Daily Report

Oct. 13, 2021
air force trainer

Air Force Wants Up to 400 Advanced Fighter Trainers Like T-7s

The Air Force is seeking “at least 100” and as many as 400 Advanced Tactical Trainer aircraft both to train fighter pilots and to serve as adversary aircraft in training, a role similar to that now performed by the AT-38. While the Air Force seems likely to be looking at adding to the role of the T-7A, the service did not mention that airplane or its maker, Boeing, in the request for information published Oct. 12. Air Force leaders have for several years suggested that the T-7 Advanced Jet Trainer could likely be the basis of a companion trainer/aggressor aircraft in the mold of the T-38/AT-38 but have insisted that the new jet must first pass muster as an advanced jet trainer before being adapted to other roles.
afghan evacuation

‘Flying Hospitals’ Treated Sick Afghans, Prompting New Capabilities

Afghans fleeing the Taliban in August concealed medical conditions ranging from battlefield wounds to high-risk pregnancies out of fear that doing so might cause U.S. military members to bar them from escaping Kabul. In response, Air Mobility Command provided medics and nurses, turning transports into “flying hospitals” that delivered a baby and developed new means of care on the fly. 

UK Presses UN on Treaty Over Space Weapons

As the United Nations General Assembly contemplates an international treaty to prevent an arms race in space, international support for such an effort appears to be gaining steam. Meanwhile, a “global wave of opinion,” in the form of an open letter, is adding momentum to the idea of first agreeing on a single urgent issue: the banning of kinetic anti-satellite weapon tests capable of creating dangerous debris.

Radar Sweep

DISA Director Says Common Access Card Showing Age

DOD release

The Defense Department has used the Common Access Card, or CAC, for more than 20 years now, and there's no sign, as of yet, that the department is planning on doing away with the ID card. But the director of the Defense Information Systems Agency said he thinks it might be time to look for better ways for department personnel to prove who they are to gate guards, computers, and chow hall personnel.

Air Force Remakes a Squadron Into a Cyber-Focused Unit

FedScoop

The Air Force transitioned a squadron that once focused solely on communications into a unit dedicated to cyber defense, the latest tactical pivot that mirrors the department’s broader changes to modernize its force. The 55th Communications Squadron transitioned into the 55th Cyber Squadron in September, according to the Air Force. It’s the most recent squadron—the basic unit of the Air Force that can contain a few dozen to more than a hundred Airmen—to transition from serving in a network or communications role to cyber defense.

The Air Force's New 5,000-Pound Bunker-Buster Bomb Breaks Cover

The Drive

The Air Force has successfully completed a series of tests of a new 5,000-pound-class bunker-buster bomb, the GBU-72/B. This included the release of a prototype of the weapon from an F-15E Strike Eagle combat jet over a range associated with Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. The testing of this weapon, developed under a program variously referred to as the Advanced 5,000 Pound Warhead or Advanced 5,000 Pound Penetrator, and abbreviated A5K, took place earlier this year, but the Air Force only announced the results Oct. 12.

Space Development Agency Seeks Proposals for 18 Satellites with Experimental Payloads

SpaceNews

The Space Development Agency on Oct. 8 issued a draft request for bids for 18 satellites that will carry experimental payloads. These 18 spacecraft will be integrated with SDA’s planned mesh network of 126 optically interconnected data transport satellites. SDA is already reviewing bids for 126 satellites, projected to launch in 2024.

UK Plans to Beef Up Military Deployments in Asia

CNBC

The United Kingdom plans to increase its presence in the contested South China Sea and the Indo-Pacific region, the Royal Air Force Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, said Oct. 11. Speaking on board the Royal Navy’s HMS Queen Elizabeth docked in Singapore, Wigston said that there would be a “more regular drumbeat of deployments.”

COVID-19, Supply Chain Issues Hampering Pentagon’s Quest to Buy Counter-Drone Tech

Breaking Defense

Half of the companies tapped to show off counter-drone technologies to the U.S. military in September dropped out of the demonstration due to COVID-19 restrictions and ongoing supply chain issues, an Army official revealed Oct. 11. In the end, only five of the 10 companies selected by the Joint Counter-Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Office actually made it to the three-week demonstration at Yuma Proving Ground, Ariz., said Army Col. Greg Soule, the JCO’s head of the acquisition and resources division.

From Sci-fi to Reality: How the US Space Force Launched a Digital Revolution

Air Force Times

The promises of a digital ecosystem—faster development, integrated assembly, and the ability to test systems before they’re built—are appealing to the Department of Defense, which frequently struggles with cost overruns and significant delays for its space systems. Digital acquisitions advocate Will Roper, former assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology, and logistics, has left government, but the digital revolution continues, and the Space Force wants to lead the way.

PODCAST: Train Like You Fight—Preparing for Near-Peer Conflict

Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies

In episode 43 of the Aerospace Advantage podcast, 57th Wing Commander Brig. Gen. Michael R. Drowley joins host John Baum and co-host retired Lt. Gen. David Deptula to discuss how the Weapons School, Red Flag, Aggressors, and other key facets of his team are developing and training the tactics, techniques, and procedures to address future threats, especially peer competitors such as China and Russia. A key part of this comes down to integrating air, space, and cyber capabilities to leverage powerful effects at the right time and place.

​​Pentagon’s Top Science Official Adds to Tech-Breakthrough Wishlist

Defense One

When Heidi Shyu was nominated to be defense undersecretary for research and engineering, the longtime Army acquisition executive set out to trim the long list of technology areas set as development priorities. But she found that all of those areas—hypersonics, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and at least a half-dozen more—are vital to the Pentagon’s future efforts to deter China. Moreover, the list leaves some key areas off.

​​JAIC Thinks AI Might Solve DOD’s Struggles With Contract Writing Systems

Federal News Network

The Defense Department has been trying to move the military services and defense agencies to a single, modernized contract writing system for a decade now. And although those efforts have seen major setbacks, DOD’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center thinks it might be possible to build one with AI and to have something to show for it as early as March.

Israel's Air Force Asks to Accelerate KC-46 Tanker Acquisition

The Jerusalem Post

The Israeli Air Force has asked the US Air Force to advance the acquisition of four out of eight tankers that are required for long-range missions, with two of them asked to be delivered immediately. The U.S. State Department approved the possible sale of up to eight KC-46 tanker aircraft and related equipment to Israel for an estimated cost of $2.4 billion last March, marking the first time that Washington has allowed Jerusalem to buy new tankers.

One More Thing

World War II Soldier Laid to Rest in Maine After 77 Years

WABI

The remains of a Maine World War II veteran who gave his life for his country were buried at his final resting place in Millinocket. Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Ernest N. Vienneau was a pilot assigned to the 340th Bombardment Squadron, 97th Bombardment Group, 15th Air Force, based out of Amendola, Italy. A bomber on which he served as co-pilot came under fire over present-day Slovenia and had to be ditched. His body was recovered last year.