F-15EX Wins Some, Loses Some in Northern Edge

The F-15EX achieved mixed results in its first major force wargame—Northern Edge 2021—but that was the idea, a member of the type's combined test team reported. The F-15EX showed that it can do the mission of the F-15C, and then some, but data has yet to be analyzed about whether it and the EPAWSS electronic warfare survivability suite will pay off.

DOD: As Covid-19 Threat Persists, Vaccines Grow More Crucial

Senior military leaders are stepping up efforts to encourage service members to get the COVID-19 vaccine, even as the Defense Department rolls back mask mandates and other regulations put in place to stymie the spread of the virus. As of May 20, the Defense Department has administered more than 3.3 million vaccine doses to eligible DOD personnel, with 44 percent of the Active-duty force being fully vaccinated and 58 percent having received at least one dose. “The threat of COVID-19 to our nation and our allies and partners has not yet abated,” wrote Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen H. Hicks and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten in a May 20 memo to the force. “Vaccination is critical to defending against COVID-19."
Baldwin technology HASC

Latest Small Business Tech Contracts Include Airborne AI, VR Training

Recent Department of the Air Force Small Business Innovation Research contracts include technology research and development projects ranging from artificial intelligence to edge computing to augmented reality. "We have bolstered our relationship with nontraditional industry since partnering AFWERX with our Small Business Innovation Research Center of Excellence," said Kristen Baldwin, deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for science, technology, and engineering May 20. "Our SBIR contracts are also attracting matching funds, and performers are receiving follow-on investments at a ratio of $5 for every SBIR dollar that we invest."

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Israel Intercepted Armed Drone Sent by Iran, Netanyahu Says


The drone was sent from Iraq or Syria, and intercepted on Israel’s border with Jordan, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, producing no evidence to back up his claim but holding what he described as part of the unmanned aircraft. Netanyahu accused Iran of supporting and financing the Islamic Jihad in Gaza, as well as supplying weapons to Hamas and to the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

With ULA’s New Rocket Vulcan Behind Schedule, Space Force Agrees to Let Atlas 5 Fill in


What would have been the first national security mission for United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur rocket will be flown by Atlas 5, the company confirmed May 19. That mission, known as USSF-51, was awarded to ULA in August 2020 and is scheduled to launch in late 2022. The company had bid its newly developed Vulcan to fly that mission, but the vehicle is not going to be ready on time.

A Skin Condition Makes It Hard For Some Black Men To Shave—And Get Ahead in the Military

Texas Public Radio

Some Air Force members say they're facing discrimination because it's hard for them to shave their faces daily. Many have a skin condition that's especially common among Black men. Tech. Sgt. Joshua Nixon joined the Air Force in 2011 in hopes of becoming a recruiter like his older brother. He excelled in training, won numerous awards, and never got in trouble. But the then-19-year-old struggled to keep up with the Air Force requirement that he shave his face every day.

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Biden to Offer Budget Proposal on May 28

U.S. President Joe Biden will unveil the first detailed budget proposal of his term in office on May 28, a day later than originally planned, the White House said May 19. No reason was given for the delay.

AFSOC Studying Development of Amphibious Aircraft

National Defense Magazine

Air Force Special Operations Command is looking into the development of a plane that can take off and land from the water. AFSOC would modify an existing MC-130J to allow the special-ops transport plane to work in amphibious environments, Air Force Col. Ken Kuebler, Special Operations Command's program executive officer-fixed wing, said during a May 19 presentation at the virtual Special Operations Forces Industry Conference organized by the National Defense Industrial Association.

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Australian Military to Set up Space Division with $7B Budget

The Guardian

Australia is assembling a new space division comprising military officers from the army, navy, and air force to better protect satellites from attack. The space division will be established within the Royal Australian Air Force headquarters in Canberra early next year. The chief of the air force, Mel Hupfeld, said guaranteeing access to the “contested domain” of space was becoming increasingly important. “However, this does not mean that defense encourages the militarization of space,” Hupfeld said.

TRANSCOM Head Gives Thumbs Up for Air Force to Begin Divesting KC-135s

Defense News

The head of U.S. Transportation Command signaled May 18 he is ready to support Air Force plans to start retiring some KC-135 aerial refueling tankers. Last year, after the Air Force requested the authority to retire 13 KC-135s in fiscal 2021, TRANSCOM commander Gen. Steve Lyons pushed back, arguing that retiring the legacy tankers without an operational KC-46 would exacerbate the existing tanker shortfall to high levels of risk.

Space Force’s First Battle Is With the Army

Defense One

The fight for control of space is brewing—not the competition with China, but between the Space Force and the Army. Over the last several months, Space Force officials have been negotiating with their Army and Navy counterparts over what missions and personnel will transfer into the newest branch, which is part of the Department of the Air Force. To date, no agreements have been signed on what satellites or units will transfer over, though handshake deals and draft plans indicate that some progress is being made.

130th Airlift Wing Tapped to Convert to C-130J Super Hercules

Air Force Times

The 130th Airlift Wing of McLaughlin Air National Guard Base in Charleston, West Virginia, has gotten the green light to convert the C-130J-30 Super Hercules from the legacy C-130H models, acting Secretary of the Air Force John Roth announced on May 18.

HASC Members Blast KC-46 Ahead of 2022 NDAA

Breaking Defense

A key House Armed Services Committee member vowed to use the 2022 defense authorization to address the Air Force’s “embarrassing” contract with Boeing for the troubled KC-46 tanker—as the head of Transportation Command suggested Pegasus fielding may face yet more delay. “In my estimation, the overall procurement of this ‘commercial’ aircraft, and the penalty built into the contract requiring minimum orders of deficient airplanes, is at best procurement malpractice, or at worst an illegal binding of Congress requiring annual procurements,” Rep. Rob Wittman, ranking member of the HASC seapower and projection forces subcommittee, told a joint hearing with the HASC readiness subcommittee.

Air Force Held First Information Warfare Test Exercises


The Air Force conducted its first information warfare-focused exercises to test the concept at a new range in the New Mexico desert. To date, Air Combat Command led 10 “proof of concept” exercises, Jeffrey Phillips, commander of the 67th Cyberspace Wing, said May 18 during an AFCEA Alamo Chapter online event.

Teledyne, FLIR Merger Brings Deep Space to Deep-sea Sensing Tech Under One Roof

Defense News

Teledyne Technologies’ $8.2 billion acquisition of FLIR Systems, finalized May 14, sets it up to become increasingly competitive in the world of unmanned and sensing capabilities, the latter’s vice president and general manager of unmanned systems and integrated solutions told Defense News in a May 18 interview.

Will 2021 Be the Year JADC2 Takes Off?

Defense One

Pentagon leaders want 2021 to be the year that their connect-everything effort—joint all-domain command and control, or JADC2—really takes flight. In this vision of future warfare, everything on the battlefield is digitally linked, allowing artificially intelligent decision aides to help commanders find and hit targets before the enemy can adapt. But the effort faces major financial and logistical challenges.

Don’t Miss the Spectacular ‘Super Flower Blood Moon’ Lunar Eclipse Coming Soon

The Hill

A cosmic phenomenon is expected to occur May 26 when a supermoon and blood moon will appear because of a lunar eclipse. A blood moon occurs when the earth is positioned squarely between the moon and the sun during a total lunar eclipse, according to NASA. "When this happens, the only light that reaches the moon's surface is from the edges of the Earth's atmosphere," the space agency said. "The air molecules from Earth's atmosphere scatter out most of the blue light. The remaining light reflects onto the moon's surface with a red glow, making the moon appear red in the night sky."