Cooley Promises a Look at Bringing Back Retired F-16s as Drones
Air Force Research Labs chief Maj. Gen. William Cooley said he’ll give consideration to an idea, offered by AFA’s Mitchell Institute, to dust off F-16s languishing in permanent storage as combat drones, using artificial intelligence/autonomy gear. Cooley said the concept must offer a workable business case against another idea to simply build “attritable” drones that are capable but inexpensive enough that their loss would be bearable in combat. One such drone, called the XQ-58, will make its first flight this fall, Cooley revealed. Read the full story by John A. Tirpak.
CMSAF Lauds Air Force Special Operators for Aiding Thai Soccer Team Rescue
Carrying the Load in the Pacific
C-17s with the 535th Airlift Squadron at JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, have been called on to support major moves in the Pacific this year, including supporting last month’s summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, along with being on call for humanitarian aid and flying firsts in major exercises. The commander of the squadron told Air Force Magazine during a visit to the base that all of these flights need to be balanced with training for missions that would be needed to fight in the Pacific. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.
Air Force Awards GE Key Contract in Adaptive Engine Program
The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center has awarded General Electric a $437 million contract modification to design and implement complete, flight-weight adaptive engines, the Pentagon said June 29. The contract would cover “execution of next generation adaptive propulsion risk reduction for air superiority applications.” Work, to be performed in Cincinnati, is to be completed by March 30, 2022. The contract is part of an ongoing effort to develop adaptive engines, which provide better range, persistence, performance, and energy savings for multiple types of combat aircraft. The Air Force in 2012 launched an Adaptive Energy Technology Development research program, then in 2016 kicked off a competition between GE and Pratt & Whitney for the next-generation adaptive engines. The technology is seen as integral to the future of propulsion, according to experts. GE spokesman David Jon Wilson told Air Force Magazine Tuesday the current GE engine has been designed to work with the F-35, but the new contract modification is focused on taking these technologies “and designing an engine to meet potential air superiority requirements of future aircraft, somewhat different than the F-35 requirements.” —Steve Hirsch
Trump Slams NATO on Defense Spending Before Summit
—The share of the Pentagon’s contract funding going to research and development has dropped over almost 20 years, with defense R&D contracts at eight percent of all defense contracts last year, compared to 15 percent in Fiscal 2000, according to the Congressional Research Service: Bloomberg.
—The Air Force Materiel Command Logistics, Civil Engineering, and Force Protection Directorate and Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration Directorate have merged into a Logistics, Civil Engineering, Force Protection, and Nuclear Integration Directorate to increase coordination in support of Air Force nuclear modernization efforts, effective June 25: Air Force Materiel Command release.
—The Air National Guard wants to increase F-16 flight operations at its 162nd Wing at Tucson International Airport next year when a Taiwan Air Force training unit moves there from Luke AFB, Ariz.: tucson.com