Fighter Mission Capable Rates Fell in 2021

After gaining ground in fiscal 2020, the Air Force's fighter fleet saw a drop in readiness in fiscal 2021. Most fighters saw declines of two or three percentage points, but the F-35A's mission capable rate fell about eight percentage points after a big uptick the previous year.

‘The Clock Is Ticking’ as Ukraine Seeks Air Defense Aid

With some 90,000 Russian troops massing on Ukraine’s eastern border and holding large-scale military exercises in the area, worries are growing that Russian President Vladimir Putin is preparing a possible invasion or other military actions against Ukraine. Ukrainian Minister of Defense Oleksii Reznikov visited Washington Nov. 18-19 seeking military assistance, but some fear a mismatch between the urgent situation and the slow pace of major international arms sales.
space industrial base

Space Industry Experts Think DOD Can Help Spur More Private Investment

Increased Pentagon spending on commercial space technology can prompt private investors to invest more, continuing record investment in the U.S space sector, according 232 experts attending the State of the Space Industrial Base 2021 Workshop. They cited sustaining investors' confidence as a “major concern” requiring “urgent action.”

Radar Sweep

Guam Needs SM-6 Missile for Hypersonic Defense, Navy Admiral Says


Guam “would absolutely need” the Navy’s SM-6 missile for its defense against a hypersonic missile attack, the program executive for Aegis ballistic missile defense said. Rear Adm. Tom Druggan called the SM-6 “our leading defense capability for hypersonic missile defense.” It is “a fantastic missile, just absolutely great missile” because of its versatility.

This Airman’s Common Sense Idea Made Life Easier for the Most Overworked Job in the Air Force

Task and Purpose

Nobody likes doing busy work, so one enlisted Air Force maintainer started using a tool to spare his fellow wrench-throwers from doing so much of it. Senior Master Sgt. Paul Speer, the superintendent of the 9th Aircraft Maintenance Unit for the 7th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, implemented a trick called “waterfall scheduling” that not only makes the lives of maintainers easier but also makes more aircraft available for flight.

Testing of the Secretive New AIM-260 Long-Range Air-To-Air Missile Is Well Underway

The Drive

The U.S. Air Force has been busy flying QF-16 Full-Scale Aerial Target, or FSAT, missions in support of the Lockheed Martin AIM-260 Joint Advanced Tactical Missile program. While the AIM-260, or JATM, remains a highly secretive weapon, it’s now clear that test work is well underway, with around 30 FSAT missions last year alone.

PODCAST: Jared Isaacman on Inspiration4 and Innovation in Space

Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies

In episode 51 of the Aerospace Advantage podcast, host John “Slick” Baum welcomes commander of SpaceX’s Inspiration4 mission and Shift4 CEO Jared Isaacman to talk about how private industry is making incredible strides in space and how Inspiration4 was a landmark moment—the first all-civilian mission to space.

Astra Space Hits Orbit for First Time on Space Force Mission

The Street

Astra Space joined Elon Musk's SpaceX and Richard Branson's Virgin Orbit in reaching orbit using privately funded rockets as its LV0007 launch vehicle lifted off from Astra Spaceport in Kodiak, Alaska. Astra reached orbit for the first time at an altitude of 500 kilometers, the company's co-founder and CEO Chris Kemp announced, as part of a commercial launch on behalf of a Space Force contract.

Air Force Strikes Agreement With Contractors to Resell Platform One Products

Fed Scoop

The Air Force has struck an agreement with six technology contractors to allow them to resell parts of its Platform One software development environment. The deal with Booz Allen Hamilton, Seeds Innovation, BrainGu, Revacomm, Indrasoft, and Novetta was made through a special framework that allows the government to give companies the authority to sell its technology. The arrangement allows contractors to resell two of the platform’s products, Iron Bank and Big Bang, which advocates say could widen Platform One’s visibility across the Department of Defense.

Trio of Afghan Mi-17 Helicopters Quietly Arrive at the U.S. Air Force’s Boneyard

The Drive

Three Russian-made Mi-17 Hip helicopters that previously belonged to the now-defunct Afghan Air Force arrived at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona and are set to be placed in storage at the boneyard there. The aircraft appear to be from among those that Afghan pilots and other personnel used to escape to neighboring Uzbekistan as the Taliban took over Afghanistan in August.