US Allies on the Move in Space
Space is a uniquely collaborative combat domain, and US allies are working to expand their role in a combined space defense effort, air force officers from the United Kingdom and Australia said at an AFA Mitchell Institute event in Washington, D.C., Friday. Those nations are planning to double their space investment over the next five years in order to field new capabilities and are working to expand the community of allied nations in space as well. The ultimate goal is to present a coordinated, allied front in space that represents a significant strategic deterrent to adversary nations. Read the full story by Wilson Brissett.
AMC Looking to Double Time at Bases for Pilots to Address Shortage
Air Mobility Command is examining several additional steps to help alleviate its pilot shortage, including doubling the amount of time a pilot stays at their stations and pushing more additional duties off so airmen can spend more time in cockpits. AMC will lose about 1,600 pilots over the next four years, and the command has reached out to its ranks for ideas to help address the issue, AMC commander Gen. Carlton Everhart said Friday. These steps are in addition to increasing flying hours and more bonuses to pilots. The command is also in the early steps of creating a new policy to have set career tracks be “flying only.” The idea is in its “skeletal” stages and requires input and authorization from Air Force headquarters, Everhart said. The idea is to let airmen spend their entire careers flying, which would likely move senior officers from “gray tails,” such as C-17s and C-130s, and into “white tails” such as C-20s, C-21s, and C-37s, among others. —Brian Everstine
AMC Crews Surging to Alleviate Backlog of Cargo Following Storm Response
There is currently a delay of about 15 days getting cargo downrange due to Air Mobility Command’s large-scale relief effort following the recent series of hurricanes and other natural disasters, AMC head Gen. Carlton Everhart said Friday. About 60 percent of AMC’s overall capacity was mobilized to respond to storm relief in Puerto Rico, and the surge to respond to other global requirements could last through the holidays. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.
Spangdahlem Conducts Sortie Surge
The 52nd Fighter Wing at Spangdahlem AB, Germany, completed an F-16 sortie surge Oct. 23-26 designed to practice a wartime pace of operations. “We typically fly roughly 22-30 sorties in a day,” said Col. Anthony Retka, 52nd Operations Group commander, in a press release, but “during this surge we planned to fly up to 48 sorties a day.” While weather conditions kept the wing from hitting its overall target of 192 sorties, they did reach 47 sorties per day twice during the surge, and 24 sorties another day. More important than the exact number of sorties, however, was “for the pilots to get the training that is required of them,” said Retka. In the end, the 52nd FW flew as much in four days as the wing typically flies in two weeks. Maintainers also worked 10-hour shifts to support the higher operations tempo.
Mattis Visits DMZ, Urges Denuclearization Without War
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis made a public appearance at the demilitarized zone between South and North Korea on Friday, where he emphasized that the US does not war but is pushing for the complete denuclearization of the peninsula. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.
Lakenheath F-15Cs Deploy to Lithuania
Seven F-15Cs and about 55 airmen deployed to Siauliai Air Base in Lithuania on Friday for a training deployment. The aircraft, from the 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath, UK, will fly an “assurance measure” under Operation Atlantic Resolve, and train with a focus on “building interoperability with our Baltic allies,” according to a US Air Forces in Europe release. This deployment is separate from the ongoing NATO Baltic Air Policing mission that is also being flown by Lakenheath F-15Cs, according to USAFE.
—Vice President Mike Pence visited Minot AFB, N.D., on Friday, where he toured the 5th Bomb Wing and the 91st Missile Wing, and thanked airmen for their service. Read his remarks.
—US Strategic Command will begin its annual Global Thunder command and control exercise on Oct. 30. Global Thunder will help “integrate our strategic capabilities in order to deliver multi-domain effects against any adversary, anywhere in the world, at any time,” STRATCOM commander Gen. John Hyten said in a press release.
—Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said taking care of airmen and their families is one of his top priorities. “We have to get the family piece right … our commitment [is] to our service members and their loved ones on and off the battlefield,” Goldfein said at the 2017 ThanksUSA Treasure our Troops Gala in Washington, D.C. “[We] must help them sustain the demands placed upon them:” USAF release.