Daily Report

Sept. 28, 2021
Lockheed Martin F-35 production line

F-35 Production Set at 156 Per Year Until Completion

Lockheed Martin and the F-35 Joint Program Office have agreed that F-35 production will peak at 156 jets per year in 2023 and remain at that level "for the foreseeable future." The "re-baselining" of the program is meant to ensure predictability and stability in production.
hypersonic missile

Hypersonic HAWC Missile Flies, but Details Are Kept Hidden

The Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC) vehicle, developed under a partnership of the Air Force and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, made a free flight the week of Sept. 20, a DARPA spokesman said, but most details are being withheld. The vehicle, which was built by Raytheon Technologies with a hypersonic engine built by Northrop Grumman, flew at hypersonic speeds faster than Mach 5, but DARPA declined to say how long it did so.

Caring for Their Son Gave the Browns a Window Into the Needs of Exceptional Families

The Air Force’s top officer-and-spouse duo shared a personal reason they take family readiness to heart in a town hall talk on the final afternoon of AFA’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference. Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. and wife Sharene said caring for their son with autism has helped to inform improvements to the Exceptional Family Member Program and that EFMP families have, in turn, informed a new quality-of-life initiative called Five to Thrive.
air force academia

Security Demands Challenge Air Force, Defense Contractor Collaboration With Academia

Deeper partnerships outside the traditional defense industrial base are needed to deliver cutting-edge technology to the warfighter, but relationships with academia can be challenging, according to panelists at AFA’s Air, Space, & Cyber Conference. Both the military services and the traditional defense contractors that serve them are going to have to learn to work with a much broader spectrum of partners if they are to “meet the requirements of the Air Force's core missions in fulfilling the interim national security strategy ... in a very challenging budgetary environment,” said Brig. Gen. Robert K. Lyman, the assistant deputy chief of staff for cyber effects operations.
Air Force speciality codes

‘Jury’s Still Out’ on How Air Force Will Handle Specialty Codes With Multi-capable Airmen

Air Force leaders have spoken extensively over the past few years about their desire to empower Airmen to be multi-capable, training them through Agile Combat Employment exercises to operate in small groups in austere locations, using broader skillsets to do whatever is necessary. What exactly that means for Air Force Speciality Codes, however, is still being debated, Lt. Gen. Marshall B. "Brad" Webb, head of Air Education and Training Command, said Sept. 22 at AFA’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference.

Radar Sweep

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OPINION: The Air Force is Moving to Confront China’s Threat to Our National Security

The Washington Post

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. penned an op-ed for The Washington Post, writing, “When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, the United States was no longer driven by the pressure of strategic competition with the Soviet Union, and we became the world’s lone superpower. In that role, we faced an unrelenting series of challenges after 9/11, while China and Russia upgraded their militaries in menacing ways—building new technologies in space, in cyberspace, on land, at sea, and in the air. Now, as my service’s senior uniformed officer, I have evaluated the Air Force’s need to rapidly pivot to address these security challenges—and published a strategic approach whose title embodies our imperative: ‘Accelerate Change or Lose.’”

US Won’t Be Asking Taliban Permission to Strike Terror Groups in Afghanistan

Air Force Times

When U.S. Central Command authorizes strikes against groups such as ISIS-K or al-Qaida in Afghanistan, the command won’t be negotiating with the Taliban about where and when it can drop bombs. While the U.S. generally negotiates agreements with countries where it conducts strikes, the Pentagon considers Afghanistan essentially a free space following the collapse of its elected government in August.

Blue Origin, Rocket Lab, SpaceX, ULA win Space Force Contracts for Rocket Technology Projects

Space News

Blue Origin, Rocket Lab, SpaceX, and United Launch Alliance were selected to participate in technology development projects to advance rocket engine testing and launch vehicle upper stages, Space Force Space Systems Command announced Sept. 24. The awards made by the Space Enterprise Consortium are for prototypes that will be jointly funded by the government and the contractors under partnerships known as OTAs, for other transaction authority.

PODCAST: Strategic Nuclear Deterrence: What are Americans Thinking?

Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies

In episode 41 of the Mitchell Institute’s Aerospace Advantage podcast, the team delves into the realm of public opinion regarding one of the most consequential aspects of U.S. national security—nuclear modernization. It’s crucial to know where the public stands on this issue given that all segments of the nuclear triad are set for modernization. The Mitchell Institute, in collaboration with Seven Letter Insight, conducted a survey to better understand these dynamics. The results were both surprising and illuminating.

Federal Contractors Must Show Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination by Dec. 8

Defense One

New guidance from the Biden administration Sept. 24 says covered federal contractors and subcontractors must be vaccinated against COVID-19 and show proof of it by Dec. 8 unless they are granted an exemption. President Biden on Sept. 9 announced a vaccine mandate for federal employees and contractors. The executive order for contractors outlined which contractors were covered and the process leading up to implementation but was light on other details and left contracting experts with a number of questions.

China to Show Off Its New Electronic-Attack Jet

Defense News

China is set to debut its dedicated electronic-attack aircraft on public display at the upcoming Zhuhai airshow, giving observers a first look at the newly developed type. A single example of the type, which is officially designated the Shenyang J-16D, has been parked at the static display area of the airshow in Guangdong Province ahead of the event, which is due to run from Sept. 28 to Oct. 3 next to the city’s airport.

DOD’s Drug Supply Chain is Shaky; DOD IG Report Adds to Growing Evidence

Federal News Network

New evidence adds to the growing body of supply chain concerns that the Defense Department’s pharmaceutical pipeline is in danger. A new report from the DOD Inspector General found that the Defense Logistics Agency deemed its reliance on foreign suppliers of drugs a risk in 2019, however, it did not develop any strategies to mitigate the risk or routinely monitor what country it was buying drugs from for risks.

Russian Fighter Jets Escort US Air Force Bomber Over Pacific Ocean

UPI

Three Russian fighter jets scrambled to escort a U.S. Air Force plane over the Pacific Ocean after it reportedly approached Russian airspace, the National Defense Command Center said. Three Russian Sukhoi-35S fighters escorted a U.S. B-52H strategic bomber after air radars in the Eastern Military Region identified an air target approaching Russian airspace over the Pacific Ocean, Russian state news agency TASS reported.

One More Thing

Combat Care in Iraq and Afghanistan Inspires New Red Cross Course for High School Students

Military.com

When he was serving in Iraq as an Air Force emergency physician, Dr. Craig Goolsby saw some horrific injuries—war wounds he could not imagine anyone surviving. But many of his patients came in wearing tourniquets, simple band-and-bar contraptions put on by another Soldier, Sailor, Marine, or Airman, that stopped them from bleeding out. The lessons learned in combat since 9/11 inspired a nationwide "Stop the Bleed" campaign, launched by the White House in 2015, to teach more Americans how to apply tourniquets in emergency situations.