The Air Force’s Next Generation Air Dominance fighter remains under wraps, but some clues about capabilities the service wants in the aircraft are surfacing. Whereas past generations of fighter aircraft relied on speed and maneuverability to defeat foes, it seems the NGAD will lean heavily on stealth characteristics to hide from opponents and on computing power to outsmart them, according to comments from the USAF and likely development partners.
The Air Force is fighting an uphill battle to meet this year’s recruiting goals, the two-star general in charge of recruitment warned in an email earlier this month. “We have warning lights flashing,” Maj. Gen. Ed Thomas told Air Force Recruiting Service employees Jan. 10.
The commander of Special Operations Command, Gen. Richard D. Clarke, has tested positive for COVID-19, his command announced Jan. 24. Clarke, who oversees the special operations forces of all the military branches, tested positive Jan. 23 and was working remotely and isolating himself from others, Col. Curt Kellogg, a spokesperson for the command, said in the statement.
Taiwan on Jan. 23 reported the largest incursion since October by China's air force in its air defence zone, with the island's defence ministry saying Taiwanese fighters scrambled to warn away 39 aircraft in the latest uptick in tensions.
In episode 60 of the Aerospace Advantage podcast, host John “Slick” Baum is joined by Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies Senior Fellow Chris Stone, Ron Faibish of General Atomics EMS, Maj. Nathan Greiner of DARPA, and Space Force weapons officer Lt. Col. Brandon Davenport to discuss what it will mean to successfully engage in space given current and future threats. A key technology required to facilitate this future vision is space nuclear thermal propulsion, or STNP. This may sound like science fiction, but America’s national security space enterprise is at an inflection point. Our force design and satellite architectures are increasingly vulnerable to attack given adversary anti-satellite weapons. Ensuring space-based missions can continue to execute in spite of these attacks demands that we maneuver satellites for both defensive and offensive purposes. Making that happen requires new forms of propulsion, including STNP.
Two new satellites launched as part of Space Force's push for more space domain awareness can get up close and personal with other objects in orbit.
Raytheon Technologies and Northrop Grumman recently demonstrated the ability for a single user to control over 100 unmanned systems as part of a swarm in an urban battlefield setting. The experiment was part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s OFFensive Swarm-Enabled Tactics (OFFSET) program, which envisions amassing up to 250 small aerial and ground unmanned systems in urban areas.
Satellites in space harvesting sunlight and turning solar energy into usable power for applications on Earth is an idea that has been studied for decades. But even though the United States was a pioneer in this technology, government interest in taking it from the lab to orbit has been tepid at best. The U.S. military is now trying to revive the effort. The Naval Research Laboratory launched an experiment in 2020 aboard the Air Force’s X-37B spaceplane that tested hardware to capture sunlight and convert it into direct current electrical energy.
Five aircraft representing the Air Force’s 75 years as a service will conduct a first-of-its-kind flyover during the national anthem performance at Super Bowl LVI, Feb. 13, over SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif. The Heritage Flight will include a P-51 Mustang, A-10 Warthog, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-22 Raptor, and F-35 strike fighter.