Air Force Special Operations Command airmen and their MH-53 Pave Hawk helicopters and MC-130P Combat Shadow tankers from RAF Mildenhall, England, have continued to aid evacuation operations in Lebanon. An Air Force news release says the 352nd Special Operations Group airmen have flown daily missions, transporting more than 260 Americans. No-notice taskings to the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing in Southwest Asia produced two C-130 tactical transports, which have hauled more than 10 tons of food and other supplies this past week to Cyprus to aid Americans waiting transport back to the US. And, the Air Force co-opted two C-17s deployed to Manas AB, Kyrgyzstan, to support operations in Afghanistan to help with the evacuation. One flew Americans from Lebanon to Cyprus, while the other shifted to Incirlik AB, Turkey, which has served as another key exodus waypoint.
Reports of production troubles on the SpaceX rocket that could contend for military cargo deliveries happened to coincide with a different company’s concept receiving an early nod—one that might not require a rocket at all.