The Afghan air force welcomed the addition of its 11th newly refurbished C-27A transport aircraft. Its arrival last week at Kabul International Airport brought the nascent air arm more than halfway to its goal of building a fleet of 20 C-27s as the centerpiece of its airlift force. “Tail number 4046 came at just the right time as we have now finally recovered from our adviser pilot manning deficit,” said Lt. Col. Steve Sims of the 538th Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron, the coalition unit training the Afghans at Kabul. The addition of this aircraft will enable USAF advisers to continue their training mission while the Afghans also carry out operational missions in support of Afghan ground forces. The AAF has already retired its fleets of Antonov An-26 and An-32 transports as part of the transition to the C-27s. (Kabul report by Capt. Jamie Humphries)
NASA, SpaceX, and United Launch Alliance are all preparing to launch their next-gen rockets from Florida’s Space Coast, two of them before the year is out. One is expected to liberate the U.S. launch enterprise from its reliance on Russian-made RD-180 engines, while all three rockets could eventually carry astronaut crews.