After Hurricane Michael devastated Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., in 2018, the installation got a lifeline when the Air Force announced plans to base three F-35 Joint Strike Fighter squadrons there. But as construction ramps up and the base begins to visibly bounce back, an old political scuffle thousands of miles away is threatening Tyndall’s F-35 timeline and forcing the service to scramble to find maintainers for the world’s most advanced fighter—including through options that would hinder F-35 operations at other bases.
DARPA has launched a new project that sees a fresh role for the Air Force's fleet of aerial tankers as airborne recharging points for networks of electric-powered UASs by adding a wing-mounted laser pod.
Some military leaders are worried that without a Space National Guard or similar component, administrative delays could hurt readiness and personnel training. Lt. Col. Jeremiah Hitchner, the commander of the 109th Space Electromagnetic Warfare Squadron in Guam, told reporters the brand-new unit is struggling to train new operators because it relies on Space Force availability.
The Department of the Air Force is using artificial intelligence to augment weather predictions and better understand environmental conditions in places where the U.S. military may be headed. Deputy Chief Information Officer Winston Beauchamp said the technology is improving forecasting abilities and providing valuable insights for planning and operations.
When discussing the world’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, U.S. officials have been upfront that they're aware that China is watching and hopeful that the strong signal of support for Kyiv will dissuade Beijing from plans to invade Taiwan. Colin Kahl, the undersecretary for defense for policy, underlined that idea, saying, “Potential adversaries and aggressors everywhere else in the world are looking at the global response in Ukraine."
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.
In November, a team of French science fiction writers working with the country’s military dreamed up a new program, known as Myriade, to head off future threats: one that would help nations detect the manipulation of public opinion. The move quickly proved prescient.
Ukraine’s president isn’t the only one who’s frustrated that cutting-edge U.S. military gear isn’t making its way to the battlefield. Thousands of American-made weapons are flowing into Ukraine, but the Pentagon’s acquisition system is still not pivoting quickly enough to get the latest commercial gear to the front lines, according to defense industry executives, lobbyists, and some of the Pentagon’s own technologists.
BlueHalo won an $11 million contract from the Air Force Research Laboratory to develop a pair of optical laser communications terminals and a ground station that will be used for on-orbit experiments, the company announced. The equipment, to be delivered in 2025, will support demonstrations of optical uplinks and downlinks between satellites in geostationary and low Earth orbits.
Northrop Grumman, one of three companies selected to deliver 42 satellites for a U.S. military low Earth orbit constellation, announced that it completed a ground demonstration of laser terminals that will be used to send and receive data in space. For the demonstration, Northrop Grumman teamed with laser terminal manufacturer Mynaric and space avionics provider Innoflight. The companies tested high-rate encryption and decryption across an optical link.
House Democrats are moving to ensure that service members can take leave to get an abortion ahead of the Supreme Court’s expected ruling to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that prevents states from outlawing the procedure. A draft of the fiscal 2023 defense spending bill would not allow the Pentagon “to deny leave for any member of the Armed Forces or civilian employee of the Department of Defense ... who is pregnant and requests leave to obtain an abortion.”
If you're a NASCAR fan, you may have seen the No. 31 Chevrolet Camaro SS zipping around the track at Charlotte Motor Speedway over Memorial Day weekend. If you're a service member or history buff, you may have noticed that its coloring was in line with the olive drab that was prevalent throughout the military for much of the 20th century.