USAF Drops $2.4 Million in Scholarships To Get Cadets Private Pilot Licenses
The Air Force is paying $2.4 million to teach 120 of its Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (AFJROTC) cadets how to fly, part of the service’s overall effort to address its pilot shortage. Recipients of the AFJROTC Flight Academy scholarship will take summer classes in the summer of 2018, each course lasting between seven and nine weeks, an Air Force spokesperson told Air Force Magazine. Recipients won’t necessarily become military pilots, even if they earn their private licenses. “We understand not all of the cadets graduating from the Flight Academy will elect to take a military track, but that’s OK as those young people electing to enter commercial aviation will have a positive impact on the overall national crisis,” said Brig. Gen. Michael Koscheski, director of the Air Force Aircrew Crisis Task Force, in a release about the scholarship. Read the full story from Gideon Grudo.
Air Force Opens Innovation Hub in Las Vegas
Vice President Mike Pence and Air Force leadership cut the ribbon on Thursday at AFwerX—an innovation hub in Las Vegas that is focused on finding new solutions to future problems. AFwerX will feature a permanent staff, along with collaboration with academia and industry, in a large facility outfitted with equipment such as 3D printers and carbon fiber ovens. Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Steven Wilson said there are good reason to base this idea in Las Vegas, and more such sites will be coming soon. Read the full story by Brian Everstine and John Tirpak.
B-2s Deploy to Pacific for Bomber Deterrence Mission
Three B-2 stealth bombers and about 200 airmen deployed to Guam this week to continue the Air Force’s continuous bomber presence mission in the region. The aircraft from Whiteman AFB, Mo., will fly training and deterrence missions out of Andersen Air Force Base during a time of heightened tensions over North Korea’s nuclear program. While the bombers deployed to Pacific Air Forces have repeatedly flown training missions with South Korean and Japanese aircraft, the Pentagon and South Korean officials announced last week that the countries are delaying joint military exercises during the upcoming Winter Olympics in South Korea. Six B-1Bs from Ellsworth AFB, S.D., have been deployed at the base since July. —Brian Everstine
B-52s Deploy to England
Four B-52s are deployed to RAF Fairford, England, for “theater integration and training” in the United Kingdom, the Air Force announced. Three B-52s and about 300 airmen from the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot AFB, N.D., arrived on Jan. 9, with the fourth arriving Thursday, according to US Air Forces in Europe. The deployment will include joint and allied training “to improve bomber interoperability,” according to USAFE. B-52s have regularly deployed to Fairford, most recently in September. —Brian Everstine
US Must Take Steps to Counter China’s Rise
The United States must develop strategies to address China’s military and technological rise, witnesses told a House Armed Services subcommittee hearing this week. Read the full story by Steve Hirsch.
Air National Guard Aiding California Mudslide Rescue Efforts
California Air National Guardsmen from the 129th Rescue Wing are aiding search-and-rescue efforts in southern California following recent mudslides. The wing has deployed an HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter with aircrews and two pararescuemen to the Santa Barbara Municipal Airport, the Defense Department said Thursday. The helicopter is one of eight California National Guard aircraft and a dozen high-water vehicles supporting the response efforts, the department said. —Steve Hirsch
Trump Signs Order to Help Veterans Returning to Civilian Life
Declaring veterans must be given “the care and support they so richly deserve,” President Donald Trump Tuesday signed an executive order directing the departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs to produce a plan to provide ““seamless access to mental health treatment and suicide prevention resources” to veterans in the first year following military service. The order gives the departments 60 days to develop the joint action plan, and 180 days to provide a report on the plan’s implementation and an outline of further reforms to increase veterans’ access to mental health services. It cites a number of statistics related to the issue, including the low rate of returning service members who need mental health treatment who seek treatment or receive adequate care, the high suicide rate among veterans in their first year out, and the high rate—18.5 percent—of returning Iraq or Afghanistan veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or depression. —Steve Hirsch
Boeing Unveils New Prototype Unmanned Cargo Air Vehicle
Boeing on Wednesday unveiled an unmanned electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing cargo air vehicle prototype it said is designed to transport a payload of up to 500 pounds and will be used in the development of the company’s autonomy technology for future aerospace vehicles. The company said the prototype complements the prototype electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing passenger aircraft being developed by Aurora Flight Sciences, which was acquired by Boeing last year. Powered by an electric propulsion system, the cargo prototype has eight counter rotating blades allowing for vertical flight. It is 15 feet long, 18 feet wide, 4 feet tall, and weighs 747 pounds. —Steve Hirsch
The satellite, code named Zuma, which was launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket over the weekend and now appears to be missing, is not a National Reconnaissance Office payload as originally reported in the Jan. 10 Daily Report. Also, Rep. Don Bacon, a retired USAF brigadier general and former EC-130H mission crew commander, is a Republican representing Nebraska. We have corrected the following errors.
—The Air Force has finished its environmental impact study of Shaw AFB, S.C., which is one of the candidate bases to host a new MQ-9 operations group with mission control elements and/or a full MQ-9 wing, Air Combat Command boss Gen. Mike Holmes said during a recent visit to Creech AFB, Nev.: ACC release.
—Former Airman Second Class Helen Grace James, who was kicked out of the Air Force in 1955 for being a lesbian, is now suing the service at the age of 90, saying she wants her “undesirable” discharge upgraded to an honorable discharge: The Washington Post.
—The launch of a United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket carrying the NROL-47 payload was scrubbed on Thursday “due to an issue with a ground system valve,” and has been rescheduled for 1 p.m. on Jan. 12: ULA Tweet.