Air Force officials anticipate completing by July the initial study that is supporting the search for a ground-based strategic deterrent that will replace the Minuteman III ICBM fleet after 2030. Air Force Global Strike Command is working with USAF headquarters on this capabilities-based assessment that will establish the requirements baseline for the future missile’s attributes such as desired speed, range, and payload capacity, they said. This work will flow into next fiscal year’s planned activity to develop the GBSD analysis of alternatives study guidance and AOA study plan. They anticipate that they will finish the AOA and all related material solutions analysis in Fiscal 2014, producing a recommendation on the best GBSD options and paving the way for a subsequent program of record. (SAF/PA report by Vicki Stein)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.