CENTCOM: Iranian SAM Shoots Down US Drone Over Strait of Hormuz
An Iranian surface-to-air missile shot down a US drone over the Strait of Hormuz around 11:35 p.m. GMT on June 19, US Central Command spokesman Navy Capt. Bill Urban said in a statement. The US Navy’s Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS-D) aircraft—an RQ-4B Global Hawk High-Altitude Long Endurance unmanned aircraft system used for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance operations—was operating at high altitude in international airspace about 34 kilometers from the Iranian coast at the time. “This was an unprovoked attack on a US surveillance asset that had not violated Iranian airspace at any time during its mission,” Air Forces Central Command boss Lt. Gen. Joseph Guastella said in a statement. “Iranian reports that this aircraft was shot down over Iran are catagorically false.” President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday morning that, “Iran made a very big mistake!” though he offered no additional details. Read the full story by Amy McCullough, Jennifer Hlad, and Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory.
Air Force Developing AMRAAM Replacement to Counter China
DAYTON, Ohio—The Air Force is developing a new air-to-air missile, dubbed the AIM-260, that offers longer range than Raytheon’s Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile and would be used to counter the Chinese PL-15 weapon. Air Force Weapons Program Executive Officer Brig. Gen. Anthony Genatempo told reporters in a June 20 interview here the service is working with Lockheed Martin, the Army, and the Navy to field the Joint Advanced Tactical Missile in 2022. “It has … different capabilities onboard to go after that specific [next generation air-dominance] threat set, but certainly longer legs,” he said. “As I bring up JATM production, AMRAAM production is kind of going to start tailing off.” The weapon is initially planned to fly in the F-22’s main weapons bay and on the Navy’s F/A-18, with the F-35 to follow. Flight tests will begin in 2021 and initial operational capability is slated for 2022, Genatempo said. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.
McMahon Still Optimistic About Hitting F-35 Operating Cost Goals
DAYTON, Ohio—Robert McMahon, the Pentagon’s top sustainment official, said he remains optimistic the F-35’s cost per flying hour can be brought down to the goal of $25,000, even though the program director and cost assessment and program evaluation director recently testified that the ultimate cost will level off at about a third higher than that. McMahon said progress is being made in reducing costs, and the Air Force is innovating maintenance approaches that could cut manpower expenses in half. Read the full story by John A. Tirpak.
Improving CV-22 Readiness Becomes Top SOF Priority
DAYTON, Ohio—Air Force Special Operations Command’s CV-22 fleet is raising alarm amid low readiness levels and combat availability concerns as it heads into multiple years of upgrades. “CV-22 readiness keeps me up at night,” Col. Dale White, the Air Force’s program executive officer for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and special operations forces, said in a June 19 interview here. “It’s not what it needs to be. It’s a tough platform to maintain.” The high-demand, rough nature of special operations and the stress that tilting the iconic nacelles—the giant columns that hold the rotors and allow the platform to take off vertically, then pivot to fly forward—puts on the aircraft and its wiring system are driving down the Osprey’s ability to enter combat. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.
Richardson to Contractors: “Push Back” Against Pointless Requirements
DAYTON, Ohio—If the Air Force is putting unreasonable and non-value-added requirements into its new systems, the service’s new top uniformed acquisition official wants industry to argue the point, promising he’ll listen to such pushback if the points are valid. Lt. Gen. Duke Richardson also said he wants his people to be willing to say yes to requests from contractors and other departments and not be needlessly obstructive, as long as doing so doesn’t carry a cost. Read the full story by John A. Tirpak.
The article “Goldfein’s Father, a 33-Year Air Force Vet, Dies at 82” in the June 20 Daily Report misstated retired Col. William Goldfein’s age. He was 87.
Esper Heads to NATO During First Week on the Job as Top Pentagon Official
Mark Esper will spend his first week as acting Secretary of Defense in Belgium. Late on the evening of June 19, the Pentagon announced that Esper, who has been tapped to replace Patrick Shanahan as the department’s top official, will travel to NATO for next week’s defense ministerial. Defense News
Shaw Resumes PT Tests as Investigation into Two Deaths Continues
Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina resumed physical fitness testing June 17, two weeks after halting them due to the running-related deaths of two airmen. Air Force Times
F-35 Pilot Killed in April Crash May Have Ignored Aircraft Instruments: Selva
Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the Japanese F-35A Joint Strike Fighter pilot who was killed in an April crash into the Pacific Ocean may not have listened to what his aircraft was telling him. Military.com
Wheels Touch Down at McChord
The runway at JB Lewis-McChord, Wash., officially reopened June 17, after being closed for repairs since February, marking the return of airmen and C-17 Globemaster IIIs temporarily stationed elsewhere. USAF release
Compressor Stall Led to Fatal T-38 Crash
A compressor stall during a nighttime T-38 touch-and-go practice landing led to a crash that killed an experienced instructor pilot last November at Laughlin Air Force Base in Texas, an investigation has found. Air Force Times
Hardware, Software, Training Reshaped as Part of “Year of the Defender” Initiative
The Air Force has undertaken a comprehensive effort to revitalize and reconfigure its security forces squadrons during the past year with the Reconstitute Defender Initiative. USAF release
Meet the Dyess Airman Who Made the Decision to Sound Tornado Sirens 10 Mins Before Weather Service
A1C Mary Kapuscinski, 7th Operations Support Squadron meteorologist, was recently recognized for an act that could have saved thousands of lives. She has won awards for her weather forecasting expertise, but it hasn’t always been positive times for her at Dyess. Dyess release via BigCountryHomepage.com
One More Thing
Last Surviving Medic from ‘Band of Brothers’ Easy Company Laid to Rest
Army SSgt. Albert Leon Mampre, who served during World War II with the famed Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, depicted in the HBO series “Band of Brothers,” was laid to rest on June 15, the Army announced. Task & Purpose