Operators Push to Keep C-135s in Future ISR Network
OFFUTT AFB, Neb.—As the Air Force sets its sights on a future that relies less on mission-specific aircraft and more on what a network of assets can accomplish together, the 55th Wing here argues you can’t count out their C-135s. Rivet Joint, the 1960s-era electromagnetic spectrum reconnaissance platform, will be a critical and unique piece in a future network because upgrades can keep it current as technology evolves, RC-135 officials say. At the same time, Air Force leaders and national lawmakers are starting to think about what signals intelligence and other niche spy missions might look like in the next few decades—and how jets fit into that mix. “Increased network collaboration, I think, is the right route to go,” 55th Wing Commander Col. Mike Manion said in a June 4 interview. “The Rivet Joint plays a vital role in that.” Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.
Using Cyber to Speed Up US Decision Making, and Slow the Enemy’s
Cyberspace will play a critical role in helping the US and allies make more rapid decisions in the future—while at the same time enabling capabilities designed to bog down the enemy’s decision-making processes, according to USAF Lt. Gen. Brad Shwedo, director for command, control, communications, and computers/cyber and chief information officer for the Joint Staff. “Future fights are going to be over information—and who is going to be able to take that information, digest it, and rapidly apply it to the battlefield,” Shwedo said. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.
US, French Leaders Mark 75th Anniversary of D-Day
The US and France marked the 75th anniversary of D-Day together on the shores of Normandy, commemorating the battle and 10,000 fallen allied soldiers who President Donald Trump said “won back this ground for civilization.” The joint US and French ceremony included flyovers from dozens of aircraft, including USAF F-15 fighters, from RAF Lakenheath, England, that were painted like the P-47s that supported the invasion as well as more than a dozen C-47s. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.
US Officials Head to Paris to Tout US Aircraft, Industry
Defense Department leaders are heading to Paris later this month with the goal to tout US aerospace industry, aiming to increase interoperability with American-made products around the world and strengthen American businesses, the Pentagon’s head of acquisition said June 6. Ellen Lord, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, said the US emphasis at these international air shows is “typically trying to advocate for US industry. Those foreign military sales programs are what we will talk about.” A major focus of this year’s show will be on space, as the US space industry is going through a “reawakening,” Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said. “The US space industry is being transformed. In the tradition that has defined this industry, … the new generation of entrepreneurs now dominates space activity,” Ross said. The Paris Air Show begins June 16, and will include displays of USAF aircraft such as F-35s, a KC-46, C-130s, and F-15s, among others. —Brian Everstine
Flight Suits Designed for Women
The Defense Department is starting to design flight equipment with female aviators in mind. Women pilots in the Air Force and Navy gathered at JB Langley-Eustis, Va., on June 4 for a female fitment event, where officials took their measurements for uniforms, helmets, and masks. The data gathered will be used to design prototypes for female flight equipment, which has historically been based off of male measurements, according to a USAF release. “When you go to a squadron to go to a fitment event, there’s usually only a couple of women, so to get a full spectrum of what is going to work for women aviators, we needed to bring them all together in one place,” said Lt. Col. Shelly Mendieta, plans and requirements officer. Brig. Gen. Edward Vaughan, assistant to the director in the Air Force directorate of readiness and training, said the new equipment will improve pilots’ combat effectiveness. “Women have been flying in the Air Force for a very long time,” Mendieta said. “We have made progress, but this is the first time in my 20-year career that we have had the kind of momentum that we have to get this right. We have the opportunity to get this right and we have to grab that and take it for all it’s worth.”
Strong Industrial Growth in Aerospace and Defense in 2018, AIA Reports
In 2018, the US aerospace industry recorded “another standout year,” with a nearly six percent increase in exports, the Aerospace Industries Association said June 6, presenting its mid-year interim statistical report on the health of the industry. Total exports were $151 billion, a 5.8 percent increase over 2017. Overall, aerospace and defense represented 9 percent of all US exports in 2018. Aerospace and defense was an engine of $929 billion of economic output, contributing more than $374 billion to the gross domestic product in 2018. The aerospace and defense industry accounted for 2.5 million jobs, or 20 percent of all US manufacturing jobs. Of those, 881,575 jobs were in end-use, while 1.67 million jobs were in the supply chain. Aerospace and defense wages and benefits paid were also up substantially in 2018, marking a 7.72 percent increase. The average A&D wage of $92,742 was 1.36 percent more than in 2017, and the 2018 figure was 87 percent higher than the average US worker’s wage. The AIA will present initial numbers for 2019 in the fall. —John A. Tirpak
- The article, “World War II Triple Ace Bud Anderson in His Own Words,” in the June 6 Daily Report mischaracterized Anderson’s record as a P-51 ace and the wing his unit, the 357th Fighter Group, belonged to during WWII. Anderson is the leading living ace in the P-51, having scored 16.25 kills. The 357th was initially part of 9th Air Force when it arrived in England, but shortly afterwards was moved to the 8th Air Force.
- Also in the June 6 Daily Report, the article “Head of Air Force Warfare Center Relieved of Command” incorrectly identified the squadron Maj. Gen. Peter Gersten commanded earlier in his career. He commanded the 4th Fighter Squadron at Hill AFB, Utah.
Air Force BMT Won’t Scale Back PT Program Despite Deaths at Shaw
Air Force Basic Military Training officials do not plan on curtailing their newly expanded physical fitness program even though leaders at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, recently suspended fitness tests in the wake of two airmen’s deaths. Military.com
Air Force’s New Aircraft Maintenance App Cuts Down Record-Keeping Hassles
The Battle Record Information Core Environment app (BRICE for short) is a tablet-based iOS app that allows maintainers to record their work for the official record while still on the floor next to the aircraft in question, eliminating the need to walk over to a desktop and pull up the Air Force’s legacy maintenance record system. FedScoop
Long-Term Space Program Spending Falls Short
The Trump administration’s fiscal year 2020 budget request calls for a major boost in military space program funding. But spending plans indicate that investments could dip in subsequent years, according to one expert. National Defense Magazine
The Joint Command for US, South Korean Forces is Moving. Will this Jeopardize Defense
South Korea and the United States agreed June 3 to move the headquarters of Combined Forces Command out of the greater Seoul metropolitan area as part of efforts to set up a new joint command structure led by a South Korean four-star general. Defense News
Trainees at Air Force BMT to Start Training on M4 This Summer
Starting as early as next month, new recruits at Air Force Basic Military Training will begin training on the M4 carbine as part of the program’s weapons familiarization course. Military.com
One More Thing…
Futuristic ‘Flying-V’ Airplane Concept Puts Passengers inside the Wings
A V-shaped airliner that seats passengers in the wings instead of a central fuselage could make long-distance air travel more sustainable — and it’s more than pie in the sky. The Dutch airline KLM announced Monday that it would team up with Delft University of Technology to develop the lightweight, fuel-efficient “Flying-V” aircraft. NBC News