warfighter requirements

Modular Weapons Could Improve Surge Capacity, Bunch Says in Exit Interview

Breaking weapons up into modular segments for ease of upgrade could also improve defense industrial surge capacity, said the outgoing head of Air Force Materiel Command Gen. Arnold W. Bunch Jr. Modularity could also help address the issue of intellectual property while keeping more companies in business, with more rapid turnover of weapon segment production and greater responsiveness to threat changes, Bunch said in an exit interview with Air Force Magazine ahead of his pending retirement.
Pacific Allies

Pacific Allies Worry About Taiwan Invasion, Call for Closer US Cooperation

America’s Pacific allies Japan and Australia want deeper cooperation with the U.S. in areas such as long-range weapons and military space activities with the goal of deterring a potential Chinese invasion of Taiwan and to prepare in the event of one. "We need more conversation over our region,” said Japanese defense and air attache Maj. Gen. Hiroyuki Sugai on the sidelines of the China Aerospace Studies Institute conference in Washington, D.C.
air force doomsday

Concerned Lawmakers Want to Know: How Soon Will the Air Force Replace Old ‘Doomsday’ Planes?

With several House Armed Services subcommittees set to allow the Air Force to make cuts to some of its oldest aircraft fleets as part of their 2023 National Defense Authorization Act markups, there’s one airframe in particular—and its delayed successor—that’s worrying lawmakers. The E-4B National Airborne Operations Center, sometimes called the “Doomsday” plane because it is meant to withstand a nuclear attack and keep the government running from the air during a crisis, has been flying since the 1970s. The Air Force has been contemplating a replacement since 2019.
space launch

Lawmakers Suggest the Space Force Start to Coordinate Space Launches Among Providers

For years, Congress has pushed the Air Force, and the Space Force after it, to increase competition within its space launch enterprise, to move beyond the one or two companies the military has long relied on to send its satellites into orbit. And now that Space Force leaders have said they’re interested in opening things up in future contracts, lawmakers are recommending that the service bring a partner onboard to help coordinate.

Radar Sweep

U.S., Partner Aircrews Conduct Middle East Presence Patrol

DOD release

Coalition and regional partner air forces joined two U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress strategic bombers, two KC-10 Extender tankers, and three KC-135 Stratotanker tankers on a presence patrol mission across the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. The bomber's flight originated at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., and flew over the Eastern Mediterranean, Arabian Peninsula, and Red Sea before departing the region. "Presence patrols, like today's, show the United States' continued commitment and interoperability with our partners in the region," said Air Force Lt. Gen. Gregory M. Guillot, Ninth Air Force commander. "These highly coordinated efforts demonstrate our combined ability to provide global reach and joint security to the region.

Subscription Required

Special Operations Airmen Train With Airlifters Over Mountains of New Zealand

Stars and Stripes

Fifty U.S. Air Force special operations Airmen based in Japan spent most of May in New Zealand brushing up on mountain flying and working with their counterparts’ airlifters and Special Air Service commandos. Airmen from the 353rd Special Operations Wing out of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, were Down Under from April 29 to May 29, flying three MC-130J Super Hercules aircraft alongside older C-130H Hercules from the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s No. 40 Squadron.

Subscription Required

OPINION: The U.S. Space Force Is Your Eye in the Sky

The Wall Street Journal

“The next few years will mark a turning point for U.S. military operations in space. Starting with President Biden’s fiscal 2023 budget request, we are embarking on a journey to increase dramatically the capability and security of satellites that provide military leaders with crucial early warnings about possible attacks and track missiles after they’ve been launched. This will protect U.S. forces and realize the National Defense Strategy mandate to deter potential adversaries. While the post-World War II rules-based order is under threat from Russia, the U.S. continues to face a formidable challenge from China. The U.S. Space Force is implementing a long-term plan to remain ahead of these strategic competitors by providing essential operational support to the rest of the military, protecting American troops, and preserving access and freedom to operate in space,” write Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall and Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond.

New AFRICOM Commander Nominated

DOD release

President Joe Biden has nominted Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Michael E. Langley for a fourth star and assignment as commander of U.S. Africa Command. Langley is currently serving as commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Command; commanding general, Fleet Marine Force Atlantic; and commander, Marine Corps Forces North, Norfolk, Va.

Live, Virtual & Constructive Training

Air Force Magazine

The Air Force is transitioning to more virtual training to give pilots an edge, saying some higher end maneuvers cannot be replicated in real-time training. Learn more on Air Force Magazine’s Live, Virtual & Constructive Training page.

Subscription Required

OPINION: The Proposed 2023 Defense Budget Doesn’t Meet U.S. Security Goals

Forbes

“Will the President’s proposed 2023 federal budget allow the Department of Defense to satisfy the demands of the National Defense Strategy? The short answer is no—it is too small to pay for the necessary capabilities and capacity to deter and if necessary, defeat, challenges from major-power rivals China and Russia, as well as deal with those posed by Iran, North Korea, and global terrorism. Since the 2018 congressionally appointed bipartisan National Defense Strategy Commission, they and numerous other American defense leaders have repeatedly stated that meeting those goals will require between 3-5 percent real growth per year throughout much of the 2020s. The president’s proposed 2023 budget does not meet that target. In fact, when inflation is considered, proposed 2023 defense funding is down between 3-5 percent real growth compared to last year’s—not up,” writes retired Lt. Gen. David A. Deptula, dean of AFA’s Mitchell Institute of Aerospace Studies.

The US Is Heavily Reliant on China and Russia for Its Ammo Supply Chain. Congress Wants to Fix That.

Defense News

The United States has relied almost entirely on China—and to a lesser extent Russia—in recent years to procure a critical mineral that is vital to producing ammunition. The mineral antimony is critical to the defense-industrial supply chain and is needed to produce everything from armor-piercing bullets and explosives to nuclear weapons as well as sundry other military equipment, such as night vision goggles. The House Armed Services Committee took its first stab at addressing China’s grip on the antimony supply chain in draft legislation.

Hicks: One Year In, AI Adoption Initiative ‘Proving Its Worth’

Inside Defense

One year into the Pentagon's artificial intelligence and data accelerator initiative, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen H. Hicks says the effort is already "proving its worth." While it’s unclear what will happen to the three-year push after fiscal year 2024, Hicks told an online audience during DOD’s Digital and AI Symposium that in the interim, the initiative has already allowed officials to identify common problems faced by the combatant commands in integrating and scaling AI capabilities.

House Cyber Panel Seeks Review of Delayed Air Force Link 16 Upgrade

C4ISRNet

Members of Congress are calling on a federal watchdog to evaluate Air Force attempts to enhance the Link 16 communications system after a leading lawmaker said delays may jeopardize military readiness and safety. Link 16 is a jam-resistant data link used by the Air Force, NATO, and others that enables an exchange of information and the crafting of a common picture.

Pentagon Chooses Design for ‘Project Pele’ Portable Nuclear Reactor Prototype

C4ISRNet

The Pentagon selected BWXT Advanced Technologies to build a prototype of a mobile nuclear reactor that will demonstrate the utility of a portable alternate energy source to support military operations in austere locations. The U.S. Department of Defense’s Strategic Capabilities Office last year selected Lynchburg, Va.-based BWXT and X-energy, a nuclear reactor company based in Rockville, Md., to design prototypes of a small, portable nuclear reactor under an effort called “Project Pele.” BWXT announced June 9 that the Pentagon chose its prototype and awarded a contract worth as much as $300 million.

Hot Mess: There’s a Problem With Trump’s Air Force One Paint Job

Politico

Former President Donald Trump took a lot of heat for his controversial decision to replace the traditional Air Force One paint scheme with his signature red, white, and dark blue. But no one quite expected this. The Air Force says Trump’s paint job could contribute to excessive temperatures on the plane, a problem that Boeing would likely have to pay out of pocket to fix.

One More Thing

Missouri Air National Guard Member Ranked Top Cornhole Player in State

Air National Guard release

Staff Sgt. Johnny Cox of the Missouri Air National Guard’s 131st Bomb Wing has risen through the ranks of the professional American Cornhole League to become the state’s top professional player, all while serving as a full-time member of the Wing’s recruiting team. Originally from Warrensburg, Cox joined the Missouri Air National Guard at 18 years old and has served in many positions before becoming a recruiter.

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Celebrating 75 Years of Air and Space Power