The Pentagon said July 12 that it killed a leader of the Islamic State group in Syria in a drone strike. U.S. Central Command said in a news release that Maher al-Agal was killed July 12 and an unidentified senior official in the Islamic State group was seriously injured. The Pentagon said there were no civilian casualties, though it wasn’t possible to immediately confirm that information. The U.S. carried out the strike outside Jindaris, a town in northwestern Syria close to the Turkish border.
Staff Sgt. Duncan Copley knows the risks he runs each time he heads out on a C-17 transport mission. But virtually nothing could have prepared him for the message that came across his headset in August 2021: “We have credible intel that there could be a bomb on board.” Copley’s calm under pressure as a loadmaster during Operation Allies Refuge, the frantic effort to evacuate more than 124,000 people from Afghanistan, earned him Military Times’ 2022 Airman of the Year award.
President Joe Biden is poised to sign two directives that would allow the U.S. Department of Defense to invest in its hypersonic weapons industrial base as adversaries demonstrate advanced capabilities. As China and Russia tout recent progress in developing hypersonic weapons, which are unique in their ability to maneuver at speeds higher than Mach 5, the Pentagon wants to address potential supply chain disruption in key technology areas.
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.
As much as Washington has wanted to set the Middle East to the side in recent years, geopolitics always seem to bring things back to the region. The latest: Just as President Joe Biden is traveling to Israel and Saudi Arabia, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told members of the press that Iran is preparing to send “hundreds” of military drones to Russia to help Moscow continue its invasion of Ukraine.
The tables have turned for regional rivals Greece and Turkey in the realm of fighter jet acquisition plans, with Greece headed for a buy of the Lockheed Martin F-35 just three years after Turkey was kicked out of the Joint Strike Fighter program. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told reporters on June 30 that the country had submitted a letter of request “in recent days” to the U.S. government for a squadron of 20 F-35s, with options to buy an additional squadron.
Open source software has a mixed reputation for security, yet it drives commercial space enterprises such as SpaceX and Starlink—and increasingly, U.S. military space efforts. But Lauren Barrett Knausenberger, the Air Force’s chief information officer, says her service has taken steps to keep key data safe.
The F-35 program has fixed one of the Lockheed Martin fighter’s Category 1B deficiencies and looks to resolve another two by the end of the year, while the remaining fourth Category 1B Deficiency Report will require development, the F-35 Joint Program Office said. “One DR requires technology development to resolve,” the JPO wrote in an emailed response to questions. “An assessment was recently completed, and a multipart solution has been selected. Funding and closure timeline are currently being determined.”
Two upcoming Rocket Lab launches for the National Reconnaissance Office will send to orbit classified spy satellites that the U.S. intelligence agency developed jointly with the Australian government.The payloads on NROL-162 and NROL-199 are “designed, built, and operated by the National Reconnaissance Office in partnership with the Australian Department of Defence as part of a broad range of cooperative satellite activities with Australia,” an NRO spokesperson said.
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. traveled to Germany to deepen the U.S. Air Force’s partnership with the German Air Force. Germany is a key NATO ally and essential host nation to U.S. forces. Brown met with Lt. Gen. Ingo Gerhartz, chief of the German Air Force; Brig. Gen. Holger Neumann, deputy chief of staff for plans and policy, German Air Force; and other German military officials.
The new efforts, to be announced by Vice President Kamala Harris, will include two additional embassies and a tripling of some aid, among other measures.
America’s enemies have a new creature to fear that has long white ears and wears a tuxedo. The Air Force’s 177th Fighter Wing announced July 8 the activation of the 306th Fighter Squadron, a unit that has been dormant for decades but has a rich combat history and an even richer mascot. The 177th Fighter Wing did not respond in time to provide a history of the emblem, but press materials show it features a rabbit wearing a tux and a beret and holding a machine gun in front of a four-leaf clover.