Lockheed Gets $1.4 Billion Contract for F-35 Maintenance

Lockheed Martin on Monday received a $1.4 billion cost-plus-incentive fee contract for F-35 logistics, including ground maintenance, depot activation, and maintenance of the jet’s Autonomic Logistics Information System. The contract, which covers work through April 2019, comes as Pentagon and F-35 program officials have repeatedly lamented the growing costs of F-35 sustainment. “With the F-35, we have been very focused on production costs, but sustainment is where I still worry,” Will Roper, USAF’s acquisition chief, told reporters last week. “Production costs we pay one time, and we should get it down as low as possible, but sustainment is something we inherit for a generation.” Read the full story by Brian Everstine and Amy McCullough.

Certifying the Nuclear Fleet in a Cyber World

The last time the Air Force certified a nuclear-capable weapon system—the B-2 bomber in the early 1990s—the internet did not exist, at least not as it does today. So as the service embarks on a long-overdue modernization of its nuclear force, Lt. Gen. Jack Weinstein, the head of strategic deterrence and nuclear integration on the Air Staff, said it must rethink how it certifies its nuclear weapon systems in a cyber world. Weinstein also said he planned to submit the congressionally mandated Nuclear Mission Assessment, which takes a broad look at the capability of the USAF nuclear enterprise, to the Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Air Force by the end of the year. Read the full story by Amy McCullough.

USAF’s Oldest EC-130H Prepares to go from Combat to Retirement

The Air Force’s oldest EC-130H will head straight from combat operations to be prepared for retirement at the boneyard. EC-130H, tail number 65-0989, built in 1965 and one of the first C-130Hs to be outfitted for electronic warfare in the early 1980s, has been flying combat operations as part of Operation Inherent Resolve. In June, it will fly back to the 55th Electronic Combat Group at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., where it will be prepared to head to the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group, commonly known as the boneyard, in August. “It will be sad to see 989 depart the runway here, knowing that within six months her propellers will be motionless in the Tucson desert,” Lt. Col. Christopher Iavarone, commander of the 43rd Expeditionary Electronic Combat Squadron, said in a release. “We have the satisfaction of knowing she provided the blanket of freedom for US and coalition partners throughout the decades with electronic attack capabilities.” The aircraft will be replaced with an upgraded, Baseline-2 modified EC-130H, which provides what the Pentagon calls “fifth generation” electronic attack capability, according to the release.

Afghan Military End Strength Lagging, Air Force’s Fleet Faces Availability Issues

The overall end strength of the Afghan military, including the Afghan Air Force, is below its authorized end strength while much of the country’s fledgling aircraft fleet is unavailable. The AAF has 132 aircraft currently, though many of them are unavailable, as the fighting season commences. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.



—The Pentagon is looking to field self-driving vehicles faster than companies such as Uber and Tesla can develop them for the public. The technology could help avoid casualties from logistics deliveries in combat zones, said Michael Griffin, the undersecretary of defense for research and engineering: Bloomberg.

—An Office of Special Investigations airman noticed a post on Reddit that read like a subtle cry for help, and intervened to help the suicidal airman behind the message: Stars and Stripes.

—Yokota AB, Japan, on April 27 unveiled a statue of a C-130J, marking the completed transition from C-130Hs to the new fleet of Super Hercules: Yokota release.

—Four airmen from across the Air Force were awarded the Gen. Lew Allen Jr. Award for the best performance of logistics readiness officers and NCOs: USAF release.

—A Russian Su-27 buzzed a US Navy P-8 on Tuesday in the Baltic Sea. The intercept was “safe” but “unprofessional,” according to a US defense official: FOX News.