ABMS Onramp 2

‘Smart’ Bullet Downs Cruise Missile in 2nd ABMS Test

More than 1,600 personnel, 60 companies, over a dozen aircraft, and dozens of radars and sensors came together for a massive Air Force-led event that utilized everything from boots on the ground to satellites in space to test how the service expects to fight a war in the future. The event culminated when a cruise missile was downed by a “smart” bullet. The Air Force’s second “ABMS onramp,” long delayed because of COVID-19, took place on Sept. 3, largely within four national training ranges and a part-operations center, part-fusion cell at Joint Base Andrews, Md., where the new cloud-based, artificial intelligence-fueled command center brought together new and legacy ways of fighting wars, which is the backbone of the service's push for joint all-domain command and control.
Defense Health Agency Director visits Travis AFB

COVID-19 Delays Military’s Plan to Downsize, Close Medical Facilities

A Pentagon effort to shutter or downsize the scope of services offered at 50 military hospitals and/or clinics across the country—12 of which are located on Air Force bases—has been slowed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Defense Health Agency Director Army Lt. Gen. Ronald J. Place told Air Force Magazine in an exclusive interview. As a result, facility closures and changes are unlikely to take place before next summer, he said. But DHA can’t proceed with those changes until it reaches what Place called “a steady state” with respect to COVID-19—where the agency either is operating under the assumption of a prolonged pandemic, or working within a post-pandemic "new normal." Once DHA achieves that state, he said, it must reevaluate each impacted market, brainstorm a game plan with its collaborators in each location, and then present a plan to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs.
Soldiers sharpen their resolve to prevent sexual assault and harassment

USAF Wants Airmen’s Stories to Shape Harassment, Assault Prevention

The Department of the Air Force this month will survey Airmen about their experiences with interpersonal violence, seeking feedback that could shape future policies to keep service members safe. Starting the week of Sept. 7, the department plans to survey civilian and uniformed Air Force and Space Force members about sexual assault and abuse, domestic abuse, bullying, and stalking. “Survey data and the data gathered from reviewing past cases involving interpersonal violence will be used to identify any themes or areas for improvement,” the department said in a Sept. 3 release.
Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Change of Command ceremony

Morris Takes Command of Air Force Life Cycle Management Center

Lt. Gen. Shaun Q. Morris took over as head of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center in a Sept. 3 ceremony, the service said in a release. He replaces Lt. Gen. Robert D. McMurry, who retired this week, as the top officer overseeing the development and sustainment of Air Force aircraft, software, missiles, and more. AFLCMC encompasses a $304 billion portfolio and employs more than 28,000 people. Morris takes the helm at AFLCMC for what could be a significant shakeup of Air Force technologies over the next few years.

CMSAF: Airmen, USAF Civilians Can’t Opt-Out of Payroll Tax Deferral

Airmen and Air Force civilians aren’t allowed to opt-out of a Social Security payroll tax deferral the government instituted as a form of COVID-19 relief, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass confirmed in a Sept. 7 Facebook post. While U.S. troops and DOD civilians can’t say no to the deferral, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service “will temporarily defer the 6.2 percent Social Security Tax withholding” for service members whose monthly basic pay is below $8,666.66, DFAS explained on a web page about the measure. This temporary deferral is “effective for the September mid-month pay,” it added.

Virtual Events: AFA’s Virtual Air, Space & Cyber Conference

The Air Force Association’s virtual Air, Space & Cyber Conference continues today with a keynote from Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass at 9 a.m. EDT and another from Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper at 10 a.m. EDT. Conference attendance is free for military members and defense civilians, and rates for industry participants are discounted for AFA members (and from traditional rates for in-person participants). Registration is open now and space is limited, so early sign-ups are encouraged.

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.

Roper Mulls Name Change For Changing ABMS (Not Skynet!)

Breaking Defense

The Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) has already evolved so far beyond its original aim—to replace the aging E-8 JSTARS plane for surveillance and C2—that Air Force acquisition czar Will Roper is seriously considering changing the program’s name. “I think Skynet is out,” he said with a sigh and a grin, “as much as I would love doing that as a sci-fi thing. I just don’t think we can go there. … I do think that we do need to change the name. I don’t think ABMS is primarily a battle management system. It’s an Internet.”

The Air Force Wants to Overhaul Pilot Training. But It Has to Win Over the Skeptics First

Military.com

"People have an assumption that we're asserting that [we're building] twice as good a pilot in half the time; that was never the plan," said Maj. Gen. Craig Wills, 19th Air Force commander, referring to the service’s Undergraduate Pilot Training 2.5 program. "The plan was to build just as good a pilot in about half the time, and that experiment has been largely successful."

MQ-NEXT: Air Force Sets Sight on Reaper Drone Replacement

National Defense Magazine

The General Atomics-built MQ-9 Reaper—a medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle with millions of hours of operation under its belt—has had a ubiquitous presence over battlefields in the Middle East. But with the Pentagon preparing for future fights in contested, non-permissive environments against peer adversaries, the service is beginning its search for the aircraft’s replacement.

Israel to Ask US for Arms to Offset UAE F-35 Sale, Report Says

Bloomberg

Israel has concluded it can’t block the sale of American-made F-35 stealth fighters to the United Arab Emirates, and will ask the White House for other weapons so it can maintain its regional military superiority, Yedioth Ahronoth reported, without saying where it got the information.

Lockheed Tests New Phased Array Antenna for US Space Force

C4ISRNET

The new multi-band, multimission antenna is under development to address a serious problem: As the military puts an ever-increasing number of satellites on orbit, where will the services put all of the antennas needed to connect to them?

4 Kansas Cities Seek to Land U.S. Space Command Headquarters

Associated Press via KCTV News

Gov. Laura Kelly said in a news release that she has directed her Cabinet to use all resources necessary to support the selection of Kansas as the headquarters for U.S. Space Command, which is responsible for military operations in outer space.

Lockheed Martin’s Greenville Campus Gets $62B Boost with Latest F-16 Contract

The Post and Courier

A recent $62 billion contract to build 90 F-16 fighter jets is being touted as an important win for Lockheed Martin’s campus in Greenville, S.C., which had just a handful of planes left in its order book after losing a bid in 2018 to build a next-generation trainer jet for the U.S. Air Force. Aerospace analyst Dhierin Bechai said the order—66 jets for Taiwan’s military and 24 for the Royal Moroccan Air Force—provides “significant chances for follow up orders for more fighter jets and services.”

Northrop Grumman Shares Video of Firebird Demo at North Dakota Facility

Defence Blog

U.S. defense contractor Northrop Grumman put out a short video on Facebook showing optionally-piloted Firebird multi-mission aircraft execute intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance demos from the company’s North Dakota facility. The Firebird is an intelligence-gathering aircraft with autonomous mission capability. Available in manned, autonomous and optionally piloted configurations, Firebird is designed to provide ISR payload and cockpit flexibility through truly open architecture and plug-and-play payload integration.