ARRW

ARRW Flies at Hypersonic Speeds in First Successful Test

The Air Force conducted its first successful test of the Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon, or ARRW, on May 14, snapping a streak of three consecutive failed tests and giving the beleaguered hypersonics program a much needed boost. Off the coast of Southern California, the AGM-183A ARRW separated from the wing of a B-52H Stratofortress, according to an Air Force release. Its booster ignited and burned for an “expected duration,” flying at hypersonic speeds—at least five times the speed of sound.
tyndall rebuild

Air Force’s Biggest MILCON Contract Ever on Record Goes to Tyndall Rebuild

It’s been more than three-and-a-half years since Hurricane Michael pummeled Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., severely damaging or destroying 95 percent of the base’s 1,300 structures. On May 10, the base took a major step in its long build back to become the “Base of the Future” with the awarding of a $532 million military construction contract.
Somalia

US Troops Return to Somalia as Al-Shabab Threat Increases

President Joe Biden approved a Defense Department request to return "under 500" American troops to Somalia, where the al-Shabab terrorist group has grown in wealth and influence and increased the tempo of its attacks since U.S. troops withdrew in January 2021. A senior administration official told members of the press May 16 that al-Shabab posed a danger to the American homeland and to U.S. interests in East Africa.
air force academy covid

Three Air Force Academy Cadets at Risk of Not Graduating Over COVID Vaccine Refusal

A dozen Cadets from the Air Force Academy have refused to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, including three seniors who won’t be allowed to graduate unless they get the shot, a spokesman for the Academy confirmed to Air Force Magazine. USAFA’s graduation ceremony is scheduled for May 25, with Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III scheduled to give the commencement address. On May 14, the Associated Press reported that four seniors were at risk of not graduating or commissioning into the service. Since then, one of the Cadets decided to take the vaccine, Academy spokesperson Dean Miller said.

Radar Sweep

Sweden Ends Neutrality, Joins Finland in Seeking NATO Berth

The Associated Press

Sweden’s prime minister announced that Sweden will join Finland in seeking NATO membership in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a historic shift that comes after more than 200 years of military nonalignment in the Nordic country. The move, which is likely to upset the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin, came after neighboring Finland announced that it, too, would seek to join the 30-country military alliance.

Coast Guard Admiral Approved to Be First Woman to Lead a Military Service

Politico

President Joe Biden’s pick to be the next Coast Guard commandant, Adm. Linda Fagan, was confirmed, clearing the way for her to become the first woman to be the top officer in one of the military services. Fagan has been the Coast Guard’s No. 2 officer since June 2021. She was the first woman to become a four-star admiral in the service upon taking over as vice commandant.

Aerojet Rocketdyne Reprimands Chairman Over Attempt to Oust CEO

Defense News

Aerojet Rocketdyne has reprimanded its executive chairman, Warren Lichtenstein, over a series of comments he made criticizing the company’s chief executive and hunting for a replacement as well as about its failed merger with Lockheed Martin. In a memorandum, the non-management committee of Aerojet’s board of directors ordered Lichtenstein to follow the company’s code of conduct in the future and not to make unauthorized comments to outside parties about the company’s management or strategic direction.

OPINION: The Air Force We Need Now Can’t Be Sacrificed for the Force We Need in the Future

Breaking Defense

It was only a few years ago when the Air Force developed a goal of having 386 operational squadrons. But that number already feels like a relic of the past, with service leaders having clearly moved away from it. In this new op-ed, Doug Birkey of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies argues that the service should respect the research that went into that number and not abandon it.

Two Finalists Emerge for Next Space Force Chief: Sources

Breaking Defense

Pentagon leaders have narrowed the potential nominees to become the next Space Force Chief of Space Operations to two names, with the decision now in the hands of the White House, multiple sources tell Breaking Defense. The pick of the two candidates—Lt. Gen. John E. Shaw and Lt. Gen. Stephen N. Whiting—would become the second Space Force head, following Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond’s planned retirement in the fall.

Space Force Sees Future Demand for Surveillance Beyond Earth Orbit

SpaceNews

An international race back to the moon is already underway, with the United States, China, India, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and the United Arab Emirates all at various stages of planning future lunar missions. Growing activity in outer space beyond Earth orbit—known as xGEO or cislunar space—could turn this region into a contested domain as countries seek access to lunar resources and stake out areas of jurisdiction. As a result, the U.S. military will likely have to pay more attention to what’s happening in xGEO, said Lt. Gen. Stephen N. Whiting, commander of the U.S. Space Force’s Space Operations Command.

Air Force ‘Starving’ A-10 Fleet of Needed Upgrades, Documents Show

Military.com via The Arizona Daily Star

The Air Force has for now dropped plans to retire most of the A-10 ground-attack jets that form a major mission at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., after the plan was rebuffed by Congress last year. But the Air Force is again moving to retire some A-10s, and recently revealed documents show that more than half of the A-10s in service aren't deployable overseas because the Air Force is starving the aging fleet of critical maintenance and upgrades.

25th SecAF Portrait Unveiled During Ceremony at Pentagon

Air Force release

The official portrait of former Secretary of the Air Force Barbara M. Barrett, who also previously served as the U.S. ambassador to Finland, was unveiled in the Pentagon Auditorium during a tribute to the stateswomen who led the Department of the Air Force from 2019 to 2021. Current Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall, who hosted the event, touched on Barrett’s legacy of guiding the Department of the Air Force through numerous challenges and achievements.

Why Air Force Pilots Spent a Day Being Dragged Through the Water by a Jet Ski

Task & Purpose

Air Force pilot recruiting brochures probably don’t mention the possibility of having to bail out of an aircraft, but it is one of many outcomes that aircrew members train for. That was why Airmen with the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron were dragged through the ocean by a jet ski on the beach of the Caribbean island of St. Croix. While not the most glamorous experience, it is part of how Airmen prepare for one of the scariest moments in their lives: jumping out of an aircraft over the open ocean.

Russia’s Ka-52 Attack Helicopters Have a Serious Vibration Problem

The Drive

Russian Ka-52 Hokum attack helicopters fighting in the war in Ukraine are suffering from a major vibration issue that could, according to at least one expert The War Zone consulted, decrease reliability and, potentially, be unsafe. At best, according to assessments we’ve received, the vibration is likely to reduce the efficiency of the weapons these helicopters carry and may also restrict weapon life. In turn, this could have an effect on the capability of the Ka-52, one of the most widely used Russian helicopters of the conflict so far.

One More Thing

How an Air Force Veteran Discovered His New House Was the Seat of a Plantation Where His Ancestors Were Enslaved

CBS News

Just off the side of the road sat a grand white house called Sharswood. Silently holding secrets from the past, waiting for a new owner to uncover them. Sounds like the opening line of a southern gothic novel, but this story is about a real family, and a real house, this country's history, and a man who found himself at the center of far more than he had bargained for. The man is Fred Miller, a 56-year-old Air Force veteran who was looking to buy property in his Virginia hometown for his large extended family's frequent get-togethers.

This Day in Airpower
Celebrating 75 Years of Air and Space Power