Daily Report

Aug. 4, 2022

MQ-9 Reapers Prove Value in ACE Pacific Operation

Ten Airmen on the South Pacific island of Palau watched intently as an MQ-9 Reaper flew in for an automatic landing recently. Neither of the two air crew members grabbed the controls from the pilot at Creech Air Force Base, Nev. Instead, for the first time in a major Pacific exercise, the Reaper used its new automatic takeoff and landing capability (ATLC) to land without ground control and only a pallet and half of equipment. An hour later, it launched again, and the maintainers went to meet it at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, demonstrating Reaper agile combat employment, or REAP, during the June 6-17 Valiant Shield exercise. “It’s fundamentally shaking up how we present our force, because I don't need everybody downrange anymore,” said Lt. Col. Michael Chmielewski, commander of the 556th Test and Evaluation Squadron at Creech, which oversaw the MQ-9s.
tanker wing

USAFE’s Only Tanker Wing: Increased Work, But ‘Increased Reward, Too’

Across Europe in recent months, the 15 KC-135s of the 100th Air Refueling Wing have popped up everywhere from the North Sea to the Adriatic Sea, to the skies of Poland, the Baltics and other parts of eastern Europe. With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine creating uncertainty and instability in the region—and greater numbers of U.S. and NATO aircraft patrolling the eastern flank of the alliance—the demand for aerial refueling has risen as well.
air force reserve

New Air Force Reserve Chief Pledges to ‘Transform Our Design Processes’

Command of the Air Force Reserve changed hands August 3, as newly-promoted Lt. Gen. John P. Healy succeeded retiring Lt. Gen. Richard W. Scobee in a ceremony at Robins Air Force Base, Ga.Healy takes over the major command after spending the previous year as Scobee’s deputy at AFRC.Outlining his goals for AFRC in his first speech as commander, Healy described his priorities as “pretty basic and pretty straightforward,” defined by the mantra of “ready now, transforming for the future.”
Recurve

AFRL’s Homegrown Cubesat Begins Mission to Test Cognitive Communications

A new cubesat built and operated in house at the Air Force Research Laboratory is set to demonstrate cognitive, beyond-line-of-sight radio networking via satellite while also giving AFRL’s researchers “intimate knowledge” of how the satellite works to apply in the future. Its name Recurve refers to a recurve bow because the cubesat demonstrates a new communication technology to provide troops “with another tool in their tool belt (or arrow in their quiver, so to speak),” said Kate Yoshino, Recurve program manager. 

Radar Sweep

US Watches Anxiously as China Threatens Missile Launches near Taiwan

POLITICO

Washington is on edge as China readies a series of provocative military drills set to kick off August 4 in response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. Beijing has threatened incursions into the island’s territory, and for the first time, conventional missile launches over the island. The Chinese navy is positioning warships around the island, including its two aircraft carriers that have left port in recent days, in what officials described as a blockade.

Senate Votes To Add Finland, Sweden to NATO

Defense One

The Senate overwhelmingly approved the addition of Sweden and Finland to NATO on August 3, taking a step toward extending the alliance’s border with Russia by more than 800 miles. The 95-1 Senate vote made the United States the 23rd of NATO’s 30 countries to act since the alliance accepted the two nations’ applications in June, ahead of its annual summit in Madrid. It also means senators met their goal of approving the additions ahead of the Senate’s August recess, which begins next week.

F-35 Ejection Seat Problem Was Discovered 3 Months Ago, But Jets Kept Flying

Military.com

A widespread issue with ejection seats that impacted hundreds of aircraft across the U.S. military last week was first discovered on an F-35A Lightning II back in April, but the Air Force didn't ground its jets for three months as it investigated. Martin-Baker, a U.K. manufacturer, said there was a problem with certain productions of its cartridge-actuated devices—explosive components used to launch an ejection seat out of the cockpit. The company said it was first discovered this past spring at an Air Force base in Utah.

SPONSORED: Boeing and USAF Mark More than 75 Years of Innovation, Collaboration

Boeing

For more than 75 years the U.S. Air Force and Boeing have shared an intertwined history of supporting the highest priority national defense missions. Today, Boeing leads industry investment in pioneering next-generation technology and innovation as the company looks to the future to provide the most digitally advanced, simply and efficiently produced, and intelligently supported solutions to the U.S. Air Force.

NATO Fortifies Eastern Europe’s Defenses under New ‘Air Shielding’ Mission

Air Force Times

NATO is building up its defenses in Eastern Europe to fend off Russian aggression in a new effort it calls “air shielding.” The 30-country transatlantic alliance has long flown “air policing” missions that dispatch fighter jets to keep unfriendly aircraft at bay. Air shielding, however, began in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a neighbor it shares with NATO nations.

Citing Routine Cost Jumps, Senate Appropriators Add to Middle Tier Authority Concerns

Breaking Defense

The Senate Appropriations Committee has joined a congressional chorus of concern over how the Pentagon is using a new acquisition authority designed to speed up procurement of cutting edge technologies. In its fiscal 2023 markup, the SAC doubles down on concerns from House and Senate lawmakers, along with the watchdog Government Accountability Office, about the Pentagon’s use of Middle Tier Acquisition (MTA) authorities and other legal provisions that allow streamlined acquisition.

COMMENTARY: Where Does al-Zawahri's Death Leave al-Qaida?

Defense One

Ayman al-Zawahri, leader of al-Qaida and a plotter of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, has been killed in a drone strike in the Afghan city of Kabul, according to the U.S. government. The operation came almost a year after American troops exited Afghanistan after decades of fighting there. The Conversation asked Daniel Milton, a terrorism expert at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and Haroro J. Ingram and Andrew Mines, research fellows at the George Washington University’s Program on Extremism, to explain the significance of the strike on al-Zawahri and what it says about U.S. counterterrorism efforts in Afghanistan under the Taliban.

US, Ukraine Agree to More Cyber Cooperation amid Russian Threat

Defense News

The U.S. and Ukraine agreed to further cooperate on cybersecurity issues and to improve avenues of information sharing, as Russia’s assault in Eastern Europe grinds on. The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and its Ukrainian counterpart, the State Service of Special Communications and Information Protection, announced the deepened partnership at the end of July, calling it an important step toward a more secure future.

6th Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Laid to Rest

Air Force release

The sixth Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force, James M. McCoy, was laid to rest during an interment ceremony at the Omaha National Cemetery, July 29. McCoy, who served as the first senior enlisted advisor of Strategic Air Command and was selected as one of the 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year in 1974, passed away July 13, at the age of 91.

Russian Military Satellite Appears To Be Stalking A New US Spy Satellite

The Drive

Russia has launched satellite 14F150 Nivelir into orbit under a mission dubbed Kosmos-2558, and its current orbital path could soon place it in close proximity to what is reported to be the spy satellite designated USA-326. Unconfirmed rumors that the asset will serve as an 'inspector' satellite to covertly spy on nearby spacecraft have begun to circulate online following the launch and would line up with Russia’s known on-orbit anti-satellite weapons capabilities and developments.

One More Thing

Air Force Sergeant Scores Big When He Shocks His Kids at the Ballpark

USA Today

Julian, Skye, and Jason Diaz are from a military family. Their dad is United States Air Force Technical Sergeant, Yenier Diaz. The children are very close to their dad, and speaking to them, you quickly realize how proud he makes them and how tough they find it when he goes away. But deployment is part of his job, and for seven months, his duties took him far from home on deployment in the Middle East.

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