Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group Concludes Valiant Shield 2020

ABMS Goes to the Pacific in ‘Valiant Shield’

American military forces used a large-scale training exercise in the Pacific this month to experiment with new ways of commanding troops as part of the Air Force’s Advanced Battle Management System effort. The Air Force’s third ABMS demonstration, known as an “on-ramp,” quietly unfolded Sept. 14-25 within the biennial “Valiant Shield” exercise spanning Hawaii, Guam, and the Mariana Islands Range Complex. About 11,000 Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps personnel, 100 aircraft, and several ships participated. As the U.S. postures against China, the scale and location of Valiant Shield offered a chance to practice passing surveillance, targeting, and other data between the services to better respond to threats in the vast Pacific region.

Gauging Suicide’s Impact on USAF’s Total Force in 2020

As the Defense Department prepares to release its Annual Suicide Report in the coming weeks, Air Force Magazine details the impact suicide has had on the Total Force so far in 2020, and how the service’s top uniformed leaders and its reserve component are working to tackle the issue. As of Sept. 16, 98 Total Force Airmen had taken their own lives in 2020. As of Sept. 22, the Air Force Reserve had lost eight Airmen to suicide, and as of Sept. 24, the Air National Guard had lost 11 of its service members to this scourge.
45th Space Wing Supports Successful GPS III Launch

Fourth GPS III Satellite Heads to Space

Lockheed Martin’s fourth GPS III satellite is scheduled to head to space on a SpaceX rocket Sept. 29, marking the navigation system’s second launch so far this year. “It'll be awesome to have four GPS III satellites on orbit. It's a good start to the Space Force's effort to modernize the space portion of the entire Global Positioning System,” Tonya Ladwig, acting vice president for space navigation systems at Lockheed Martin, said on a Sept. 25 call with reporters. “GPS III provides three times greater accuracy, and up to eight times improved anti-jamming power over satellites in existing constellations.” Those more-advanced satellites will comprise more than 12 percent of the GPS constellation once the fourth system is up and running.
Operation Blood Rain

‘Operation Blood Rain’ Makes Case for a New Kind of Airdrop

Earlier this year, the Air Force undertook an experiment to see whether fresh blood could be safely airdropped to medics working in harsh settings. “The research team determined an airdrop is a viable way of delivering blood to combat medics treating hemorrhaging patients in a pre-hospital setting,” a 96th Test Wing release stated. “However, further research is required to fully validate the safety of the method.” The service conducted an airdrop from a C-145 in April, and the project team now plans to see if it can replicate the results of that airdrop using different airframes and ground conditions. In the long term, the group hopes to enable drones to fly blood to deployed combat medics.
C-17 at McMurdo

C-17s Begin Deep Freeze Flights in Antarctica

C-17s and Airmen deployed for Operation Deep Freeze have started flying crucial personnel and equipment into Antarctica for winter flying season. The C-17s, deployed from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., have flown three missions in recent weeks, transporting 151 personnel and 165,000 pounds of cargo to McMurdo Station, according to a Pacific Air Forces release. Airmen quarantined for two weeks before flying in to keep Antarctica the last continent on the globe free of COVID-19. Operation Deep Freeze is the military’s 65-year mission to support National Science Foundation research in Antarctica. The mission’s season typically begins in early August, with the busiest part running from September to November.
First combined NP2000, EPCS installation on a USAF C-130H. Credit ANG

USAF Orders NP2000 Propeller Systems for Guard, Reserve C-130Hs

The Air Force recently chose Collins Aerospace Systems, a Raytheon Technologies subsidiary, to provide NP2000 propeller systems for 30 Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve C-130H aircraft, the company announced Sept. 14. “With its eight composite blades and digital Electronic Propeller Control System (EPCS), NP2000 offers a number of benefits compared to legacy systems including: a 20 percent thrust increase during take-off, a 20db sound reduction in the cockpit, and a 50 percent reduction in maintenance man-hours,” a company press release stated. The Air Force aims to equip about 160 of its C-130Hs with the cutting-edge propeller system, and has ordered 55 systems to date.

Virtual Events: USAFA Superintendent on Mitchell’s ‘Aerospace Nation,’ and More

On Jan. 21 at 11 a.m. EST, the Air Force Association's Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies will host USAFA Superintendent Lt. Gen. Richard M. Clark on the next installment of its “Aerospace Nation” series. Clark will share his insights into how the Academy is preparing cadets to face today's global challenges, the implications of the creation of the Space Force for the Academy, what it means to accelerate change in an educational institution, and other Academy priorities. Advanced registration is required. Sign up 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.

Boeing Nabs $2.2 Billion Contract for Small Diameter Bomb I Production

Inside Defense

The agreement will have a five-year ordering period and provide munitions, containers, and carriages for Defense Department and foreign military sale customers, according to a contract notice the Pentagon released Sept. 24. Foreign customers include Australia, Belgium, Israel, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, and Norway.

Senate Skeptical of F-35 Sale to UAE Despite White House Push

Breaking Defense

A top State Department official on Sept. 24 skirted answering questions over the Trump administration’s possible sale of F-35s to the UAE in the face of bipartisan Senate concern over Israel’s continued military superiority in the region.

Air Force Eyes Big Staff Sergeant Promotion Supplemental Due to Pandemic

Air Force Times

The Air Force Personnel Center said Sept. 24 that about 15 percent of Airmen and space professionals eligible for promotion to staff sergeant will be considered for supplemental promotion this year, which is tentatively scheduled for the second week in October. That’s a much greater percentage than the 5 to 8 percent of promotion-eligible Airmen typically considered for supplemental promotion.

Berger: Marines ‘Not Giving Up’ on Large Ship-Based Drones

National Defense Magazine

The Marine Corps’ top leader said Sept. 24 that although the service is not presently working on a large amphibious ship-based drone, it is not completely putting the brakes on the effort. “We're not giving up on a shipboard UAV by any stretch of the imagination, but we had to make a decision, ... do we continue moving quickly now with what's near term, that will help us learn, and move towards technologically what is needed?” Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David H. Berger said during a webinar hosted by Defense One.

The Latest on JADC2

Air Force Magazine

Joint all-domain command and control is redefining how the U.S. military will operate in the future joint fight—and how systems must be designed today. For the latest on all things JADC2 and to stay tuned to the latest developments, check out our JADC2 landing page.

22 Die in Ukraine Military Plane Crash

The Associated Press

A Ukrainian military plane carrying aviation school students crashed and burst into flames on Sept. 25 while landing, killing 22 people, the country’s emergencies service said. Two other people on board were seriously injured and four people were missing. The An-26 crashed while landing at the airport in Chuhuiv, about 400 kilometers (250 miles) east of the capital Kyiv.