Ospreys Deploy to Yokota
The Air Force will deploy five CV-22 Ospreys to Yokota AB, Japan, later this week, US Forces Japan announced late Monday. The Pentagon had announced last year the Osprey deployment, which was originally slated for 2017, would be delayed until 2020. However, the schedule “was adjusted” to address “regional security concerns in line with the recently released 2018 National Defense Strategy.” The Ospreys also provide “a platform that can rapidly react to natural disasters or crises,” according to the statement. The CV-22s will remain at Yokota “for a short time,” before conducting training around the region, according to the release. Additional personnel will deploy over the next several months. There will be a total of 10 of the Ospreys assigned to Yokota, according to the Pentagon’s original plan. In addition to Yokota, the aircraft operate at Hurlburt Field, Fla.; Kirtland AFB, N.M.; and RAF Mildenhall, England. —Brian Everstine
CENTCOM Head: Fight Against ISIS Was the Easy Part, Maintaining the Peace Will be Hard
The “easier” aspect of the war against ISIS is largely over, and now comes the hard part of maintaining stability and bringing back governance in areas once held by the group, the head of US military forces in the Middle East said Tuesday. Army Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of US Central Command, said the fight against ISIS inside Iraq went faster than the command’s original strategic planning, with Iraqi forces shifting away from a military that turned and ran in 2014 to a force that conducts large unit operations in effective urban fights. The follow up in Iraq has been “very, very rapid, … faster than even we had anticipated,” Votel said during an event at the US Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C. Now the US-led coalition needs to focus on helping Iraq in the long term to maintain the victory. However, there is still “no doubt” that ISIS cells remain in Iraq and need to be rooted out. The situation in Syria is more complex, with “many more actors on the ground influencing” it, including ISIS, the coalition, the Syrian regime, Iran, Russia, Turkey, and other groups, said Votel. This leads to a longer, more complex effort, though the US is committed to seeing it through, said Brett McGurk, the special presidential envoy for the global coalition to defeat ISIS, at the event. —Brian Everstine
Air Force Increases JDAM Buy from Boeing
The Air Force on Monday increased a contract to Boeing by $311.8 million for more Joint Direct Attack Munition tail kits as the service tries to replenish its depleting weapons stockpiles. The contract ceiling increase modification provides for JDAM strap-on inertial guidance kits with the capability to receive GPS guidance updates, according to a Pentagon announcement. The change comes as the military is pushing to increase production of weapons that have seen heavy use in ongoing operations in the Middle East. The Defense Department’s Fiscal 2019 budget request includes $1.2 billion for 43,594 JDAMs, along with more Hellfire missiles and Small Diameter Bombs. —Brian Everstine
Raytheon Gets $460 Million Radar Warning Receiver Contract
The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center awarded Raytheon Self Protect Systems last week a $460 million contract for the AN/ALR-69A digital Radar Warning Receiver system. The company describes the system as offering aircraft “‘sensors forward’ situational awareness” at significantly less cost than the competition. Last April, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems announced demonstration of the Raytheon ALR-69A on a company-owned Predator B drone against a number of ground-based radars. The Raytheon contract provides for the manufacture, testing, and delivery of “line replaceable units and shop replaceable units.” Work is to be completed by March 2025. —Steve Hirsch
Harrier Crashes in Djibouti, Pilot Ejects
A USMC AV-8B Harrier II crashed Tuesday afternoon shortly after taking off from Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. The pilot was able to eject before the crash, and was in stable condition at an expeditionary medical facility at the base. The Harrier was assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 162 and embarked on the assault ship USS Iwo Jima, US Naval Forces Central Command said in a statement. The US military has a large presence at the base, which is attached to Djibouti Ambouli International Airport and also hosts French troops. It is a main base of operations for ongoing airstrikes targeting Al Shabaab in Somalia and other missions in Africa such as embassy protection and supporting US interests in South Sudan. —Brian Everstine
—The death of A1C Bradley Hale, who was deployed from Barksdale AFB, La., to Andersen AFB, Guam, has been ruled a homicide. An autopsy revealed Hale suffered several lacerations to his neck: Guam Daily Post.
—NASA awarded Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works a contract to design, build, and flight test the Low-Boom Flight Demonstrator, “an X-plane designed to make supersonic passenger air travel a reality:” Lockheed Martin release.
—Air Combat Command Gen. Mike Holmes released a memo outlining his third priority, “bringing the future faster.” Holmes previously released memos on readiness and leadership: ACC release.
—President Donald Trump on Tuesday announced he has been in discussions with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis about deploying the military to protect the US border with Mexico until a border wall is built: Associated Press.
—General Atomics Aeronautical Systems received a $295.7 million contract to produce MQ-9 Reapers, with work to be completed by July 29, 2021: DOD contract announcement.
—Boeing was awarded an $187.3 million contract modification related to F-15 Radar Modernization Program upgrades. The new modification covers a number of areas, including equipment and program management: DOD contract announcement.
—A C-130J assigned to the 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron based at Bagram AB, Afghanistan, transported members of NATO’s Resolute Support Expeditionary Advisory Package and supplies to Mainanah, Faryab province, in March: AFCENT release.