HAC Downsizes USAF Pet Projects in 2020 Bill

House appropriators aren’t sold on the need to fund three high-priority Air Force development projects intended to help tackle counterterrorism missions and “great power competition” simultaneously. Lawmakers offered no money to continue the light attack experiment, and they cut about one-third of the funding requested for the Advanced Battle Management System and multidomain command-and-control programs. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

HAC Funds USAF Hypersonic Ask, With Caveats

The House Appropriations Committee fully funded the Air Force’s hypersonics research and development requests for fiscal 2020, but said it’s not happy with funding gaps that could impair transitioning hypersonic missile prototypes into operational systems. The committee ordered the Air Force to close those gaps, and ordered up a series of new reports explaining the USAF and Pentagon-wide strategies for the technology, including how the industrial base will be prepared to produce hypersonic systems. Read the full story by John A. Tirpak.

F-22s Intercept Russian Bombers, Fighters Two Days in a Row

For the second time in two days, four USAF F-22s intercepted Russian Tu-95 bombers and Su-35 fighters entering the Alaskan air defense identification zone, the North American Aerospace Defense Command announced. The F-22s, each accompanied by an E-3 Sentry, intercepted the bombers on May 21 as they flew into the ADIZ, exited, and then re-entered, NORAD announced. A KC-135 also launched to support the US aircraft. This intercept came after a similar incident on May 20, as two pairs of F-22s and an E-3 intercepted four Tu-95s and two Su-35s in the ADIZ. While the aircraft entered the ADIZ, they did not enter US or Canadian airspace, NORAD announced. The command has intercepted an average of six to seven Russian sorties per year since 2007. “Our ability to deter and defeat threats to our citizens, vital infrastructure, and national institutions starts with successfully detecting, tracking, and positively identifying aircraft of interest approaching US and Canadian airspace,” NORAD Commander USAF Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy said in a statement. —Brian Everstine

B-52 Flies Alongside F-35s, Qatari Aircraft as Part of Task Force Deployment

A B-52 flew alongside two F-35As and two Qatari Air Force Mirage 2000s in a formation over the water in Southwest Asia as the bombers continued their public flights to “defend US forces and interests in the region.” Photographs posted by Air Forces Central Command show air-to-air missiles on the F-35s as they fly alongside the B-52. The aimed to “continue building military-to-military relationships with” Qatar, according to the release. Four B-52s deployed to Al Udeid Air Base, in the country earlier this month in response to reported threats from Iran to US interests and forces in the region. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said May 20 the deployment, along with that of a carrier strike group, has “put on hold attacks on Americans.” “That doesn’t mean that the threats that we’ve previously identified have gone away,” Shanahan said. “Our prudent response, I think, has given the Iranians time to recalculate. I think our response was a measure of our will and our resolve that we will protect our people and our interests in the region.” —Brian Everstine

Wolters: US, Turkey Focused on Solving S-400 Dispute as Deadline Looms

NATO and the US are “very, very” focused on resolving the differences with Turkey as the country reportedly faces a new deadline to decide between the F-35 and Russian-made S-400 system, the head of US European Command said May 22. USAF Gen. Tod Wolters, speaking at a meeting of the NATO chiefs of defense in Brussels, said even though both the governments of Turkey and the US have expressed their opinions on the situation, “You never know what the future will reveal.” The US will not allow the existence of the F-35 in the vicinity of the S-400 system, said Wolters, who also is NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander, Europe. The US State Department has set a deadline of the end of the first week of June to reject the S-400 system, or be removed from the F-35 program, reported CNBC on Tuesday. Turkey plans to purchase 100 of the aircraft, and there are seven Turkish companies that produce parts for the jet. Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition Ellen Lord said earlier this month that removing Turkey from the program would slow deliveries of the aircraft and lead to “cost impacts.” —Brian Everstine



VIDEO: F-16 Pilot Ejects Moments Before Jet Crashes Into Building Near March Air Reserve Base

Dramatic video shows the moment an F-16 pilot ejected just before his fighter jet crashed into a building near March ARB, Calif., last week. ABC30 Action News

What’s the End Game for the US Air Force’s Command and Control Overhaul

The Air Force’s top general has made multidomain command and control one of his top priorities. Now he wants to see it become the Pentagon’s No. 1 technology development initiative. C4ISRNET

Lawmakers Seek to Slow DOD’s Efforts to Slash Medical Billets, Outsource Moves

The House Appropriations Committee moved to rein in the Defense Department as it plans to cut 18,000 military medical billets and proceeds with outsourcing its household goods management system. Military.com

SOCOM Looks to Leverage AI to Take On Peer Adversaries

Special Operations Command wants to take advantage of artificial intelligence to give its commandos an edge over their competitors, officials said May 21. National Defense Magazine

Why the Air Force is Investigating a Cyber Attack from the Navy

The Air Force is investigating the Navy for a cyber intrusion into its network, according to a memo obtained by Military Times. The bizarre turn of events stems from a decision by a Navy prosecutor to embed hidden tracking software into emails sent to defense attorneys, including one Air Force lawyer, involved in a high-profile war-crimes case of a Navy SEAL in San Diego. Air Force Times

Trump Pardoning Troops Could Bring Military Discipline Problems, Experts Say

If the Commander in Chief gives a legal pass to troops who’ve been accused of war crimes, experts warn it could disrupt the order and discipline the military relies on to function. Military.com

Iran Briefings Leave Congress Divided Over Trump’s Intentions, War Powers

Members of Congress emerged from two closed-door briefings on Tuesday to say that senior Trump officials provided little clarity about whether the administration believes it has the authority to go to war with Iran without additional legislative approval. Defense One

US Clears Sale of Additional AMRAAM Weapon Systems to Japan

The US State Department has approved a potential foreign military sale of additional AIM-120C-7 advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles (AMRAAM) to Japan. The possible sale includes 160 AMRAAMs and related equipment worth an estimated $317 million. Air Force Technology

Long Time Coming: China’s Defense Minister to Speak at Shangri-La Dialogue

China’s defense minister is scheduled to speak at a regional security summit in Singapore next month, marking the first time in almost a decade it will have sent a high-ranking official to the annual event. Defense News

One More Thing…

The Forgotten Civilians of Eglin Air Force Base

Civilian employees at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida tested the defoliant Agent Orange in the 1960s. Public radio veteran Jon Kalish brings us the story of these workers, who have suffered from ailments including soft-tissue sarcomas and lymphoma. Living Downstream