Guard Preparing Tens of Thousands More Troops for Hurricane Relief
The National Guard is posturing up to 30,000 more troops to help with the response to Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area, as Air Force pararescue teams stand by to help save those stranded in the storm. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.
GAO Denies Compass Call Recapitalization Protest
The Government Accountability Office on Aug. 25 denied protests by Boeing and Bombardier against its planned recapitalization of the EC-130H Compass Call. The Air Force earlier this year allowed L3 Technologies to choose what aircraft will replace the EC-130. L3 has upgraded many of the systems on the EC-130, and Air Force officials have said many of the systems will be “cross decked” to the new platform. Boeing, in its May protest, claimed the “apparent sole-source award” violates the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act’s outline for the Compass Call recapitalization and ignores conflicts of interest. Boeing alleged Gulfstream will get an advantage because it is already closely aligned with L3 on modifying G550s for foreign militaries. The GAO denied these claims. However, the reasoning for the protest has not been released because the protest is covered by a protective order. A final, redacted version of the decision will eventually be released, according to the GAO. —Brian Everstine
Trump Says “All Options Are on the Table” After North Korean Missile Launch
President Donald Trump said Tuesday that “all options are on the table” for his administration in responding to North Korea’s latest ballistic missile launch. The launch on Monday of a ballistic missile over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido traveled about 1,677 miles, South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff said. Hours after the launch, four Republic of Korea F-15K fighter aircraft conducted a live-fire training airstrike simulating the destruction of North Korea’s leadership. Read the full story by Wilson Brissett.
SMC Wants White Papers on Battle Management Command and Control
The Space and Missile Systems Center on Monday issued an updated call for white papers proposing technical advances to meet the service’s need for space battle management command and control systems. The broad agency announcement anticipates awarding technology maturation contracts totaling $50 million and asks for contributions in several areas, including space situational awareness; network visualization; integration of data connecting strategic, operational, and tactical centers; and tools to assist planning, operational decision-making, and generation of orders in the space domain. Multi-domain command and control has been a key focus area for the Air Force since Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein began his tenure in 2016, and the service has been working particularly hard on integrating space assets into the larger command and control picture. “Multi-domain operations are a priority for our joint force,” Air Force Space Command boss Gen. Jay Raymond told AFA’s Lance P. Sijan chapter last week in Colorado Springs, Colo. “We are moving into a new era of multi-domain operations. Space and cyberspace will not only support operations on air, land, and sea, but air, land, and sea will also support operations in space and cyberspace.” —Wilson Brissett
F-15E Tests Upgraded B61 Nuclear Bomb
The Air Force and the National Nuclear Security Administration have successfully tested B61-12 gravity bombs on F-15E Strike Eagles. On Aug. 8, two F-15Es dropped non-nuclear test versions of the upgraded bombs at Tonopah Test Range near Nellis AFB, Nev. The B61-12 will replace older versions of the B61 air-dropped nuclear bomb, and will be carried on aircraft such as the B-2, B-21, and F-35. Earlier this year, an F-16C dropped a test assembly to evaluate the bomb’s arming and fire control system, radar altimeter, spin rocket motors, and weapons control computer. The Aug. 8 tests focused on the weapon’s non-nuclear functions and the Strike Eagle’s ability to drop the bomb, according to an NNSA release. The tests are part of a three-year process to evaluate the bomb for service. The first production unit is expected in March 2020. —Brian Everstine
Lump Sum Option Lowers Benefit Dramatically in Blended Retirement System
Among the features of the Defense Department’s new blended retirement system, military members can choose a 25- or 50-percent lump sum buyout of their retirement account instead of a full monthly benefit. But the lump sum option, which would require the service member to forfeit either a quarter or one half of his or her retirement pay until age 67 when full annuities would be restored, could leave retired members with less than half as much money as they would receive under the traditional monthly payments, according to First Command Financial Services, a military advocacy group. After crunching some numbers, First Command found that a lieutenant colonel who retired at age 42 would receive a 25 percent lump sum payout of $157,250 under BRS. The same officer, taking the monthly payments, would receive $372,978, or more than double the lump sum amount, over a 25-year period. First Command found a similar gap for enlisted members. A master sergeant would receive $81,622 in a 25-percent lump sum, but $193,600 over 25 years in monthly payments. “We support the new blended retirement system, but providing financial training for airmen and their families is essential,” said AFA President Larry Spencer. “We should also track implementation and execution very closely to determine how, if at all, this ?new system affects retention.” The new BRS system goes into effect on Jan. 1. —
—The Air Force is now publically acknowledging its operations at Al Dhafra AB, UAE, after the US embassy worked with the Emirati government to make the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing known: DODBuzz.
—United Technologies could announce a deal to acquire Rockwell Collins as early as next week: Reuters, via CNBC.
—Lockheed Martin has delivered its 100,000th Paveway II Laser Guided Bomb: company release.