When a military aircraft crashes, how the data is reported can vary widely from service to service, which makes it harder to spot trends. A new Pentagon office is trying to standardize this reporting—and to keep military aircraft crashes from rising again. The creation of the Joint Safety Council fulfilled a primary recommendation of an independent commission into aviation accidents. The commission found that senior leaders’ inattention to safety was one reason aircraft accidents killed 224 pilots and crew members between 2013 and 2020.
The Air Force’s top public affairs official has been tapped to become the next Pentagon spokesperson, a decision that will see a uniformed member of the military take a job typically held by a civilian. Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III announced his appointment of Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder for the Pentagon press secretary position. Ryder currently serves as the Department of the Air Force’s director of public affairs, overseeing media operations for the Air Force and Space Force, but will move to his new role later this month.
Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III has again ordered the Pentagon to postpone a planned test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile, this time amid increased tension with China over Taiwan. “This is a long-planned test. It will be rescheduled in future at a time of our choosing,” a defense official said.
The Chinese military began its planned four-day series of live-fire exercises close to the shores of Taiwan, including short-range ballistic missile and long-range artillery rocket launches. Japan says several of those Chinese missiles came down within its exclusive economic zone (EEZ), raising the possibility of further potential regional fallout; and also that at least one of them flew directly over Taiwan, marking another significant escalation. This has been accompanied by numerous Chinese aircraft and boats crossing the median line in the Taiwan Strait, as well as drones penetrating airspace above Taiwan’s outer islands.
The Defense Department will extend its program meant to help provide care for military dependents diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder through 2028 to evaluate its effectiveness. In a Federal Register notice, DOD officials said research at the University of Rochester, N.Y., as well as a newly required review by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, need additional time; and that they have decided to extend the program past its current Dec. 31, 2023, sunset date to support the studies.
The Air Force is transitioning to more virtual training to give pilots an edge, saying some higher-end maneuvers cannot be replicated in real-time training. Learn more on Air Force Magazine’s Live, Virtual & Constructive Training page.
Can a Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules fly with just one pilot? It’s a scenario the Air Force is exploring through a new partnership with Merlin Labs, a Boston-based autonomous flight company that’s gearing up to test autonomous operations in the Air Force’s venerable cargo workhorse. Under the collaboration, Merlin Labs will retrofit a C-130 with software and technology that will slim down the number of onboard crew from two pilots to one.
Just moments after the Senate finalized a military toxic exposure bill that could benefit millions of veterans, activist John Feal issued a warning to the crowd of advocates celebrating outside the Capitol about the moment they had been lobbying for and dreaming about for years: “The hard part hasn’t begun.”
Pentagon officials and others have warned that the military services aren’t aligned on the concept of joint all-domain command and control and need more guidance. But having the Office of the Secretary of Defense take on more responsibility for shepherding the initiative wouldn’t necessarily be the right move, according to a senior Air Force official.
Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, Spirit AeroSystems laid off more than 5,000 employees. Seeing how dependent it was on its commercial business, executives decided Spirit needed a more diverse business—one that included more military work. Now executives have come up with a plan that includes becoming a key supplier of hypersonic weapons and space systems to the large defense companies.
Skittles. From sour to tropical to the rare package found in an MRE, who doesn’t love to taste the rainbow? For anyone worried that a tour of duty in Europe may mean a Skittles sabbatical, worry not. While the colorful candy is now banned across much of the European continent, Army and Air Force Exchange Service stores will continue to stock the brand.