Pathfinder

Pentagon’s Silicon Valley Hub is Helping NORAD Monitor US Airspace

The Air Force is moving forward with a new, algorithm-driven system to help U.S. Northern Command better detect airborne threats. NORTHCOM and the North American Aerospace Defense Command, which are tasked with protecting the homeland from attack, depend on a slew of radars and other data systems to monitor U.S. airspace. But those systems largely cannot communicate with other software, creating roadblocks in a process that should be fluid and collaborative. The “Pathfinder” initiative is building a data ecosystem that lives in widely accessible digital cloud storage, and that pulls together many different streams of information into one operating picture.
F-16 train over Holloman

USAF Pushes Safer F-16 Training After Contractor’s Death

The Air Force revamped its F-16 Basic Course following a 2017 incident where an inexperienced student pilot strafed the wrong target and killed a military contractor. Now, students must fly their first nighttime close air support sortie with an instructor pilot in the rear seat of a two-person F-16D. If a two-seat aircraft is not available, the student will practice their first solo strafe attack without ordnance “while observed from close proximity by the instructor,” Air Education and Training Command spokeswoman Capt. Lauren M. Woods told Air Force Magazine.
B-1 deployment

Dyess Airmen, B-1s in Guam for Bomber Task Force Deployment

About 200 Airmen and four B-1s from Dyess Air Force Base's 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron began a Bomber Task Force deployment to Guam this week to back up multilateral training being hosted by Pacific Air Forces, according to a PACAF release. The Texas-based troops and aircraft arrived at Andersen Air Force Base on Oct. 20, the release stated.
31st FW supports NATO enhanced Air Policing mission

Inside NATO’s Enhanced Air Policing Mission

Aviano Air Base's 555th Fighter Squadron this week concluded a nearly monthlong stint supporting NATO's enhanced Air Policing mission in Bulgaria, during which Russian military aircraft didn't cross into the European nation's sovereign airspace, U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa told Air Force Magazine on Oct. 23. “As we leave Bulgaria, we are thankful for the opportunity to support the eAP mission as guests, and look forward to more opportunities to work with the Bulgarian Air Force, especially as they grow their fleet of block 70 F-16's,” USAFE-AFAFRICA Commander Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian wrote in an emailed response to questions, adding that Bulgaria's recent purchase of the fighters will provide “a highly capable, advanced, and interoperable aircraft to defend the skies in the region.”

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

On Dec. 8 at 9:30 a.m. EST, the Air Force Association's Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies will host USAF Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations Lt. Gen. Joseph T. Guastella for a discussion about how the service is maintaining aircraft and pilot readiness, the development of the Advanced Battle Management System, and what it means to optimize force structure design to counter future threats as part of the think tank's "Aerospace Nation" series. Advanced registration is required. Click here to sign up for the live event.

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.

Judge Permits Sex Assault Case Against Joint Chiefs Member

Associated Press

A federal judge on Oct. 22 refused to dismiss a lawsuit alleging the vice chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff sexually assaulted a former top aide during a Southern California trip. Air Force Gen. John Hyten has denied the allegations brought by former Army Col. Kathryn Spletstoser that he attacked her during a December 2017 trip to attend the Reagan National Defense Forum at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, northwest of Los Angeles.

Subscription Required

Idea to Replace Air Force Fitness Test with Monthly Standards Popular on Service Website

Stars and Stripes

A recommendation to eliminate the Air Force physical fitness test has shot to the top of the rankings on the service’s main idea submission platform. The fitness program proposal, submitted Oct. 16 to the Airmen Powered by Innovation website, has received almost 800 votes and is now the most popular suggestion for Air Force Spark Tank 2021, an annual campaign designed to spur creative solutions and improvements by Airmen.

European Nations Should Shape their Air-Combat Fleets to Support the F-35, US Analysts Say

Defense News

European NATO nations without the fifth-generation F-35 combat jet should mold their fleets to complement the U.S.-developed aircraft in future operations, according to a new report commissioned by U.S. European Command. The analysis, done by the think tank Rand and published Oct. 22, ascribes such a vital advantage to the F-35′s stealth and sensor-fusion features that the jet would be the only aircraft suitable for an initial contact with Russian forces in the event of a conflict.

Sparks Fly When C-17 has Gear-Up Landing at Kandahar

Air Force Times

A C-17 Globemaster had an emergency landing at Kandahar Air Field in Afghanistan on Oct. 18. No one was injured in the landing, U.S. Forces in Afghanistan spokesman Army Col. Sonny Leggett said in a tweet that day, and enemy activity was not involved.

AFCEC Awarded Patent for New Runway Repair Technology

USAF release

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently granted the Air Force a patent for an innovative runway repair solution developed at the Air Force Civil Engineer Center. The formula, developed by members of AFCEC’s laboratory at Tyndall Air Force Base, will allow Rapid Airfield Damage Repair, or RADR, teams to quickly repair runways using materials that can be gathered locally, such as sand and clay.

Blue Origin Trying to Convince the Air Force to Continue to Invest in New Glenn

SpaceNews

The Air Force in August selected United Launch Alliance and SpaceX as its launch providers for the next five years. Blue Origin competed for the job but lost and, as a result, the Air Force plans to terminate a $500 million contract Blue Origin received in 2018 to advance the development of its New Glenn rocket. The company is moving forward with New Glenn with the goal to debut the vehicle in 2021 and pursue commercial work, but it is trying to make the case to the Air Force that it should continue to fund the vehicle and the ground infrastructure that it would need to be certified for national security missions.

One More Thing

Beetle Shell Holds Science Secrets for Air Force Researchers Making Tougher Planes, Armor

Air Force Times

The “diabolical ironclad beetle” is teaching Air Force researchers new ways to resist outside pressure. The beetle’s crush-resistant armor holds secrets that could unlock new ways of making armor or designing stronger airplane materials. The beetle study is part of an $8 million project funded by the U.S. Air Force to explore how the biology of creatures can provide solutions to military technological challenges.