KC-46 Arrivals Herald End of KC-10 Era at McGuire Even as Capacity Questions Persist

The arrival of two KC-46 Pegasus refuelers to the 305th and 514th Air Mobility Wings on Nov. 9 proved both joyous and bittersweet for Airmen as the new capability signaled the end of the KC-10 era at the base even amid continued concerns about air refueling capacity. When the roaring new engine of “Pudgy 01” powered down for the first time, silhouetted by a cloudless blue sky at the mouth of Hangar 2021, the role of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., as the East Coast hub for next-generation global refueling operations came into clearer focus for hundreds of Airmen and special guests.

Pratt & Whitney Won’t Protest GE’s Win of F-15EX Engine Contract

Pratt & Whitney has opted not to protest the Air Force’s sole-source contract to GE Aviation to power all the service’s F-15EX fighters, a contract worth $1.58 billion. Although the Air Force said Pratt & Whitney was a “qualified bidder,” neither it nor the company would say whether Pratt & Whitney had actually certified its engine on the F-15EX.  
space force promotions

CMSSF: With Incoming Transfers, Sorting Through Promotions Will Be More Work With ‘Better Outcome’

As the Space Force looks to implement its new human capital plan and incorporate Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airmen into one new culture, Chief Master Sgt. of the Space Force Roger A. Towberman does “worry a little bit” about getting it all right. One of the biggest personnel issues Towberman and other leaders will have to face is the promotion process. The Space Force has already split from the other services by saying it wants to use promotion boards instead of tests for every rank above E-4, a plan it is expanding in 2022.
Resonant Orbit

A Cubesat Constellation Could Start Surveilling Cislunar Space as Soon as 2024

A startup figuring out how to surveil the cislunar domain thinks a swarm of self-guiding cubesats could cover it, each revisiting the moon every 26 days. Unlike spacecraft in deep space now, its cubesats would maintain “radio silence.” The physicist-run startup Rhea Space Activity announced an unspecified amount of funding from SpaceFund in November to advance this idea, as well as a one-year small business grant from the Air Force worth $697,000 in March. The Space Force is the end user. Space domain awareness is U.S. Space Command's initial priority in cislunar space.

Radar Sweep

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Air Force Pararescue Jumpers Score a First by Lifting Simulated Casualties From Army Landing Craft

Stars and Stripes

Exercising off the Okinawa coast, Air Force pararescue specialists from Kadena Air Base for the first time successfully evacuated simulated casualties from the deck of an Army landing craft. Air Force HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters from the 33rd Rescue Squadron descended upon two landing craft well into the evening of Nov. 10, lowering and raising pararescue jumpers, or PJs, to and from the slick, salt-sprayed decks.

Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Commander at Nellis Ousted

Air Force Times

The commander of a maintenance squadron at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada was removed from his post last month over a “loss of trust and confidence in his ability to lead,” a spokesperson at the base confirmed to Air Force Times. Maj. Burton Field, who oversaw the 757th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, was fired by 57th Maintenance Group boss Col. Barton Kenerson on Oct. 6 after just over a year in the job, 57th Wing spokesperson Lt. Col. Bryon McGarry said.

Air Force to Build New Center for Directed Energy Capabilities


In collaboration with the University of New Mexico, the Air Force Research Laboratory confirmed plans to open a new center for strategic studies into directed energy such as lasers and high-power electromagnetics applied to take out a specific target. Expected to go into full operation by 2025, the new hub will enable researchers to study and develop next-generation capabilities in that increasingly competitive technological realm.

Women Airforce Service Pilots and Their Fight for Veteran Status

Air Force release

On the evening of Aug. 23, 1943, a pilot named Mabel Rawlinson died in a fiery crash in the North Carolina swamplands near Fort Davis. Unbeknownst to her, she was doing night exercises in an aircraft that another pilot previously flagged for engine troubles. In a separate incident, when a female pilot trainee died in a crash, her classmates had to send around a collection to return her body to her family because the government would not foot the bill for the expense. And on Oct. 2, 1944, in Victorville, Calif., another plane crashed killing all onboard. In that incident, all but one crew member received a funeral with full military honors. That last crew member and her family received nothing. Each of the pilots who gave their lives in service to their nation were Women Airforce Service Pilots; however, due to a bureaucratic technicality, the federal government classified all WASPs as civilian employees rather than military during World War II.

OPINION: Foretelling an ‘Urgent Imperative About the Growing Threats That Face Us’


“World War I was referred to as the ‘war to end all wars’ by futurist and famous author H. G. Wells, but it was not. My grandfather was an immigrant who came to America in 1914, and three years later he was back in Europe fighting for America in World War I. My father fought in the Pacific in World War II and was part of the force preparing for the invasion of Japan when that war was terminated by the first offensive use of nuclear weapons. I am a veteran who fought against Iraq in Operation Desert Storm and Afghanistan in Operation Enduring Freedom, and my son fought in Syria and Iraq to halt the evil of the Islamic State in Operation Inherent Resolve. There is little doubt that my grandchildren will one day fight in some future war. As attributed to Plato, ‘only the dead have seen the end of war.’ While Veterans Day is focused on those who have served, this Veterans Day foretells an urgent imperative about the growing threats that face us. It screams, “Wake up, America!’” writes retired Lt. Gen. David A. Deptula, dean of the Mitchell Institute of Aerospace Studies.

‘Blue Angels for Geeks’: Inside the Navy’s Plan to ‘Hack’ Its Own Unmanned Strategy

Breaking Defense

The Navy plans to challenge hundreds of outsiders to a series of tests to see if, and how, they can evade, break, or even take over the service’s unmanned systems. If it goes well, the service will walk away with its methods ransacked and a whole lot of homework for the admirals to do about shoring up its unmanned strategy before it’s called on to face a real adversary.

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Tyndall Kicks Off Semi-Annual Checkered Flag Training

Panama City News Herald

Tyndall Air Force Base launched the semi-annual Checkered Flag exercise the week of Veterans Day, one of the Department of Defense's largest air-to-air exercises. The two-week exercise is designed to integrate fourth- and fifth-generation airframes to enhance mobility, deployment, and employment capabilities of aviators and maintainers. It involves more than 90 aircraft and personnel from 16 Air Force and Navy units that will train together in 20 aerial events over two weeks.

Space Force Buys 3 New GPS Satellites From Lockheed Martin


The Space Force has ordered three GPS 3F satellites from Lockheed Martin for $737 million. The service on Oct. 22 exercised an option to purchase the satellites under a previously awarded contract, a Lockheed Martin spokesperson told SpaceNews on Nov. 11. This is the third contract option awarded to Lockheed Martin under a 2018 agreement worth $7.2 billion for up to 22 satellites.

Dubai Air Show: Fewer Top US Officials, More Israelis, and a New Russian Fighter

Breaking Defense

This week’s Dubai Airshow, which was scheduled to kick off Nov. 14, is slated to be the world’s largest aviation trade show since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing together military leaders and defense CEOs hoping to cement industrial partnerships and ring in major aircraft deals. But while about 300 officials from the State and Defense Departments are anticipated to attend the event, senior Pentagon leaders will be largely absent, as the Biden administration struggles to find qualified candidates for key acquisition positions and get nominees through the confirmation process.

Bill Would Stop Defense Department from Imposing COVID Vaccination Mandate

Florida Daily

U.S. Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.) introduced a proposal to stop the Defense Department from imposing a COVID vaccination mandate. Mast introduced the Medical Freedom in the Military Act that “would prohibit the Department of Defense from punishing members of the Armed Forces on the basis of the COVID-19 vaccination status.”

One More Thing

WATCH: ‘New Paint, Who Dis?’

Thunderbirds via Twitter

The Thunderbirds’ newest addition to the fleet gets a new paint job as the final piece of a major transformation from a Combat Air Forces fighter jet to a Thunderbird demonstration fighter jet.