Combat Controller Killed in Afghanistan

SrA. Daniel R. Sanchez, a combat controller assigned to the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Fla., died last week from wounds incurred during combat operations in Oruzgan province, Afghanistan, the Defense Department announced. According to press reports, Sanchez...

Combat Air Force Strategic Plan Released

The eight USAF commands representing the combat air forces have issued the 2010 CAF strategic plan. The 21-page document, Securing the High Ground: Agile Combat Airpower, articulates the vision for developing, planning, and employing integrated CAF capabilities in defense of the nation. "The CAF is America's asymmetric advantage and the backbone of our nation's security," said Gen. William Fraser, Air Combat Command commander and CAF lead, in an ACC release. The changing security environment is characterized by a growing list of competitors and potential adversaries across the spectrum of conflict, states the document. Adding to the challenge are "fiscal constraints, which, if not properly managed, can and will negatively affect" the ability to satisfy combatant commanders' requirements, states the document. The mitigation strategy is "to develop a smaller, more capable force that is effective across the wide range of military challenges," it reads. (CAF strategic plan)

Last T-43 Aircraft Retired

The Air Force last week retired its final T-43A aircraft from service during a ceremony at Randolph AFB, Tex. USAF has used T-43s since 1973 as flying classrooms to train its navigators (now referred to as combat systems officers). “We...

No Funding for F136 in Senate Appropriators’ Mark

Senate Appropriators, who last week concluded their mark of the Pentagon's Fiscal 2011 spending request, included no funding for the F136 engine for the F-35 strike fighter. Unless there is an amendment introduced when the Senate debates the bill prior to voting on it, the fate of the F136 likely will be an issue when House and Senate defense appropriators get together in conference to hash out the final version of the spending bill. The House lawmakers added $450 million in their own mark up in July to keep the F136 alive, going against the wishes of the Administration, which wants to kill the F136. A similar conference scenario is likely on the authorization side, where the House included $485 million for the F136, while Senate authorizers added no money for it. (See also Hollow Veto Threat.)

GAO Questions Math in DOD’s Anti-F136 Argument

The Defense Department’s estimate that it would cost an additional $2.9 billion over the next six years to position the General Electric-Rolls Royce F136 engine program where it could compete against Pratt & Whitney’s F135 to power future F-35 strike...

More to Do Than You Can Do

The “downward pressure” on the defense budget is “very real and, to be frank, appropriate,” said Vice Adm. William Gortney, Joint Staff director. Gortney, standing in for Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen at last week’s AFA’s Air...

Recruiting for the Good Guys

Iran’s behavior, consisting of irrationality, belligerence, and instability, is turning out to be “the best recruiter” for the US coalition in the Middle East, Joint Staff Director Vice Adm. William Gortney said last week. The members of the Gulf Cooperation...

The Stakes are Very High

Although commercial and civil aviation is “on the rebound,” the outlook for defense aerospace is cloudy, according to Aerospace Industries Association president and CEO Marion Blakey. Addressing AFA’s Air and Space Conference last week, Blakey said since so much of...

Everyone’s Job One

The aerospace industry takes very seriously the Pentagon’s push to cut costs and reduce overhead, said Aerospace Industries Association chief Marion Blakey. Half-jokingly calling it “Carter’s Crusade” after Pentagon acquisition chief Ash Carter, Blakey said industry is scrubbing its costs...

Recruiting Remains Strong in August

USAF’s active duty component met its recruiting goal in August, hitting its target of bringing in 3,043 new accessions, according to the Defense Department’s latest figures issued last week. This continues the Air Force’s strong postings for the fiscal year....

Boeing Wins Vulture Unmanned Aircraft Contest

Boeing last week won an $89 million contract from DARPA to demonstrate a unmanned airplane that can operate continuously on-station in the stratosphere for a period of five years. The company will conduct this work under the agency’s Vulture II...

C-5 Software Lab Opens at Robins

Officials at Robins AFB, Ga., have opened a new facility for testing software for the C-5 transport. The C-5 Integrated Aircraft Test Environment is a 2,200-square foot, two-story building that houses the cockpit salvaged from a C-5B that crashed at...

New Commander Tapped for AFRICOM

President Obama has nominated Army Gen. Carter Ham to be the next commander of US Africa Command. If confirmed by the Senate, Ham would replace Army Gen. Kip Ward, who has led AFRICOM since its inception in October 2007. Ham...

Air Sorties in SWA 090910

Air Sorties in Southwest Asia, Sept. 8-9, 2010 Sortie Type OND OEF OND/OEF Total YTD ISR 45 139 184 18,250 CAS/Armed Recon 30 182 212 24,343 Airlift 357 357 43,724 Air refueling 121 121 12,017 Rescue 36 36 5,555 Total...