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  • DARPA’s UAS Airborne Recovery Project Enters Phase Two

    DARPA has chosen two finalists for its Gremlins program’s second phase, taking the UAV recovery program past its first, proof-of-concept phase. The 12-month long, second phase of the project started in March and is worth up to $21 million.

  • McCain, Thornberry Say Military is Hurting from Obama-Era Neglect

    Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) described a military in disrepair after eight years of the Obama Administration. In a conversation with reporters on Wednesday, they laid out a defense budget plan to restore readiness and discussed the need for further acquisition reforms.

  • Lockheed Says it Can Deliver T-X Two Years Early

    The Lockheed Martin’s T-50A entry in the T-X advanced trainer competition is so low-risk that the company believes it could achieve initial operational capability with the jet two years ahead of the Air Force’s requirement, should the service wish to do that, company Skunkworks chief Rob Weiss claimed Tuesday.

  • RAND Says China’s Nuclear Capability Accelerating

    ​China is set to modernize its nuclear arsenal and accelerate a path toward regional deterrence—maybe even adjusting current nuclear policy, according to a recent RAND study.

  • Officials Say First F-35 Symposium a Great Success

    ​The inaugural F-35 symposium at JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, was a “who’s who of the F-35,” with more than 100 participants from the US Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps as well representatives from Pacific F-35 partner-nations South Korea, Japan, and Australia, Brig. Gen. Craig Wills, Pacific Air Forces director of strategic plans, requirements, and programs, told Air Force Magazine. The two-day event focused primarily on the aircraft itself, rather than the broader picture of F-35 command and control, with topics including bed down, integration, logistics, sustainment, and combat operations.

  • Exercise Flintlock Wraps Up in Africa

    Flintlock, an annual special operations training exercise in Africa, wraps up Thursday. More than 20 countries and 2,000 people participated in the exercise, which included events in Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, Morocco, Tunisia, Cameroon, and Mauritania.

  • Nude Photo Scandal Reaches Beyond the Corps

    The social media scandal in which male US Marines posted nude pictures of female Marines without their knowledge through a private Facebook group is just one instance of a problem that involves all the military services.

  • Filling the Red Air Gap

    The Air Force plans to release a draft solicitation to industry for nearly 40,000 hours of adversary air and support at 12 different bases, including 11,250 hours per year at the US Weapons School at Nellis AFB, Nev. The multi-award contract, which is expected in January 2019, has the potential to “consume the entire industry several times over,” said Russ Bartlett, President and CEO of Textron Airborne Solutions.

  • Chinese Claim J-20 Operational

    The J-20 “Mighty Dragon,” China’s first purportedly stealth combat aircraft, is operational, Chinese state television reported on March 9, without giving further details.

  • Lockheed Advances to Third Gen Logistics System Under $750 million contract

    The Defense Logistics Agency chose Lockheed as USAF’s industrial product-support vendor (IPV) for the service’s third generation logistics program. The major focus of the agreement is managing rapid replenishment of consumable parts so maintainers can access the components they need when they need them.

  • Lockheed “Paragon” Challenges in PGMs

    Lockheed Martin’s Paveway redesigned dual-mode laser/GPS-guided weapon—rebranded as “Paragon”—is slated to complete flight tests this year, with the aim of competing with laser-guided JDAM and other precision-guided munitions as early as next year. Lockheed said the weapon will offer the same capabilities of the JDAM, but will be about 30 percent cheaper.

  • People Versus Modernization, Again

    ​With marching orders from the new administration to improve readiness first, the Air Force in the near term may have to scale back some of its enormous and ambitious modernization efforts, senior Air Force leaders said Friday.

  • Intel Challenges and the Holy Grail

    ​Russians are testing fusion capabilities in Syria much like Americans experimented with technology during Desert Storm, but they’re “absolutely not” where USAF is with regard to command and control and fusion warfare, said Brig. Gen. Peter Lambert, Air Combat Command’s director of intelligence.​

  • VA Secretary Wants Congress to Fix Claims Backlog

    ​David Shulkin, the freshly minted Secretary of Veterans Affairs, said without congressional support, his agency’s claims backlog will likely “grow.”

  • SSL Wants to Change Throwaway Space Culture

    Space Systems Loral, recently partnered with DARPA on a satellite-servicing project, is already partnered with DARPA and NASA on two other programs, both aimed at modifying satellite culture in space. The company's Restore-L and Dragonfly programs aim to change forever space’s “throwaway culture.”

  • Mattis Begins Abolition, Consolidation of Acquisition Positions

    ​Defense Secretary James Mattis got some big overhauls rolling at the Pentagon with a pair of Jan. 17 Department-wide memos with tight deadlines. He wants to fulfill Congress’ direction to abolish the Undersecretary for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics job, replacing it with two and possibly three other posts, and he wants the services to look at consolidating their non-fighting activities, such as healthcare, commissaries, and MWR.

  • BUFF Bones Better than the Bone’s

    Given its heavy usage and its high operating cost, the B-1 may be retired sooner than the B-52, which is  20 years older, according to Air Combat Command chief Gen. Hawk Carlisle.

  • USAF To Take Over Stand-In Jamming

    Twenty years after the Air Force gave up its EF-111 stand-in jamming platform, it is again looking to create an escort electronic warfare aircraft capability, inheriting the mission from the Navy.

  • More BACN, Please

    The Battlefield Airborne Communications Node, or BACN, will soar above US Central Command for its 10,000th mission this month.

  • New Fighters Rely on Aging Tankers

    Behind the scenes of the Marine Corps’ historic F-35B deployment in January was a team of aging tankers, enabling the flight with 250 total air refuelings. As the next generation fighter force deploys more, it will rely more on a tanker fleet that is aging and awaiting its own recapitalization.

  • Mattis Issues Warning During First NATO Visit

    Defense Secretary James Mattis, in his first visit to NATO since his confirmation, warned the alliance that its member countries must increase defense spending or the US support for the group will “moderate.”

  • Managing the Fight Against Terrorism

    The US military must think in terms of managing long-term outcomes in the global war against terrorism, not decisively winning the conflict, according to security experts who testified before the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.

  • Son—and Cousin—of JDAM

    The Air Force wants a quick-turnaround additional source of small, precision-guided, and maneuvering munitions to equip the F-35 as early as next year. Longer term, the Air Force also is looking to develop a new class of direct-attack munitions to equip the new Penetrating Counter-Air jet and other stealthy platforms.

  • F-35As Score High Marks in First Red Flag

    Thirteen F-35As from Hill AFB, Utah, made an impressive showing at the fifth generation aircraft’s first Red Flag exercise, notching a 15:1 kill ratio, a mission capable rate of more than 90 percent, and setting the stage for future large-scale exercises and coming deployments.

  • DARPA’s Futuristic—and Litigious—Robotics Program

    ​DARPA is moving ahead with plans to develop space-faring robots to inspect and fix satellites despite a lawsuit from Orbital ATK saying those plans violate federal space policy.

  • Keeping the Depots Healthy

    Buried deep inside the Pentagon’s sprawling policy bill is a little-noticed provision that would allow the Air Force to more quickly hire mechanics and other civilian personnel at its three major aircraft maintenance facilities, potentially giving the service a big boost in its readiness rates. But the recent federal hiring freeze could slow efforts to recruit and hire new workers at the depots, which are tasked with maintaining the oldest fleet in Air Force history.

  • USAF Okays Bigger Tattoos—Will it Work?

    ​USAF has no system in place to figure out if its February loosening of tattoo restrictions will work, though it will be seeking anecdotal data on the impact or success of it.

  • Return to a Hollow Force

    Readiness within the Air Force is currently worse than it was in the “hollow force” days of the late 1970s, Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Stephen Wilson told the House Armed Services Committee Tuesday morning. He raised the alarm before lawmakers, painting a dire picture of the service’s state of affairs.

  • F-35 Prices Drop Again in Lot 10

    The Pentagon and Lockheed Martin’s handshake deal on Lot 10 production of the F-35, announced Friday, brings the cost of the F-35A model, which is used by the Air Force, below $100 million.

  • Northrop Grumman is Out of T-X

    ​The field of competitors in the Air Force T-X contest narrowed again on Wednesday, as Northrop announced it would not bid on the program. Based on comments late last week by Northrop Grumman CEO Wes Bush, Northrop viewed the T-X as requiring more investment and risk than the business case warranted.

  • SMC Conducting Independent Assessment of SpaceX’s Falcon 9

    ​Space and Missile Systems commander Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves said the Air Force is still reviewing SpaceX’s investigation of the Sept. 1, 2016, Falcon 9 explosion, and has not yet made a determination as to whether the company is ready to support National Security Space launches.

  • Is USAF Getting Rid of the 24-Year Up-or-Out Requirement?

    ​Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein may be getting rid of the long-standing and long-lamented 24-year up-or-out requirement for brigadier generals in Air Force.

  • Fighters First

    ​Air Combat Command boss Gen. Hawk Carlisle said the F-35 should get first dibs if a supplemental defense budget is approved, noting the Air Force’s fighter fleet “has paid the bills” for too long and is too small to meet demands.

  • Trump Administration Okays $1.85 billion in Foreign Military Sales

    ​The Trump Administration announced it’s approving $1.9 b​illion in foreign military sales to four countries, perhaps signaling an “assertive” attitude toward foreign policy and economic issues.

  • Growing the Force

    The Air Force wants more airmen, but exactly how to get there is largely in the works.

  • Mattis No “Mad Dog” in Senate Confirmation Hearing

    Insisting multiple times that the US military needs to become stronger and more lethal, retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, nonetheless, presented a moderate vision of military leadership in his Senate confirmation hearing to be the next Secretary of Defense.

  • Navy Secretary Slams F-35, Praises Military Inclusion

  • Experts Advise Senate to Grant Mattis Waiver

    Experts on US military-civilian relations recommended to the Senate Tuesday that retired Marine Gen. James Mattis be granted a waiver permitting his confirmation as Secretary of Defense.

  • F-35 Likely 16 Months Late to IOT&E

    ​The F-35 program probably won’t enter initial operational test and evaluation on-time by August, likely slipping a minimum of 16 months, Pentagon test director Michael Gilmore said in his final test report to Congress Tuesday.

  • Fly and Fly Again

    ​The MQ-1 pilots of the 46th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron fly every day in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, taking off and landing remotely piloted aircraft for missions piloted by operators in the US. And previously, when the deployed pilots went home, they would only get two weeks off before they were back to flying missions. Now, because of a new scheduling configuration, these pilots will get about four months of training and deployment preparations when they get home.

  • Making An Exception to the Rule

    ​A Jan. 5 Congressional Research Service report tells Congress if it wants Mattis as the next SecDef, it’ll have to either suspend a law, eliminate it, or just altogether ignore it.

  • James Wraps Up Farewell Tour of ICBM Bases

    During her tenure as Air Force Secretary, Deborah Lee James has overseen a significant overhaul of the USAF nuclear community, which was rocked by a cheating scandal shortly after she began her tenure. Since then, the Air Force has implemented hundreds of actions aimed at boosting morale and modernizing aging infrastructure.

  • Filling the Carrier Gap

    The departure of the USS Eisenhower carrier strike group left an aircraft carrier gap in the Central Command area of operations. Now, USAF and coalition partners are stepping up to make sure the fight against ISIS gets all the air power it needs.

  • Gen. Seth Jefferson McKee 1916-2016

    Seth Jefferson McKee, who was the four-star head of North American Air Defense Command from 1969-1973, headed US Forces, Japan, and was a World War II combat pilot with two aerial victories, died in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Dec. 26, 2016 at the age of 100.

  • Striker Trident’s Lessons Learned

    The initial cadre of Air Force and Navy nuclear officers have nearly wrapped up their part in the Striker program, and so far the biggest lesson learned is that the grass is not always greener on the other side.

  • Flight to Iraq

    ​Air Force Magazine recently spent a few days in the US Central Command area of operation. Read correspondent Jennifer Hlad’s first-hand account of a C-130 flight from an undisclosed base in the region into Camp Taji, Iraq, in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.