As more bases mourn aircrews lost in a new spate of crashes, no one among the Pentagon’s top leaders is assigned to help lower-level safety officials prevent the next accident. That gap was a key finding in a 2020 report by the National Commission on Military Aviation Safety, which found that since 2013, aviation accidents had killed 224 pilots and crew members, destroyed 186 aircraft, and cost the military $11.6 billion.
In Episode 80 of the Aerospace Advantage podcast, the Mitchell Institute team gathers to discuss air and space topics that you’ve seen in the national security headlines. This week’s episode focuses on the defense bills moving through the House and Senate, with predictions regarding what Air Force priorities will win and lose. We also discuss the latest events that are occurring in Ukraine and risks involved with providing too little support at a time when Russia is still making progress and the coalition backing Ukraine faces pressure. The conversation wraps up looking at a number of meetings Chinese leaders have been holding with Pacific island nations as they seek economic and military agreements.
Japan will continue increasing its defense budget over the next five years amid a fear that Russia will use nuclear weapons against Ukraine, the island nation’s prime minister has said. Fumio Kishida was delivering the keynote speech on the opening evening of the Shangri-La Dialogue. The forum, held in Singapore by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies think tank, focuses on security challenges in the Asia-Pacific region.
While exactly what they said wasn’t made public, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III and his Chinese counterpart, Gen. Wei Fenghe, met for the first time at the beginning of the Shangri-La Dialogue and held what were described as frank and constructive talks. That generally means they disagreed on many things but agreed to disagree. The Chinese requested the meeting, an intriguing indication that they believed the meeting would be productive and needed to be held.
President Joe Biden’s administration has scrapped former President Donald Trump’s red, white, and blue design for the new generation of presidential aircraft after an Air Force review suggested it would raise costs and delay the delivery of the new jets. Boeing is currently modifying two Boeing 747-800 aircraft that will bear the Air Force One callsign when the president is onboard to replace the existing fleet of two aging Boeing 747-200 aircraft. Trump, in 2018, directed that the new jumbo jets shed the iconic Kennedy-era robin’s egg blue and white design for a deeper navy and streak of dark red.
Yes, “Top Gun: Maverick” is a movie about naval aviators. But in this op-ed, former Air Force pilot and Air & Space Forces Association President Bruce Wright argues that the hit film has plenty of lessons for the Navy’s rival service—including that its pilots must prepare, now, for the future of aerial combat.
Despite Confusing Fitness Standards, Air Force Didn’t Play Favorites With Female Special Tactics Trainee, IG says
An Air Force inspector general investigation into alleged favoritism in the service’s special operations enterprise concluded that leaders did not bend the rules for a female trainee who pulled out of contention for an elite combat job. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall green-lit the investigation after an anonymous letter posted to social media alleged that service officials were turning a blind eye to the captain’s poor performance as she ventured to become the first female special tactics officer.
Space Marines may sound like a far-off concept, but in some ways, they are already here. That’s because your average Marine infantry grunts would have a hard time doing their job these days without a constellation of satellites more than 1,000 miles overhead. Intelligence satellites provide aerial photos of their objective; communications satellites connect them with command and control; and GPS satellites allow them to call in airstrikes with pinpoint accuracy.
With spiking prices on gas, groceries, and other goods squeezing people across the country, lawmakers are debating whether to boost what would already be the biggest military pay raise in two decades. A House subcommittee fired an opening salvo in the upcoming congressional debate over the pay raise, proposing troops get a 4.6 percent bump in pay next year in its draft portion of the annual defense policy bill.
Alex Wagner was sworn in as the assistant secretary of the Air Force for manpower and reserve affairs following his confirmation to the role by the U.S. Senate. Wagner, the former chief of staff to the Secretary of the U.S. Army, was most recently Aerospace Industries Association’s vice president for strategic initiatives, focusing on talent and workforce policy as well as developing strategic partnerships to tell the story of technological innovation and the people who drive it.
A Chinese air force fighter jet crashed in central China during a training exercise, killing one person and injuring two while the pilot successfully ejected, state TV said. The injured and the pilot were sent to hospital after the morning crash near an airport in the city of Xiangyang in Hubei province, which damaged homes, China Central Television reported.
The Air Force is asking for help from Wichita Falls, Texas, residents in tracking down an enemy. The enemy is neither a foreign power nor a terrorist. It's a bird. Cattle egrets have made their annual springtime visit to North Texas. They don't come armed with guns or bombs, but they do present a threat to military planes and civilian travel at Sheppard Air Force Base.