Editor’s Note

Election results were still too close to call as of press time. Stay tuned to airforcemag.com for updated coverage.
USAFA COVID-19

USAFA Cancels Fall Break, Shortens Semester Amid Pandemic

U.S. Air Force Academy cadets will forgo Thanksgiving break and end the fall semester early as the school adjusts its academic calendar in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Cadets will finish final exams on Dec. 11, and winter break runs Dec. 14, 2020, to Jan. 1, 2021. While Thanksgiving still counts as a holiday, students won’t have extra travel time built in to visit their families. That decision comes as the Colorado academy tries to quash a potential coronavirus outbreak in the cold-weather months.
Gen. Jacqueline D. Van Ovost

After KC-46, USAF Looks Ahead to ‘Bridge Tanker’

The Air Force is moving forward with its “bridge tanker” project—the air-refueling aircraft acquisition formerly known as “KC-Y”—in a “full and open competition” to replace the KC-135 Stratotanker fleet. It is a stepping stone to a more futuristic tanker, Air Mobility Command boss Gen. Jacqueline D. Van Ovost said Oct. 27. This next tanker would bridge the gap in capabilities offered by the 179 Boeing KC-46s currently being delivered and a later tanker known as “KC-Z.” The Air Force is defining which capabilities it needs in its next tanker and how it will “immediately follow the existing KC-46A delivery timeline,” she said.
19th Air Force Maintenance Training Center Activation

New Schoolhouse for Trainer Jet Maintainers Opens in Texas

Nineteenth Air Force has transformed Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph’s Hangar 62 into an official hub for teaching the next generation of trainer aircraft maintainers. The 19th Air Force Maintenance Training Center, which the numbered Air Force opened on Oct. 29, will serve as a schoolhouse where students learn the basics of caring for AETC’s main training aircraft—the T-1A Jayhawk, the T-6A Texan II, and the T-38A Talon, a 502nd Air Base Wing release stated. The center’s activation marks the first time the Texas base has had a formal program for molding new trainer aircraft mechanics since the 1990s.

Female F-16 Pilots Test Anti-Gravity Suits Modified to Fit Women

A team of five female Airmen last week evaluated a flight suit designed to be more comfortable and functional for women pilots battling gravitational forces in the cockpit. High-speed pilots wear G-suits to avoid health issues when they rapidly accelerate in flight, but since 2001, female pilots have worn suits made for a standard male body. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center and the innovation hub AFWERX modified the Advanced Technology Anti-Gravity Suits (ATAGS) with adjustable panels in the waist, thighs, and calves to make room for different body proportions.
AFSOC in Denmark

MC-130Js, F-15Es Deploy to Denmark for Baltic Exercise

U.S. Airmen and aircraft from two bases in England recently deployed to Aalborg, Denmark for a two-week, multilateral agile combat employment (ACE) exercise hosted by the Combined Special Operations Air Task Group. Agile combat employment is a budding USAF strategy in which the service can launch operations and sustain aircraft and forces from anywhere in the world, instead of relying on brick-and-mortar bases that could be targeted in a war. In addition to giving U.S. Air Forces in Europe a chance to practice ACE concepts, the training improves the 48th Fighter Wing’s flexibility so it can back up partner militaries in the Baltics.

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.

Defense Aerospace Primes Are Raking in Money for Classified Programs

Defense News

Two months after disclosing the existence of a next-generation fighter jet demonstrator, the U.S. Air Force is staying mum on which company may have built it. But one thing is for sure: Classified aviation programs are on the rise, and opportunities abound for the three major American defense aerospace primes—Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Boeing.

OPINION: Drones Equal Help for Manned Fighters and Bombers, Not a Substitute

Breaking Defense

“The Air Force needs a mix of next-generation drones, including attritable systems, and a large force of fifth-generation aircraft that can team to achieve decisive effects in future battlespaces,” writes retired Air Force Col. Mark Gunzinger, director of future concepts and capability assessments at AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.

L3Harris to Provide GBSD Training Systems

National Defense Magazine

L3Harris Technologies will be providing the Air Force with training systems for the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent intercontinental ballistic missile, according to the company.

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Gunmen Storm Kabul University, Killing at Least 19

The New York Times

The siege lasted six hours as Afghan forces and U.S. commandos hunted and killed three gunmen. An Afghan branch of the Islamic State group was reported to have claimed responsibility.