Daily Report

Oct. 12, 2021
china stealth fighter

China Likely Stepping Up Stealth Fighter Production

Chinese officials at the Zhuhai air show forecast an increase in production and shortened development time for stealth fighters, without giving specifics. To match the U.S. Air Force's fifth-generation fighter inventories—not even including the Department of the Navy's—China would have to build 125 such jets a year.
airmen language leap

Language Scholars Program Helps Airmen Understand Adversaries and Partners

First came the eight online courses with native Arabic speakers. Then the three in-country immersion programs, each three weeks long. But the street hockey game with teenagers in Oman, followed by a beach cookout, were what helped Air Force Maj. Austin Pickrell realize the cultural intangibles that strengthen ties with partner nations. Pickrell, 33, told Air Force Magazine that the Language Enabled Airmen Program "has been a real pillar within my Air Force career." He'd even consider it "a retention tool," he said by phone from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, where he is a regional desk officer for U.S. Air Forces Africa.
afghanistan neo

TRANSCOM Officer Previews Evacuation Lessons Learned, After-Action Report Is Next

U.S. Transportation Command is already conducting an after-action report of the Noncombatant Evacuation Operation that flew more than 124,000 Afghan refugees, third-country nationals, and Americans from Kabul to safety in August to identify lessons learned, said the command's director of operations, Maj. Gen. Corey J. Martin, who offered a preview to journalists Oct. 7. Martin revealed that he was not satisfied with the processes for TRANSCOM to scale to the demand of the airlift operation from Hamid Karzai International Airport over 17 days in August.

Radar Sweep

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Gen. Raymond T. Odierno Dies at 67; Oversaw Iraq Surge

The New York Times

The general cut an intimidating figure, at 6 feet 5 inches and 250 pounds with a shaved head, but he was outgoing and popular with his troops. He served three tours of duty in Iraq from 2003 to 2010 and rose to become chief commander of all allied forces in the country. He commanded the Fourth Infantry Division, which was involved in the capture of Saddam Hussein in northern Iraq in December 2003, in a mission that combined mechanized infantry units and the elite counterterrorism forces. After U.S. Special Operations forces dragged the disheveled and heavily bearded Iraqi dictator from an underground hide-out on a sheep farm north of Baghdad, the general uttered one of the war’s most notable comments. “He was in the bottom of a hole with no way to fight back,” General Odierno said. “He was caught like a rat.”

OPINION: America's Drone Programs Matter Today More Than Ever

The Hill

“Today the Taliban rule Afghanistan. They are flush with money from the opium trade, empowered by their ability to drive out the U.S., and eager to reassert control over the country. When you add the rise of ISIS-K—a more violent faction of the Islamic State—we are left with a situation that cannot be ignored. Make no mistake: What happens in Afghanistan likely will not stay in Afghanistan. So now what?” writes retired Air Force Lt. Gen. David A. Deptula, the Air Force’s first chief of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance and dean of AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.

‘There Will Be No Withdrawal’: Syrian Allies Say US Has Promised to Keep Some Troops There

Defense One

U.S. ground forces are still fighting ISIS in Syria as the Biden administration changes its approach in Afghanistan and Iraq—but for how long? America’s Kurdish allies say the uncertainty—about U.S. troops’ continued presence in northeast Syria, about Washington’s will to keep Turkey in check—has emboldened Ankara, which Syrian Kurds view as more dangerous than the Assad regime.

OPINION: We Can Delay No Longer: It’s Time to Retire Older Fleets

Breaking Defense

“​​For those of us charged with repairing the aging US Air Force fleet, we sometimes feel a bit like Sisyphus, the character in Greek mythology whose plight was to roll a giant boulder uphill. Unless you are on the front lines maintaining these 30-, 40-, and 50-year-old airplanes, it is hard to imagine the scope of the challenge, from chronic parts shortages to the emergence of new and unforeseen safety concerns,” writes Air Force Materiel Command head Gen. Arnold W. Bunch Jr.

Pilot Errors Caused Fatal T-38 Training Crash, Air Force Probe Finds

Military.com

A fatal T-38C Talon crash in February was caused by mistakes made by both the Air Force instructor pilot and the Japanese student pilot on board, a newly released investigation found. Instructor pilot 1st Lt. Scot Ames Jr. and Renshi Uesaki of the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force died during a Feb. 19 training flight when their jet trainer hit the ground short of the runway at Montgomery Regional Airport in Alabama. The two were part of the 50th Flying Training Squadron, 14th Flying Training Wing, at Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi.

Head of Lockheed Martin Space to Retire

Defense News

Rick Ambrose, the chief of Lockheed Martin’s space business, announced Oct. 7 his impending retirement following eight years leading a unit that delivered some of the U.S. Space Force’s most important satellites and related systems. Ambrose will continue to serve in his position until a successor is named. He will then serve as strategic adviser to ensure a smooth transition and will officially retire March 1, 2022.

OPINION: Two Misguided Ideas That Imperil America’s Nuclear Deterrence

Lawfire

“Unfortunately, two prominent civilians—William Perry and Ambassador Thomas Graham—have each proposed separate changes to America’s nuclear deterrence policy that could put the security of not just our country, but also the world, in existential peril. As someone who served three different tours in units involved with the U.S.’ nuclear deterrent—including service as the senior lawyer at U.S. Strategic Command—allow me to explain why I believe their proposals are so dangerous,” writes retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Charles Dunlap Jr., former USAF deputy judge advocate general and executive director of the Center of Law, Ethics, and National Security at Duke Law.

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Turkey Asks US to Buy 40 F-16 Jets to Upgrade Air Force

Reuters

Turkey has made a request to the U.S. to buy 40 Lockheed Martin-made F-16 fighter jets and nearly 80 modernization kits for its existing warplanes as the NATO ally looks to modernize its Air Force after the purchase of F-35 jets fell through, sources familiar with the matter said.

The Iron Dome Air Defense System Is Heading to Guam

The Drive

The U.S. Army is deploying one of two air defense batteries equipped with the Israeli-made Iron Dome system to Guam. The decision to send Iron Dome systems comes as the U.S. military continues to explore options to expand its air and missile defenses on this highly strategic island in the Pacific as part of broader efforts to deter China in the Indo-Pacific region. The latest versions of the Iron Dome system, originally designed to intercept incoming rockets and other artillery rounds, also have a demonstrated ability to shoot down small drones and low-flying cruise missiles.

Air Force Pilots See F-35 Lethality and Interoperability in Marine Corps Exchange

Air Force release

For three former F-16 pilots in the 388th Fighter Wing, transitioning to the F-35 didn’t only mean learning a new aircraft, it also meant transitioning to a completely different service, the United States Marine Corps. Roughly three years ago, Maj. Graeme Ross, Capt. Justin Newman, and Capt. Spencer Weide were all stationed in Korea, and they all decided to transition from the F-16 Fighting Falcon to the F-35A Lightning II.

One More Thing

Australian Airline Qantas Flew Over Antarctica in a Record-Breaking 9,300-mile Flight

Yahoo News

Australian flag carrier Qantas completed the longest commercial flight in its history Oct. 6, repatriating passengers from Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Darwin, Australia, on a Boeing 787-9 aircraft. Qantas's record-breaking 17 hour, 25-minute flight flew 107 passengers 15,020 kilometers (9,333 miles) across Antarctica and the Pacific Ocean, according to data from FlightRadar24.