The new C-17 aircrews operating out of Hickam AFB, Hawaii, used the request for assistance in moving Australian defense forces as an opportunity to help an ally and get some additional C-17 training. (And, the Aussies picked up pointers, too.) The Hickam airmen in two C-17s moved, over the course of eight days, more than 1.1 million pounds of cargo, transporting 333 passengers, 48 pallets, and 74 vehicles. While they were doing this, they practiced engines running onload/offload—a practice quite common in operational areas like Afghanistan and Iraq—and took care of some needed loadmaster training.
The F-35 Joint Program Office has officially announced plans to issue multiple sole-source contracts to Pratt & Whitney to upgrade the fighter’s F135 engine—a widely expected move after Pentagon officials indicated they would do so earlier this year instead of developing an entirely new engine.