KC-46 Debris Inspections Ongoing, Slowing Delivery Schedule

LE BOURGET, France—The Air Force is still finding foreign object debris inside new KC-46s, with the most recent items discovered this past week, even as it continues its “cultural dialogue” with Boeing to address the company’s response to FOD inside the tankers, Will Roper, the Air Force’s assistant secretary for acquisition, said June 17 at the Paris Air Show. During a briefing with reporters, Roper said the Air Force is impressed with Boeing’s response to the FOD problem, but it remains an issue to be addressed. The Air Force expects every KC-46 to have FOD, so every plane on the production line is being inspected “tip to tail.” If FOD is found, the inspection restarts. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

Turkey Still Important Part of F-35 Team, For Now

LE BOURGET, France—Lockheed Martin still considers Turkey an integral part of the F-35 team, even though the country has not made any efforts to reverse its plan to buy the Russian-made S-400 air defense system and it faces imminent removal from the Joint Strike Fighter program. Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition Ellen Lord told reporters at the Paris Air Show that since she announced on June 7 plans to “unwind” Turkey from the F-35, nothing has changed. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

Pentagon IG: Lockheed Needs to Repay Costs for F-35 Parts Provided Without Logs

Since 2015, Lockheed Martin has been supplying certain F-35 parts without an electronic log that will track their use and history so they can be serviced or replaced at the right time, according to the Pentagon inspector general. This has forced the government to keep manual records on these parts, and Lockheed received incentive fees it wasn’t entitled to because the parts weren’t delivered with everything that was supposed to go with them. The Joint Program Office concurred with the IG’s findings and will seek compensation from Lockheed for fees and labor costs. Read the full story by John A. Tirpak.

Lockheed Looking at Extending the F-35’s Range, Weapons Suite

LE BOURGET, France—Lockheed Martin is looking at increasing the range of the F-35 by about 40 percent, by adding 600-gallon external fuel tanks. Early in the program, the plan was for the F-35 to carry 480-gallon drop tanks on the inboard wing stations, but that requirement was dropped due to the aircraft’s significant internal fuel volume. The company also is planning to expand the suite of weapons the F-35 can carry. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

France, Germany, Spain Unveil New Generation Fighter as US Pushes More F-35s

LE BOURGET, France—The world’s largest air show kicked off with France, Germany, and Spain pulling the cover off the New Generation Fighter, a concept that will be jointly designed by Dassault and Airbus as part of the three countries’ future combat air system. USAF leaders said June 17 that while they know little about the new fighter, they welcome some competition on the global stage of advanced combat aircraft as the US continues to shop the F-35 to allies. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

Miniature Self-Defense Munition Again on AFRL Docket

The Air Force appears to be renewing its push for a Miniature Self-Defense Munition that could protect aircraft in dangerous combat environments, though government and industry are mum on the program’s progress over the past few years. Eglin AFB, Fla., is hosting companies at a June 19 industry day ahead of a development contract competition, according to a May 23 notice. The post offers little information about what capabilities the Air Force is pursuing, but says the gathering will “promote the continued development of the MSDM, … and seek input from industry [on] how to better improve the scope [of work] to meet desired outcomes.” The industry day comes at a time when the Air Force is increasingly interested in technologies like directed energy that could be installed on a range of military aircraft—particularly large, slower platforms without stealth capabilities—to protect them from encroaching adversaries or incoming weapons. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

USAF Seeing Operator Interest in “Wingman” Drone as Valkyrie Progresses

LE BOURGET, France—The same week as Kratos’ experimental “Wingman” drone, the XQ-58A Valkyrie, took its second flight, the Air Force’s head of acquisition said operators are calling for swift action to begin buying the aircraft. Will Roper, the Air Force’s assistant secretary for acquisition, told reporters at the Paris Air Show there is a “strong demand” to bring a program of record for the aircraft as soon as the fiscal 2021 Program Objective Memorandum. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.


Tensions Rise as Iran Speeds Up Enrichment, US Sends Troops

Iran will surpass the uranium-stockpile limit set by its nuclear deal in the next 10 days, an official said Monday, raising pressure on Europeans trying to save the accord a year after the US withdrawal lit the fuse for the heightened tensions now between Tehran and Washington. Hours later, the two countries appeared to approach a flashpoint when the Pentagon announced it was sending about 1,000 additional American troops to the Middle East to bolster security in the region in the face of what US officials said is a growing threat from Iran. Associated Press

Climate Resilience: DOD Needs to Assess Risk and Provide Guidance on Use of Climate Projections in Installation Master Plans and Facilities Designs

The Defense Department’s designs for new construction at facilities generally does not consider climate projections, because DOD lacks guidance on how to do so. Government Accountability Office report

DOD Seeks Feedback from Airmen, Families on Housing Resident Bill of Rights

The Department of Defense is asking current residents of military privatized housing to provide feedback on a draft version of a Resident Bill of Rights. USAF release

Troops Happy but Skeptical as US Military Suspends Curfew in South Korea

US Forces Korea, which oversees some 28,500 US service members on the divided peninsula, lifted the four-hour curfew for 90 days following a policy review ordered by the commander, Gen. Robert Abrams. Military.com

Archangel Light Attack Aircraft Proliferates, Supports USAF Training

The US Air Force (USAF) has become a customer for contract close air support (CAS) training using the IOMAX Archangel light attack aircraft, which appears to be proliferating for CAS roles. Jane’s

Without a NATO-Wide Effort, the Skies Along the Northeastern Flank Could Be in Peril

Confronted by what they perceive as Russia’s increasingly belligerent activities in Eastern Europe, the three Baltic states are moving toward tightening their air-defense cooperation, and they view NATO’s air-policing mission in their skies as a major part of their security. Defense News

Court Allows a Class-Action Lawsuit Against VA for the First Time

A federal court for the first time will allow a class-action lawsuit against the Department of Veterans Affairs to move ahead, a move that legal experts said opens the doors for a host of similar cases against the bureaucracy. Military Times

Four New Members for NATO Cyber Defense Organization

A NATO cyber defense organization welcomed four new member nations June 13: Bulgaria, Denmark, Norway, and Romania. Fifth Domain

One More Thing…

How the Air Force Started Hunting Hurricanes

It started as a dare between two pilots… Airman Magazine on Twitter