Daily Report

June 21, 2022
f-22s

House Moves to Upgrade, Not Retire, Oldest F-22s

The Air Force’s plans to divest a sizable chunk of its F-22 fighter fleet has run into its biggest hurdle yet, as the House Armed Services Committee’s mark of the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act would prohibit any such retirements and establish a minimum fleet size of 186 aircraft. The HASC chairman’s mark, released June 20, would not only block any retirements, it also included a provision that would force the Air Force to upgrade all the F-22s in its fleet to at least “Block 30/35 mission systems, sensors, and weapon employment capabilities.” 
pacific ace

ACE Is Now ‘Normal Ops’ in Pacific, but Utility in Conflict Requires More Partners

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii – Six years ago, agile combat employment (ACE), the Air Force concept of operating at dispersed and austere bases, was a PowerPoint presentation advocated for by Pacific Air Forces leadership. Now, as the concept nears Initial Operational Capability (IOC), adding new ACE partners is growing in importance, PACAF commander, Gen. Kenneth S. Wilsbach told Air Force Magazine. “ACE was a new thing a while back, and now it's just normal ops,” said Wilsbach. Austere island chains like the Marianas, which include American territories Guam, Tinian, and Saipan, provide the opportunity to practice hub and spoke ACE, but ACE is extending to other Pacific islands and even part of operations at large Air Force bases in Japan and Korea.
kc-46 cv-22

KC-46 Tanker Refuels a CV-22 Tiltrotor for 1st Time

In early June in the skies above Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., a KC-46 Pegasus from the 349th Air Refueling Squadron and a CV-22 Osprey from the 20th Special Operations Squadron came together, marking the first ever aerial refueling by a KC-46 of a CV-22 from Air Force Special Operations Command, according to an Air Force release.
China Russia Wilsbach

Wilsbach Chides China for ‘Nefarious’ Exercise with Russian Bombers

Joint bomber exercises between China and Russia in May were a sign that China supports the Russian military and the two nations have some degree of interoperability, but quick intercepts by U.S. Pacific allies were an important demonstration, Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) Commander Gen. Kenneth S. Wilsbach told Air Force Magazine. “I don't understand why they would partner up with Russia in these times. But clearly, we see that two nefarious nations are working together," he said. “It just doesn't play well, I don't think, in the international community."
Space other services

Space ‘Underpins All Instruments of National Power,’ Raymond Says

Addressing members from every service earning advanced degrees from the Naval Postgraduate School on June 17, Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond emphasized the importance of space to the Joint Force and in the new National Defense Strategy. Raymond, speaking at the NPS spring graduation ceremony to more than 300 graduates, referred to space as a “critical doorway to war,” needed by all the services to function.

Radar Sweep

Air Force Legend Interred at Arlington National Cemetery

Air Force release

Brig. Gen. Charles E. McGee, one of the original Tuskegee Airmen and Air Force legend, was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington June 17. Along with his family and distinguished guests, many senior military leaders attended the service to bid a final farewell to the historic figure. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall, and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr. all participated in the service.

Jordan Orders Eight F-16 Block 70 fighters

Flight Global

Jordan is to receive eight new-build Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 70 fighters after signing an agreement with the manufacturer. The Middle Eastern country sealed the acquisition by signing a letter of offer and acceptance for the new-build aircraft, says Lockheed. The fighters will be produced on Lockheed’s new F-16 line in Greenville, South Carolina. Lockheed did not provide a value for the deal, or state when the fighters will be delivered.

An In-Orbit Game of Cat and Mouse: Close Approaches Prompt Calls for Communications and Norms

SpaceNews

Soon after a pair of Chinese satellites reached geostationary orbit early this year, space surveillance satellite USA 270 maneuvered to get a closer look at its new neighbors. As USA 270 closed in on Shiyan-12-01 and Shiyan-12-02, the Chinese inspection satellites took off in opposite directions with Shiyan 12 02 moving into position to get a sunlit view of the U.S. surveillance satellite. “It’s pretty clear that as USA 270 gets close, these guys are getting out of Dodge,” said Dan Oltrogge, COMSPOC Corp. research director.

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Israel Says It's Building Regional Air Defense Alliance under US

Reuters

Israel is building a U.S.-sponsored regional air defense alliance, the Israeli defense minister said June 20, adding that the apparatus has already foiled attempted Iranian attacks and could be boosted by President Joe Biden's visit next month. Drawing closer in recent years to U.S.-aligned Arab states which share its Iran concerns, Israel has offered them defense cooperation. They have been publicly reticent on the idea.

Senators Seek Boosts for JADC2, Cyber Mission, Hypersonics in Defense Bill

Defense News

U.S. lawmakers are pushing for more money to support the Pentagon’s Joint All-Domain Command and Control endeavor and the creation of a related headquarters in the Indo-Pacific, as well as for critical technology including microelectronics and hypersonics. The provisions were included in the Senate Armed Services Committee’s version of the fiscal year 2023 defense policy bill, according to a 30-page summary released June 16.

Inflation is Crushing Already Struggling US Troops and Their Families

Task & Purpose

While Americans everywhere are feeling the strain of inflation, military families are also facing challenges unique to a job that maintains a rigid pay scale and leaves you little choice but to move where and when they say so. Americans everywhere have seen the costs of gasoline, food, and housing skyrocket in recent months and military service members are no exception. In many ways, inflation is exacerbating an already concerning trend of service members—particularly younger troops—being unable to feed their families since their pay hasn’t kept pace with inflation.

OPINION: Got Fuel? Fixing the US Military’s Aerial Refueling Architecture

Defense One

“It’s a military pilot’s nightmare: you arrive for your airborne refueling but no one’s there—just empty sky above the ocean that will soon swallow your fuel-dry aircraft. That’s the situation U.S. pilots are likely to face in a conflict against China unless the Pentagon quickly makes some changes in its investment priorities and operational concepts,” writes Timothy A. Walton, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute’s Center for Defense Concepts and Technology.

COVID-19, Russian Aggression Triggers New interest in KC-46: Boeing Official

Breaking Defense

Boeing’s KC-46 tanker has seen a new surge of interest amid the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the company expects to announce a new international customer for the aircraft as early as the end of 2022, a Boeing official said. All told, the company expects to sell up to 42 KC-46 tankers in addition to its current backlog, said Mike Hafer, Boeing’s senior manager for KC-46 business development.

Navy, Air Force Struggling to Keep Planes Ready for Take Off

Breaking Defense

Both the US Navy and Air Force have been struggling to keep some planes ready to fly in recent years, and it’s only getting worse, according to a new watchdog report. “Mission capable rates—a metric used to assess the health and readiness of an aircraft fleet—and other related maintenance metrics trends have worsened since fiscal year 2015 for eight selected aircraft,” the Government Accountability Office wrote in a report.

One More Thing

Target Just Announced a New Military Discount for the 4th of July

Military.com

A new Target military discount for the 4th of July will give veterans, active-duty, and Guard and Reserve service members and their direct family members a 10 percent discount on most products. This is Target's second annual military discount. The retailer also offers a 10 percent Veterans Day military discount.

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