Daily Report

June 22, 2010

Whiteman, Ellsworth Win RPA Mission

The Air Force announced Monday that Whiteman AFB, Mo., and Ellsworth AFB, S.D., will host ground control stations for MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft, respectively. Each base will add a total of 280 personnel, both civilian and military, for the new mission. Operations with the new RPA operators' squadron at Whiteman are expected to commence by February 2011. They are scheduled to begin with the new squadron at Ellsworth by May 2012. Whiteman is already home to the Air Force's only B-2 bomber unit, the 509th Bomb Wing. Ellsworth hosts the B-1 bombers of the 28th BW. These two bases beat out the two other candidate locations announced in April: Langley AFB, Va., and Mountain Home AFB, Idaho.

Congressional reaction:

Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.) and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) statement

Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) statement

Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) statement

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) statement

Rep Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-S.D.) statement

Global Hawk Costs Under the Microscope

: The Air Force has asked the Pentagon’s independent cost estimators to determine what the RQ-4 Global Hawk remotely piloted reconnaissance aircraft should really cost, says David Van Buren, the service’s acquisition executive. Speaking to reporters in the Pentagon June...

Northrop, Raytheon Eye RQ-4 Improvements

: Northrop Grumman, Global Hawk supplier, has issued a response to recent criticism of the program coming from the Air Force (see Global Hawk Costs Under the Microscope, above). Regarding USAF concerns about repair turnaround times, company spokeswoman Cynthia Curiel said in a written statement that "several initiatives have been implemented" to improve the turnaround. Among them, Northrop's sensor supplier, Raytheon, has increased work shifts to expedite repairs and will host a dedicated interim repair line to quicken the pace of field repairs, she noted. "In addition, government and contractor personnel are making repairs in theater when appropriate in order to return the [Global Hawks] to full operational use as quickly as possible," said Curiel.

Thune Questions Nuclear Investment Plan

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) doesn’t think the more than $100 billion being set aside to sustain and modernize the nation’s nuclear delivery systems over the next decade will be enough. Commenting during the Senate Armed Services Committee’s June 17 hearing...

Air Chiefs of the Americas Meet in Washington

Gen. Norton Schwartz, Air Force Chief of Staff, last week hosted the CONJEFAMER (Conferencia de los Jefes de las Fuerzas Aereas Americanas) conference in Washington, D.C. The annual meeting brings together the air chiefs of nations in North, Central, and...

B-1B Surpasses 10,000 Flight Hours

A B-1B bomber operating with the 34th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron in Southwest Asia on June 12 eclipsed 10,000 flight hours, becoming the first B-1 to accumulate this many hours. The aircraft, airframe number 85-0087, reached this milestone during a 14-hour...

A Herculean Effort

A seven-member C-130 aircrew from the Illinois Air National Guard’s 182nd Airlift Wing made two harrowing flights into hostile territory in Afghanistan to airdrop critically needed supplies to a small unit of isolated coalition troops, USAF announced Friday. The ground...

Looking Beyond GPS IIIA

Lockheed Martin’s industry team has successfully completed the system requirements review for the Air Force’s Global Positioning System Block IIIB satellite, the company announced Monday. The recent, two-day review took place at Lockheed’s facilities in Valley Forge, Pa., with more...

Edwards Resumes FIDLing Around

Boeing announced Monday that the Air Force has commenced the next phase of flight tests with a B-1B bomber fitted with the fully integrated data link, or FIDL. This new gear features a Link 16 data link that adds line-of-sight...

Lockheed Martin Tests Low-Collateral Damage Weapon

: Lockheed Martin announced Monday that its Scorpion air-launched munition was successfully flight tested June 17 from a C-130 aircraft at Yuma Proving Ground, Ariz. After ejection from a launch tube on the aircraft, the small, lightweight, unpowered weapon successfully...

Air Sorties from SWA 061610

Air Sorties in Southwest Asia, June 16, 2010 Sortie Type OIF OEF OIF/OEF Total YTD ISR 25 43 68 10,826 CAS/Armed Recon 14 86 100 15,611 Airlift 163 163 28,443 Air refueling 55 55 7,295 Rescue 41 41 3,082 Total...