USAF’s Predator Set to End Its Era at Creech
The Air Force’s MQ-1 Predator, the legendary remotely piloted aircraft that has become the symbol of modern drone warfare, will officially be retired Friday at Creech AFB, Nev. Read the full story by Brian Everstine
Russia Looking to Undermine Opponents Without Firing a Single Shot
Russia is on pace to challenge US dominance in almost every domain by 2025, Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, commander of US European Command and Supreme Allied Commander Europe, told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday. Read the full story by Amy McCullough.
SACEUR Says Turkey’s Decision to Buy Russian S-400 Isn’t a Done Deal
Even though Turkey has announced its intention to buy the S-400 missile system from Russia, the top US general in Europe told Congress on Thursday there is still “some time” to convince Turkish leaders there is a “better system” available. Read the full story by Amy McCullough.
Avoid Restricting Eligibility for Arlington Burials, AFA Says
The Air Force Association Thursday came out strongly in favor of pursuing all available options, including expansion, to deal with looming exhaustion of space at Arlington Cemetery before limiting eligibility. Keith Zuegel, AFA’s senior director of government relations, was among witnesses from military and veterans’ service organizations testifying on the issue during a hearing held by the Military Personnel Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee. Read the full story by Steve Hirsch.
Korea Evacuation Would be “Challenging,” TRANSCOM Head Says
Evacuating noncombatants from the Korean Peninsula would be a “challenging undertaking,” based on the how much warning was received, the number of people evacuated before hostilities broke out, and diminishing routes of escape, Gen. Darren McDew, the head of the US Transportation Command, told House legislators on Thursday. Read the full story by Steve Hirsch.
Davis-Monthan A-10 Pilots Awarded Distinguished Flying Crosses for Syria Mission
Two A-10 pilots at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., received Distinguished Flying Crosses on March 2 for a May 2017 mission supporting US forces that were surrounded inside Syria. Maj. Tyler Schultz and Capt. Samantha Harvey, pilots with the 354th Fighter Squadron, were deployed as part of Operation Inherent Resolve when they flew a close air support mission as US Army forces were in contact with ISIS fighters near al-Shaddadi, Syria. A US joint terminal attack controller called in the A-10s at night as they were under direct fire. “Talking with the JTAC—I learned what fear sounds like,” Harvey said in an Air Force release. “All that mattered was he needed us at that moment.” The A-10s flew four strafe runs “directly onto the enemy threat,” the release states, saving more than 50 US personnel with no casualties. “It was dark, but I had a job to do,” Harvey said. —Brian Everstine
US Forces in Niger, Mali, Cameroon to Receive Danger Pay
US forces deployed to Niger, Mali, and regions of Cameroon will now receive imminent danger pay, according to a Pentagon memo dated March 5. The memo, signed by Robert Wilkie, undersecretary of defense for personnel, states troops deployed to these regions after June 7, 2017, are eligible for $225 for every full month deployed, and $7.50 per day for partial months. USAF personnel maintain a footprint at Nigerien Air Base 201, where they are building up the base infrastructure and flying MQ-9 missions. The US presence in the country has received attention after four US Army soldiers were killed in an Oct. 4 ambush, reportedly by ISIS-affiliated forces. US forces have been active in Mali since 2013 assisting a French-led effort against Islamic extremists. US forces also have been deployed to Cameroon since late 2015 as part of the fight against Boko Haram. —Brian Everstine
—President Trump has agreed to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un by May and Kim has agreed to stop nuclear and missile testing: Washington Post.
—The B-21 Raider suffered early “hiccups” with its engines and wings, but Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, says the new bomber is now mostly on track: Defense News.
—USAF joint terminal attack controls on March 4-8 trained alongside Iraqi forward air controllers: Air Force release.
—An F-16 pilot with the 77th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, surpassed the 1,000 combat hour milestone in late February. Six pilots under the rank of colonel have reached this milestone: Air Force release.
—The State Department on Thursday approved a possible $197 million sale of equipment to upgrade the Qatari Emiri Air Force’s Air Operation Center: DSCA release.