Brown: NGAD Will be a Multirole Fighter

The Next-Generation Air Dominance system—the fighter that will succeed the F-22—will have ground attack capability possibly for its own protection, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. told lawmakers June 16. Testifying before the House Armed Services Committee on the fiscal 2022 budget request, Brown said he wants the NGAD to have “multirole” capability, emphasizing that the aircraft’s primary role will be air dominance but with the ability to strike ground targets as well. Compared to the F-22, Brown said the NGAD will have “increased weapons load [and] … increased range” necessary to operate at the great distances required in the Indo-Pacific theater.

Technical Problems Push T-7A Production Decision Back At Least One Year

The Air Force is requesting limited funding for its T-7A Red Hawk next-generation trainer because of technical issues uncovered in testing, which have pushed back the full-rate production decision on the aircraft by a year. The 2022 budget request calls for $188.9 million in research, development, test, and evaluation funding for the T-7. This is below the $206.4 million projected in the 2021 budget request's future year defense program. “Our focus and commitment to the T-7 has not waned," Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. assured members of the House Armed Services Committee on June 16. "We want to make sure the money aligns with where the program is.”
First KC-46A Pegasus lands at Seymour Johnson

USAF Reaches Out to Industry for ‘Bridge Tanker’

The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center on June 16 issue a call to determine which companies could provide a “bridge tanker” to cover the gap in tanker capacity between the end of KC-46 production and development of a future refueler. The Sources Sought Announcement seeks qualified, interested companies that can provide a commercial derivative aircraft “based on existing and emerging” technologies. While the specific requirements are still being defined, the Air Force in a release said the tanker does not have to be stealth or uncrewed. Once requirements are set, the Air Force will release a final request for proposals by the end of 2022.

Brown: DOD Needs Up to 5% More Money, Plus Aircraft Cuts, to Compete With China

Even with a 3 percent to 5 percent increase in the defense budget, losing a conflict with China still becomes a “distinct possibility" without both aircraft cuts and a fundamental change in how the Air Force structures itself for war, Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. warned lawmakers June 16. Asked by House Armed Services Committee ranking member Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) whether Brown agrees with the 2018 National Defense Strategy Commission’s finding that Pentagon spending should be increased 3 percent to 5 percent, Brown replied simply, “I do.”

New GBSD Facilities ‘On The Path’ To Stay On Budget

Plans to upgrade facilities for the new Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent program remain "on the path" to stay on budget as the Minuteman III replacement's development progresses, Air Force Lt. Gen. Warren D. Berry told a Senate subcommittee June 16. "GBSD, where you're essentially going to replace a silo a week for eight years, is going to be a very complicated endeavor ... so we're very grateful for the authorities we've gotten from Congress," said Berry, the deputy chief of staff for logistics, engineering, and force protection. "And I think those authorities that we have received have at least set us on the path to realizing the goal of staying on cost and on budget for the GBSD transition." Berry told the Senate Appropriations military construction subcommittee that a key focus of the department's military construction request this year was modernizing its nuclear facilities. In total, $98 million was requested for GBSD facilities—$67 million at Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif., and the rest at Hill Air Force Base, Utah.

F-16s, C-130s, KC-135s Training in Morocco for Exercise African Lion

Several Air Force aircraft including F-16s, C-130s, and KC-135s have deployed to northern Africa for the continent’s largest exercise involving 7,000 participants from nine nations. The African Lion exercise wraps up June 18, with USAF aircraft flying alongside Moroccan aircraft in close air support training and C-130s airdropping personnel in the exercise. “The arrival of fighters and tankers adds another level to this already dynamic exercise,” said Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian, U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa commander, in a release.

Radar Sweep

‘Pure Business’ at Biden-Putin Summit: No Hugs, No Brickbats

The Associated Press

President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin concluded their summit on June 16 with an agreement to return their nations’ ambassadors to their posts in Washington and Moscow and a plan to begin work toward replacing the last remaining treaty between the two countries limiting nuclear weapons.

OPINION: Why The Air Force’s Plan For Fighting China Could Make Nuclear War More Likely


If a fight over Taiwan occurs, the Air Force plans to wage conventional warfare against China by flying nuclear-capable aircraft into its airspace—or by launching cruise missiles from outside its airspace from other nuclear-capable aircraft. Either way, Beijing would have no quick way of determining whether the attacking U.S. bombers were carrying nuclear or conventional munitions. Its nascent strategic warning system would not be able to differentiate between a nuclear and non-nuclear attack until weapons actually started exploding on its territory, and China’s highly centralized nuclear command authority might not be willing to wait that long before responding.

Pentagon Funding Could Well Exceed White House Request

National Defense Magazine

President Joe Biden is requesting $715 billion for the Defense Department in fiscal year 2022 — a 1.6 percent increase compared to 2021. However, some analysts expect the topline to be significantly higher once lawmakers are finished with the budget. While keeping military spending relatively flat, Biden asked for a big bump in funding for non-defense agencies. In recent years, Republicans on the Hill have demanded more military expenditures.

Homelessness Among Vets Could Spike as Pandemic Protections Vanish, Advocates Warn

Military Times

The end of pandemic financial protections coupled with the lingering housing challenges of recent years could lead to “an unprecedented wave of veterans homelessness” in coming months, advocates warned lawmakers on June 16. They’re pushing for more resources to help those vulnerable veterans but also intervention from federal and local officials to maintain those protections for a little longer, to prevent a potential tragedy.

Shenzhou-12: China to Launch First Crew to New Space Station

BBC News

China is set to launch three astronauts into orbit to begin occupation of the country's new space station. The three men are expected to spend three months living and working aboard the Tianhe module some 236 miles above the Earth. It will be China's longest crewed space mission to date and the first in nearly five years.

Give Lasers Back to the Missile Defense Agency, Lawmaker Says

Defense One

A key House Democrat wants the Pentagon to reassess a Trump administration decision to halt the Missile Defense Agency’s research into laser interceptors. That decision to move directed energy-related funds to other defense organizations, Rep. James Langevin, D-R.I., argues, could prevent the technology from being used to defend the United States or deployed troops.

Military Families Should Expect Moving Delays This Summer as Companies Recover from COVID

Federal News Network

After a rocky year moving to new orders during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Air Force is warning its troops that supply shortages could make transitions difficult this summer too. April to September tend to be peak moving months around the nation, but after coronavirus forced many civilian and military families to put off transitioning to their new homes, moving companies were forced to downsize. Now the demand is overwhelming the industry.

One More Thing

How NASA Uses the Experiences of Victorian Sailors to Prepare for Life on Mars


In 1898, the three-mast barque Belgica became the first ship ever to successfully winter in the Antarctic, subjecting her crew to extreme isolation and stress. More than a century later, NASA uses the experiences of the Belgica to help prep its astronauts for the similarly bleak emptiness of space travel.