Advancing the Art of Solar Storm Forecasting: The Air Force Research Laboratory and the Air Force Weather Agency are trying to reduce the impact of violent solar storms on military assets by collaborating on efforts to better forecast the phenomena. The often-unpredictable plasma and radiation eruptions from the sun’s surface can wreak havoc on satellite-based communications. AFRL’s Solar Disturbance Prediction Program stationed at the National Solar Observatory’s complex in Sacramento Peak, N.M., started the “Solar Fusion” project. The effort aims to combine state of the art solar and space data from a large range of telescopes, satellites and computer modeling and make it accessible to the AFWA.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.