F-15Es Can Now Carry ‘StormBreaker’ Bombs

The F-15E Strike Eagle can now carry the Small Diameter Bomb II in combat, after software faults and other problems repeatedly delayed the program for years. Air Combat Command approved Raytheon Technologies’ air-launched, precision-guided munition, also known as StormBreaker, for use on Sept. 23. The F-15E is the first aircraft cleared to fly with SDB II, with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet next in line.

USAF Wraps Long-Range Radar Demos, Contract Coming in Early 2021

The Air Force said Oct. 13 it plans to choose a long-range radar in early 2021 to replace the aging AN/TPS-75, an effort that has been underway for several years. Late last month, the service held live-fly demonstrations to vet radars offered by Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and the Australian firm CEA. The Air Force did not say what those trials entailed, but it plans to analyze the results through the end of 2020 and issue a production contract next year. It's unclear how much that will cost.
Kunsan AB dorm

Kunsan Command Team Unveils Dorm Improvement Plan

Eighth Fighter Wing Commander Col. Chris B. Hammond and Chief Master Sgt. Ronnie J. Woods, the wing’s command chief, have created a multi-year plan to improve the state of on-base living at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea, they told Air Force Magazine. “We're here for a year, but we're approaching things with a 10-year outlook, and that 10-year outlook includes all of our dorms and making sure that they are renovated, [and] that they are worthy of our Airmen's ability to live,” Hammond said in a Zoom interview from the base. The “Kunsan Dorm Master Plan” outlines the tentative demolition of the base’s already-condemned Building 609, construction of a new dorm that’s slated to begin in 2025, and fixes to the others.

USAF Buys First Training Simulator for ‘Doomsday’ Fleet

Oklahoma-based CymSTAR will build the Air Force’s first training simulator for the E-4B “Doomsday” planes at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., the service said Oct. 14. The four 1970s-era National Airborne Operations Center jets act as flying command centers in case the Air Force’s underground nuclear missile control posts are destroyed. Without a simulator, E-4B aircrews have to pull the planes from regular operations for training, or travel out of state to use a commercial Boeing 747 simulator. The new training equipment should be delivered in April 2022.

Virtual Events: Scowcroft Group’s Miller on Mitchell’s Nuclear Deterrence Series, and More

On March 23, the Air Force Association's Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies will host a virtual Nuclear Deterrence Series event featuring Scowcroft Group Principal Frank Miller. At a time when nuclear modernization programs are accelerating around the world, proposals to recapitalize the U.S. nuclear arsenal are at the forefront of debates over defense spending. Miller will share his insights into the prospects for U.S. nuclear modernization programs and the value of nuclear deterrence in today's competitive security environment. The think tank will post event video on its website and YouTube page after the live event.

Radar Sweep

Speaker Sessions from AFA’s vASC Now Available

Air Force Magazine

Now you can view video and transcripts from the Air Force Association’s virtual Air, Space & Cyber Conference, including an adapted version of Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics Will Roper’s talk on “Disruptive Agility for a Disruptive World.”

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.

Uptick in Spending Seen for Directed Energy Weapons

National Defense Magazine

Armed forces around the world are expected to boost investment in directed energy weapons such as lasers and high-powered microwaves over the next decade as the technology matures, a new study forecasts.

Journey to JADC2

Air Force Magazine

Joint all-domain command and control is driving change throughout the Air and Space Forces. Read our latest on the quest for greater interconnectedness across the battlefield.

China Conducts Test of Massive Suicide Drone Swarm Launched from a Box on a Truck

The Drive

China recently conducted a test involving a swarm of loitering munitions, also often referred to as suicide drones, deployed from a box-like array of tubular launchers on a light tactical vehicle and from helicopters. This underscores how the drone swarm threat, broadly, is becoming ever-more real and will present increasingly serious challenges for military forces around the world in future conflicts.

6 Months After Vanessa Guillén’s Disappearance and Death, Army Changes How Missing Soldiers Are Reported

Task and Purpose

In a new action plan sent out to Army leaders on Oct. 13—which was obtained by Task & Purpose and details the service’s path forward on its new number one priority, people—Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, Chief of Staff Gen. James C. McConville, and Sergeant Major of the Army Michael A. Grinston say new guidance on reporting missing Soldiers will be released in “the coming weeks.”

Camouflaged as Polling Workers, National Guard Presence During Primaries Fuels Worries of Militarized Presidential Election

The War Horse

Election officials are already sounding alarms that they may face a shortage of poll workers—who tend to be retirees and at higher risk for complications from COVID-19—come Nov. 3. Add to that fears of voter suppression as the President has urged tens of thousands of supporters to act as “poll watchers,” as well as concerns that protests or political demonstrations might interrupt voting, and Wisconsin’s move to activate its National Guard may predict a trend for a national election for a country in the grip of a pandemic.