B-1B Fleet Returning to Flight After Extended Grounding
The first of the B-1B bombers returned to flight this week following a nearly four-week stand-down due to issues with drogue chutes in the aircraft’s ejection seats. Air Force Global Strike Command said in a Tuesday release that more aircraft are expected to return to flight in the near future as inspections and maintenance are completed. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.
Raytheon Tweaking OCX Following First GPS III Launch
Four months after Lockheed Martin’s first GPS III satellite launched from Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., Raytheon says it is changing some aspects of its Operational Control System’s software based on how OCX is performing in real life. While Block 0 is exceeding the requirements set by the Air Force, Bill Sullivan, Raytheon’s vice president for OCX, said the company is addressing defects and bugs in both the earlier block as well as ensuring they don’t affect Block 1. Other details are being smoothed out in preparation for the second and third GPS III launches later this year. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.
PACAF Practices Rapidly Dispersing to Forward Bases
Pacific Air Forces on Monday conducted a large-scale exercise, in which aircraft from several units were forced to “scatter” to other operating locations to ensure they could continue operating if they were ever forced to abandon a base. Resilient Typhoon involved airmen and aircraft from five bases who rapidly relocated from Andersen AFB, Guam, to locations throughout the South Pacific. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.
Air Force Updates Uniform Guidelines
The Air Force is updating its regulations for the new Operational Camouflage Patterns in response to feedback from airmen. Under the new guidance airmen will wear the squadron patch on the right sleeve of the uniform along with the US flag and move the higher headquarters patch to the left sleeve. The change, which places an emphasis on squadron heritage, swaps the placement of the two patches from original guidance, which was originally aimed at matching the other services that wear the OCP. The Air Force also has authorized the two-piece flight suit to be worn both in garrison and at deployed locations, a step to provide better “form, fit, and function” for airmen to perform their duties, according to an Air Force release. The Air Force originally made the switch to the OCP in May 2018, with full transition expected to be completed by April 1, 2021.
Civil Air Patrol Mulling Future of Cessna Fleet
The Air Force wants a contractor to study whether the Civil Air Patrol’s fleet offers the right mix of capabilities for current and future missions, according to a recent Federal Business Opportunities posting. “Increased Department of Defense reliance upon CAP … has revealed an increasing mission demand for defense support of civil authorities, homeland defense, and homeland security missions with a more immediate and greater need in times of crisis,” according to the April 19 sources-sought notice. “Based on CAP’s current and future mission and services, CAP’s fleet may need to be modernized, diversified, and/or upgraded.” Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.
Historic Northrop N-9M Crashes in California, Killing Pilot
A historic Northrop N-9M, an early 1940s aircraft that began the “flying wing” design that ultimately led to aircraft such as the B-2 Spirit bomber, crashed Monday in California killing the pilot. The aircraft, the last of four originally built in 1942, crashed around noon on Monday in the yard of a Riverside County prison facility in Norco, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. Video from KTLA showed wreckage of the yellow aircraft strewn across an open area of the sprawling corrections facility. The National Transportation Safety Board said on Twitter it was beginning an investigation into the crash. The aircraft was part of the nearby Planes of Fame Museum in Chino. It was obtained by the museum from the Air Force in the 1950s and restoration was completed in the 1990s. Northrop originally built the aircraft as an engineering development vehicle to gather data for the XB-35 bomber. It first flew in 1942. One of the prototypes crashed and killed the test pilot in 1943. —Brian Everstine
Opinion: F-15EX Needed to Compete With Russia and China
To compete and win against near-peer competitors such as Russia and China, the United States Air Force needs both fourth- and fifth-generation fighters. That simple reality has generated a contentious debate this year, with Air Force leaders defending the need to buy new F-15EX aircraft to maintain a diverse mix of capabilities across the fighter fleet, according to an editorial by former Air Combat Command boss retired Gen. Mike Hostage, who currently works as a consultant for Boeing. Morning Consult
Boeing Prepares Plant For Likely Air Force F-15 Orders
Boeing is preparing to build F-15 fighter planes for the U.S. Air Force at its St. Louis County plant even though the military branch hasn’t bought the jet in over a decade. Associated Press
Victims of Military Medical Mistakes to Tell Their Stories at Congressional Hearing Seeking Legal Fixes
House lawmakers will hear directly from the victims of military medical mistakes next week in a hearing looking at whether Congress should consider changing the rules regarding malpractice cases against the Department of Defense. Military Times
SpaceX to Launch Cargo Resupply Mission Despite Crew Dragon Mishap
The “anomaly” experienced by SpaceX’s Crew Dragon over the weekend won’t affect the company’s planned space station resupply mission. UPI
Northrop Grumman to Support USAF’s New Cyber Weapons System
Northrop Grumman has received a contract from the US Air Force (USAF) to provide Cyber Enterprise Services (CES) on US Cyber Command’s Unified Platform cyber weapons system. The USAF awarded contracts to Northrop Grumman and four other companies to perform the work. airforce-technology.com
Voice Analysis Software May Help Diagnose PTSD in Veterans
Voice analysis software can help detect post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in veterans based on their speech, a study suggests. Reuters
Trump Administration Appeals Ruling Finding that the Male-Only Draft is Unconstitutional
The Trump administration has moved to defend the male-only military draft, appealing a federal court ruling that Selective Service registration is unconstitutional because it discriminates based on sex. USA TODAY
One More Thing …
Space for US
“Space for US” features 56 stories across the United States about how people are finding solutions to local challenges by using NASA Earth observations from space. NASA freely and openly provides its data to those seeking answers to important global issues such as changing freshwater availability, food security, and human health. NASA