Space Force ‘Very Happy’ With Air Force Research Lab Realignment

The Air Force Research Laboratory decided last year it would not separate out its space research in light of the creation of the Space Force but would instead remain one lab serving two services. The lab’s new Space Force customers say that, so far, they like the service they're getting. But why has it taken more than a year to appoint a new senior executive at AFRL to be a single point of contact for Space Force and to advocate for the new customers’ needs?

Secretary Austin Chairs Biweekly China Briefings Amid Hypersonics Test Worries

Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III chaired a China-focused military briefing Oct. 27, part of a biweekly series of briefings with senior military commanders about China’s growing threat in the wake of an orbital hypersonic weapon test that elicited public worries from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. “What we saw was a very significant event of a test of a hypersonic weapon system. And it is very concerning,” said Army Gen. Mark A. Milley in a Bloomberg TV interview. Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby declined to comment on the Chinese test first reported by Financial Times, but he confirmed that Austin has maintained regular China-oriented briefings after a DOD China Task Force stood down in June.
f-35

Report: Texas and Virginia Top DOD Spending by State; Texas and California Lead for Air Force

A new report by the Defense Department’s Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation found that Texas and Virginia were America’s top recipients of defense spending in fiscal 2020 at $83 billion and $64.3 billion, respectively. Among the states where the Air Force received the highest proportions of defense spending compared to the other services, Nebraska was highest at 79 percent, Oklahoma next at 74 percent, then Montana at 73 percent.
L3 Harris

L3Harris Wins Contract to Upgrade Counterspace Systems

The Space Force's Space Systems Command awarded L3Harris Technologies Inc. a $120.8 million contract to develop a “ground-based deployable electronic warfare capability" that can "reversibly deny satellite communications, early warning, and propaganda,” according to an Oct. 22 contract announcement. Under the contract, L3Harris will upgrade 16 Counter Communications Systems at Peterson Space Force Base, Colo.; Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif.; Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Fla.; and classified locations outside the continental United States, according to the announcement.

Radar Sweep

Eielson F-35s Participate in WSEP, Make Strides Toward First IOC Squadron in PACAF

Air Force release

The 356th Fighter Squadron made history as the first F-35A Lightning II unit in the Pacific Air Forces to participate in an air-to-air weapons evaluation Oct. 8-23. This is the second fifth-generation platform to be evaluated on live-fire air-to-air weapons employment in support of National Defense Strategy objectives.

OPINION: If the Air Force Buys the E-7A Wedgetail, What’s Next?

Breaking Defense

If the Air Force decides to buy the E-7A Wedgetail to replace the aging E-3 Sentry and is successful in gaining the congressional authority and funding necessary, “the Pentagon will need a plan to field the E-7A and divest the E-3 that does not create capability and capacity gaps just when Chinese and Russian airborne threats are growing more formidable. Given the poor condition of the E-3, the constrained Air Force budget, and rapidly emerging threats, managing the transition well is easier said than done,” write Bradley Bowman and Mark Montgomery of the Foundation for Defense Democracies.

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U.S. Air Force Bombers Are Rehearsing Their New Main Mission—Sinking Russian Ships

Forbes

The U.S. Air Force’s 40-year-old B-1 bombers don’t have much time left. Worn out by the air campaigns over Iraq and Afghanistan, the B-1s are in line for replacement as the USAF’s new B-21 stealth bombers enter service over the next decade. But it’s clear what the B-1s will be doing in their final years—hauling stealthy anti-ship missiles to threaten enemy fleets. Dramatic exercises over the Black Sea in recent years have underscored the swing-wing bomber’s new maritime strike role.

Pentagon AI Chief Responds to USAF Software Leader Who Quit in Frustration

Defense One

Weeks after the Air Force’s first chief software officer resigned in frustration, a top military official says Nicholas Chaillan was wrong to assert that China is gaining advantage while the Pentagon moves too slowly to develop software. “I think that there’s no one that can match the United States military in the amount of tactical innovation, that tactical pre-decision making” use of AI, said Lt. Gen. Michael S. Groen, who leads the Pentagon’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center.

The F-35 is One Step Closer to Carrying Nuclear Bombs. Now What?

Air Force Times

The F-35′s atomic ambitions are a piece of the country’s nuclear modernization plan—slated to cost $634 billion from 2021 to 2030 alone—that flies under the radar. America’s nuclear stockpile is typically referred to as the “nuclear triad” of land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, air-launched cruise missiles and gravity bombs, and submarine-fired missiles. But that’s only part of the larger picture.

Air Force Confirms Site for First Microreactor

World Nuclear News

The Air Force has confirmed Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska as the facility planned to host its first small nuclear power plant. A microreactor could be operational there as soon as 2027, according to Eielson.