China engines

Dependence on Russian Aircraft Engines Could Prompt China to ‘Fix Their … Problem’

China’s dependence on Russian fighter aircraft engines may soon affect the People’s Liberation Army Air Force fleet if Russia can't service or provide engines or parts for up to 40 percent of the Chinese fighters, experts at the China Aerospace Studies Institute conference said. China has yet to wean itself off Russian engines by mastering the technology, experts explained during a panel discussion on military cooperation between China and Russia. If Russia must resupply its own military over the course of a protracted war, that competing demand for parts could prompt China to focus more intently on building up internal expertise.
eielson f-35s

Eielson Celebrates Completion of F-35 Beddown, More Progress to Come

Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, celebrated the beddown of its full complement of F-35s with a ceremony just weeks after the base received the last of its 54 fighters. The arrival of those F-35s in mid-April gave Eielson the Air Force’s second fully equipped, combat-coded F-35 wing, comprising two fighter squadrons. At Eielson, fighter jets are able to reach anywhere in the northern hemisphere in one sortie and have access to the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, which features more than 75,000 square miles of airspace for training.
Boeing VC-25B Air Force One

New Air Force One Will be 2-3 Years Late; Battle Brewing Over KC-Y

The "Air Force One" replacement will be two to three years late due to pandemic issues, testing, and the loss of a subcontractor on the interior, USAF officials reported at a House Armed Services Committee hearing. They were also warned that some HASC members will insist on a competition for the KC-Y tanker requirement rather than allow the Air Force to award the work sole-source to Boeing.
B-52

Cost of B-52 Re-Engining Jumps By Half in New Estimate of Refit

The cost of the B-52 re-engining program has increased 50 percent because of integration issues, according to revelations in a House Armed Services panel hearing. The B-52 Commercial Engine Replacement Program has been conducted as a middle-tier acquisition program to get underway rapidly and develop a prototype system but is now moving to a “traditional” program, and the Air Force is firming up the costs it expects to pay. The cost increases have more to do with integrating the engines on the B-52, which is a Boeing effort, and has less to do with the engines themselves, which will be built by Rolls-Royce, said Air Force acquisition executive Andrew P. Hunter.
NATO

Biden Supports Sweden’s, Finland’s NATO Bids—Wolters Highlights ‘Exciting Attributes’

President Joe Biden stood alongside the leaders of Sweden and Finland at the White House on May 19 to declare his “strong support” for their NATO bids, while Supreme Allied Commander Europe U.S. Air Force Gen. Tod D. Wolters highlighted the specialized deterrent capabilities the High North partners would bring to the alliance, if the concerns of Turkey are first assuaged. Until then, Finland and Sweden are not protected by NATO’s Article 5 mutual defense clause, but Biden said the U.S. would “deter and confront any aggression while Finland and Sweden are in this accession process.”
Saltzman

Space Force Prepares for Decision on Indo-Pacific Command Service Component

The Space Force is nearing a Secretary of Defense decision that would create a component command at U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, a move that would strengthen space integration in the combatant command responsible for defending the U.S. against threats from China, said Space Force Lt. Gen. B. Chance Saltzman, deputy chief for operations, cyber, and nuclear. “With China being the pacing threat, it was essential that we stand up the service component at INDOPACOM,” Saltzman said. “The biggest change is going to be the combatant commander will have a subordinate commander that they can task to effectively integrate space capabilities.”
ukraine aid

Congress Approves $40B in Ukraine Aid, Just as Previous Funding Runs Out

The Defense Department authorized another $100 million in security assistance for Ukraine on May 19, reaching the limits of President Joe Biden’s existing drawdown authorities—just as the Senate passed a massive $40 billion aid package to extend them. All told, the DOD has now given Ukraine $4.6 billion in security assistance since President Joe Biden was inaugurated, the vast majority—$3.9 billion—coming after Russia launched its invasion Feb. 24. That number, however, is set to nearly quadruple in the coming months.

Radar Sweep

Ukrainian Troops Training With US Electronic Jamming Kit

C4ISRNet

Ukrainian forces are training to use electronic jamming equipment provided by the U.S. in their battle against Russia. A senior U.S. defense official confirmed that electronic warfare instruction was underway. No details were provided on the curriculum or the gear itself. “We told you that we were going to give the Ukrainians some electronic jamming equipment,” the official said. “There is training going on with a very small number of Ukrainian soldiers on that equipment. That’s ongoing, as well. So that’s happening.”

Republicans Lay Battle Lines Over Biden’s Plan to Retire B83 Megaton Bomb

Defense News

Congressional Republicans are pushing back against the President’s plan to retire an aging nuclear weapon, decrying the effort during a series of hearings dedicated to the administration’s fiscal 2023 budget request for nuclear forces and atomic energy. The hearings previewed what is likely to be a renewed debate over retiring the B83 megaton gravity bomb as Congress drafts the annual defense authorization bill, starting in June. The Air Force also plans to retire the only aircraft capable of carrying the B83, the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber, by 2032 at the latest.

Military Buyers Challenged to Stay Up on the Latest Commercial Space Innovations

SpaceNews

U.S. military buyers of space systems for decades have relied on a stable of aerospace and defense companies to develop technologies and launch them to orbit at the government’s request. In the years since SpaceX disrupted the military launch market, the growth of the space economy fueled by private money has upended what was historically a government-driven approach to technology developments.

Cargo-Hauling Ekranoplan X-Plane Being Developed by DARPA

The Drive

The Pentagon’s latest vision for a flying transport that is able to operate from water employs the ekranoplan, or wing-in-ground (WIG) effect principle, as used by a class of vehicle that sits somewhere between a boat and a plane. Designed to glide at high speed over the surface of the water, by making use of ground effect, ekranoplans have so far found only very limited military use, notably in the former Soviet Union, and it would mark a truly innovative departure if adopted by the U.S. armed forces.

Don’t Be Dazzled by Russia’s Laser Weapons Claims: Experts

Breaking Defense

Claims by a top Russian official that Moscow has unveiled a powerful new laser weapon prototype to attack drones and satellites being used in Ukraine should be taken with a boulder of salt, experts say. “As with so many things that come from the Russians, it’s hard to separate fact from fiction,” said Mark Lewis, head of the National Defense Industrial Association's Emerging Technologies Institute and former acting undersecretary of defense for research and engineering.

DOD Space Acquisition Agencies ‘De-conflicted’ 2024 Budget Requests, a First

Breaking Defense

The new(ish) Program Integration Council (PIC) scored a victory in the run up to the Defense Department’s fiscal 2024 budget request, for the first time coordinating the five-year planning documents for future space acquisition among its interagency members, the head of Space Force’s acquisition command said.

Biden’s Asia Trip Is ‘Proof’ That US Can Focus on Two Fronts at Once, Officials Argue

Defense One

White House officials love saying the Biden administration can walk and chew gum at the same time. President Joe Biden’s trip to Asia, which begins May 20, is a chance for him to prove it. Biden’s trip to Tokyo and Seoul, which runs through May 24, will happen against the backdrop of Russia’s war in Ukraine. The White House is seeking to prove to allies and adversaries that the United States can rally the world against a Russian invasion while working to confront China’s long-term strategic challenge.

Leaked Air Force Memo Teases Longer Mustaches for Airmen

Task & Purpose

Mustaches and the Air Force go way back. The most famous Air Force mustache is that of Brig. Gen. Robin Olds, the legendary fighter pilot whose lip beard inspired the branch’s Mustache Month tradition. Members of search and rescue squadrons paint mustaches on the front of their helicopters, and at least one A-10 attack plane has even sported one. Many Airmen like Olds also have a passion for pushing the envelope, and an Air Force memo leaked on Facebook and Reddit seems to push the limits of what’s possible for upper lip hairs in the military.

One More Thing

Why the Air Force Uses the Mother of All Swords to Honor Generals

Task & Purpose

Gen. Arnold W. Bunch Jr. is currently the commander of Air Force Materiel Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio but is set to retire later this year. And, as of May 13, he is also now the recipient of an Air Force tradition in which officers are presented by senior enlisted Airmen with a giant sword that looks like it came from the set of "Game of Thrones."

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