Daily Report

April 7, 2021

Hypersonic ARRW Booster Flight Test Fails

The first booster flight test of the Air Force’s AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon failed April 5. In a release issued April 6, the service acknowledged the failure is a “setback” for hypersonic progress, but said the test still provided “valuable information” for the program’s development. During the test at Point Mugu Sea Range, a B-52H Stratofortress attempted to fire the first booster test vehicle for the program, but the test missile did not “complete its launch sequence” and stayed on the bomber, which then returned to Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
Valkyrie small UAS

Valkyrie Successfully Releases UAS in Test

The Air Force demonstrated the successful launch of a drone by a larger remotely piloted aircraft on March 26, with the XQ-58A Valkyrie releasing a small UAS from its own internal weapons bay. The flight test, the sixth for the Valkyrie, marked the first time the aircraft opened its payload bays. Valkyrie also flew both higher and faster than its previous tests, according to an Air Force release.
M-ATV Kuwait

Investigators Cite Lack of Seatbelts, Inexperience as Key Factors in Fatal 2020 Kuwait Crash

Three Security Forces Airmen were not wearing seatbelts and were inexperienced in driving the Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected All Terrain Vehicle when it crashed Sept. 12, 2020, at Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait, killing one. An Air Force Ground Investigation Board report, released April 5, outlined a culture of lackadaisical seatbelt use reported by some in the squadron, and a lack of oversight for training on the M-ATVs, which saw increased use just before the incident due to “local threats” at the base. The crash killed Senior Airman Jason Khai Phan, 26, of Anaheim, Calif. Phan was assigned to the 66th Security Forces Squadron at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., and was deployed to the 386th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron.

USAF Retiring its Two OC-135 Open Skies Aircraft

The Air Force is sending its two OC-135B Open Skies aircraft to the boneyard after the U.S. withdrew from the treaty, even though it's not clear whether the new Biden administration will rejoin the monitoring agreement with Russia. Because there is no longer “a mission requirement for the OC-135B, the Department of the Air Force has moved to initiate standard equipment disposition actions in accordance with regulations,” an Air Force spokesperson said in a statement.

ICYMI: Air Force Magazine’s April Issue is Here

Read about forward base defense, U.S. progress on hypersonic weapons, building coalitions between spacefaring nations, the heroism of Capt. Stephen Phillis, a one-on-one interview with Air National Guard director Gen. Michael A. Loh, and more in the April issue of Air Force Magazine.

Radar Sweep

Navy Medic Shoots 2 US Sailors; is Stopped, Killed on Base

The Associated Press

A Navy medic shot and critically wounded two U.S. Navy sailors at a Maryland business park on April 6, then fled to a nearby Army base where he was shot and killed, police and U.S. Navy officials said. Fantahun Girma Woldesenbet, a petty officer third class assigned to Fort Detrick, began shooting with a rifle inside a Navy-related business at the Riverside Tech Park, causing people inside to flee, Frederick police and Fort Detrick officials said at a news conference.

Joint Force Vs. China: Project Convergence 21

Breaking Defense

This fall, the Army’s Project Convergence wargames will host the Air Force, Navy, Marines, and Special Operations in a transcontinental scenario—one meant to replicate the vast distances of the Western Pacific and the technological challenges of a great power war.

ICYMI—PODCAST: 21st Century Long Range Strike: A Conversation with General Tim Ray, Global Strike Command

Mitchell Institute Aerospace Advantage podcast

In episode 16 of the Mitchell Institute’s Aerospace Advantage podcast, Air Force Global Strike Command boss Gen. Timothy M. Ray, talks about how the ability to hit any target in the world at any time is a crucial military advantage enjoyed by the United States. It puts our adversaries on notice and it reassures our allies in times of peace and secures decisive results in war. Other services and our allies don’t have this capability, so it all comes down to U.S. Air Force bombers. Learn what it takes to sustain these incredibly complex operations, modernize the aircraft that make it possible, and innovate operational concepts that speak to tomorrow’s challenges through a conversation with the Air Force’s top leader in charge of this key mission.

Taiwan Reports New Incursion by Chinese Jets into Defense Zone

Reuters

Taiwan’s Defence Ministry on April 5 reported a new incursion by China’s air force into the island’s air defense identification zone, made up of eight fighter jets and two other aircraft, one of which flew through the strategic Bashi Channel.

Lockheed Names New Head of F-35 Program

Defense News

Lockheed Martin on April 5 appointed a new leader for the F-35 program who has experience in overseeing the jet’s sustainment enterprise, amid public criticism over the Joint Strike Fighter’s operations and maintenance costs.