F-22 Sunset

New Force Design: NGAD Needed Soon, F-22 Sunset Begins in 2030

The Air Force is preparing to unveil a 30-year fighter force design that calls for two new fighters—one for high-end fights and one for less demanding missions—a new way of providing close air support, and the retirement of the F-22 starting in about 2030, a top USAF official explained. Until then, the F-22 will be updated with new sensors to provide a "bridge" to the Next-Generation Air Dominance fighter series.
Maj Gen Crider of USSF Participates in 5G Summit

DAF Will Devote Office to Digital Engineering as Advances Gain Steam

The Department of the Air Force will set up a permanent office dedicated to digital engineering within Air Force Materiel Command that the Air Force and Space Force will share. The department is “putting some resources and personnel in place to move from what has been a wonderful and fantastic campaign of a coalition of the willing, if you will, about 900-strong … to move to a more structured activity that can really be providing assistance and responsiveness and provisioning this journey,” said Kristin Baldwin, deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for science, technology and engineering.
DAF suicide prevention training

Air Force Says Suicide Rates are Dropping in 2021 After Two Years of Increases

Suicide rates in the Air Force are starting to drop after back-to-back years of exceptionally high rates as the department enacts new policies to address the problem. There were more than 100 suicides in the Air Force in both 2019 and 2020, causing leaders to order a “tactical pause” to discuss the issue and study new policies aimed at curbing the problem. Lt. Gen. Brian T. Kelly, the deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel, and services, told the Senate Armed Services personnel subcommittee May 12 that though it is only five months into the year, there has been some progress.

Radar Sweep

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Pentagon to Seek 85 F-35 Jets in Next Year’s Budget Request


The Biden administration will seek $11 billion to buy 85 Lockheed Martin Corp. F-35 jets in the coming fiscal year, tracking a plan outlined last year by the Trump administration, according to a U.S. official. With a $715 billion budget request for fiscal year 2022, the Pentagon had considered increasing the quantity of next-generation fighters it planned to buy but decided to instead focus on using additional funding to upgrade the F-35 with new capabilities every six months, the official said.

Two Men Accused of Illegally Obtaining, Selling Air Force Technical Data

Air Force Times

Federal officers arrested two men on May 12 amid allegations that they illegally obtained and sold sensitive Air Force technical data, the Justice Department announced in a release. Sarfraz Yousuf, 43, is accused of selling at least 1,875 sets of data known as technical orders to Marc Chavez, 53, between January 2015 and July 2020. Chavez paid at least $132,280 for the information and resold the manuals for a profit as recently as December 2020, according to the U.S. government.

Air Force May Tilt To Drones: CSAF Brown

Breaking Defense

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. says the service is seriously considering building a fighter fleet with more drones than piloted aircraft.

New Aerial Gunnery Simulator Comes to F.E. Warren AFB

USAF Release

The 37th Helicopter Squadron took possession of an aerial gunnery simulator at the helicopter hangar on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming, April 27. The simulator is expected to provide substantial cost savings to the squadron as well as provide accurate simulated training for Airmen manning the M240D rifle on the UH-1N Huey and then the MH-139 Grey Wolf.

Lockheed Martin, USAF Establish Software Development Factory to Support US Strategic Command

Executive Biz

Lockheed Martin has partnered with the Air Force to help establish a software development factory to come up with command and control and mission planning applications for U.S. Strategic Command as part of the Global Strike and Product Support contract. Lockheed’s GSPS team worked with USSTRATCOM at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska to create 12 software pipelines using Agile DevSecOps methodologies and develop a cloud-based environment.

Selection Rate Drops for Latest Master Sergeant Promotions

Air Force Times

Snagging a promotion to master sergeant became more difficult this year, as just under 19 percent of those eligible to rise to the grade of E-7 made the cut. The Air Force announced May 11 that it considered a pool of 24,721 technical sergeants for promotion and ultimately chose 4,676 of those Airmen. That resulted in a promotion rate of 18.9 percent, according to the Air Force Personnel Center.

Air Guard Shows Off New ‘Ghost Reaper’ Chops At Northern Edge

Breaking Defense

Upgrades to the MQ-9 Reaper’s communications and targeting capabilities are being demonstrated by the Air National Guard during the Northern Edge 2021 exercise in the Arctic, with a goal to help the venerable drone “play an increased, more prominent role in the command and control arena of the battlefield.” The new pod-based capabilities will be flown onboard a 174th Attack Wing MQ-9, according to a May 6 press release from the New York Air National Guard’s 174th Attack Wing.

Nightwatch 'Doomsday' Planes Spending More Time at Barksdale AFB


Just about everybody who lives and or works in Bossier City has looked up and seen a B-52 or maybe a fighter jet. And some have seen something that looks a little more like a commercial aircraft such as a 747 fly over on occasion and thought, what's that? "The E4-B Nightwatch is a robust airborne communications node that links the President and other senior government leaders to our national capabilities and strategic forces during a time of crisis," said Maj. Gen. Mark Weatherington, Eighth Air Force and Global Strike Operations Center commander.

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The Air Force Built a Robot to Wash F-16s

Popular Mechanics

The U.S. Air Force has unveiled a new robotic arm that’s designed to cut down on the time and manpower needed to clean a fighter jet. The arm can fully wash an F-16 Viper fighter jet in just one hour, saving major time and manpower. The technology will likely be ported to other aircraft, and could be useful to decontaminate aircraft exposed to dangerous chemical agents.

Space Force to Integrate Multi-Manifest Satellite Vehicles for Future Mission

Executive Gov

Cape Canaveral Space Force Station is preparing to integrate a pair of multi-manifest satellite vehicles that would gather data for future technology development. The Space-Based Infrared System GEO-5 satellite will carry Technology Demonstration Orbiters 3 and 4, which contain several payloads for U.S. Air Force Academy, Los Angeles Air Force Base said.

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Display of ‘Thin Blue Line’ Flag Violated DOD Policy, Ramstein Air Base says

Stars and Stripes

The Air Force acknowledged that the display by security forces Airmen at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, of a “thin blue line” flag violated Defense Department policy on what types of flags can be flown on U.S. bases. The 86th Airlift Wing posted and later removed photos on its Facebook page of Airmen in uniform carrying a black-and-white American flag with a blue horizontal stripe during a 24-hour rucksack march as part of National Police Week.

Competition Will Speed Up Fielding Timeline for Missile Defense Interceptor, MDA Boss Says

Defense News

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency aims to get its first Next-Generation Interceptors to replace the Ground-Based Interceptors, which make up the United States’ homeland ballistic missile defense system, by 2028. But the agency’s director thinks it can happen sooner. Two teams—a Northrop Grumman and Raytheon team, and Lockheed Martin with Aerojet Rocketdyne—will go head-to-head to develop the NGI after each were awarded a development contract to mature technology and reduce risk.

PODCAST: Giving Autonomous Aircraft a Moral Compass

Aviation Week

Will we ever be able to trust an autonomous aircraft? Mark Skoog, the principal investigator for autonomy at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center, joins Aviation Week’s Graham Warwick and Guy Norris to discuss an effort to enable autonomous aircraft to be programmed with internal values and rules of behavior to ensure they are safe.

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County Sinks Retired US Air Force Vessel for Artificial Reef

The Destin Log

Florida divers and fishermen have a new artificial reef to enjoy as of May 7. The large 93-foot Air Force steel-hull water training vessel Big Dawg was sunk to the seafloor in 104 feet of water, 14 miles southwest of the Destin Pass.