Daily Report

Sept. 23, 2021
Fighter Roadmap. Gen. Mark Kelly, Air Combat Command.

War With China Will ‘End Badly’ if USAF Gives Up Air Supremacy

China is making a play to wrest air superiority from the U.S., and if it succeeds, the U.S. risks losing a potential war quickly, commander of Air Combat Command Gen. Mark D. Kelly said. Kelly described the service's fighter roadmap, saying a new fighter system is worthy of a "Manhattan Project" level of effort and funding.
air force software

Software Chief ‘Dropped The Mic’ as He Quit; Now Senior USAF Officials Say They’re Looking Into His Recommendations

The Air Force is considering whether senior military officers without technical experience or skills should continue to be put in charge of advanced technology acquisition programs following a blistering resignation letter from the service’s chief software officer earlier this month. Nicolas M. Chaillan, who had held the position since May 2019, “has really helped us move forward and [highlighted] things that we need to change in the Department of the Air Force, relative to improving our software skills,” Acting Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics Darlene Costello told a media roundtable at AFA’s Air, Space, & Cyber Conference on Sept. 21.
The Wings Through Time

Air Force Focused on First NGAD as ‘Digital Century Series’ Costs More to Design

Using new digital methods to design a future Air Force fighter costs more than the traditional approach, but subsequent iterations could be done faster and less expensively, senior Air Force officials said Sept. 22. They also cautioned that the “Digital Century Series” is not synonymous with the Next Generation Air Dominance program and that no decision has been made about whether to take the approach on an NGAD successor.
us space command

US Space Command Says It Has the Backs of NASA, Allies, Commercial Partners

The U.S. military plans to "be there" for NASA and commercial providers of “critical” space capabilities as activity picks up on and around the moon. Commander of the joint-service U.S. Space Command, Army Gen. James H. Dickinson, made the pledge during his speech at the Air Force Association’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference on Sept. 21. He added that the Artemis program, NASA’s planned lunar exploration campaign, “presents an exciting opportunity” for the command.
2021 ASC Space/Overhead Platforms

Space Discussions Still Hampered By Secrecy

Discussions within the Space Force and between it and industry partners about new architectures for satellite constellations are sometimes hampered by the extraordinarily high levels of classification involved, a Lockheed Martin executive told AFA’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference. Information about the vulnerabilities of military satellites, such as to cyberattacks, is typically highly classified in this fashion. But that secrecy “makes it really difficult to have the kinds of engagements [with vendors] that are required in order to select future force designs and capabilities,” said Eric Brown, Lockheed Martin’s director for military space mission strategy.

Radar Sweep

Russia, PRC Intercept US Aircraft ‘Multiple Times a Day’ in Pacific: PACAF

Breaking Defense

“There are incidents almost every day. Either Chinese, or Russia—or both of them—intercept one of our platforms that are out flying missions almost every day, and multiple times in a day is not uncommon,” Pacific Air Forces Commander Gen. Kenneth S. Wilsbach said at AFA’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference.

PODCAST: Defense & Aerospace Daily Podcast: Air, Space & Cyber, Day 2

Defense and Aerospace Report

On this episode of the DefAero Report Daily Podcast, with Vago Muradian, Space Force Lt. Gen. B. Chance “Salty” Saltzman discusses how to think about space threats, improving Space Force operations, deterring adversaries in space, a new generation of nuclear threats, and driving a culture of innovation; Eric Hein of Spirit AeroSystems discusses how the company is innovating design and production to expand its defense and space business; and John A. Tirpak of Air Force Magazine offers takeaways from Day 2 of the Air Force Association’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference.

Recruiting Women and People of Color Has Gotten Harder. The Air Force Thinks Diverse Leadership Will Help

Military.com

Confronting drops in interest in joining the military among Black men, Hispanic men, and women in the past few years, Air Force leaders are trying to combat hesitancy with an aggressive push to show that the service has opportunities for all. That starts with developing more diversity in its leadership as well as in the ranks of pilots and Airmen in the operational career fields that often produce the service's top brass.

As Air Force Adopts AI, It Must Also Defend It, Intelligence Chief Says

FedScoop

While many senior officials across the service have touted artificial intelligence and machine learning as keys to a more effective, data-driven Air Force, there currently is no organization within the Air Force that serves to defend the underlying algorithms once operational, Lt. Gen. Mary O’Brien, deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and cyber effects operations, said Sept. 22 at the Air Force Association’s 2021 Air, Space & Cyber conference.

One More Thing

Flying on Mars Getting Tougher as Ingenuity Helicopter Gears Up for 14th Hop

Space.com

NASA's Ingenuity helicopter is getting ready for its 14th Red Planet flight, but the thinning Martian air is making such sorties more and more challenging. The coming sortie, which could occur any day now, is a straightforward hop compared to some of the more daring scouting flights that Ingenuity has been making to aid NASA's Perseverance rover, mission team members said in a recent update. There's a good reason for the simplicity: The 4-pound chopper will test higher rotor spin speeds to see if it can keep flying in rapidly changing seasonal atmospheric conditions on Mars.