Some B-1s Return to Flight Following Stand Down, Fuel System Inspections

The first B-1B Lancers have returned to flight following a grounding more than two weeks ago to inspect issues with the aircraft’s fuel systems. Air Force Global Strike Command announced May 6 that an undisclosed number of the bombers are back to flying after the April 20 stand down order. AFGSC boss Gen. Timothy M. Ray ordered the aircraft to stand down to inspect each plane’s Augmenter Fuel Pump Filter Housing as a “precautionary measure” after an April 8 ground emergency at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D.
Air Force conducts latest hypersonic weapon flight test

B-52 Demos Hypersonic Missile Kill Chain at Northern Edge Exercise

A B-52H bomber launched a simulated AGM-183 Air-launched Rapid Response hypersonic missile at a target some 600 miles away during the ongoing Northern Edge exercise in Alaska, the Air Force said. The simulated shot was a success and demonstrated Airborne Battle Management System techniques to facilitate the kill chain for hypersonic weapons.
Austin briefing

Pentagon Doesn’t Plan to Shoot Down Spent Chinese Booster

The Defense Department has no plans to shoot down a spent Chinese Long March 5B rocket booster, which is out of control and could reach Earth's surface after re-entry, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III reported. The U.S. demonstrated an anti-satellite capability in 2008 against one of its own intelligence satellites that had gone out of control. Austin said the rocket will reach Earth May 8 or 9.
Austin Milley Pentagon

DOD Leaders Open to Removing Commanders from Sexual Assault Cases, but Waiting on Commission

As momentum builds within the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill to remove commanders from overseeing sexual assault prosecutions, top Defense Department leaders say they are open to the change, but they want to give a commission time to finish its work before the monumental change is made. Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III, when he took the position in January, made addressing sexual assault in the military a top priority and convened an independent commission to look into ways to address the issue. A preliminary report from the commission recommends removing the chain of command from prosecuting sexual assault, while a new measure in the Senate has dozens of cosponsors aiming to do the same. Austin said “all options are on the table” to address the issue.
Afghan air force maintainers

Top U.S. Defense Officials: Afghan Air Force Capability ‘Key’ After Withdrawal

The U.S. military is looking at new ways to train Afghan forces and for contractors to continue to work on Afghan Air Force aircraft following the full withdrawal of American troops this year. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, during a May 6 briefing at the Pentagon, said the ability of the Afghan Air Force to continue supporting ground operations against the Taliban is important to ensure the country is not overrun after American and coalition troops leave. “The Afghan Air Force does 80 to 90 percent of all airstrikes in support of the Afghan ground forces. We’re actually doing very few. We do some, but very few relative to the Afghan Air Force,” Milley said. “The key will be the Afghan Air Force and their ability to continue providing close air support for the Afghan Army.”

Radar Sweep

Joint Chiefs Chairman Urges Greater Racial Diversity in the Military

The Associated Press

The U.S. military must widen opportunity and improve advancement for Black service members, who remain vastly underrepresented in some areas, including among Air Force pilots and in the most senior ranks, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said May 5. Army Gen. Mark A. Milley told a Howard University ROTC commissioning ceremony that diversity is an important strength of the military but is still inadequate. “We must get better,” he said.

OPINION: To Turn the Corner on Air Force Suicides, Let Chaplains Take the Lead

The Hill

“… Arguably, chaplains are the most dynamic professionals in the military. Besides dozens of smaller responsibilities, four core duties compete for a chaplain’s precious time: Congregational pastor, confidential counselor, commander’s advisor, and unit chaplain. As my squadron’s chaplain’s assistant used to say, ‘Chaplains are pastors to some, chaplains to all,’” writes Air Force Col. Denny R. Davies, national security affairs fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, in The Hill.

Air Force Cyber School Will Add Online Training Tool


The Air Force school to prepare Airmen to become high-end cyber defenders will introduce an online training tool in its upcoming curriculum. U.S. Cyber Command mandated that all services must adopt the Persistent Cyber Training Environment (PCTE) at schoolhouses. Designed as the premier training tool for the Department of Defense cyber force, PCTE allows Cyber Command’s warriors to log on from anywhere in the world for individual or group training and mission rehearsals.

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Ordnance Airmen Have a Blast Experimenting with Snow and C-4 in Alaska

Stars and Stripes

Frosty’s made of it, kids play in it, and Christmas carolers sing about it. And now we know bomb blasts can be hushed with it. That’s what a team of innovative Airmen in Alaska confirmed recently during a four-day experiment into how effective snow is at dampening dangerous shockwaves from ordnance blasts. Ordnance teams normally use sand or water barriers for that job.

Hughes and OneWeb Get Air Force Contract for Arctic Broadband

Space News

The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory has contracted low-Earth orbit broadband venture OneWeb to demonstrate managed satcom services in strategic Arctic locations. Project prime contractor Hughes Network Systems, a OneWeb investor supplying parts of its ground segment, will test the services between certain U.S. Northern Command sites.

What's In Biden’s First Budget? And How Late Will It Be?

Defense One

It’s that time of year when the defense establishment tries to predict what will be included in the President’s defense budget request and what will be left out. Lobbyists, experts, and journalists analyze—or, more often, over analyze—just about every word uttered by any defense official, looking for hints and clues about what the military wants or doesn’t. Here are a few things we already know: The 2022 Pentagon budget request will total $715 billion, up from the $705 billion Congress appropriated for this year. …

US Air Force signs research contract for ‘Bell’s High Speed VTOL’


The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory has contracted Bell to research a high-speed vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft. The laboratory granted Bell a $950,000 contract to conduct applied research into the concept, it disclosed in an online notice posted on April 28. … The research contract comes several months after the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) said it was looking ahead for a VTOL aircraft with “jet speeds” to replace its Bell Boeing CV-22 Osprey tiltrotor.

One More Thing

Starship survives test flight

Space News

A SpaceX Starship prototype successfully carried out a brief suborbital flight May 5 after four previous vehicles were destroyed during or shortly after landing. The Starship SN15 vehicle lifted off from SpaceX’s Boca Chica, Texas, test site at 6:24 p.m. Eastern. The vehicle flew to an altitude of approximately 10 kilometers before descending and landing back at the test site six minutes after liftoff.