USAF Leaders to Squadron Commanders Consider Lessons Learned After Safety Review
Top Air Force leaders are reviewing lessons learned from the service-wide safety stand down earlier this year in order to push out changes needed from the top down, while some units are already moving forward on their own safety plans. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said Tuesday that he just received the Air Force Safety Center’s report on information gathered during the stand down. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.
Boeing Awarded Contract for Air Force One Replacement
The Air Force on Tuesday announced it awarded Boeing a $3.9 billion contract for the design, modification, testing, certification, and fielding of two mission-ready 747-8is to serve as the next Air Force One. The contract was originally announced by the White House in February, after Boeing said it had taken cost-saving steps such as buying two 747-8is back from the boneyard. The contract announcement states $64 million in research and development funds are being immediately obligated. Work will be performed in San Antonio, and is expected to be finished by December 2024. The next US presidential aircraft has received increased attention in recent days, with President Trump having said he wants it to have a more patriotic look. The new aircraft will replace two VC-25As, based on Boeing’s 747-200B, which first entered service in 1990. —Steve Hirsch
ACC Officially Takes Over 24th Air Force
Air Combat Command officially took over 24th Air Force this week, aligning both USAF cyber operations and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance under the same command. The move took place the same time as 24th Air Force got a new commander, Maj. Gen. Robert Skinner. The move to align both 24th and 25th Air Forces under ACC was made to make decisions faster, according to USAF leaders. “If we’re going to compete, deter and win on the international stage, we must think of every domain as coequal and interdependent,” ACC boss Gen. Mike Holmes said during the ceremony July 17 at JB San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, according to a release. During the ceremony, Skinner assumed command from Maj. Gen. Chris Weggeman. “Our task is to dominate the cyber domain, with trained and ready forces, and deter and defeat our enemies in any multi-domain operation,” Skinner said, according to the release. —Brian Everstine
Hill Testing 3D Printing to Lower Costs of F-35 Parts, Increase Availability
The Air Force’s main F-35 operating base is experimenting with 3D printing as a way to drive down repair costs and increasing F-35 availability. The 388th Maintenance Group at Hill AFB, Utah, recently bought a 3D printer, and is testing ways to fix damaged parts such a wiring harnesses, grommets, fasteners, housing boxes, and cable splitters, according to a Hill release. “In the (Air Force Repair and Enhancement) program, we receive parts that have been damaged and fix them so that they can be returned to the supply chain more quickly,” said TSgt. Scott Mathews, assistant AFREP manager with the 388th Maintenance Group at Hill, in the release. “It’s much more cost effective for the Air Force than buying new parts.” The F-35 program has faced a parts shortfall, which has negatively impacted the jet’s mission capable rate. The Air Force was late in standing up its depots for the F-35, causing a slowdown in fixing jets and refurbishing parts, sometimes forcing the Air Force to go back to the manufacturer to make new parts, Lt. Gen. Jerry Harris, the deputy chief of staff for strategic plans, programs, and requirements, told lawmakers in March. The high sustainment costs for the jet is the biggest issue facing the program, potentially growing too expensive for the services to afford, program executive Vice Adm. Mat Winter said earlier this year. —Brian Everstine
Marion Takes Over As Air Force CIO
William Marion has taken over as acting chief of information dominance and the chief information officer of the Air Force, according to the Air Force agency’s website. The move follows President Trump’s April nomination of former USAF chief of information dominance and CIO Lt. Gen. Bradford Shwedo to be director of command, control, communications, and computers/cyber and chief information officer on the Joint Staff. Marion had served as the deputy chief of information dominance and deputy chief information officer since 2016, according to his USAF biography. —Steve Hirsch
—Boeing is reportedly pitching the Air Force buy new, upgraded F-15s, dubbed the F-15X. The plan is similar to a strategy Boeing used to pitch the US Navy upgraded Super Hornets: Defense One.
—Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is reportedly open to talks with Russia’s defense chief. The last time a US defense secretary met with his Russian counterpart was in 2015: Reuters.
—The Colombian Air Force sent 130 airmen and six Kfir fighter jets to Red Flag 18-3 at Nellis AFB,Nev., where they flew air-to-air training with A-10s and F-16s: USAF release.
—Representatives from the Japan Air Self-Defense Force on July 11 visited members of the 22nd Maintenance Group at McConnell AFB, Kan., to see commonalities between the KC-46 tanker and the KC-767 flown by the JASDF: McConnell release.
—The Air Force on Tuesday awarded Aero-Glen International a $403 million contract for F-16 Systems Program Office support. The contract will cover F-16 service life extension program kits: Pentagon announcement.