Lt. Gen. Clinton S. Hinote

‘Future Games’ Exercise to Feature Swarming Drones, Palletized Munitions

The Air Force is gearing up for “Future Games” later this month, which will explore new concepts and capabilities not already in the service's toolbox to help design the future force. Lt. Gen. S. Clinton Hinote, deputy chief of staff for strategy, integration, and requirements, said the latest iteration will feature palletized munitions, swarming UAVs, and scrutiny of the kill chain. It will also test some command and control concepts. Hinote said Airmen and “outside stakeholders” should brace for cuts to existing systems that are “good, ... that work,” in order to make room for new systems needed to stay abreast of world competitors.
28th EARS refuels F-35s

Lockheed Martin Hopes to Catch Up On F-35 Deliveries Delayed by COVID-19 by 2023

Due to pandemic-related slowdowns, Lockheed Martin expects to deliver 122 F-35s in calendar year 2020—20 less than planned, company executive vice president for aeronautics Michele A. Evans said in a Sept. 9 interview. The tally will be gradually made up over two years, in order to avoid driving production capacity higher and then throttling it back. The program is near its planned maximum efficient rate. The company is striving to maintain the unit price even with Block 4 improvements added, but it's not yet clear if it can continue to drive the unit price lower. Evans also said she doesn't expect an F-35 Performance-Based Logistics contract until next year.
Tennessee Guard

3 Airmen with the Tennessee Guard’s 118th Wing Die in Small Plane Crash

Three Airmen with the Tennessee Air National Guard’s 118th Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Group died Sept. 8 in a small aircraft crash near McMinnville, Tenn. The Airmen are: Lt. Col. Shelli Huether, the director of operations of the 118th Intelligence Support Squadron; Capt. Jessica Wright, the assistant director of operations for the 118th ISS; and Senior Master Sgt. Scott Bumpus, the chief of current operations for the 236th Intelligence Squadron. “Words can not begin to explain the shock, grief, pain, and dismay we feel having lost three remarkable members of our Guard family,” 118th Wing Commander Col. Todd A. Wiles said in a statement.
WIll Roper at DOD AI Symposium

Roper Argues for More Artificial Intelligence Collaboration, Funding

Air Force acquisition boss Will Roper on Sept. 10 made the case for closer collaboration between military services on artificial intelligence, saying the Pentagon must get the groundwork right in order to successfully expand so-called “smart” information technology across the department. “To really make AI real you have to do a lot of work that is not the glitzy algorithms doing cool things at the edge,” Roper said during a Pentagon-run AI conference. “You have to lay in the infrastructure.” Roper wants to pursue “AI as a service,” another iteration of the Air Force’s push in recent years to contract out business services.
80th Fighter Squadron F-16

US Forces Korea Aircrews Forced to Go Off Peninsula for Live-Fire Qualification

U.S. forces in South Korea have not conducted theater-level exercises on the Korean Peninsula for about two years now, and pilots must leave the country for live-fire training, but the head of U.S. Forces Korea said Sept. 10 his readiness remains high despite the challenges. The U.S. military suspended bilateral exercises with South Korea following the June 2018 summit between President Donald J. Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. Since then, USFK has kept its bilateral, strategic-level training focused on table-top events, with local units flying and conducting smaller level training. This has forced commanders to get creative in these training events to try to maintain readiness and interoperability with South Korea, USFK boss Army Gen. Robert B. Abrams said during a Center for Strategic and International Studies webinar.

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.

Pentagon Acquisition Chief Hints Section 889 Supply Chain Waiver May Be Extended

Nextgov

The Pentagon and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence are discussing extending a waiver that gives the defense industrial base more time to ensure certain noncritical weapons systems comply with a new rule aimed at excising Chinese telecommunications equipment from the supply chain, according to the Defense Department’s acquisition chief.

Pentagon to Pit AI Against Human Pilots in Live Fighter Trials

C4ISRNET

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced Sept. 9 that the Pentagon intends to conduct live trials pitting tactical aircraft controlled by artificial intelligence against human pilots in 2024. The announcement comes three weeks after an AI algorithm defeated a human pilot in a simulated dogfight between F-16s, something Esper described as an example of the “tectonic impact of machine learning” for the Defense Department’s future.

Gardner Co-Founds Space Force Caucus

Colorado Politics

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) is among a bipartisan group of four western lawmakers that has established a U.S. Senate Space Force Caucus to raise awareness of the operations of the newest branch of the military, established last year.

Northrop Grumman to Terminate OmegA Rocket Program

SpaceNews

Northrop Grumman announced it will not move forward with the development of the OmegA rocket. The vehicle was designed for the sole purpose of competing for a National Security Space Launch contract award but didn’t make the cut.

Mitchell Institute Strategic Deterrence Forum: Moshe Patel, Director, IMDO

Mitchell Institute on YouTube

On a Sept. 9 missile defense-focused installment of the AFA Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies' Strategic Deterrence Forum, Moshe Patel, Director and General Manager of the Israeli Missile Defense Organization (IMDO), discussed the missions and priorities of the Israeli Missile Defense Organization, U.S.-Israeli collaboration on missile defense, and the increasingly challenging threat environment, among other topics.

One More Thing

That Time Boeing Wanted to Turn the 747 Jumbo Jet Into an Aircraft Carrier

Popular Mechanics

In the 1970s, Boeing worked on a project that would have turned jumbo jets into flying aircraft carriers. The Airborne Aircraft Carrier project involved converting the Boeing 747, the largest passenger jet flying at the time, into a mothership capable of launching tiny fighter jets. Although never built, the concept lives on in spirit in DARPA’s new “Gremlins” drone program.