B-52s Return From Deployment to Europe
B-52s began to return to Barksdale AFB, La., on Friday after almost one month of training alongside allies across Europe and northern Africa. Six B-52s, from the 2nd Bomb Wing, deployed to RAF Fairford, England, in mid-March. The bombers flew training missions in several European and African countries, including Iceland, Poland, Romania, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, and Morocco. During these missions, the bombers trained alongside host nation air forces and ground controllers. Some aircraft began to fly back to Louisiana on Friday with the rest expected to leave Saturday. While these bombers were in Europe, B-52s from Minot AFB, N.D., were deployed to the Pacific as part of the Air Force’s continuous bomber presence, and for the first time in a long time USAF had no bombers deployed to US Central Command. —Brian Everstine
AFRICOM Acknowledges Civilians Killed in April 2018 Somalia Strike
US Africa Command for weeks claimed to reporters and to Congress there had been no civilian casualties in the more than two years of ongoing airstrikes inside Somalia. On Friday, the command admitted that an internal investigation at a lower level inside AFRICOM determined it was likely a woman and a child were killed in a strike more than a year ago, but that assessment did not make it to AFRICOM leadership until this week. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.
STRATCOM’s New NC3 Center Reaches First Milestone
US Strategic Command’s Nuclear Command, Control, and Communications Enterprise Center recently reached initial operational capability, the latest step toward restructuring and updating those assets under STRATCOM’s leadership. The center, which is located at Offutt AFB, Neb., will focus on sustaining current NC3 systems, designing and fielding their replacements in the next 10 years, and revamping operational-level force direction, management, and planning. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.
Rocket Lab, VOX Space to Launch USAF Small-Sat Missions This Year
Rocket Lab and VOX Space will handle two of five experimental small-satellite launch missions for the Air Force this year under the Rapid Agile Launch Initiative, along with a third company yet to be announced. The program aims to be another example of how the Air Force is trying to make it easier and more affordable to put national security payloads in space. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.
To Grow New, Diverse Generation of Pilots, Air Force, Lawmakers Eye Flight Training for JROTC
The population of pilots in the aviation industry—including the Air Force—remains very white, and very male. And that lack of diversity worries the Air Force. Air Force Times
Senate Panel to Hold First ‘Space Force’ Hearing Next Week
The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold its first official hearing on President Trump’s “Space Force” proposal next week, the committee announced Thursday. The Hill
Behind the Hazing Practice That Just Got 2 Air Force Commanders Fired
A few airmen walk into a room, positioning themselves between you and the exit. As the “new guy” in the squadron, you likely know exactly what’s about to happen. You have to outsmart or elude them to avoid getting bound up and immobilized by rolls of duct tape. Military.com
Ill-Fitting Gear Could Put Female Pilots’ Lives at Risk—But a Redesign Is on the Way
For decades, most female pilots in the Air Force have been forced to wear flight suits and other gear that was designed for men, and extensively altered to fit their bodies. It’s not an ideal situation, to say the least. Air Force Times
Idaho Lawsuit Filed over Proposed Air Force Training Program
The U.S. Air Force faces a lawsuit intended to halt training exercises over nine cities in southern Idaho. Associated Press via Military.com
Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System Team to Receive the 2018 Robert J. Collier Trophy
The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) is pleased to announce that the Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (Auto GCAS) Team has been named the recipient of the 2018 Robert J. Collier Trophy for “… successfully completing a rapid design, integration, and flight test of critical, lifesaving technology for the worldwide F-35 fleet.” NAA release
Here’s Who Is Going to Be the Next Missile Defense Agency Chief
The next Missile Defense Agency director will be now-Vice Admiral Jon Hill, who currently serves as the agency’s deputy director, the MDA has confirmed. Hill will replace Air Force Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, who will retire July 1, according to MDA spokesman Mark Wright. Defense News
NASA and MIT’s Transforming Wing Could Change How Planes Are Built
Composed of hundreds of small, identical pieces, the shape-shifting wing can automatically morph to the most efficient shape for a given stage of flight. Popular Mechanics
One More Thing ….
The Beautiful Benefits of Contemplating Doom
Every year, in late January, a small group of beetle-browed scientists, politicians, and journalists gather at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., to ponder the end of the world. This is a day of solemn kitsch: the unveiling of the Doomsday Clock. Wired