Hill fighter wings receive final F-35A Lightning II

GAO: Most Military Aircraft Fell Short on Readiness in Past Decade

The vast majority of Defense Department aircraft, including all of the military’s most advanced fleets, fell short of their mission readiness goals over the past decade, according to a recent Government Accountability Office report. Only three of 46 different types of aircraft that the GAO studied hit their mission-capable rate goals during most of the period studied, from fiscal 2011 to 2019. The watchdog's report comes as the Air Force tries to pivot to more holistic measures of combat readiness.
SPACECOM

Space Command HQ Search Narrows to Six Locations

The military has narrowed its search for the future home of U.S. Space Command to six locations across the country, the Air Force said Nov. 19. Finalists include Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.; Offutt Air Force Base, Neb.; Patrick Air Force Base, Fla.; Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.; Port San Antonio, Texas; and Redstone Army Airfield, Ala. The Department of the Air Force, which led the search, will choose its preferred candidate in early 2021.
Col. Robert P. Bongiovi

Space Force Plans Ahead for Future of Rocket Launches

The Space Force is thinking ahead to what it might need from rocket providers at the end of the decade, as it plans for the next phase of the National Security Space Launch program. The service released a request for information on Nov. 10 to open a more formal discussion between the government and launch companies of all sizes on the path forward. Military officials are considering rocket launches for everything from transporting cargo through orbit to points around the globe, to rapidly upgrading and repopulating groups of intelligence and communications satellites if attacked.
A C-130 Hercules aircraft lands at Camp Taji, Iraq, Aug. 22, 2019. The base was recently transferred to the Iraqi Security Forces Aug. 23, 2020, as Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve continued the long-range plans of the Coalition and Government of Iraq to defeat the remnants of Daesh. (Courtesy photo)

Aircrew Faulted for Landing Too Fast, Destroying C-130 in Camp Taji Mishap

A C-130H crew landed too quickly, causing the aircraft to oscillate and then overrun the runway before crashing into a concrete barrier in June at Camp Taji, Iraq, destroying the Hercules, according to an Air Force investigation. The C-130H, tail number 94-6706, assigned to the 165th Airlift Wing of the Georgia Air National Guard and flown by a crew from the Wyoming Air National Guard’s 153rd Airlift Wing, was flying a theater airlift sortie from Ali Al Salem, Kuwait, when the mishap occurred. All 26 aircrew and passengers survived. The aircraft was a total loss valued at $35.9 million.

Air Force Reverses Tuition Assistance, AF COOL Changes for Fiscal 2021

The Department of the Air Force has raised the military tuition assistance cap for Airmen and Space Professionals back to fiscal 2020 levels and restored funding for Air Force Credential Opportunities Online prep courses, it announced Nov. 19. These changes, which have already taken effect, mean service members can apply for up to $4,500 in departmental military tuition assistance in fiscal 2021, a $750 jump over the original fiscal 2021 limit announced on Sept. 29. Airmen and Space Professionals may also apply for up to $4,500 in departmental funds to pay for AF COOL “boot camps” over the course of their entire careers.
33rd Fighter Wing University of Iowa Flyover

Greece Wants F-35s So Quickly It’s Willing to Accept Used Aircraft

Greece has officially asked to buy up to 24 F-35s, and wants them so quickly it's willing to accept used airplanes, according to Pentagon officials and Greek media. Greece wants to start deliveries of the jets in 2021. The U.S. doesn't have any used F-35s to spare, but could consider such a sale to freshen the Air Force's fleet of training machines, many of which are not up to the current configuration. Greece's request comes soon after an order of both new and used French Rafales.
Gen. Kenneth F. Mackenzie Jr.

CENTCOM: Iraq Drawdown Coincides With Increased Capability of Local Forces

Iraqi forces have shown their ability to maintain security, enabling the U.S. drawdown in the country despite increased attacks from Iranian proxies and an Islamic State group focused on rebuilding its caliphate, the head of U.S. forces in the region said Nov. 19. “The progress of the Iraqi Security Forces has allowed the United States to reduce posture in Iraq,” U.S. Central Command boss Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. said during a virtual event hosted by the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations. “We have closed several bases and turned them over to Iraqi control. And we’re moving forward with the President’s decision to reduce our forces in Iraq to 2,500.”
Maternity Flight Suits

Pregnant Airmen Needed to Test Out USAF’s Maternity Flight Suits

The Air Force Uniform Office is searching for 25 pregnant Airmen at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, to test the service’s new Maternity Flight Duty Uniform. Once the service selects volunteers for the effort, it’ll take participants’ measurements, fit them for their flight suits, have them don them for four weeks, and then ask them to report back about how the outfits held up “during their normal duty day,” according to a Nov. 18 Air Force Life Cycle Management Center release.

Virtual Events: 6th Annual Schriever Space Forum, and More

On Nov. 20, the Air Force Association's Schriever Chapter will host the 6th Annual Schriever Space Futures Forum—a live, virtual event—featuring appearances by Air Force Secretary Barbara M. Barrett, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. John E. Hyten, Vice Chief of Space Operations Gen. David D. Thompson, Space and Missile Systems Center Commander Lt. Gen. John F. Thompson, and incoming U.S. Space Command boss Lt. Gen. (sel.) John E. Shaw. Register for free 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.

PACAF Commander Wants Hypersonic Weapons

National Defense Magazine

Should Congress pass a new military fund dedicated to operations in the Pacific, the general in charge of the U.S. Air Force in the region would like to see some of it spent on hypersonic weapons.

DOD Wants Industry’s Help in Taking Out Space Trash

Federal News Network

In March, the military announced that its space fence is fully operational and can now track items that are 10 centimeters or larger in size. Now, the military service in charge of space as a warfighting domain is looking for some garbage-astronauts to take out the trash.

International Space Pitch Day Offers Model for Future Events

SpaceNews

U.S. and U.K. military space officials at the Defence Space 2020 conference expressed enthusiasm for joint pitch competitions as a way to tap into commercial space sector innovation. During the conference, 10 companies participating in the first International Space Pitch Day (ISPD) won awards of 53,000 British pounds apiece ($70,167) plus the opportunity to compete for follow-on contracts from U.S. and U.K. military agencies.

New Images Of China’s Elusive Catapult-Capable J-15T Carrier Fighter Emerge

The Drive

Recently revealed video provides, for the first time, a clear, up-close look at China’s future carrier-based multirole fighter, the Shenyang J-15T, which is derived from the Russian-made Su-33 Flanker-D. Unlike previous Chinese carrier variants of the Flanker, this one importantly features the modifications required to operate from its future catapult-equipped carriers.

One More Thing

This Airman Created an Outrageously Realistic ‘Iron Man’ Suit

Task & Purpose

When compared to the likes of genius billionaire playboy philanthropist Tony Stark, Frank Pillar is quick to joke that he "may be closer to Tony Stank" than the alter ego of Marvel's Iron Man. But he might be selling himself short. After all, the Air Force technical sergeant is a skilled mechanic, spending his days working on F-15 engines at RAF Lakenheath in England, where he lives with his wife and two dogs.