ukraine air war

Air War Ramps Up in Russia-Ukraine Conflict as Russian PGMs Run Out

The air war is changing over Ukraine, with Russia picking up the pace of sorties but running low on precision-guided munitions, a senior defense official said March 21. Russia also has allegedly fired hypersonic weapons, a move possibly made to gain momentum after nearly a month of fighting and no major population centers under its control. “They are beginning to face some inventory issues with precision-guided munitions,” a senior defense official told reporters on a telephone briefing, explaining the increased use by Russia of unguided bombs, or “dumb bombs.”
concrete repairs

How DOD’s Old Concrete Infrastructure Could Start to Fix Itself

The military’s old concrete airstrips and missile silos will repair their own cracks if researchers can pull off what the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency hopes under its new BRACE program. DARPA’s Biological Technologies Office announced the four-and-a-half-year BRACE research program—short for Bio-inspired Restoration of Aged Concrete Edifices—to prevent new damage to concrete, shorten the time to repair it, and lower maintenance costs. A part of it also addresses quickly repairing airfields at deployed locations.

National Champions Crowned at AFA’s CyberPatriot XIV

Teams from North Carolina to California gathered March 18-20 in Rockville, Md., to compete in the national finals of the Air Force Association’s National Youth Cyber Defense Competition, CyberPatriot XIV. The culmination of months of training and competition, the finals featured 28 teams competing across three divisions—Open, All Services, and Middle School.

Radar Sweep

Cyber Warfare Gets Real for Satellite Operators

SpaceNews

The federal government on March 17 advised satellite operators to put their guard up in the wake of a cyberattack that disrupted internet services in Europe provided by Viasat’s KA-SAT. “Given the current geopolitical situation, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency requests that all organizations significantly lower their threshold for reporting and sharing indications of malicious cyber activity,” said CISA, an organization within the Department of Homeland Security. Following CISA’s advisory, the Satellite Industry Association on March 18 issued a statement of “commitment to cybersecurity best practices” and expressed concern about “evolving attacks by criminals, terrorists, and nation states.”

US Sending Soviet Air Defense Systems It Secretly Acquired to Ukraine

The Wall Street Journal

The U.S. is sending some of the Soviet-made air defense equipment it secretly acquired decades ago to bolster the Ukrainian military as it seeks to fend off Russian air and missile attacks, U.S. officials said. The systems, which one U.S. official said include the SA-8, are decades old and were obtained by the U.S. so it could examine the technology used by the Russian military and which Moscow has exported around the world.

New Air Force Digital Lab Replicates Tyndall Base in Virtual World

ExecutiveGov

The Air Force has launched a new digital hub at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida that provides entry to a virtual replica model of the military installation. The Digital Twin Hololab enables Airmen to test out technologies on the virtual Tyndall before they are implemented in the real world.

OneWeb Stands Up US Board as Communications Company Eyes American Business

Defense One

Commercial satellite communications company OneWeb has stood up an American-based proxy board as the firm looks to expand its business to the U.S. military, Intelligence Community, and other federal agencies. The London-based company has named Sue Gordon, a former No. 2 official at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the chair of the three-person panel. Richard Spencer, a former Navy Secretary, and Ryan McCarthy, a former Army Secretary, have also been named to the board.

Soon-to-be-Released Defense Budget Will Align Funding Toward JADC2

Fed Scoop

Despite releasing what a top official referred to as a “seminal document” for the Department of Defense’s new concept for joint all-domain command and control, the proof will be in how systems associated with that effort are funded across the individual services. And according to the official leading the charge, there is a funding mechanism in place in the soon-to-be-released fiscal 2023 defense budget request to purchase the technologies and mechanisms needed to make the plan a reality.

USAF Announces New Group of JADC2 Competitors

Defense Daily

The Air Force announced its latest 23 industry entrants competing for up to $950 million in indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts for joint all-domain command and control, an effort to use artificial intelligence and advanced computing to build a cross-service digital architecture for multi-domain operations that are to rely on the fast provision of information from sensors to shooters. Thus far, more than 100 companies are in the mix. The newest entrants include HawkEye 360, ARD Global, Astranis Space Technologies, Atomus, Black Cape, CFD Research, CodeMettle, Conceptual Research, Dispel, Dittolive, Expeditionary Engineering, Fairwinds Technologies, Fearless Solutions, Feddata Technology Solutions, Fuse Integration, Oakman Aerospace, Primer Federal, Robust Intelligence, SciTec, Shift5, Tangram Flex, Tribalco, and The Ulysses Group.

Air Force Aims to Sharpen Vision for Teaming Pilots With Drones

Defense News

The Air Force’s next budget proposal, expected to be released by the end of March, will provide more clues on how it hopes to mix manned fighters and bombers with autonomous combat drones. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall views this concept as so vital that elements of it made up two of the seven operational imperatives he outlined in his March 3 keynote address to the Air Force Association’s AFA Warfare Symposium. Kendall reiterated his belief that the classified Next Generation Air Dominance, or NGAD, concept should combine up to five unmanned, autonomous, and attritable aircraft controlled by a single pilot who is “calling plays” for the drones to follow. The F-35 could also be teamed up with unmanned aircraft, he said.

US Indo-Pacific Command Leader Says China Has Fully Militarized Islands

The Associated Press

China has fully militarized at least three of several islands it built in the disputed South China Sea, arming them with anti-ship and anti-aircraft missile systems, laser and jamming equipment, and fighter jets in an increasingly aggressive move that threatens all nations operating nearby, a top U.S. military commander said March 20. Commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Adm. John C. Aquilino said the hostile actions were in stark contrast to Chinese President Xi Jinping's past assurances that Beijing would not transform the artificial islands in contested waters into military bases.

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Air Force Academy Grad Pledges $10 Million to Elevate Honors Program

Stars and Stripes

Honors courses will become more readily available to Air Force Academy cadets thanks to a $10 million pledge, the largest philanthropic gift supporting academics in academy history, according to the Air Force Academy Foundation. Philanthropist and 1970 academy graduate John Martinson, a longtime venture capitalist, pledged the funds, which will create additional opportunities for cadets and faculty. The Academy Scholars Program will be renamed the Martinson Honors Program.

One More Thing

These Molotov Cocktail Legos Raised More Than $16,000 for Medical Aid to Ukraine

Task & Purpose

This probably won’t make it into the next “Lego Movie.” A Chicago-based custom Lego store raised more than $16,000 for medical aid in Ukraine selling miniature figures of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and tiny Molotov cocktails. Citizen Brick, the store that manufactured the Molotov Lego accessories, is donating to the charity Direct Relief. Citizen Brick is an independent retailer. The official company position of Lego is to not create sets based on military equipment that is currently in use, presumably only endorsing violence in the form of people stepping on Legos. That doesn’t stop others from getting creative, though.