Details were still coming in, but a plane associated with Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, crashed Monday. A post from the base's official Twitter account confirmed an "incident involving an aircraft associated with Nellis Air Force Base" but offered no additional details. Reports of a possible crash near Nellis first began to emerge just before 2:30 local time.
The U.S. Air Force could retire some of its older-model F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, which are used for training, over the next decade in favor of acquiring the most advanced variants of the jet, according to a top general. Older versions of the premier stealth jet may be retired instead of receiving expensive upgrades to keep them viable for a future conflict, said Lt. Gen. S. Clinton Hinote, the Air Force's deputy chief of staff for strategy, integration, and requirements.
Directed-energy beams could be the next step in bringing down hostile drones, officials from the Italian Air Force are predicting. “This technology is moving really fast and we are evaluating both microwave and lasers as solutions for stopping drones,” said Col. Salvatore Lombardi, director of the force’s UAV center of excellence at Amendola Air Base, southern Italy, which trains personnel, studies capabilities, and develops standards. He said Italian experts will join officials from fellow NATO countries in October to test-fire different kinetic solutions, including lasers, against drones at the Salto di Quirra military test range in Sardinia, Italy.
In episode 23 of the Aerospace Advantage podcast, “B-1 Flight Ops: Bad to the Bone,” host John “Slick” Baum sits down with B-1 pilot Lt. Col. Mark “Moses” Kimball to discuss what it’s like to strap into an iconic bomber, roar down the runway, and execute a combat mission. No aircraft can match the record of the workhorse B-1, which has fought and flown nonstop over the past 20 years. In the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001, when America and its allies launched Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, this aircraft was at the forefront of the action. The reason for this was simple: We had few regional bases in the area. The B-1’s range and payload allowed it to conduct missions few other aircraft could match. This was especially important given how stretched thin tankers were at the time, making the attributes of the B-1 invaluable.
The U.S. Space Force next month will solicit industry bids for deep-space radar sensors that can track active satellites and debris in high orbits above 22,000 miles. One or more contractors will be selected to develop prototype concepts for the Deep Space Advanced Radar Concept, a project started by the Air Force in 2017. Up to three radar sites could be built in the coming years. The Space and Missile Systems Center’s Space Enterprise Consortium plans to issue a request for prototype proposals by June 30, SMC said in a statement.
Nigeria’s Air Force officially took delivery of three JF-17 fighter aircraft Friday during a ceremony at a base in Makudri amid celebrations marking the 57th anniversary of the service. The fighters were handed over by Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, which constructed the aircraft and was responsible for their delivery. This marks the latest development in the Pakistan Air Force’s involvement in the Nigerian Air Force’s modernization program. A Pakistan Air Force news release stated the ceremony was attended by high-ranking officers from both forces.
The Air Force has figured out how to turn transport planes into temporary bombers: Load them up with cruise missiles to augment the firepower of regular bombers. The new “deployment box” system can allow a C-17 Globemaster III transport to quickly switch from hauling cargo to raining nearly three dozen precision-guided cruise missiles down on enemy targets. The system promises to increase the number of cruise-missile-launching platforms in Air Force service by the hundreds—a truly massive increase in firepower.
A laboratory is being opened at Kirtland Air Force Base where scientists and engineers will do the cutting-edge research needed to build on the country’s space war-fighting skills. The Air Force Research Laboratory’s Space Warfighting Operations Research and Development Laboratory, or SWORD, will consolidate in the same site about 65 scientists, engineers and support employees who make up the Space Vehicle Directorate’s Space Control Branch. The military and civilian personnel are currently spread throughout numerous buildings at Kirtland. Both Air Force and Space Force personnel will work at the lab.
As the world began shutting down amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Doug Carlberg worried about his San Antonio, Texas, factory that makes parts for military and commercial aircraft. While his work making parts for combat jets like the F-35 stealth fighter remained constant, his business supplying commercial plane makers dried up as passenger air travel nearly came to a halt. But a key Pentagon policy put in place early in the pandemic allowed him to make it through the year without having to lay off any of his 65 employees, Carlberg said.
NATO’s Steadfast Defender 2021 exercise is helping participating countries return to “a deterrence mindset” as Russia continues a military buildup and increases its aggression, according to a Navy admiral. U.S. 2nd Fleet commander Vice Adm. Andrew Lewis, who also heads NATO’s Joint Force Command Norfolk, said in a telephone interview with media that the exercise underlines “the sense of urgency” NATO has adopted to maintaining the peace. “This is a much more subtle fight—literally from seabed to outer space” across all domains compared to World War II’s transportation of goods and manpower from North America to Europe, Lewis said.
Senate Armed Services Chair Throws Support Behind Changing Roles of Military Commanders in Sexual Assault Prosecutions
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island) recently threw his support behind changing the role of military commanders in the prosecution of sexual assault. Reed said May 23 that "sexual assault and harassment are pervasive problems in the U.S. military and American culture and we must take comprehensive action to halt sexual violence, hold violators accountable, and support survivors." A yearslong effort, largely led by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), to take decisions about whether to prosecute sexual assault within the military out of the hands of the chain of command recently reached a turning point, with her bill to do so recently surpassing the threshold of 61 votes in the Senate.
Raytheon Missiles & Defense performed a digital fit check of its AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile-Extended Range variant inside the internal carriage of a Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter. The engineering effort confirms speculation that the company is looking at offering the extended-range variant not only as a surface-to-air weapon, but also as an air-to-air missile.
The next launch of a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket has been delayed from July to October to await the readiness of its U.S. military payload, and the following Falcon Heavy flight has been rescheduled from late this year to some time in 2022, military officials said. Col. Robert Bongiovi, head of the launch enterprise at the Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center, said the USSF-44 and USSF-52 missions—both carrying U.S. military satellites—have been pushed back from their previous target launch dates in July and October.
United Launch Alliance could load cryogenic methane and liquid oxygen propellants into a Vulcan rocket test article at Cape Canaveral for the first time in the coming weeks, timing key tests for the next-generation rocket in between flights of Atlas 5 rockets that will share the same launch complex for the next few years. ULA is using its operational Atlas 5 rocket, meanwhile, to validate elements of the more powerful Vulcan Centaur rocket well before the new launcher’s first flight.
Two prominent aerospace industry groups are cooperating on cyber information sharing, awareness, education, and outreach to improve the security of space operations. The agreement between the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the Space Information Sharing and Analysis Center comes at a time when recent cyber incidents in other industries have highlighted a deficit of info sharing.
Decommissioned decades ago, this historic missile bunker has sat abandoned for years but has recently opened its blast doors to the 21st century. Currently up for sale, the underground complex provides a fascinating insight into America's military history and the nuclear fear of the Cold War era. Click or scroll through to see for yourself.