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  • Kadena Airman Killed in Okinawa Scuba Accident


    An airman assigned to the 19th Aerospace Medicine Squadron at Kadena AB, Japan, was killed during a scuba diving accident off the island of Okinawa, according to an Oct. 22 release. TSgt. Jason McIlvaine, 42, was diving near Serakaki Village, Okinawa City, when two other airmen noticed he was in distress. The airmen brought him to the surface, but McIlvaine was not breathing. The airmen performed CPR until local first responders arrived, and McIlvaine was moved by helicopter to a local hospital in Nakagami, but doctors were unable to revive him. McIlvaine’s death comes weeks after three airmen from Robins AFB, Ga., who were deployed to Kadena on a temporary duty assignment, were killed after being swept out to sea in the aftermath of Typhoon Phanfone, prompting a multi-day search.

  • New Internal F-35 Cruise Missile

    ​Lockheed Martin and the Turkish company Roketsan, Inc. announced Wednesday they have partnered to develop a new long-range, air-breathing stealth cruise missile capable of being carried internally on the F-35 and externally on other aircraft. It is called the SOM-J, for Stand-Off Missile-Joint Strike Fighter. It will have GPS guidance, terrain-following capability when GPS is not available, and an imaging infrared terminal seeker, although a datalink has not yet been selected. Turkey has a requirement for such a weapon in 1,000-pound class with a range in excess of 100 nautical miles, Lockheed Martin Strike Systems Director Alan Jackson told Air Force Magazine in an interview. "We ... believe there will also be some tangible benefits to the US," Jackson said, noting that although there is no "stated, funded" requirement for such a weapon among US F-35 users, there's "nothing on the books" filling such a niche besides "a glide weapon." Much risk reduction has already been done by Rocketsan, which is flying the 2000-pound-class Stand-Off Missile (SOM) now on Turkish F-16 and F-4 fighters.  Some technology from Lockheed's JASSM cruise missile will also be incorporated. Roketsan will do final assembly for any Turkish military SOM-J production; Lockheed would do the same for any US purchases in its Troy, Ala., facility, Jackson said. He declined to provide work- or cost-sharing information, but development is to be complete by 2018, so the SOM-J can be integrated in the F-35 Block IV upgrade. Integration is to be complete by 2023. Lockheed is seeking an export license from the State Department for the stealth technology involved.

  • First ANG Herc Rotation to Poland

    Pilots from the Illinois Air National Guard’s 182nd Airlift Wing taxi their C-130 Hercules at Powidz AB, Poland, Oct. 20, 2014. Air Force photo by SSgt. Christopher Ruano.

    ​Air National Guard C-130s rotated to the Aviation Detachment at Powidz AB, Poland, for the first time to begin exercises with the Polish air force this month, according to an Air Force release. Three C-130Hs from the Illinois ANG's 182nd Airlift Wing based in Peoria along with some 50 pilots, maintainers, and support personnel, deployed to Poland on Oct. 10, wing spokesman TSgt. Todd Pendleton told Air Force Magazine. Until now, C-130Js from Ramstein AB, Germany, have supported the bulk of AvDet airlift rotations. "As Poland's state partner, the Illinois ANG airmen continue to deepen established relationships and build partner capacity between US and Polish forces," said Lt. Col. Jack Harman, commander of the 52nd Operations Group Det. 1, which oversees the AvDet. "NATO's interoperability is key to the strength of the Alliance," he said. Illinois C-130s will wrap-up their three-week rotation to Powidz on Nov. 1, said Pendleton. (See also Looking East from the September 2014 issue of Air Force Magazine.)

  • Northrop Grumman Protests Long-Range Radar Contract

    ​Northrop Grumman filed an official protest with the Government Accountability Office on Tuesday over the Air Force's award of its next generation Three Dimensional Expeditionary Long-Range Radar system earlier this month, halting any work on the project by winning contractor Raytheon. Northrop Grumman wants to review the guidelines for the initial $19.5 million development contract. The Air Force plans to buy 30 of the ground-based radar systems to replace the legacy AN/TPS-75 radars currently in operation, and more are anticipated in sales to US allies and partiers. Raytheon spokesman Mike Doble told Air Force Magazine the company believes the Air Force ran "a very tough, but very fair, competition." He said Raytheon remains confident in its bid and is "eager to move forward and deliver this much needed 3DELRR capability to the US and its friends and allies." The company will work with the Air Force to mitigate any delays in the contract once it is resolved, added Doble. The initial three radars are slated to reach initial operational capability by 2020.

  • RED HORSE Stands Up Silver Flag on Guam


    Exercise Silver Flag, an event designed to improve civil engineer and support airmen for expeditionary base operations, has been reestablished at Andersen AFB, Guam. The 554th RED HORSE Squadron Det. 1 opened up the new site, which will host the first iteration of Silver Flag in over a year and a half, during an Oct. 15 ceremony at Andersen AFB, Guam. The exercise moved to Andersen from Kadena AB, Japan, with 111 airmen from bases across the Asia-Pacific attending. The eight-day Pacific Air Forces exercise event is specifically designed to improve and test civil engineer and force support airmen for operations at bare base and deployed locations, focusing on skills such as base and airfield recovery, setup operations, and command and control. Silver Flag also focuses on specialty training with equipment such as crane operations, setup of lighting and arresting barriers on airfields, generator installation, and operation and fire rescue technician training, according to officials with the 554th RHS. The Northwest Field site is still under construction, but it will consist of 18 facilities, 60 acres of training area, and a 5,000-foot training runway upon completion. The new site is a key milestone in the buildup of the PACAF Regional Training Center, and enhances expeditionary combat skills airmen need in US Pacific Command, said Col. Tyrell Chamberlin, the 36th Wing vice commander, in a release.

  • First F-35A Weapons Loaders Certify


    Airmen with the 58th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew one, prepare to load a GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munition on to an F-35A Lightning II during a qualification load on Eglin AFB, Fla., on Oct. 10. Air Force photo by SSgt. Marleah Robertson.

    The first weapons load team certified on the F-35A strike fighter completed training at Eglin AFB, Fla., scratching off an initial operating capability requirement for the F-35, officials announced. "Before us, there was no weapons capability" for the F-35A, said SSgt. Zachary Watts, 58th Aircraft Maintenance Unit load team leader, in an Oct. 21 release. "We're making it from an airline into the Air Force," he added. Eglin's F-35 Academic Training Center plans to train and certify 10 weapons crews through the one-week course over the next six months. "Once that happens, each load crew will continually come through every month for proficiency load training," said SMSgt. Jason Sells, 33rd Maintenance Group weapons standardization superintendent. This initial cadre eventually will become trainers to establish weapons capability at the various F-35A operating locations, according to the release. "Anything that we can do to help mature the program to get us ready for IOC, that's our big thing," Sells added.

  • Flying Yankees Get Final Herc


    The last of eight C-130Hs arrived at Bradley ANGB in East Granby, Conn., last week, completing the Air National Guard’s 103rd Airlift Wing's conversion from the Learjet C-21, unit officials announced. "We are now inextricably tied to the tactical airlift mission and our conversion to the venerable Hercules points to a very bright future at Bradley," 103rd AW Commander Col. Frank Detorie said a release. The unit received its first C-130 in June 2013 and is slated to reach initial operational capability on the airlifter in 2016, states the release. "This milestone is incredibly important for the Flying Yankees because the longevity and proud history of the C-130 bodes so well for the future on the Connecticut ANG," Detorie added.

  • F135 Engine Test Sets Efficiency Record


    Team members at the Arnold Engineering Development Complex recently completed a successful test of a Pratt & Whitney F135 conventional takeoff and landing/carrier variant (CTOL/CV) engine at Arnold AFB, Tenn. “One reason this test was significant is that it was the first 2,600 [Total Accumulated Cycle count] Accelerated Mission Test on the F135 engine at AEDC,” said John Kelly, AEDC F135 test manager, in a release. “Previously these AMTs have been done at the Pratt & Whitney facility in West Palm Beach, Fla.” The test, which achieved a record test time efficiency of 98 percent, “provided integrated aircraft thermal load simulation, as well as led to the re-activation of special test equipment for the F135 that hasn’t been used in several years,” according to an AEDC release. Crews worked 24-hour operations over five days a week, with some six-day weeks as well, states the release. Concurrent operations on an F119 engine were still being conducted for 16- to 18-hours per day while the F101 engine was also being tested around-the-clock.