B-52

B-52 Will Get at Least One New Designation With Radar, Engine Upgrades

The B-52H will be redesignated the B-52J or possibly B-52K when it gets a new radar and new engines, but the Air Force hasn’t yet decided what will constitute the new B-52 variant, according to Col. Louis Ruscetta, senior materiel leader for the program. The program has also developed a new estimate of what the re-engining will cost and is about to submit it to Congress, but Ruscetta said reports of a 50 percent overrun are far overstated. In fact, he said he sees no overruns on the horizon.
Light Attack

Air Force Set to Get Rid of Small A-29, AT-6 Fleets, Program Official Says

Just over two years ago, the Air Force announced it was buying limited quantities of Textron’s AT-6s and Sierra Nevada Corp.’s A-29s. Now, the service is seemingly set to get rid of the aircraft, most likely in the form of a foreign military sale. Should such a sale occur, it would mark the end of a prolonged back-and-forth. At the moment, Air Force Special Operations Command and Air Combat Command operate three A-29s and two AT-6s, respectively.
F-35

F-35 Squadrons in Alaska Shift to Full Operations as ‘Advanced Threats’ Grow ‘More Lethal’

U.S. Indo-Pacific Command has two new squadrons of F-35s at its disposal in Alaska just as “quite a bit of action” has taken place in the combatant command’s area of responsibility and the “advanced threats” there are becoming “more lethal,” said the squadrons’ wing commander, Col. David J. Berkland. Berkland’s 354th Fighter Wing at Eielson Air Force Base received the 54th of its 54 F-35s in April, giving Alaska—when also counting the F-22s at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson—the “largest concentration of fifth-gen, combat-coded airpower in the world” within its borders, Berkland said. The wing's priority now is to "shift ourselves into full operational capability to conduct agile combat employment operations throughout the Pacific AOR at austere locations," he said. 
hypersonic

Richardson: TBG and HAWC Can Still ‘Inform’ Other Hypersonic Efforts

The Tactical Boost Glide program and the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept still have value, even though the programs they support are either in source selection or flight testing, said Gen. Duke Z. Richardson, head of Air Force Materiel Command. The Air Force is pursuing the TBG and HAWC programs jointly with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. “I do think there’s value in completing” the two hypersonic projects with DARPA, Richardson said. “We can reduce risk by letting those programs run.” He said there’s a difference between “whether they’re required, or inform” the operational systems.
air force cybersecurity

Air Force Was ‘Hyper Focused’ on Cybersecurity for IT Networks. Now Other Systems Need Protection.

Looking to address Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall’s operational imperatives, cyber leaders with the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center recently analyzed their networks and systems to see how they would hold up against cyber threats. The leaders came away with a “sobering” observation: Key IT networks and data centers were secure, but the networks that support base facilities, weapons systems, and infrastructure were less so.
PACT

Biden Signs PACT Act to Expand VA Coverage for Toxic Exposure, but Some Are Left Out

After years of wrangling in Congress and more than a dozen failed bills, President Joe Biden signed the largest expansion of Veterans Affairs health care in 30 years, adding more than 5 million eligible veterans but leaving some waiting up to 10 years for phase-in periods or without coverage for chronic conditions. “Veterans of the wars of Iraq and Afghanistan did not only face dangers in battle, they were breathing toxic smoke from burn pits,” Biden said before signing the act into law. The bill immediately gives 23 conditions presumptive status, making service members eligible for care without proving that brain, respiratory, or other cancers were service-related.

Radar Sweep

U.S. Space Command Basing Decision Approaching Final Stretch

SpaceNews

The head of U.S. Space Command said he expects a final decision to be made relatively soon on where the command will be permanently headquartered. The Department of the Air Force in January 2021 recommended that Space Command, currently located at Peterson Space Force Base, Colo., move to Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala. The basing decision has since been embroiled in a political fight as Colorado lawmakers have pushed back. Space Command is responsible for providing satellite-based services to the U.S. military and for protecting those assets from foreign threats.

GAO: Military Academies' Efforts to Measure Diversity Are Incomplete

13 News Now

The Government Accountability Office is raising questions about the Defense Department’s military academies. In a new report, the GAO says the schools have taken actions to improve organizational climate by incorporating leading practices for managing workforce diversity. Additionally, the GAO says the service academies have recognized the need to recruit more diverse faculty, but need to develop measures to assess the success of their actions.

This Air Force Drone Just Proved It Can Be a ‘Grunt Angel’ in a War With China

Task & Purpose

Sometimes it’s not the weapons that win battles, but the tools troops use to see, hear, and communicate about what’s going on. That seems to ring true, as the Air Force risked sending a multi-million dollar aircraft over 9,000 miles of open ocean to prove it could serve both as a persistent source of targeting and sensor information and also relay that information to service members throughout the Pacific in a possible war against China.

SPACECOM Integrating Army, Navy Sensors to Improve Space Monitoring

Breaking Defense

U.S. Space Command is now integrating “non-traditional” sensors, originally built for tracking and targeting ballistic missiles, into its network for keeping tabs on satellites and spacecraft, said Gen. James H. Dickinson, SPACECOM commander. Those sensors “now provide increased fidelity to the understanding of the space environment,” he told the Space and Missile Defense Symposium in Huntsville, Ala.

COMMENTARY: Campaigning at the Top of the World: The Arctic and Homeland Defense

Air Force Times

“The 2022 National Defense Strategy outlines defending the homeland as priority No. 1. To ensure homeland defense, North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command require credible capability to deter strategic competitor actions across the whole of our area of operations and responsibility, including the Arctic. While some may challenge the importance of the Arctic to U.S. national security, Russia and the People’s Republic of China have clearly made long-term Arctic investments,” writes Gen. Glen D. VanHerck, commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command.

Top U.S. Generals Take Issue With Russian Satellite Near U.S. Orbit

NBC News

In an NBC News exclusive, the first-ever cameras were allowed inside U.S. Space Command, where the military tracks every rocket and missile launch around the globe. SpaceX has launched what is believed to be a top secret, state-of-the-art spy satellite that will support the Pentagon’s “overhead reconnaissance mission.” Meanwhile, U.S. commanding generals are concerned about a new spy satellite that Russia just put into orbit.

Questions Surrounding System-of-System Network Technologies 'Permeate' Department of Air Force Operational Imperatives

Executive Biz

When Timothy Grayson, special assistant to the secretary of the Air Force for mission-centered analysis and operational imperatives, considers how to best master and facilitate “system-of-systems” network technologies, he cautions that there is a ceiling to the intricacies people and organizations can grasp. “I don’t care if it’s human beings or computers. There’s a limit to how much complexity we can manage … So, we need to figure out a way to isolate and manage the complexity of the decision space while still being able to access as much of the optionality as possible,” Grayson reasoned.

A Year Later, Afghan Refugees Remain in Legal Limbo as Vets Continue Evacuating Allies Left Behind

Military.com

Thousands of Afghans brought to the United States during the American military evacuation after the Taliban overran Kabul remain in a legal limbo nearly a year later, unsure whether they will be able to remain in their new country when their temporary immigration status expires soon. Meanwhile, as the one-year anniversary of the withdrawal approaches, veterans groups have not let up efforts to get out the estimated 78,000 Afghans who aided the 20-year effort but were left behind when the last U.S. troops departed.

Air Force Builds on Incremental ABMS Improvements, Ready to Expand Program

Federal News Network

This spring, the Air Force brought in lawmakers to witness the latest developments of its Advanced Battle Management System. The tour included the Shadow Operations Center-Nellis, a laboratory that is identifying emerging technologies for faster data transfer to service members. “The Shadow Operations Center is critical to the Air Force’s drive to link information to sensors and shooters in real time,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. said. “As our service continues to accelerate change, the revelations coming out of this battle lab will help our warfighters more quickly understand, share, decide, and act, which will provide them a greater advantage on the battlefield.”

Canada Plans to Buy 4 New Airbus Tankers, Requests Proposal

Defense News

The Canadian government expects to award a contract to Airbus in 2023 for four new strategic tanker transport aircraft, according to the country’s National Defence Department. The Canadian Armed Forces found that the Airbus A330 MRTT, a refueling and transport plane, is the only aircraft qualified for the job. The Air Force wants the first of the A330s operational by 2028.

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