Air Force Concludes Flying Portion of Light Attack Experiment After Fatal Crash

The Air Force on Tuesday announced it will not resume the flying portion of its Light Attack Experiment, following the fatal June 22 A-29 crash that killed Navy Lt. Christopher Short and injured one other. Flying has been paused since the crash, but Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch, USAF’s senior acquisition officer, told reporters the service has accumulated enough data between the first and second phase of the experiment to help it determine what its next steps will be. However, he said the service will continue experimenting on an exportable network that can be installed on a variety of aircraft and then flown. That testing, which will not necessarily take place at Holloman AFB, N.M., will be conducted on “surrogate aircraft,” though Bunch would say only that USAF or industry assets could be used as surrogates. If the decision is made to continue, the goal is to issue a request for proposals by December with a down select anticipated next fiscal year, he added. Read the full story by Amy McCullough.

The Oldest Jet in the Air Force, Refueling Bombers on the Frontline in the Pacific

The New Hampshire Air National Guard is deployed to Andersen AFB, Guam, flying refueling missions across the Pacific and supporting B-52s deployed there for the continuous bomber presence. And they are doing it in the oldest aircraft in the Air Force’s fleet. Read the full story by Brian Everstine, who recently returned from the island.

B-52s Deployed to Pacific Divert from Bombing Training, Help Rescue Wayward Boat

A B-52 deployed for the Air Force’s continuous bomber presence was flying a routine training mission, dropping inert bombs on a small island north of Guam, when it was rerouted after the Coast Guard requested help to find a wayward boat in the region. Using the aircraft’s SNIPER pod, the bomber was able to locate the small vessel and get aid to six people. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

The Great Hypersonic Race

The US is behind in hypersonics technology, the result of not rapidly following up on prior successes, being risk-phobic, and being wildly outspent by China. The new National Defense Strategy, however, demands that the US face the reality of “great power competition” and regain the lead in hypersonics, which Pentagon research and engineering chief Mike Griffin has pegged as his No. 1 priority. Griffin notes that hypersonic missiles are tactical systems with strategic effects. Funding is ramping up, as are a number of programs with the Air Force, DARPA, and the other military services, and Griffin is rationalizing those efforts under a single hypersonics roadmap to expedite success and avoid unnecessary duplication. Read John A. Tirpak’s feature from the August issue of Air Force Magazine.


—The 559th Flying Training Squadron at JBSA-Randolph, Texas, June 25 paused T-6 operations until the next day after problems were reported with the aircraft’s oxygen system: Air Force Times.

—Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, formerly chief of defense staff of the British armed forces, Friday replaced Czech Gen. Petr Pavel as chairman of the NATO Military Committee, the alliance’s top military adviser position: Defense News.

—The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Eglin AFB, Fla., has awarded Raytheon’s RTN Missile Systems unit a $93 million modification contract to integrate the Small Diameter Bomb II in F/A-18E/Fs: Yahoo! Finance.

—Northrop Grumman has started full-rate production of the F-35 center fuselage; a fuselage is to be produced every one and a half days: Executive Biz.

—The Air Force has issued a formal proposal for the Unified Platform, the Pentagon’s planned cyber weapon system: Fifth Domain.

—The Air Force June 9 completed two additional tests on the B61-12 gravity nuclear bomb, dropping a “non-nuclear test assembly” from a B-2 at the Tonopah Test Range in Nevada as part of efforts to extend the life of the 1968-vintage bomb a further 20 years:

—Joshua Huminski, director of the National Security Space Program and the Mike Rogers Center for Intelligence and Global Affairs at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, July 2 published an opinion piece praising Congress for taking the right steps toward normalizing space launch reusability: The Hill.

—Crews on Air Force fighters and bombers will now get a semi-automatic stand-off rifle, the GAU-5A Aircrew Self Defense Weapon, in their ejection survival packs for better protection in enemy territory: