Newest GPS Satellite Launched into Orbit

The Air Force and its industry partners launched the third GPS Block IIF satellite into space on Oct. 4. A United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket carried the Boeing-built positioning, navigation, and timing satellite aloft from Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla. "Once again, the 45th Space Wing, working in concert with our talented mission partners, is delivering space assets that will greatly benefit our nation," said Col. Robert Pavelko, the wing's vice commander and the mission's launch decision authority, in a wing release. This was the first launch of a GPS satellite this year, according to the Space and Missile System Center's release. The Air Force expects to set the satellite, designated SVN-65, "healthy" for navigation users in approximately 90 days for an extended navigation signal test, states the release. Controllers confirmed initial contact with the satellite several hours after its launch, according to Boeing's release. Block IIF satellites are designed to provide greater navigational accuracy, a more secure and jam-resistant military signal, a more robust civil signal, and an extended design life. The first IIF satellite entered operational service in August 2010, followed one year later by the second IIF satellite.

Security Partner of Choice

The Pentagon on Oct. 4 issued the Western Hemisphere Defense Policy Statement that outlines the roles and missions envisioned for the US military in the western hemisphere to advance the Obama Administration's new defense strategic guidance. "We will seek to be the security partner of choice, enhancing existing partnerships and pursuing new ones with nations whose interests and viewpoints are merging into a common vision of freedom, stability, and prosperity," reads the document. In a resource-constrained environment, the Defense Department "will focus its security cooperation efforts" on activities that "enhance partnering bilaterally and regionally, based on shared security interests," notes the statement. It adds, "Specifically, DOD will support the role of defense institutions in addressing the threats of the 21st Century, help partners develop mature and professional forces, and promote integration and interoperability." The United States will also seek to strengthen "multilateral linkages and mechanisms for defense cooperation," states the document. Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said during a briefing on Oct. 4 Panetta would depart on Oct. 5 for a weeklong trip that includes official stops in Peru and Uruguay, including participation in the Defense Ministerial of the Americas. (Policy statement full text) (See also AFPS release.)

Stepped-Up Precautions to Stem Green-on-Blue Attacks

British Army Lt. Gen. Adrian Bradshaw, ISAF’s deputy commander, said coalition troops are taking additional steps to protect themselves from “green-on-blue” attacks as they advise Afghan security forces. Since the upsurge in violence against NATO personnel by the Afghans, ISAF’s...

Arizona Warthogs Deploy to Bagram

A sounder of 20 A-10s from the 354th Fighter Squadron deployed from Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, along with approximately 400 airmen and support personnel from the Arizona base. “Over the last six months, the men and women...

Holloman Test Unit Redesignated

Officials at Holloman AFB, N.M., inactivated the 46th Test Group, and then subsequently redesignated the organization as the 96th Test Group during a base ceremony. The name change on Oct. 1 is part of Air Force Material Command’s overall efficiency...

Brazilians Discuss Cooperation with Air Forces Southern

Brazilian air force leaders met with officials from 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., to discuss enhancing bilateral training cooperation and exchanges, announced AFSOUTH officials. “We were able to accomplish a lot of meaningful reviews and...

Coming to a TV Near You

A film crew from the Discovery Channel’s “Mighty Planes” series visited JB Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, for a week in late September to shoot footage of C-17 transport operations for an upcoming episode. That episode is tentatively slated to run in the...

National Guard Memorial Museum Prepares 9/11 Gallery

The National Guard Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., is scheduled to shut down on Oct. 8 for several weeks of renovation that will lead to the planned opening of the museum’s 9/11 Era Gallery on Nov. 1. The new 780-square-foot...