GAO Warns Air Force: Think Twice Before Owning KC-46 Tanker Fix

In a new audit, the Government Accountability Office warns the Air Force to take its time vetting the KC-46's new vision system, saying that if flaws aren't found early, it could cost the service dearly later. The Air Force responded that it's doing due diligence in making sure the fix is technologically mature, and that taking the steps asked by the GAO would add unacceptable delay to fielding the system.
Air Force IT

Air Force Secretary: No Excuse for Unresponsive, Slow IT

A recent open letter by an Air Force employee demanding that the Pentagon upgrade its IT systems struck a chord with many on social media—and now, the Secretary of the Air Force has weighed in, saying the service has “got to be better” on the issue. We're certainly working those problems. And, as I mentioned earlier, giving our people the tools they need to do their jobs—in many cases, that's their IT tools, so things that they use every day at their desks. So we've got to get better,” Kendall said. 

Pentagon Report: Air Force Should Work With Army, Navy on Hypersonic Best Practices

The Air Force should work closely with the Army, Navy, and Defense Department to identify best practices and share data as it looks to get its hypersonic missile program back on track, according to the recommendations of a new Pentagon report released Jan. 27. The AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon is intended to be the Air Force’s first hypersonic weapon, deployed in the early 2020s. But over the course of 2021, the weapon failed three booster flight tests, raising fears that the program could be delayed. 
SD, CJCS Press Briefing

Ukraine Invasion Would Be ‘Horrific,’ But US Forces Meant to Reassure NATO

American forces deployed to or on standby for Europe are meant to reassure NATO allies in the face of a huge Russian military buildup around Ukraine, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said in a Jan. 28 press conference. They are not meant to be fighting in Ukraine, but the U.S. will continue to supply Ukraine with equipment to help them defend themselves. Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark A. Milley said a Russian invasion of Ukraine would be "horrific" and warned Russia that NATO has sizable forces ready to repel any movement against the alliance.
Col. Eric Felt

Pentagon’s New Space Acquisition Arm to Take Shape in 2022

The Space Force colonel headed to the Pentagon to help lead the acquisition of space architecture, science, and technology plans to draw on his experience in trying new things—not just in space science and technology. “I’ve prototyped some of these new, faster, more efficient ways of doing acquisition,” said Space Force Col. Eric J. Felt in an interview. “If it worked, the Space Force can then scale those up.”

Radar Sweep

Shield AI Wins Air Force Contract Intended to Help Bridge ‘Valley of Death’


Shield AI, the defense-focused autonomous drone startup, won a possibly $60 million contract from the Air Force designed to keep cash flowing to companies while they await opportunities to get on major contracts. The contract, awarded through the Strategic Funding Increase (STRATFI) Program, might be small compared to full production awards but can be issued much faster than the two-year budgeting cycle allows for programs of record.

US to Russia: Explain Your Military Buildup to the UN

Defense One

The United States is demanding that Russia explain its military buildup near Ukraine at a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Jan. 31, senior administration officials told reporters. The meeting, which was called by the United States, will follow weeks of attempts at diplomacy aimed at easing tensions. Previous efforts have involved NATO as well as bilateral and multilateral meetings by the United States, Europe, Ukraine and Russia.

28th TES Establishes New Telemetry Relay Capability

Air Force release

The 28th Test and Evaluation Squadron completed the final integrated test on the third iteration of the AIM-120D Systems Improvement Program Nov. 2, 2021. Equipped with additional capabilities from the Advanced Electronic Protection Improvement Program for C7 air-to-air missiles, AIM-120D SIP-3 provides the warfighter with enhanced missile performance.

OPINION: ​​Empower Our Space Force, Just as We Do for the Other Armed Services

Defense News

“U.S. national security interests are inextricably linked with actions that occur in space. Our air, land, and sea forces rely on critical capabilities delivered by systems on orbit. Our adversaries know this, and it is why they are fielding weapons capable of destroying U.S. satellites that deliver intelligence, navigation, missile warning, and global communications to our forces,” writes retired USAF Gen. Kevin Chilton, the explorer chair for space warfighting studies at the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies and former commander of U.S. Strategic Command and Air Force Space Command.

New Pentagon Report Censors Details on Weapons Programs’ Performance, Flaws

Breaking Defense

The Pentagon’s independent weapons tester has eliminated data about the performance of more than 20 weapon programs from the public version of its 2021 report, including major acquisition efforts like the Marine Corps’ CH-53K King Stallion and the Navy’s Ford-class carrier. On Jan. 27, the director of operational test and evaluation published the public version of its annual report, and for the first time ever, a version with “controlled unclassified information” was also made available to Defense Department personnel and Congress—out of sight of taxpayers who foot the bill for the multimillion dollar programs.

PODCAST: Ukraine, Washington Update, and the Space Force

Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies

In episode 61 of the Aerospace Advantage Podcast, host John “Slick” Baum is joined by retired Lt. Gen. David Deptula, Heather Penney, Douglas Birkey, and Lukas Autenried of the Mitchell Institute team to discuss some of the latest developments that are impacting U.S. national security, from Russia’s potential invasion of Ukraine, to a Department of Defense highly compromised thanks to Congressional budget inaction, and the nation’s newest service—the Space Force—continuing to come into its own.

Space Force’s Troubled Space-tracking System is Officially Shut Down


The Space Force has closed down the last remaining piece of the Joint Mission System (JMS), a troubled software platform conceived more than a decade ago to help track satellites and orbital debris. The Space Systems Command in a news release Jan. 26 said it began the decommissioning of JMS Service Pack 9, the final component of JMS. The U.S. Air Force in 2018 decided to terminate JMS following years of cost overruns and criticism for the system’s poor performance.

Navy Confirms Video and Photo of F-35 that Crashed in South China Sea are Real

Task and Purpose

A video showing the moments leading up to the crash of an F-35C Joint Strike Fighter that occured aboard the USS Carl Vinson on Monday is now circulating online. The Navy also confirmed that a photo showing a canopyless F-35 bobbing in the water which had begun circulating shortly before the video was also related to the crash.

One More Thing

Road Trip! Vietnam-era B-52 Makes 1,400-mile Highway Journey for Final Mission

Air Force Times

Built in 1961 at the height of the Cold War, the B-52H Stratofortress nicknamed “Damage Inc. II” served venerably in multiple commands until retired to an Arizona boneyard in 2008. Now, following one more journey, this time across 1,407 miles of blacktop, the aircraft is back in service for one last mission.