With its active F-15 fighter squadron deployed to Southwest Asia, Kadena AB, Japan, in September welcomed members of the Indiana Air National Guard’s 181st Fighter Wing to fill in the gap in Pacific region coverage. The 181st sent 12 F-16s and some 350 Guardsmen to Kadena on the island of Okinawa. The wing’s vice commander, Lt. Col. Chris Colbert, said it was the first time an ANG unit had been tasked for this type of deployment. He noted, too, that the Indiana unit has gotten “training that is hard to get at home station.” The ANG F-16s trained with different types of aircraft in a variety of exercise scenarios. The ANG unit exceeded its normal monthly flying hours by more than 50 percent, according to maintenance supervisor CMSgt. Robert Dickerson.
NASA, SpaceX, and United Launch Alliance are all preparing to launch their next-gen rockets from Florida’s Space Coast, two of them before the year is out. One is expected to liberate the U.S. launch enterprise from its reliance on Russian-made RD-180 engines, while all three rockets could eventually carry astronaut crews.