Nuclear Posture Review Calls for Changes to Nuclear Arsenal, Flexibility in Response to Attacks
The Pentagon on Friday unveiled its Nuclear Posture Review—the administration’s outlook on the use of nuclear weapons and plans to modernize the arsenal. In response to a changing threat landscape and aging equipment, the Pentagon is calling for the development of a new, low-yield nuclear weapon, along with pressing to expand the possibility of a nuclear response to a non-nuclear, yet debilitating attack. To pay for it all, the Pentagon is calling for a doubling of funding of the nuclear triad at the peak of its modernization plan. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.
USAF Scraps Light Attack Combat Demo, Second Experiment to be Held at Davis-Monthan
The Air Force doesn’t plan to conduct a light attack combat demonstration, but it is moving forward with a second phase of testing, which will take place May through July at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., the service announced. Out of the four participants that flew in the original Light Attack Experiment—known as OA-X—at Holloman AFB, N.M., last August, Textron Aviation’s AT-6 Wolverine and the Sierra Nevada/Embraer A-29 Super Tucano will continue on. Read the full story by Amy McCullough.
Mattis Threatens Military Action if Syria Again Uses Chemical Weapons
The US has not ruled out a strike against Syrian military targets if it is confirmed that Syrian President Bashar Assad used chemical weapons again. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters Friday, “We’re on record and you all have seen how we reacted” to previous chemical weapons use by Syria, adding that Assad would be “ill advised to go back to violating the chemical convention,” according to the Washington Examiner. US officials on Thursday claimed the Syrian government was producing and using “new kinds of weapons” for chemical attacks, according to The Associated Press. Last April, US Navy ships fired a volley of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Syria’s Shayrat airbase, which was the home of Syrian Air Force jets that had used chemical weapons on Syrian civilians days before the strike. Mattis said Friday the US is concerned about the use of possible Sarin nerve gas and has heard reports from non-governmental organizations on the ground that it has been used. —Brian Everstine
Air Force Contracts with Boeing for More JDAM Tail Kits
The Air Force has awarded a contract modification worth almost $200 million to Boeing for additional tail kits for the Joint Direct Attack Mission (JDAM) satellite-guided bomb. The modification brings the total value of the contract to $928 million. Work is to be conducted in St. Louis and expected to be finished by Jan. 30, 2020. For years, the Air Force has been expending its precision munitions almost as quickly as it receives them. JDAMs routinely deliver better than 95 percent reliability and an even better percentage in accuracy, making them among the preferred munitions in the fight against ISIS. Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch, the military deputy in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, discussing the need to replenish precision-guided munitions, said last year that he hoped production levels could be maintained. —Steve Hirsch
Interim Facility Being Developed to Maintain Aerial Port Operations in Kuwait City
The 387th Air Expeditionary Group is helping to develop a temporary facility called “Cargo City” to serve as an interim logistics point to deliver passengers and cargo throughout the US Central Command area of responsibility, the Air Force said Friday. Two Kuwait Air Force bases and US coalition forces are headquartered at the Abdullah Al-Mubarak Air Base, part of the Kuwait International Airport complex, but were given a year last May to move to allow expansion of a commercial terminal. Plans for a new base at the airport for military operations “required a change of plans as construction of the new airport terminal quickly advanced,” the Air Force said, and planners switched to construction of the temporary facility. Cargo City is an undeveloped area next to an unused runway where both the Kuwaitis and the coalition will temporarily move before May until the new West Al-Mubarak Air Base is finished. Cargo City will have 150,000 square meters of cantonment space, about 33,000 square meters of which will be used by the US. When the coalition and Kuwaiti forces have moved to the new base, Cargo City will return to its original purpose as the Kuwaiti airport’s permanent cargo holding area. —Steve Hirsch
—A Russian fighter jet was shot down by a surface-to-air missile in northern Syria on Saturday. The pilot ejected but was killed on the ground after exchanging gunfire with militants associated with Syria’s former al-Qaeda affiliate: Washington Post.
—Members of the 822nd Expeditionary Base Defense Squadron helped rescue a two-yea?r-old girl that had wandered away from a village near Nigerien Air Base 201 in Niger: DOD release.
—The US and Indian air forces will increase cooperation in part to counter a growing Chinese presence in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said following a recent visit to India: News 18.