BAE Systems has rolled out an upgrade for its Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) rocket guidance kit that the company claims will extend the weapon’s distance by up to 30 percent. The new kit design allows the rocket to strike a target at a steeper angle of attack than previous guidance systems, according to the company. The upgraded design also comes with options to improve use when training. Production on the new kits is slated to begin in the third quarter of this year.
In episode 33 of the Aerospace Advantage, the Mitchell Institute team discusses the latest developments from Capitol Hill. Given the compressed schedule of this year’s budget process, the debates are intense and the decisions are executing rapidly. There is a lot in play this year as Congress seeks to help the Air Force and Space Force modernize, deal with ongoing operations, and manage challenging fiscal realities.
Over the weekend, U.S. Soldiers and Airmen in the Pacific saw the conclusion of what their commanders termed an “agile combat deployment” of at least 4,000 troops across the islands of Oceania. More than 150 Soldiers with the 82nd Airborne Division, 1st Special Forces Group, and allies in the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force parachuted into Guam early Friday morning as part of Exercise Forager 2021, which had kicked off on July 11.
The next generation of Global Positioning System satellites could host additional payloads to provide communications services, the U.S. Space Force said in a request for information. The RFI issued last month by the Space and Missile Systems Center asks contractors to pitch ideas for hosting communications payloads on GPS 3F satellites, the newest version of GPS currently being developed by Lockheed Martin.
Defense technology firm Anduril has appointed a handful of top former defense officials to its advisory board. The company named five new advisors including Katharina McFarland, former assistant secretary of defense for acquisition, retired U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein, and former U.S. Navy officer Adm. Scott Swift, who was commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.
Underwater operations in the Arctic are becoming more challenging, in part because more ships are rumbling through the northern waters, a maritime transportation expert said Aug. 2. Within the last decade, the Bering Sea and Baffin Bay—near Greenland—have seen noise double during the summer months, an increase of 10 decibels, said Alyson Azzara, an international trade specialist at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration.
Beyond overseas deployments, Guard members have been called in to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters, and protests against racial injustice. For many, it’s meant months away from their civilian jobs and scarce times with families. While Guard leaders say troops are upbeat, they worry about exhaustion setting in and wonder how much longer U.S. businesses can do without their long-absent workers.
A Year After Doctors Said He Wouldn’t be Allowed to Commission, Air Force Academy Graduate Joins the Space Force
A year before Tanner Johnson was due to graduate from the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado, he was lying in a hospital bed, and doctors were telling his family he had two hours to live. His organs were shutting down due to complications caused by Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune condition where the body attacks the cells that make insulin. Johnson pulled through the worst of the health crisis and began to deal with his new reality. “The doctors said I would have to take insulin shots every day for the rest of my life, I would not be able to fly, I would not be allowed in the military, and wouldn’t be allowed to return to the academy and graduate,” Johnson said. But he refused to accept what they said and set out to prove them wrong.
A new Senate report is making the case for reforms to the law governing federal cybersecurity standards after finding multiple federal agencies made just “minimal improvements” over the past two years in their efforts to comply with the requirements. The report, released by leaders of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Aug. 3, follows up on a 2019 document that found eight federal agencies were out of step with federal cyber standards, putting sensitive data at risk.
Air Force jets have a lot of great nicknames. The legendary A-10 Thunderbolt II attack plane is called the Warthog because of its weird-looking appearance and pugnacious spirit; the F-16 Fighting Falcon is called the Viper because it resembles the eponymous spacecraft in Battlestar Galactica (according to some accounts). And then there’s the C-17 Globemaster III, the 30-year-old cargo jet that can do anything from drop paratroopers to carry a 69-ton M1 Abrams Battle Tank, and it’s got a great nickname: The Moose.