Coalition Aircraft Set A New Strike Record in ISIS Fight
Aircraft with the US-led coalition against ISIS set a new record high in June for the number of airstrikes targeting the group in Iraq and Syria, dropping 4,848 weapons last month. The total comes as Iraqi Security Forces declared victory over ISIS in Mosul. Read the full report by Brian Everstine.
Defining the Next Air Superiority Platform
The next air superiority platform is “not a fighter,” insists the Air Force officer whose team came up with the concept, but will rather be a key flying sensor platform with lots of weapons and long range that will enable USAF’s existing fighters. The missions of the Counter Air will include air escort, fighter sweep, suppression of enemy air defenses, and defensive counter-air. It fills a “gap” identified in the late 2020s that neither the F-22 nor F-35 can adequately fill and it will “enable the joint force,” said officials at an AFA Mitchell Institute/”War on the Rocks” symposium on Monday. Read the full story by John A. Tirpak.
Lawmakers Propose to Block Space Corps, Add BRAC to NDAA
Representatives could block the proposed formation of a separate Space Corps within the Air Force and allow the Department of Defense to conduct another round of base realignment and closure (BRAC) if the full House approves some of the amendments proposed to the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The House Rules committee will decide whether to consider amendments on July 11, and full House debate on the approved amendments should take place July 12 and 13. Read the full report by Wilson Brissett.
Lockheed Gets Lot 11 F-35 Deal
Lockheed Martin on Friday received a $5.58 billion contract modification for work on the next lot of F-35s. The award is an “undefinitized contract action,” which covers initial production for 74 F-35s, including 48 of the US Air Force’s A-variant, while the final cost of the whole lot of aircraft is still in negotiation. The final LRIP 11 contract is expected by the end of the year, and will ultimately include 141 F-35s for US and partner nations. Read the full report by Brian Everstine
F-35B Completes First Joint Forward Area Refueling
Airmen from the 353rd Special Operations Group and 18th Wing at Kadena AB, Japan, recently completed the first-ever joint forward area refueling point exercise involving a US Marine Corps F-35B. During the operation, an MC-130 transferred 8,000 pounds of fuel to the F-35 in less than an hour. That much fuel would have allowed another hour and a half of flying for the F-35B and still left enough fuel for the MC-130 to takeoff and return to its staging base. The entire exercise lasted two days and demonstrated a crucial capability for joint operations in the vast US Pacific Command area of responsibility. “This is useful, especially when we are talking about forward deployed operations or expeditionary bases. We don’t need trucks, or even an airfield. All we need is a C-130 and a 3,000-foot landing strip. That is the capability this training brings,” said USMC Maj. Michael O’Brien, an F-35B pilot with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121, according to a press release.
Draken Deploys More Red Air to Nellis
Draken International is deploying 11 L-159 advanced light combat aircraft to train against Air Force pilots at Nellis AFB, Nev., as part of an ongoing USAF Adversary Air contract. The 11 L-159’s join 13 A-4 Skyhawks already at Nellis to fly as adversaries for the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron, along with Red Flag exercises and the Air Force Weapons School. The L-159 has a modern GRIFO radar that can simulate “advanced threat aircraft and missiles,” according to a Draken release. Since the A-4s deployed to Nellis in December 2015, the aircraft have flown more than 2,600 sorties. The Air Force, which has just two aggressor squadrons, is planning to release a draft solicitation to industry this summer for almost 40,000 hours of adversary air at 12 bases, the Air Force said in March. — Brian Everstine
—A Marine Corps KC-130 crashed in Mississippi on Monday killed at least five people on board: ABC News
—The Air Force awarded Boeing a $92.9 million indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for “sustainment engineering and technical support” to its AWACS aircraft. The contract is also partly a Foreign Military Sales agreement with Japan, NATO, France, Saudi Arabia, and the United Kingdom. Work on the project will take place at Tinker AFB, Okla.: DOD contract announcement
—About 80 airmen and four aircraft assigned to the 920th Rescue Wing rescued two German citizens in the early morning hours of July 8 after their vessel caught fire approximately off the coast of southern Florida: USAF release