one that all of the Boeing employees and suppliers who have worked over the years building this great aircraft can be proud of," company vice president Nan Bouchard said in a release. The final C-17 is the last of eight aircraft for the Qatar Emiri Air Force—four of which were snapped up earlier this year—and will undergo final checks in San Antonio before delivery next year, according to the company. A total of 279 C-17s rolled off the production line at Long Beach, including 223 for the US Air Force, and 56 for foreign military sales customers, including Australia, Britain, Canada, India, Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and NATO's pooled Strategic Airlift Capability. The first Globemaster was delivered to JB Charleston, S.C., in 1993. Since then, the combined international fleet has amassed more than three million flying hours, according to Boeing. (Watch video of the last C-17 being built.)
The Pentagon has nearly finished building its 2017 budget, and should be able to submit it on time, Defense Department comptroller Mike McCord said Monday in Washington, D.C. The budget is in the program review phase, he said, and though everything has been discussed “at least once,” there are a few more programs to nail down, including the European Reassurance Initiative, the particulars of overseas contingency operations funding, and compensation. “It’s crunch time, for sure,” he said. One of the ways the department will accommodate the $15 billion reduction from what was planned is to slow down “some modernization programs,” McCord said, though he did not offer details about which programs may be affected. The budget also will take the new military retirement system into account, which may bring some savings in the short-term. However, he said, the services shouldn’t expect to see any significant changes in the size of the force.
The two-year budget deal is good for the Defense Department, the Pentagon comptroller said Monday. Mike McCord, the DOD’s chief financial officer, called the deal “a hopeful sign of a return to more problem solving and less brinksmanship.” With the deal, DOD will get some “rough stability” on the topline budget, McCord said in a presentation at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. “I think we were right to hold out for a deal,” he said. Still, McCord noted, the key driver of the defense budget over the past few years has been Budget Control Act caps, rather than world events. Looking beyond Fiscal 2017, the Pentagon needs to focus on balance, building the force of the future, investing in innovation, modernizing nuclear deterrence in the 2020s and 2030s, and operating in contested space and cyberspace, he said. “Secretary Carter of course is focused on getting things done today, but he’s even more so on building for tomorrow,” McCord said.
A1C Ross Magedoff, Det. 12, 372nd Training Squadron
Tactical Aircraft Maintenance specialist, inspects components inside the
landing gear of an F-16 April 24, 2012, at Luke AFB, Ariz. Air Force photo by SrA. C.J. Hatch.
The last crop of F-16 crewchiefs trained at Luke AFB, Ariz., graduated from their final phase of training there on Nov. 23, officials announced. "Every F-16 Fighting Falcon crew chief has gone through our program for the last 21 years," MSgt. Paul Engram, 372nd Training Squadron, Det. 12 noncommissioned officer-in-charge, said in a release. The schoolhouse is moving to Holloman AFB, N. M., to join the two F-16 pilot training squadrons that have already transferred there to make room for F-35 training at Luke. Crewchiefs completed "hot training" at Luke—learning to launch and recover operational aircraft—after several months of academic, and static maintenance training at Sheppard AFB, Texas. The schoolhouse trained 11,840 crewchiefs since the program located to Luke in 1994. F-35 Lightning II crewchiefs will begin training at Luke in 2017, according to the release.
US European Command signed an agreement with the European Union to facilitate the exchange of information and cooperation between the two, according to a Nov. 30 release. The formal agreement, signed by EUCOM commander Gen. Philip Breedlove and EU military staff director general Lt. Gen. Wolfgang Wosolsobe, will make it easier for the US and the EU to work together on defense and security matters. The US and EU had pledged in 2014 to increase security and crisis response management cooperation, said Anthony Gardner, the US ambassador to the EU, in a written statement. “I’m thrilled to see that pledge become a reality,” he said. “This US mission to the EU will continue to advance US-EU foreign policy partnership to assist in facing common threats, providing humanitarian assistance, and furthering other common areas of interest.” Pedro Serrano, the European External Action Service’s deputy secretary general for common security and defense policy, said the agreement is a marker of progress. “The ‘enduring alliance’ across the Atlantic is needed more than ever in the current international security environment,” he said.
The US Embassy in Kabul on Monday issued an emergency message for US citizens in Afghanistan urging “extreme caution” if moving around the city. The embassy said it has received “credible reports of an imminent attack” in Kabul within the next 48 hours, but did not have further details for the targets, timing, or method of the attack. The embassy is still urging US citizens not to travel to Afghanistan. “The security situation in Afghanistan is extremely unstable, and the threat to all US citizens in Afghanistan remains critical.” US citizens in the country should review their security plans, enhance their personal safety, maintain vigilance, and monitor local media for updates, states the message.
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