B-52H bombers cycled through Bomber Task Force deployments from the United Kingdom to Romania on March 4 and March 7 as the U.S. sought to deter any Russian designs on NATO countries. The deployments came as Russian forces continued their attacks in Ukraine. On March 4, B-52Hs assigned to the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., took off from RAF Fairford, U.K., and exercised close air support training alongside U.S. and German joint terminal attack controllers in Germany before heading to Romania to practice close air support there. On March 7, two B-52Hs again cycled through a Bomber Task Force exercise in eastern Romania near Moldova before heading to Bulgaria and then south over Greece.
The Air Force’s next combat rescue helicopter is expected to begin its operational testing phase by the end of March. Sikorsky’s HH-60W Jolly Green II—the successor to the Air Force’s HH-60G Pave Hawk—has made considerable progress, with more than 40 percent of test and evaluation efforts already completed, said Darlene Costello, the Air Force’s principal deputy assistant secretary for acquisition, technology, and logistics.
“The ongoing conflict in Ukraine should serve as a wake-up call to U.S. leaders regarding our military’s inability to meet the scale of modern threats, especially when it comes to airpower. Two decades of low-intensity operations in Afghanistan and Iraq masked a precipitous capability and capacity erosion. Never has the Air Force fielded such an old, small aircraft inventory. The fiscal 2023 budget request will stand as an important test as to whether the Biden administration takes action to reverse this trend,” writes Douglas A. Birkey, executive director of the Air Force Association’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.
The first delivery of CH-47 Chinook helicopters to Saudi Arabia will go on as scheduled this year, and a Boeing official tells Breaking Defense that the company is already turning its eyes to potential upgrade efforts for other platforms already operating in the kingdom.
The Civilian Leadership Development School officially activated as a named activity within the Ira C. Eaker Center for Leadership Development at Air University, accelerating the focus on civilian-centric professional education across the Air Force. The new school offers various levels of development courses, including foundational, basic, intermediate, and advanced. This training can be used to support an employee’s Individual Development Plan. Unlike other Defense Department civilian development opportunities, the school is unique in that it provides Air Force-specific education.
The Department of the Air Force has launched a wide-ranging inquiry into outdated policies that disproportionately affect Airmen and Guardians of one gender over another. Scrapping discriminatory gender-biased rules can end certain deep-seated barriers to Airmen’s success, particularly for women, whose roles in society have dramatically changed since the Air Force was founded in 1947.
Vladimir Putin’s assault on Ukraine has caused Germany to revolutionize its defense policy in less than a week. Will the Biden administration have a similar awakening about defending Americans with dictators on the march? The truth is that defense spending is at historic lows. It’s heading to under 3 percent of the economy. Defense spending reached a postwar high of 9.1 percent in 1968 but never fell below 4.5 percent, even in the 1970s, reaching a high of 6 percent in 1986 at the height of the Reagan buildup that helped win the Cold War.
Defending against missile threats launched in, at, or through space has never been more challenging—or important. Learn more on Air Force Magazine’s Missile Warning & Defense page.
In the days before Russia invaded Ukraine, many observers thought the oncoming tanks would be preceded by cyberattacks and a media blackout as Russian hackers took down the country’s communications. Instead, Ukraine’s IT infrastructure has held up, allowing officials and citizens alike to dominate the global narrative with images of confused Russian soldiers and downed fighter jets. Overall, the infrastructure remains operational. Why? Only the Russian leadership knows.
China’s foreign minister on March 7 called Russia his country’s “most important strategic partner” as Beijing continued to refuse to condemn the invasion of Ukraine despite growing pressure from the U.S. and European Union to use its influence to rein in Moscow. Wang Yi said Chinese ties with Moscow constitute “one of the most crucial bilateral relationships in the world.” China has broken with the U.S., Europe, and others that have imposed sanctions on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine. Beijing has said sanctions create new issues and threaten a political settlement of the conflict.
China warned the U.S. against trying to build what it called a Pacific version of NATO while declaring that security disputes over Taiwan and Ukraine were “not comparable at all.” Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his annual news briefing that the “real goal” of the U.S.’s Indo- Pacific strategy was to form Asia’s answer to NATO. China has often accused the U.S. of trying to form blocs to suppress its growth, a complaint that’s likely to attract greater attention after Russian President Vladimir Putin cited similar grievances before Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
In the first days of the war in Ukraine, Russia’s performance was notoriously—and unexpectedly—underwhelming. Russian troops were slow and disorganized and failed to establish control of any major cities. To explain this surprising development, experts pointed out that the Kremlin had made wrong assumptions about Ukraine’s willingness and ability to fight. And while that may hold true, another factor might have contributed to Russia’s incorrect pre-war assessments and poor performance on the ground: systemic corruption in the country’s defense and security sectors.
Four companies have won spots on a five-year, $300 million contract to restore and modernize ground test facilities for the Air Force. The military service received eight offers for the Facilities Acquisitions for Restoration and Modernization II contract via a competitive acquisition process. Awardees could update mechanical, electrical, instrumentation, and data systems and controls equipment. They will have the opportunity to carry out design-build projects at the Arnold Engineering Development Complex in Tennessee, Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, and geographically separated USAF units.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to dress up like Jane Austen’s quintessential husband material, Fitzwilliam Darcy, and role-play your way into a marriage? One Air Force veteran is doing just that as a contestant on NBC’s newest dating show, “The Courtship.” “Transported to a Regency-style England, a group of eligible hopeful suitors will have to win the heart of our heroine, and her court,” promotional materials read. “Housed in a castle on the countryside and set on a beautiful backdrop of rolling hills, the heroine and suitors will experience that of which dreams are made.” Danny Kim, who now works as a confidence and dating coach, is one of 16 bachelors seeking the hand of Nicole Rémy, a 26-year-old engineer from Seattle.