KC-46 Tanker Lands in Japan As Part of Long-Range Test

As part of a long-range navigation, communications, and operational test, a Boeing KC-46A tanker landed overseas for the first time, stopping at Yokota AB, Japan, on Oct. 23, after making a stop in Hawaii. The tanker will make one more Pacific crossing, on its way back to Boeing’s Seattle, Wash., facilities where it will continue testing. The Pegasus will have completed 10 days and 40 hours of flight during the test, the Air Force said. The test comes as Boeing labors to eliminate the last discrepancies preventing it from delivering the first batch of 18 KC-46s for operational service. Read the full story by John A. Tirpak.

Tyndall Reopening Gates for Displaced Residents to Assess Damage, Retrieve Property

Tyndall AFB, Fla., will expand access for displaced airmen to view their property and conduct an assessment of damage following Hurricane Michael through the end of next week. The base, in a Tuesday evening statement, released a new schedule for access to base housing and storage facilities beginning Wednesday and ending Nov. 2, from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Impacted residents can access the base through either of two entrances, and can only travel directly to their personal property, said 325th Fighter Wing Commander Col. Brian Laidlaw in the release. The Air Force is working to determine long-term plans for airmen and families. According to the statement, moving household goods from damaged facilities is reimbursable up to 95 percent of cost, according to the statement. “We are pushing to move as fast as possible while ensuring we maintain a safe and secure environment for your families,” Laidlaw said in the release. —Brian Everstine

C-17 Accidentally Drops Humvee Near Fort Bragg

An Air Force C-17 accidentally dropped a Humvee on Wednesday during a heavy drop exercise out of Fort Bragg, N.C., causing the vehicle and pallet to crash into a rural area near the town of Cameron. There were no injuries or damage to residential property as a result of the incident, which is under investigation, Fort Bragg said in a statement. The C-17 was from JB Charleston, S.C., according to Air Mobility Command. The Fayetteville Observer reported the vehicle landed in a wooded area between two homes, about seven miles north of the designated drop zones. The drop was conducted by soldiers from the Army’s Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate, the paper reported. —Brian Everstine

Air National Guardsmen Assist With Aerial Surveillance at US-Mexico Border

Air National Guardsmen from Texas, Arizona, California, and New Mexico are mobilized along the US-Mexico border to help “with aerial surveillance” and logistical support, the National Guard Bureau told Air Force Magazine Wednesday. “About 150 total Air National Guard personnel are supporting Operation Guardian Support in a non-immigration enforcement capacity along the Southwest Border …,” bureau spokesperson Kurt Rauschenberg said. Overall there are about 2,100 total National Guard troops at the border. In addition to flying RC-26 Metroliners to serve as “a set of eyes supporting CBP [US Customs and Border Protection]” along the Arizona and Texas portions of the border, these airmen are assisting with vehicle and aircraft maintenance, Rauschenberg said. On Oct. 22, President Donald Trump told USA Today that he’d send additional troops to the border as needed to deter a caravan of would-be immigrants from Central America from crossing into the US. —Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory

AIA Calls for Steps to Assure Sufficient National Security Space Funding

The Aerospace Industries Association Wednesday called on Congress and the administration to ensure adequate spending on national security space efforts in a series of recommendations on how to respond to threats to US satellites. The group said investment in dedicated National Security Space assets has hit an 11-year low since implementation of the 2011 Budget Control Act. It called the Trump administration’s recommended $8 billion funding boost over five years “a good start,” but said the Fiscal 2020 end of the current budget deal could incur “real consequences” if budget caps aren’t set aside. The AIA also called on the Pentagon and Intelligence Community to continue to improve space situational awareness capabilities; the government to “consider all means of achieving resilience” for future space architectures; the Pentagon to strengthen links with industry, including new and nontraditional entities; and the government to work with industry and others to develop norms of responsible space behavior. —Steve Hirsch

NATO Doesn’t Expect Increase Nuclear Weapons Deployment If INF Treaty Ends

European nations are unlikely to allow further deployments of nuclear missiles if the US withdraws from a nuclear treaty with Russia, the head of NATO said Wednesday, adding that the alliance is meeting to discuss the way forward as Russia violates the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, during a Wednesday press conference in Brussels, said NATO does not expect its allies will station more nuclear weapons in response to Russia deploying a cruise missile that violates the INF treaty. Stoltenberg spoke days after President Trump threatened that the US would withdraw from the INF treaty if Russia continues to violate it. “We cannot have a treaty between two parties which is only respected by one of them,” Stoltenberg said, adding that Russian behavior is the problem. While the INF treaty faces an uncertain future, Stoltenberg said he hopes the US and Russia will extend the New START treaty beyond the expiration date of 2021. See also: Russia Cheats from the July 2016 issue of Air Force Magazine. —Brian Everstine

Holloman Opens Solar Array

Holloman AFB, N.M., last week opened a 42-acre photovoltaic solar array, providing power to more than 1,300 base facilities. According to the Air Force Civil Engineer Center, the array was designed and built to meet 50 percent of the base’s peak summer daytime electrical demand and 100 percent of its winter daytime demand. “The addition of this clean energy resource will enhance our resiliency and ability to better equip our installation while at the same time saving on taxpayer costs,” said Lt. Col. Joel Purcell, 49th Civil Engineer Squadron commander, in a release. “In addition to enhancing our installation, we are reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. By decreasing this dependence, we are strengthening and increasing our national security.” —Steve Hirsch


Tough Choices Ahead for B-21 Program

The Air Force wants to beef up its bomber fleet over the next decade. That could be a boon to B-21 Raider manufacturer Northrop Grumman and its industry partners, but it’s unclear whether the initiative will receive sufficient funding. National Defense Magazine

Air Force Opens Joint Facilities in Estonia That Will Help Deter Russian Aggression

The first military construction project fully funded by the European Deterrence Initiative was opened last week. An aircraft maintenance hangar at Estonia’s Amari Air Base may seem inconsequential, but the project is part of a multi-year plan by the US military to build infrastructure and deter a possible conflict with Russia. Air Force Times

F-16 aircraft and Airmen support Trident Juncture 2018

F-16C Fighting Falcons and support airmen from the 480th Fighter Squadron, 52nd Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem AB, Germany, arrived at Kallax AB, Sweden, in support of Trident Juncture 2018. USAFE

Marco Rubio Highlights Need to Restore Fighter Jets at Tyndall

Several expensive fighter jets stationed at Tyndall Air Force Base were sheltered on site instead of being moved to a different location while Hurricane Michael crept toward Florida’s Panhandle. That’s cause for concern to Republican US Sen. Marco Rubio, who noted that at least 17 of the 55 F-22 Raptors at the Panama City facility—almost one third—were designated non-mission capable, or NMC, and consequently unable to be relocated ahead of the storm. Florida Politics

Department of Defense Expands ‘Hack the Pentagon’ Crowdsourced Digital Defense Program

The Department of Defense announced today efforts to expand its successful ‘Hack the Pentagon’ crowdsourced security program. DOD awarded contracts to three private-sector Silicon Valley firms to boost the Department’s capacity to run bug bounties aimed at strengthening security for internal DOD assets. DOD release

Vintage T-6 Texan Airplane Crashes on California Freeway

A single engine vintage airplane has crashed on a freeway in Agoura Hills, west of Los Angeles, Calif. The aircraft, reportedly a North American SNJ-5 (a variant of the T-6 Texan WWII warbird), painted in Nazi Germany’s color scheme, crashed in the middle of the busy street, bursting into flames ‘for a few minutes’ and shutting down the freeway. International Flight Network