US Deploying Fighter Squadrons, Air Expeditionary Wing, Missile Defenses to Saudi Arabia

The Pentagon is deploying two fighter squadrons and an air expeditionary wing to Saudi Arabia, along with two Patriot Missile defense batteries and one Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, following reported Iranian-backed attacks on that country. Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley announced the deployment during an Oct. 11 briefing, saying it is at the request of US Central Command. This deployment, along with others that were recently approved, adds up to about 3,000 personnel. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

16th Air Force Sets Sights on Election Security, Integrated Air Defenses

JBSA-LACKLAND, Texas—The Air Force on Oct. 11 formally stood up 16th Air Force, the new “information dominance” organization that will bring cyber, intelligence, and other operations together under one roof here after more than two years in the works. By merging the two organizations, the Air Force aims to get a better understanding of what’s happening in the digital realm so it can more easily attack, defend against, and smoke out bad actors as the Pentagon turns to data- and algorithm-driven “wars of cognition.” Bringing them together opens opportunities for collaboration between the RQ-4, U-2, RC-135, Distributed Common Ground System, cyber, and other enterprises that have been stymied in the past, service officials argue. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

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The Royal Air Force Adopts the RCO, Expects “Healthy Competition” in Future Aircraft

The Royal Air Force is already seeing good results from forming its own Rapid Capabilities Office, modeled on that of the US Air Force, according to its leader, Air Chief Marshal Michael Wigston. Speaking at an AFA Mitchell Institute on Aerospace Studies event on October 11, Wigston said the RAF is also using a model similar to USAF’s new “Century Series” initiative to develop its next combat aircraft, the Tempest, and expects there will be “healthy competition” between the two services. He also predicted few changes in the near future for Britain’s F-35 participation, despite a debate about the right mix of A and B models. Read the full story by John A. Tirpak.

Space Industry Seeks Designation as Critical Infrastructure

Concern over cyber threats to commercial space assets is driving industry executives to seek White House designation of space as critical national infrastructure. They’re forming a Space Information Sharing and Analysis Center, or Space-ISAC, amid growing concern that foreign adversaries could exploit weak cybersecurity in US space-based assets to blind the nation’s military or cripple its economy. Read the full story by Shaun Waterman.

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Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, First Man to Walk in Space, Dies at 85

Alexei Leonov, the first person to make a spacewalk and the Russian most likely to have been first on the moon if the Soviet Union had won the space race, died in Moscow on Oct 11 at age 85. Leonov was one of the first class of cosmonauts, having been a Soviet air force pilot, and was the last survivor of that group. He walked in space in 1965, barely making it back inside his Voshkod spacecraft. He also commanded the Russian half of the 1975 Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, the first linkup of Russian and American spacecraft in orbit. In later years he was a writer and painter, penning a history of the space race with American astronaut David Scott. Read the full story by John A. Tirpak.


Esper Condemns “War Crimes”; Trump Orders 1,000 US Troops Out of Northern Syria

President Donald Trump has ordered the withdrawal of all 1,000 US troops from northern Syria, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Oct. 13, amid evidence that Turkey’s military and Turkish-backed militia aim to press father into Syria than expected. Trump’s order arrived after Turkish forces fired artillery near US troops, and after Islamic State detainees and family members had escaped from a key detention facility, according to Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, officials. Defense One

Artificial Intelligence Moving to Battlefield as Ethics Weighed

The Pentagon, taking the next big step of deploying artificial intelligence to aid troops and help select battlefield targets, must settle lingering ethical concerns about using the technology for waging war. Bloomberg Government

Revolutionary SATCOM Vision Hits Raymond’s Desk: AFSPC

An ambitious plan that could fundamentally change how the Defense Department develops, buys, and uses satellite communications is complete and awaiting signature by Air Force Space Command’s Gen. Jay Raymond. Breaking Defense

New Missile Warning Satellites Pass Design Test

The Air Force’s next-generation early warning missile defense satellite passed a preliminary design review, the service announced Oct. 10. C4ISRNET

OPINION: The Case for a Three-Tanker Air Force

“America’s return to great power conflict requires a force that can reach China and Russia from far-away US air bases,” write Lt. Col. Stewart Welch, a former commander of the 9th Air Refueling Squadron commander at Travis AFB, Calif., and retired USAF Col. David LeRoy, former vice wing commander of the 305th Air Mobility Wing at JB McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. “Whether the Air Force is moving a large number of fighters, transporting cargo and personnel, or refueling long-range bombers, a long-range, large-capacity airplane is required.” War on the Rocks

South Korea to Buy 20 More F-35 Jets

South Korea will begin the second phase of its plan to acquire stealthy fighter jets, code-named F-X III, by acquiring 20 more F-35s, the country’s arms procurement agency has confirmed. Defense News

On the Way for Female Airmen: Better-Fitting Dress Blues

In line with a months-long effort to redesign gear, flight suits, and other ill-fitting equipment worn by female airmen, the Air Force is now working on a solution to make better dress blue shirts and pants for daily wear, according to the service’s top enlisted airman.

OPINION: The Enduring Value of Historic Aviation

“Clearly something went terribly wrong in the flight and the lessons of the ongoing investigation must be applied,” writes C. Jean Moon, Tidemark Institute president and senior scholar, in reference to an Oct. 2 B-17G crash at Bradley International Airport in Connecticut. “I do not believe, however, that ending these flights should be our response.” Hartford Courant (subscription required)

One More Thing

Apple Launches In-House Studio, Sets “Band of Brothers” Follow-Up Series

Apple is set to produce its first in-house series. The show in question is “Masters of the Air,” a follow-up to the “Band of Brothers” and “The Pacific” series executive produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks. The legendary duo are on board once again, which comes as no surprise given that Spielberg was a prominent figure at the Apple TV Plus launch event in March. Based on the book by Donald L. Miller, “Masters of the Air” is said to follow the true, deeply personal story of the American bomber boys in World War II who brought the war to Hitler’s doorstep. Variety