Two armed drones were shot down on Jan. 3 as they approached an Iraqi military base hosting U.S. forces near Baghdad's international airport, Iraqi security sources said, adding that nobody was hurt in the incident. The attack came as Iran and its allies in Iraq marked the second anniversary of the assassination of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.
Pakistan has officially confirmed its long-speculated acquisition of the Chinese J-10C “Firebird” fighter, which is slated to arrive in time to take part in the March 23 Pakistan Day parade. Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, Pakistan’s interior minister, told the media the country has acquired 25 aircraft. He linked them as a counter to India’s recently-inducted Rafale.
President Joe Biden was snowed into Air Force One as he landed back in Washington D.C., as a snowstorm brought the U.S. capital to a standstill. Biden was able to leave the plane after airport staff worked in the heavy snow to bring the stairlift to the door of the aircraft. The truck transporting the stairs was pushed by workers as it struggled through the snow, with the President being stuck on the tarmac for 30 minutes.
“A new arms technology is coming into its own, and the U.S. Defense Department is determined to achieve quick results in the field. Rather than select one or two concepts and usher them through the deliberate, highly structured process of research, development, testing, and evaluation, the Pentagon’s program managers opt for multiple, competing efforts, and place them on a streamlined course: rapid prototyping and testing, to be followed by rapid production and deployment. The major defense contractors set forth as confidently as prospectors during the gold rush,” writes Joshua Pollack, senior research associate at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and the editor of the Nonproliferation Review.
Victoria Samson of the Secure World Foundation, Makena Young of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Rosalind Lewis of Aerospace Corp, and Breaking Defense’s own space expert, Theresa Hitchens, discuss the findings of the the first ever Breaking Defense Military Space Survey, in which just under 50 percent of respondents, drawn from inside the government, industry, and outside close observers, reported that threat information to space systems should be disclosed or unclassified more often, with 33 percent saying it should not and the remainder “not sure” of their stance.
Rebuilding Offutt Air Force Base from the devastating March 2019 flood is going to take longer and cost more than engineers first thought, military and congressional sources say. A lot more. Rep. Don Bacon, the former commander of the base’s 55th Wing, said he’s been told by Offutt officials to expect the original estimate of nearly $800 million, calculated within six months of the flood, to rise by more than one-third.
What might it take to rebuild an Air Force base after a direct hit? In 2018, Hurricane Michael tore through Tyndall Air Force Base on the Florida panhandle, damaging planes and facilities alike. Restoring the place, while safeguarding against future disasters, is an ongoing task, and it’s one the Air Force is treating as a learning exercise. To that end, it’s experimenting with how laser sensors, on drones and robot dogs, can map damage before a human even has to set foot in a collapsing building.
From the nation’s capital to Afghanistan, service members were asked to defend America, Americans, and American ideals around the world in 2021. Those missions included assisting local hospitals as they battled the coronavirus pandemic, guarding the U.S. Capitol from those committed to upending democracy, and the evacuation of Kabul which claimed the lives of 13 service members and saw Afghans desperate to escape Taliban rule clinging to U.S. military aircraft and begging for a chance to flee.
The Pentagon said Dec. 30 it has streamlined the approval process for urgent use of National Guard forces in the District of Columbia, after months of study following the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. The changes give the Defense Secretary sole authority to approve requests that would involve D.C. National Guard personnel participating in civil law enforcement or that would require their deployment within 48 hours. That approval authority had previously been delegated to the Army Secretary, the service’s top civilian official.
The U.S. lost its 20-year campaign to transform Afghanistan. Many contractors won big. Those who benefited from the outpouring of government money range from major weapons manufacturers to entrepreneurs. A California businessman running a bar in Kyrgyzstan started a fuel business that brought in billions in revenue. A young Afghan translator transformed a deal to provide forces with bed sheets into a business empire including a TV station and a domestic airline.
For three years, from 2007 to 2010, a contingent of six German Air Force Tornado IDS aircraft operated over Afghanistan, flying reconnaissance sorties in support of NATO International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF) and Resolute Support (RS) missions. Video filmed back then provides a glimpse into the life of the Luftwaffe aircrews and their missions over Afghanistan.