Space Force Plans for Transfers as ‘Thousands’ Volunteer

More than 1,000 Airmen have signed up for the new Space Force in the first two weeks of the month-long voluntary transfer window, Space Force Vice Commander Lt. Gen. David Thompson said May 12. The initial transfer period opened May 1 to allow Active-duty Air Force officers as well as enlisted members in existing space careers and certain other jobs to formally join the Space Force. Those who worked with Air Force Space Command before the Space Force was created in December were automatically assigned to the new service, but are not yet official members. “Not being exactly sure where we think we should be, we feel like we're in a good place in terms of those numbers," Thompson said during an AFA Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies event.
T-38C Talons

Air Force Stops T-38 Formation Landings After 2019 Fatal Crash

The Air Force no longer requires student pilots to conduct formation landings in T-38s, following a crash at Vance Air Force Base, Okla., that killed a student and instructor. The night before the Nov. 21, 2019, crash, the instructor and two supervisors in the training squadron discussed the fact that combat pilots no longer conduct formation landings—when more than one aircraft land at the same time—questioning whether it should still be a requirement for students in the aging T-38. Following a service-wide review, Air Education and Training Command in March halted the practice, which has long been a part of flight training. The family of 2nd Lt. Travis Willkie, the student pilot killed in the crash, told Air Force Magazine they are “relieved” the service is no longer requiring the “inherently dangerous maneuver,” but the service's decision to halt the practice, “substantiates the failure of Air Force leadership to discontinue an archaic and dangerous requirement, in a tired 58-year-old plane, before it took the life of our son Travis and his instructor pilot.”
F-35As at Eielson

GAO: F-35 Not Meeting Reliability, Maintainability Goals

A new Government Accountability Office report on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter warns of potential further delay beyond the already-postponed full-rate production decision expected next March. The delays could stem from quality standards not being met and because alternative vendors for all parts once made by Turkey have not yet been established.
11182019 Light Attack

AFSOC Buying Third A-29 for Foreign Training

Air Force Special Operations Command is ordering a third A-29 Super Tucano to train foreign troops, aircraft manufacturer Sierra Nevada Corp. said May 11. The A-29 is one of two light attack platforms the Air Force bought for limited use after declining to turn the light attack experiment into a full-fledged procurement program. Super Tucanos are used for AFSOC’s combat aviation advisory mission, and Textron’s AT-6 is proving out the Airborne Extensible Relay Over-Horizon Network (AEROnet), the service’s prototype data-sharing network.

Virtual Events: 6th Annual Schriever Space Forum, and More

On Nov. 20, the Air Force Association's Schriever Chapter will host the 6th Annual Schriever Space Futures Forum—a live, virtual event—featuring appearances by Air Force Secretary Barbara M. Barrett, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. John E. Hyten, Vice Chief of Space Operations Gen. David D. Thompson, Space and Missile Systems Center Commander Lt. Gen. John F. Thompson, and incoming U.S. Space Command boss Lt. Gen. (sel.) John E. Shaw. Register for free here.

Radar Sweep

Snapshot: DOD and COVID-19

Air Force Magazine

Here's a look at how the Defense Department is being impacted by and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

House Dems Release $3 Trillion COVID-19 Relief Bill

Inside Defense

House Democrats released an economic stimulus bill on May 12 that would provide another $3 trillion in federal coronavirus aid, though Senate Republicans said the measure is dead-on-arrival. The 1,800-page "Heroes Act" comes as the U.S. unemployment rate hit nearly 15% because of COVID-19, which has killed more than 80,000 people in the United States.

DOD Awards $138 Million Contract, Enabling Prefilled Syringes for Future COVID-19 Vaccine

DOD release

Spearheaded by the Defense Department’s Joint Acquisition Task Force (JATF), in coordination with the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, the contract will support “Jumpstart” to create a U.S.-based, high-speed supply chain for prefilled syringes beginning later this year by using well-established Blow-Fill-Seal (BFS) aseptic plastics manufacturing technology, suitable for combatting COVID-19 when a safe and proven vaccine becomes available.

DARPA to Begin Launching Blackjack Satellites in Late 2020

Space News

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency plans to launch the first experimental satellites of the Blackjack program in late 2020 and early 2021, the agency said May 11. DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office started the Blackjack program in 2018 to show the military utility of low Earth orbit constellations and mesh networks of low-cost satellites.

Navy MQ-4 Triton Flying Operational Missions from Guam

USNI News

Almost three months after arriving in Guam, a pair of MQ-4C Triton autonomous, unmanned aircraft have integrated into fleet operations and training flights and stretched the Navy’s maritime domain awareness across the Indo-Pacific, according to the Navy.

SOCOM Chief: Door-Kickers Are Out, Cyber Operators Are in

Task and Purpose

The future of U.S. special operations may no longer involve a gaggle of commandos busting through a door, according to U.S. Special Operations Command's top general, but 'cyber operator' tasked with bringing their unique set of tools to bear on adversaries. Speaking to thousands of members of the defense industrial base at the 2020 Virtual Special Operations Forces Industry Conference, SOCOM commander Army Gen. Richard Clarke laid out his vision for the future of U.S. special operations around the globe, a future that, while still centered on violent extremism, will rely heavily on information warfare.

USAF Rejects Wisconsin Guard Sergeant’s Reprisal Allegations

The Associated Press

U.S. Air Force investigators have rejected a Wisconsin National Guard sergeant’s allegations that his commanders retaliated against him and tried to force him out of the service after he complained about sexual assaults in his unit.

One More Thing

Bored in Quarantine? Learn to Fly a KC-135!

Air Force Times

As weeks of coronavirus-driven social distancing turn into months, everyone is looking for new ways to pass the time. But what to do when you just can’t stand baking yet another loaf of sourdough bread? Never fear, MacDill Air Force Base has the answer: Learn to fly a KC-135 Stratotanker refueling aircraft.