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  • Columbus Day


    Air Force Magazine will not publish its next Daily Report column until Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014, because of the Columbus Day federal holiday.

  • Getting More BUFF

    ​A B-52 Stratofortress, assigned to the 69th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron at Minot AFB, N.D., lifts off from Andersen AFB, Guam, on March 14, 2011. Air Force photo by SrA. Carlin Leslie.

    ​A perennial B-52 upgrade idea—re-engining—is being considered again, Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson, head of Air Force Global Strike Command, said Thursday. Speaking at Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies event in Arlington, Va., Wilson said plans call for the B-52 to remain in service until 2040 "and possibly beyond." Wilson told Air Force Magazine that he's been talking to engine contractors, who say a commercial motor for the B-52 "could save us 25-30 percent on fuel," but an even bigger payback could come from ripple effects in logistics and operations. Some new engines can "stay on-wing for 20 years" producing large savings on depot maintenance, and greater fuel efficiency translates to greater range, reducing the need for tankers, he said. An engine replacement might pay for itself by "the mid-'30s" but make even more sense because Wilson thinks the B-52 will serve longer than that. "We're flying them less," and racking up hours more slowly, he said. There's no money in the coming budget for new engines, but Wilson said he's exploring whether Congress would be willing to allow the Air Force to use some money earmarked for energy-saving upgrades at installations for the project. Right now, the money can't be used for aircraft modifications.

  • …And a New Radar Would Be Nice

    The 51-year-old B-52H needs a new radar, and Global Strike Command chief Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson said Thursday he would be quite satisfied having the AN/APG-81, which equips the F-35 fighter, installed on the bomber. Speaking with reporters after Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies event in Arlington, Va., Wilson said the F-35 radar would be an “80 percent solution” to what the B-52 needs, but offers big operating cost benefits: by buying the AN/APG-81, the Air Force could increase the production run and further reduce unit costs on the radar. Also, as with potential re-engining of the B-52, Wilson said the radar would sharply reduce maintenance costs on the bomber, thus defraying the cost of the new capability. The longer the B-52 serves, the more savings would accrue, he said.  The precedent for both upgrades is the KC-135 re-engining and digital upgrade, which has saved money and vastly extended the KC-135’s service life, he said.

  • The BUFF as a Boomer

    ​Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, addresses a Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies crowd in Arlington, Va., on Oct. 9, 2014. Staff photo by Lyndsey Akers.

    Equipping the B-52 with new, long-range and faster—potentially hypersonic—standoff missiles would create a capability comparable to that of a nuclear submarine, Global Strike Command chief Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson said Thursday. A bomber with cruise missiles that can reach the target in “hours or minutes” represents “a very cost-imposing strategy” on a nuclear adversary and would be a “significant deterrent,” he said at a Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies event in Arlington, Va. It would also have the same striking power as a boomer sub, he said. The AGM-86 Air-Launched Cruise Missile, which now equips the B-52 force, was “supposed to last 10 years,” but is still serving today and will be “another 10 years out.” Wilson plugged for a long-range cruise missile replacement, which, especially if blessed with hypersonic speed, could breathe new life into the B-52, he said. Even without such a weapon, though, Wilson touted the B-52 as “too … versatile” to retire, with the ability to employ more kinds of munitions than any other US platform. Wilson also noted that AFGSC has set up a “standoff missile application center” with the Navy to explore the synergies of various missiles like the Tomahawk, Conventional ALCM, Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile, or JASSM, and the Miniature Air-Launched Decoy and its jamming variant, the MALD-J. The center seeks to “synchronize and de-conflict” the effects these weapons bring to the joint battle, he said.

  • Sensors, C2 Improvements Key to Global Strike Effectiveness

    ​Innovations and improvements in sensors and connectivity will help leverage Air Force Global Strike Command’s bomber force for decades to come, said AFGSC boss Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson on Thursday during a Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies event in Arlington, Va. Wilson said the command must leverage its existing capabilities in new ways, by making investments, that have outsized combat effects. For example, by studying Air Force Special Operations Command acquisition practices, AFGSC was able to conceive, build, and field a new AESA radar-equipped pod for the B-52 in under five months, Wilson noted. For the B-2, Wilson said a key priority is the Defensive Management System modernization effort, which will swap out older electronics components, such as passive antennas and older line replaceable unit components that are running into spare part availability issues. By completing the DMS, the B-2 fleet will be better connected and have better situational awareness for crews and commanders.

  • Keltz to Lead 19th Air Force


    Maj. Gen. Michael Keltz has been tapped to lead 19th Air Force, which officially stood up on Oct. 1, after being inactivated in 2012. Keltz previously served as director of intelligence, operations, and nuclear integration at Air Education and Training Command Headquarters at JBSA-Randolph, Texas. In his new position, Keltz will oversee all formal aircrew flying training missions, which will now fall under the numbered air force. (Pentagon release.)

  • HASC Chairman Questions $1 billion Request for Ebola Effort

    House Armed Services Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon [R-Calif.] said the Obama Administration has requested a $1 billion reprograming to cover the cost of the US involvement in the international fight against Ebola. In a statement released Thursday, McKeon said the request left him with “significant questions” on how US personnel would be protected, what their mission is, and how the funds would be used. Army Gen. David Rodriguez, US Africa Command boss, said Tuesday none of the US personnel being sent to Africa will have direct contact with Ebola patients and all will have the training and protective equipment needed to keep them safe. McKeon’s statement came as the Air Force reported that airmen from the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Contingency Response Group have opened an intermediate staging base at Dakar, Senegal, to help relay supplies and equipment into areas of western Africa impacted by the deadly Ebola outbreak. The more than 80 airmen, who moved into the Leopold Sedar Senghor International Airport in Senegal with all their equipment, activated the cargo hub Oct. 5, said Col. David Mounkes, the 123rd CRG commander, in a release. The cargo hub will unload supplies from C-17s and process them for forward movement in C-130s to where they are needed.

  • First Operational Crew Flies Upgraded B-1B


    A B-1B Lancer takes off from Dyess AFB, Texas, on Oct. 2, 2014. Air Force photo by SrA. Peter Thompson. ​

    Two crewmen from the 7th Bomb Wing took part in the first post-operational testing flight of a B-1B Lancer enhanced with the Sustainment Block 16 upgrade earlier this month. A pilot and weapons system officer from the 9th Bomb Squadron flew in the Oct. 2 mission from Dyess AFB, Texas, supported by aircrew members from the 337th Test and Evaluation Squadron. All previous flights with the SB-16 upgrade were made by test crews. The SB-16 changes the way tactical and flight information is presented to the Lancer flight crew, providing significant improvements in situational awareness, combat effectiveness, and survivability, according to an Air Force release. “This upgrade impacts our mission significantly,” said Maj. Brian Ranaudo, 9th BS director of operations. “It improves our ability to integrate and communicate more effectively with other aircraft in a strike package; by doing so it increases the lethality of the aircraft." Aircrews from the 7th BW will spend the next three months learning the new system and will train 9th BS crews when they return from their current deployment. The 7th BW will continually train aircrews with the new systems while more of its B-1s are upgraded, aiming for operational capability by 2016.

  • Oil Leak Caused Predator Crash in Afghanistan


    A rapid oil leak that resulted in an engine seizure caused the April 26 crash of an MQ-1B Predator near Jalalabad Airfield, Afghanistan, according to a summary of an Air Combat Command accident report released Thursday. The Predator, which was assigned to the 214th Reconnaissance Squadron from Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., was lost during an intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance mission from Jalalabad. The accident board president found by clear and convincing evidence that the cause of the incident was a rapid loss of oil resulting in an engine seizure that made the aircraft unable to maintain altitude or return to base. The Predator was destroyed on ground impact for a loss of approximately $4.61 million. There were no injuries or damage to private property. (Click here for full report; Caution, large-sized file.)

  • Fogleman Inducted in Airlift Tanker Hall of Fame


    Former Air Force Chief of Staff retired Gen. Ronald Fogleman was inducted into the Airlift Tanker Hall of Fame at Scott AFB, Ill., Thursday, honoring his 34 years of service that included heroic conduct during the Vietnam War and a dual-hatted tour as commander of Air Mobility Command and US Transportation Command. Service leaders, airmen, friends, and family watched the unveiling of a bronze bust of Fogleman in the Mobility Memorial Park as he joined a long list of Air Force pioneers, leaders, and heroes. Before Fogleman’s tour as CSAF from 1994 to 1997, he led the two commands at Scott from 1992-94. In Vietnam, Fogleman flew 240 combat missions, most of them as a “Misty FAC,” conducting dangerous air control missions in the F-100F Super Sabre. He was shot down on one mission and rescued by clinging to the outside of an AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter. He received the Silver Star, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, 18 Air Medals and a Purple Heart. Fogleman is the 23rd member of the hall of fame that includes World War II leader Gen. Carl “Tooey” Spaatz and SSgt. William Pitsenbarger, a pararescueman posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for valor in Vietnam. (Scott release.)

  • Hickam Serves as Temporary Home to Navy, Marine Corps Aircraft

  • Correcting the Record


    An entry in the Oct. 8 Daily Report should have said retired Lt. Gen. Susan Helms, former commander of 14th Air Force, was the first military woman in space. The original entry has been corrected.

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