President Joe Biden is directing Veterans Affairs officials to revamp how they evaluate and approve veterans disability claims related to toxic exposure, with an eye toward dramatically expanding the number of veterans and illnesses eligible for compensation. The move, which was scheduled to be announced as part of the White House’s Veterans Day commemoration, comes just a few months after VA officials began granting presumptive benefits status to some victims of burn pit smoke at overseas combat posts.
The deputy commander of Air Force Special Operations Command made a quick trip to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, on Nov. 9 to learn more about Japan’s ShinMaywa US-2 seaplane, a version of which the Air Force is also developing. “The US-2 seaplane is definitely of interest to Air Force Special Operations,” Maj. Gen. Eric T. Hill told Stars and Stripes. “We’ve been working a number of issues to try and think about how we get to runway independence,” Hill said. “If you think about the area here, the South China Sea, for instance—if we can turn that into a landing zone for special operation forces, there might be a lot of opportunity there,” Hill said.
Around 150 pilots and other personnel from the now-defunct Afghan Air Force are reportedly in the process of being relocated from Tajikistan to a third country with the help of the U.S. government. These individuals, including one woman who is very far along in her pregnancy, had fled Afghanistan in fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters as the Taliban swept to power in August. The fate of the aircraft that they brought with them, as well as others that belonged to the Afghan Air Force that are now in limbo elsewhere, remains uncertain.
Cloud technologies are accelerating change at every level of the Air Force—and the Space Force. Whether it's pure computational power to enable autonomy or advanced encryption to ensure mission-grade security, the future of IT is here and now.
Officials broke ground on the first headquarters building for Special Operations Command North on Nov. 8. It’s being built at Peterson Space Force Base, Colo. The new headquarters will support U.S. Northern Command and the mission of homeland defense. The $44 million project should be complete in September 2023. “This new project will strengthen SOCNORTH’s ability to provide command, control, and coordination of Special Operations in support of USNORTHCOM and our mutual mission of homeland defense and increasing our ability to globally campaign in competition,” said Lt. Gen. A.C. Roper in a prepared statement.
A missile test on a Sunday morning and a rocket launch on Monday night helped Vandenberg Space Force Base set a record and move another step toward realizing the future. Col. Robert Long, commander of Space Launch Delta 30, recently spoke about the dramatic changes ahead for the 100,000-acre installation that serves as the nation’s western spaceport. Vandenberg hosted two launches in about 34 hours—the missile-defense test on Sept. 12 followed by the Falcon rocket launch Sept. 13.
The engines that power the Air Force are the best in the world. But as technology continues to evolve, new improvements promise greater power, range, and other capabilities. Read the latest on advances in aircraft engines and propulsion technology.
An aircraft model that appeared in the latest promotional video of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force released Nov. 9 has sparked speculation among Chinese military enthusiasts, who believe the model with a tailless aerodynamic design could represent an advanced warplane that is yet to be announced to the public. But Chinese military experts said Nov. 10 that there is no need to overinterpret the situation.
Spain has no interest in the American F-35 fighter jet and is solely committed to the Future Combat Air System that it is pursuing with France and Germany, a defense spokesperson told Reuters. The statement comes after Spanish officials at a defense exhibition in Madrid last week said the Lockheed Martin-made plane was at least a theoretical contender for the Spanish Navy and, if the sea service were to select it, the Air Force.
“The so-called arms race for AI has come to define debates about the competition between the United States and China. The idea that the two nations are racing to dominate in AI—and, in particular, that China is surging ahead in this race—has garnered high-profile supporters as well as skeptics. But while much discussion, including the DOD report, has focused on China’s longer-term grand plans to become an AI superpower, it has been less clear what the country is doing in the short term to make those ambitions a reality,” writes Ryan Fedasiuk a research analyst at Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology, where he focuses on military applications of artificial intelligence and China’s efforts to acquire foreign technology.
SpinLaunch, a startup that is building an alternative method of launching spacecraft to orbit, conducted a successful first test flight of a prototype in New Mexico. The Long Beach, Calif.-based company is developing a launch system that uses kinetic energy as its primary method to get off the ground—with a vacuum-sealed centrifuge spinning the rocket at several times the speed of sound before releasing. “It’s a radically different way to accelerate projectiles and launch vehicles to hypersonic speeds using a ground-based system,” SpinLaunch CEO Jonathan Yaney told CNBC.
People spotted scaling the sky-high U.S. Air Force Memorial in Arlington, Va., on Nov. 10 were conducting maintenance, police said. Video shows a person was climbing near the top of one of three 402-foot spires.