Wright-Patterson Operating Normally After Tornadoes

Multiple tornadoes touched down late on Memorial Day near Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, damaging about 150 off-base military homes but leaving key parts of the Dayton installation largely untouched. “The main part of the base, including the runway and parking ramps, were not impacted greatly,” service spokeswoman Marie Vanover said May 28. “A thorough [foreign object debris] check was required, but the aerodrome is now open.” Wright-Patterson is home to Air Force Materiel Command, the Air Force Research Laboratory, and a Reserve airlift wing with C-17s. No aircraft were evacuated and all organizations on base are operating as normal, Vanover said. One person sustained a minor injury, the base said in a press release. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

Hill F-35As Deploy to Aviano

A squadron of F-35As deployed to Italy on May 24 for several weeks as part of a theater security package. The F-35As from the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings at Hill AFB, Utah, deployed to Aviano AB, Italy, to provide a “more robust US military presence in the European theater capable of deterring adversaries,” according to an Air Force release. The wings’ F-35As first deployed to Europe in April 2017, when they operated from RAF Lakenheath, England. Hill F-35As are also deployed to Al Dhafra AB, United Arab Emirates, where they are conducting combat sorties as part of Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Syria and to support US operations in Afghanistan. —Brian Everstine

Poland Takes Formal Step Toward Buying F-35s

Poland has transmitted a request for pricing of 32 F-35A fighters along with logistics support and training to the US government under the Foreign Military Sales program, Polish and US officials confirmed May 28, marking that country’s first official step toward purchasing the fifth-generation fighters. Such a deal was discussed when Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson visited Poland in April, and she later told reporters the US would make information about a purchase available to the Polish government. Read the full story by John A. Tirpak.

Cargo City Opens in Kuwait

The Middle East’s largest military aerial port of debarkation officially opened on May 19 as “Cargo City” became operational in Kuwait. The temporary gateway at Kuwait International Airport replaces the USAF and coalition Abdullah Al-Mubarak AB gateway, which was in use for more than 20 years of operations. Cargo City is located next to a vacant ramp at the airport, with about 33,000 square meters of space for US forces to stage and load cargo destined for operating locations throughout the Middle East. As part of the move, the 5th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron relocated to Cargo City to provide maintenance, command and control, and port operation support, according to an Air Forces Central Command release. Construction on the project included more than 1.24 million cubic meters of fill, with almost 400 trucks transporting soil and rock every day for almost four months. In 2017, Kuwait planned an expansion of the airport complex and gave US and Kuwait military forces about a year to move. The new facility will operate until the New Mubarak Military Base is built following the airport’s expansion, tentatively scheduled for 2023. —Brian Everstine

USAF Funds Hypersonic Testbed Design for Payloads

The University of Dayton Research Institute received nearly $10 million from the Air Force to design and test how the X-60A carries its payloads, according to a May 24 Defense Department contract announcement. “This contract provides for the design, fabrication, and flight testing of the payload structure on the GOLauncher 1 subscale hypersonic flight vehicle,” DOD said. “Work will be performed in Dayton, Ohio, and is expected to be complete by August 2022.” The X-60A is a small, rocket-powered test vehicle built by Georgia-based Generation Orbit Launch Services to research elements of hypersonic flight like scramjet propulsion, high-temperature materials, and autonomous control. The missile-shaped, air-dropped vehicle with small wings can travel up to eight times the speed of sound with various payloads. Its first flight in Jacksonville, Fla., is expected around early 2020. “The program’s goal is to develop and operate a low-cost platform that provides regular access to the hypersonic flight conditions,” according to Generation Orbit. —Rachel S. Cohen

Officer Movements Announced

President Donald Trump has nominated Maj. Gen. Mary O’Brien for a third star and assignment as deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, cyber effects operations, at USAF headquarters. If confirmed, O’Brien, who currently serves as the commander of 25th Air Force at JBSA-Lackland, Texas, would replace Lt. Gen. VeraLinn “Dash” Jamieson. The Air Force earlier this year merged its ISR and cyber effects headquarters staffs, and Jamieson was confirmed as commander of the combined office on Feb. 28 after serving as the deputy chief of staff for ISR since November 2016. Also, on May 24 USAF Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein assigned multiple officers to new leadership positions, including a new leader of manpower on the Joint Staff and multiple commanders in Afghanistan. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.


FE Warren Nuke Maintainers Caught Drinking Alcohol at Missile Alert Facility

Two maintainers from the 90th Missile Maintenance Squadron at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming were found to have consumed alcohol at a missile alert facility earlier this month, the base confirmed May 24. Air Force Times

Iraq Offers to Mediate in Crisis Between its Allies Iran, US

Iraq offered to mediate in the crisis between its two key allies, the United States and Iran, amid escalating Middle East tensions and as Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers steadily unravels. Associated Press

PFAS Prohibition Moves Forward

A provision cosponsored by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand to prohibit the Department of Defense from procuring firefighting foam that contains per- and polyfluoralkyl substances has passed the Senate Armed Services Committee as part of the annual National Defense Authorization Act. Press-Republican

The Military is Locked in a Power Struggle with Wind Farms

When Lt. Col. Joseph Goana takes off in his T-38 Talon training jet, he flies a loop north toward the Red River, which forms a meandering border between north Texas and southern Oklahoma. For decades, the remote farming area has been an ideal training ground for Air Force pilots like Goana. But in recent years, he says there’s been a new obstacle: wind turbines that now generate a third of Oklahoma’s electricity and 17 percent of the power in Texas. WIRED

Pentagon Eyes Expanding DARPA Future Warfare Research Office

The Department of Defense is close to expanding its legendary future warfare and technology agency DARPA by combining it with the Pentagon office in charge of adapting existing weapons to new uses, people familiar with the plans said. Reuters

NATO Getting More Aggressive on Offensive Cyber

In the latest signal NATO is adopting a tougher posture against cyber and electronic attacks, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg this week said that the defensive alliance will not remain purely defensive. Defense One

Air Force Veterans Refurbish Iconic Plattsburgh Bomber

An iconic Cold War-era plane on display in Plattsburgh, N.Y., has fallen into disrepair. Now a group of former Air Force mechanics are working to return the bomber to its original glory. North Country Public Radio

Horn Introduces Legislation to Help High School Students Get Airborne

Rep. Kendra Horn (D-Okla.) has introduced bipartisan legislation that provides some high school students with scholarships to help them become pilots. The Oklahoman

One More Thing…

Vietnam Vet Presents His Medals to Slain ROTC Cadet

A Vietnam War veteran presented two of his medals posthumously to a University of North Carolina-Charlotte ROTC cadet who was killed when he tackled a gunman who opened fire inside a classroom. Stars and Stripes