Aerospace World

Dec. 1, 2004

Roche Resigns

Air Force Secretary James G. Roche announced his resignation Nov. 16. Roche said his plans called for him to depart Jan. 20 or sooner, depending on whether a successor was confirmed. Roche, who became SECAF on June 1, 2001, had said he would depart from his post at the end of Bush’s first term.

Roche led the Air Force through a historic period of change, marked by the 9/11 attacks and wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Gen. John P. Jumper, Chief of Staff, said Roche had an “unrelenting resolve to adapt our force” and had “guaranteed America’s Air Force remains the greatest in the world.”

The end of Roche’s term was marked by controversies: the Air Force Academy sexual assault scandal; clashes with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) over a proposed lease of new tanker aircraft; and former acquisition official Darleen Druyun’s admission of illegally favoring Boeing for new contracts.

Officials said that a key factor in Roche’s decision was his belief that his departure would free up Air Force nominations that Congress had placed on hold.

Airman Dies in Afghanistan

A1C Jesse M. Samek, 21, of Rogers, Ark., died Oct. 21 from injuries he received when the HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter in which he was flying crashed during a medical evacuation mission in Afghanistan.

Two other crew members were injured, one critically. Their names were not released. The helicopter crew and an Afghan civilian who was being evacuated were taken to a medical facility in Afghanistan.

According to a Defense Department news release, the accident was not the result of hostile fire, but further details required an investigation.

Samek was a flight engineer deployed from the 66th Rescue Squadron, based at Nellis AFB, Nev.

USAF Flies More Safely in 2004

The Air Force was still finalizing data, but as of Nov. 9, its Class A mishap rate for Fiscal 2004 was 1.07 per 100,000 flying hours, making it one of the safest flying years despite the continued high operations tempo. The 2004 rate dropped nearly 23 percent compared to the 2003 rate of 1.39.

A Class A mishap is one which causes a death, permanent disability, loss of an aircraft, or more than $1 million in damage. USAF had 26 Class A mishaps in 2004 vs. 31 in 2003.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld last year challenged each service to cut its overall number of mishaps in half by 2005.

Air Combat Command officials on Oct. 19 announced that ACC had reduced its rate of flight mishaps by 58 percent. In 2004, the command had only five Class A mishaps, yielding a rate of 1.34 and making 2004 the safest flying year in command history, according to an ACC news release. In Fiscal 2003, ACC experienced 12 Class A flight mishaps, for a rate of 3.23 per 100,000 flying hours.

First C-5 Enters RERP

The first production C-5B airlifter entered into the reliability enhancement and re-engining program, following completion of its avionics modernization program modification by a Lockheed Martin field team at Dover AFB, Del.

Lockheed said RERP work began Oct. 22 at its facility in Marietta, Ga.

The massive airlifter will receive new engines and other improvements. RERP is expected to significantly improve the reliability of the Galaxy fleet, while reducing operating costs.

Bush Signs 2005 Defense Bill

President Bush on Oct. 28 signed into law the Fiscal 2005 defense authorization act. The legislation authorizes $447.2 billion covering DOD and Department of Energy national security programs.

The bill largely tracks with the Administration’s request for major Air Force programs, authorizing, for example, the full contingent of 24 F/A-22 Raptors at a cost of $4.1 billion. The bill also authorizes $275 million for B-2 improvement and $30 million in R&D for a next generation bomber.

Lawmakers did reduce research and development funding by $260 million (including $134 million from the USAF budget) for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. Legislators said the Administration request had been “early to need.”

The bill also put an end to USAF’s plan to lease KC-767 tankers from Boeing. (See “Aerospace World: Tanker Lease Is Dead,” November, p. 14.)

Another notable stipulation was an end strength increase for the Army (30,000 soldiers over five years) and Marine Corps (9,000 marines over five years). There was no comparable legislation to increase end strength for the Air Force or Navy. (“Action in Congress: SBP Reform Tops Personnel Gains,” p. 22, contains details of the bill’s quality of life issues.)

Lawmakers Stop F-117 Plan

The Fiscal 2005 defense authorization bill explicitly prohibits the Air Force from retiring any of its 52 F-117 stealth fighters. USAF had planned to retire 10 Nighthawks, to free up funds to pay for combat improvements to the remaining F-117s and other systems.

Sens. Pete V. Domenici (R-N.M.) and Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) joined forces to push an amendment that curtailed USAF plans.

Gen. Hal M. Hornburg, commander of Air Combat Command, told reporters in February that the F-117s have always been used in small numbers, and the time seemed right for a “capabilities trade-off.”

The Air Force has used this same approach with the B-1B fleet, saving money that enabled it to improve the bomber’s performance and mission capable rate. By retiring 10 F-117s, the service expected to save about $75 million over five years.

According to Domenici, the retirement would have eliminated 38 enlisted and nine officer positions at Holloman AFB, N.M., home base for the F-117s.

Five ROTC Units Escape Axe

Five of the seven Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps detachments previously scheduled to close in 2007 have been granted two-year reprieves, the Air Force announced Oct. 1. (See “Aerospace World: Seven ROTC Units To Close,” October, p. 19.)

The AFROTC detachments at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, New Jersey Institute of Technology, University of Memphis, University of Cincinnati, and Wilkes University in Pennsylvania will undergo further evaluation through 2009. During that time period, AFROTC and university officials will try to “increase cadet enrollment and improve officer production,” stated the USAF announcement.

According to Defense Department standards, ROTC units at four-year institutions should graduate 15 officers per year to remain viable. Other factors that would influence any decision include cost to maintain a unit, quality of support from the university, grade point averages of the ROTC graduates, and whether the unit produces officers in “hard-to-recruit” categories, such as minorities and high-tech graduates.

Overall, Air Force ROTC enrollment has increased more than 40 percent since 2001, but more than half the growth has come from just 17 percent of the detachments.

The AFROTC detachments at the University of Akron, Ohio, and Grambling State University, La., will close in 2005 as previously announced.

One Space System Operational …

Air Force Space Command recently announced that a military counterspace system is now operational. The Counter Communications System can use a ground-based antenna to temporarily jam enemy communications satellites. It is the first offensive counterspace system available to the United States.

CounterComm, which became operational in September, is controlled by the 76th Space Control Squadron at Peterson AFB, Colo. As USAF’s first offensive and defensive counterspace squadron, the 76th’s mission is to guarantee space superiority for theater campaigns.

Lt. Col. Todd W. Gossett, squadron commander, told Air Force Magazine in October that the 76th can deploy its offensive counterspace capabilities to meet the needs of warfighting commanders—but has not yet done so operationally.

… While Another Is Cut

Air Force Space Command officials also announced in October that a longer-term space control effort—the Counter Surveillance Reconnaissance System—had been canceled. It was being designed to temporarily block enemy imagery satellites and was to have been operational in 2009.

The Air Force released a statement following an October conference in Omaha, Neb., that explained the program had lost out to higher-priority initiatives during the Air Force’s internal planning for the Fiscal 2006 budget.

At a briefing with reporters, Gen. Lance W. Lord, AFSPC commander, would not discuss who had made the decision to cut the program.

The mission, according to Lord, is still critical. He predicted a re-evaluation of CSRS, leading to development of the type of capability it forecast—an offensive system with “reversible effects.”

Navy Flies Global Hawk

The Navy on Oct. 6 flew the first of two Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles the sea service is using to test and refine its maritime surveillance capabilities. The four-hour flight began in Palmdale and ended at Edwards Air Force Base, both in California.

The Global Hawk Maritime Demonstration program is “intended to develop maritime UAV tactics and operating procedures,” to be applied to future Navy UAV systems, stated a Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) news release.

The Navy Global Hawks are specially configured with new radar modes for “detecting and identifying ships at sea,” as well as other mission-specific modifications, according to NAVAIR. The demonstration Global Hawks will be based at NAS Patuxent River, Md., beginning next summer.

Battlelab Changes Name

The Air Force’s Air and Space Expeditionary Force (AEF) Battlelab has been redesignated the Air Warfare Battlelab to better reflect the lab’s mission since its realignment in 2003 under the Air Warfare Center at Nellis AFB, Nev., said service officials.

The change also reflects the shift of mobility and deployment aspects to the Air Mobility Battlelab, said Col. Ernest Parrott, the Air Warfare Battlelab commander.

“The mission is still innovation to improve the combat effectiveness of our warfighters,” Parrott said. The emphasis, he said, will shift toward “offensive capability, which equates to more bombs on target.”

The Air Warfare Battlelab, one of the six original labs created by the Air Force, was established at Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, in 1997. The other original labs are Battle Management, Command and Control, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, Space, Information Warfare, and Force Protection. The Air Mobility Battlelab was added in 2002.

Ranchers Win Round

A federal appeals court in New Orleans in mid-October ordered the Air Force to perform an additional environmental impact study (EIS) to address the concerns of ranchers living under a Southwest bomber training range. Last year, a federal judge in Texas had ruled in favor of the Air Force.

The issue concerns low-level training flights over large sections of west Texas and southeast New Mexico.

For the time being, the new ruling does not prevent the Air Force from flying any training missions.

The Air Force earlier this year also prevailed in a separate lawsuit in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals (Denver). That lawsuit was brought by New Mexico ranchers. (See “Aerospace World: USAF Wins Range Dispute,” March, p. 14.)

The Texas ranchers argue that USAF’s Realistic Bomber Training Initiative (RBTI), which features low-altitude training monitored by high-tech ground stations primarily for B-1Bs based at Dyess AFB, Tex., causes a host of environmental and other problems that the Air Force did not address in its initial EIS.

The ranchers filed the suit against the RBTI routes in 2001. They successfully blocked a similar proposed training route for German Air Force training conducted from Holloman AFB, N.M.

In mid-October, the Air Force had not decided whether to appeal the new ruling.

Russia Merges Fighter Companies

Two well-known Russian military aircraft manufacturers—Irkut, maker of Sukhoi fighters, and MiG—will merge, a Russian government official announced Oct. 1, ending months of speculation.

Earlier this year, Irkut became the first Russian aircraft company to go public. The MiG Corp. is government-owned, as is Sukhoi, Tupolev, and Ilyushin.

Russian officials believe the merger of Irkut and MiG will create a globally competitive aircraft company. It may presage the consolidation of all five aircraft companies under an umbrella organization officials have called the Unified Aircraft-Building Corp.

USAF Opens New Space Institute

Air Force Space Command on Oct. 1 established the National Security Space Institute in Colorado Springs, Colo. The institute will serve as the Defense Department’s focal point for space education and training.

NSSI, which will report directly to AFSPC, absorbs the Space Operations School previously run by the Space Warfare Center at Schriever AFB, Colo. The institute will train roughly 2,500 students per year, said Lt. Col. Ed Fienga of AFSPC’s space professional management office.

Fewer than 60 percent of the attendees will be airmen; the rest will come from the other armed services, the National Reconnaissance Office, NASA, and other national agencies. According to a news release, NSSI will later incorporate space courses taught in other DOD schools, where appropriate, to eliminate redundancy.

AFSPC Commander Gen. Lance W. Lord said that NSSI will integrate space education and training, ensuring “optimum opportunities for the advancement of space systems knowledge.” He added that he expects it to “ultimately enhance mission effectiveness.”

NSSI courses will address space system capabilities, limitations, vulnerabilities and use; space system acquisition; and space warfighting tactics and planning.

Air Force Takes Over Navy Fence

The Air Force on Oct. 1 formally assumed control of the Naval Space Surveillance System, commonly known as the Navy Fence. Now designated the Air Force Fence, it will continue to be operated from Dahlgren, Va., at the home of Naval Network and Space Operations Command.

The Fence consists of a series of nine antenna sites spaced across the southern United States that provide space situational awareness. The Fence reveals what satellites are passing over the contiguous United States and when they pass.

Air Force Space Command officials at Peterson AFB, Colo., said the Fence’s transition to the Air Force was operationally seamless. (See “Securing the Space Arena,” July, p. 30.) The main issues with the changeover involve the switch of more than 100 civilians and contractors currently employed by the Navy to the Air Force.

The Fence is now operated by the 20th Space Control Squadron’s Det. 1, located at Dahlgren. The detachment reports to the 21st Space Wing at Peterson AFB, Colo.

US, South Korea Detail Troop Movement

The United States and South Korea in October announced details of the mutually agreed-upon drawdown of US forces on the Korean Peninsula. A phased withdrawal of 12,500 troops is to be completed in 2008.

The moves began with the redeployment of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team to Iraq earlier this year. According to the Oct. 6 announcement, roughly 5,000 troops connected to the 2nd BCT will not be returning to South Korea when their time in Iraq is completed. There was no announcement as to their final destination.

The second phase, in 2005-06, will pull an additional 5,000 combat, combat support, and combat service units out of Korea.

Finally, the US will redeploy roughly 2,500 support personnel in 2007-08.

Officials emphasize that the moves are part of a larger plan to increase South Korean security, and negotiators were mindful of “perceptions regarding a potential security gap.”

Increased capability will come partly through an $11 billion investment in the US military forces in South Korea and partly by shifting the 25,000 US troops who will remain in South Korea into more defensible positions farther from the border with North Korea. (See “Aerospace World: Korean Realignment Approved,” October, p. 26.)

The US also “will maintain a multiple launch rocket system battalion and associated counterfire assets on the peninsula” and “make adjustments as appropriate” to its stocks of pre-positioned equipment in South Korea, the announcement read.

Demobilization May Strain McChord

Airlift officials at McChord AFB, Wash., are expecting a surge in their already high operating tempo when two Air Force Reserve Command squadrons at the base demobilize in February. They have each served on active duty for two years and, by law, must deactivate.

Roughly 240 Reservists of the 97th and 728th Airlift Squadrons have been on active duty status for the past two years, serving as pilots and loadmasters on active duty C-17s.

“We’ll just have to pick up the slack,” said Maj. Mike Madsen, an active duty C-17 pilot with the 62nd Airlift Wing at McChord. “We have no other choice.”

The AFRC squadrons provided McChord with 42 additional aircrews, 18 of which have been “on the road at all times,” according to an Oct. 15 news release. The Reserve crews have flown 40 percent of the base’s airlift missions.

A third AFRC squadron at McChord, the 313th AS, has supplied volunteers for many of the base’s C-17 missions. Yet, officials say, the 313th volunteers are not sufficient to replace the activated units.

McChord will develop creative plans to address the upcoming crew shortages. According to Lt. Col. Steve Vautrain, vice commander of the 446th Operations Group, smart scheduling will become a necessity.

The Air Force may look to civilian charter aircraft to move cargo to airfields close to Afghanistan and Iraq. This would enable shorter C-17 flights from staging areas, which would in turn allow Air Mobility Command to staff the C-17 flights with standard three-person crews—instead of the five-person teams commonly used today for long-duration missions.

“If we can stop using augmented crews, we can multiply the number of crews we have,” Vautrain said.

The pace of operations for Air Mobility Command has been high since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Operations in Afghanistan and Iraq have kept the command busy, and airlift requirements are not expected to abate anytime soon. Gen. John W. Handy, AMC commander, told lawmakers in March that the command has a “significant gap” in its ability to meet wartime needs.

Stepping Out of the Blue

After a six-month wear test, Air Force officials have decided to reject the primarily blue, tiger-striped battle dress uniform (BDU). The announcement came shortly before top USAF leaders demonstrated a new test BDU during a Nov. 4 visit to Southwest Asia.

The new BDU features a mix of tan, blue, and green, with a pixilated tiger-striped pattern. The overall effect is more subdued than the controversial, distinctly blue version.

According to a USAF news release, the new pattern is still Air Force-unique, though it more closely resembles the new Marine Corps BDU pattern than the first version.

Officials said airmen approved of most features of the first test BDU. Namely, they liked the fit and ease of maintenance. The color and pattern got a thumbs down.

According to SMSgt. Jacqueline Dean, the USAF uniform board superintendent, that positive response to the wear of the new BDU prompted senior leaders to reduce the necessary test period for the new color scheme.

Officials expect a final decision by early next year.

Paul H. Nitze, Cold War Strategist (1907-2004)

Former defense official Paul H. Nitze died Oct. 19 at his home in Washington, D.C. Nitze had a lengthy and prominent national security career. He was the State Department’s director of policy planning at the dawn of the Cold War, Navy Secretary, deputy defense secretary, and finally principal arms control negotiator for President Reagan.

The DOD announcement of his death noted, “For more than 40 years, Nitze was one of the chief architects of US policy toward the Soviet Union.” Nitze was the principal author of National Security Council directive 68, which in 1950 laid out the United States’ Cold War strategy for defeating the Soviet Union. (See “The Keeper File: Nitze’s ‘Bludgeon,’ ” p. 8.)

At the time, Nitze was head of the State Department’s policy planning staff under Dean G. Acheson. NSC-68 called for defense through a sustained buildup of US military power to counter the Soviet threat. The document served as a counterpoint to George Kennan’s theory of “soft” containment. Nitze’s thinking provided the blueprint for US defense strategy after the outbreak of the Korean War.

More than 20 years later, in the early 1970s, Nitze became disillusioned with the Democratic Party’s post-Vietnam views on defense and foreign policy issues, which he saw as too dovish. It was at this time that he helped form the Committee on the Present Danger, which played a key role in stopping the SALT II arms agreement with the Soviets and building a consensus for a defense buildup.

Nitze’s efforts helped eventually pave the way for the election of Ronald Reagan. Nitze then served as President Reagan’s chief negotiator for the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with the Soviet Union.

Commenting on his passing, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Nitze was the “architect of the strategy that defended America and the Free World through the decades-long struggle against the Soviet empire.”

USAF Aids Peaceful Elections in Afghanistan

Historic October elections in Afghanistan went smoothly, thanks in large part to Air Force and other DOD forces. US troops provided protection, ensuring stability during the Oct. 9 vote that ended more than 25 years of regime turmoil in the country.

“Effective preventive and pre-emptive action” by DOD forces “precluded what otherwise was going to be potentially a very bloody day,” said Zalmay Khalilzad, US ambassador to Afghanistan. “The Taliban and al Qaeda [had] declared war on this election,” he said at an Oct. 15 Pentagon briefing.

Active duty and reserve airmen operating out of Bagram Air Base, near the capital city of Kabul, helped provide election day security. According to an Oct. 18 Air Force news release, members of the 81st Expeditionary Fighter Squadron worked around the clock, providing air cover in the days leading up to the election.

The airmen came from Spangdahlem AB, Germany, and NAS JRB New Orleans to form the “rainbow” 81st EFS, melding two A-10 squadrons.

“The reservist and active duty mix here has well exceeded my expectations,” said the unit’s commander, Lt. Col. John Cherrey.

US, South Korea Detail Troop Movement

The United States and South Korea in October announced details of the mutually agreed-upon drawdown of US forces on the Korean Peninsula. A phased withdrawal of 12,500 troops is to be completed in 2008.

The moves began with the redeployment of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team to Iraq earlier this year. According to the Oct. 6 announcement, roughly 5,000 troops connected to the 2nd BCT will not be returning to South Korea when their time in Iraq is completed. There was no announcement as to their final destination.

The second phase, in 2005-06, will pull an additional 5,000 combat, combat support, and combat service units out of Korea.

Finally, the US will redeploy roughly 2,500 support personnel in 2007-08.

Officials emphasize that the moves are part of a larger plan to increase South Korean security, and negotiators were mindful of “perceptions regarding a potential security gap.”

Increased capability will come partly through an $11 billion investment in the US military forces in South Korea and partly by shifting the 25,000 US troops who will remain in South Korea into more defensible positions farther from the border with North Korea. (See “Aerospace World: Korean Realignment Approved,” October, p. 26.)

The US also “will maintain a multiple launch rocket system battalion and associated counterfire assets on the peninsula” and “make adjustments as appropriate” to its stocks of pre-positioned equipment in South Korea, the announcement read.

New Space Badge To Replace “Pocket Rocket”

Air Force Space Command has decided to replace the existing space and missile functional badge and the “pocket rocket” missile operator’s badge with a single, new badge.

“Just as pilots wear the same badge whether they fly fighters, bombers, tankers, or transports—all very distinct and different missions—our space professionals should wear the same badge,” said Gen. Lance W. Lord, AFSPC commander.

The new badge will be worn by enlisted and officer space and missile operators, as well as space-field scientists, engineers, and acquisition officials.

Lord, a former ICBM operator, said the various badges currently worn in the command are a reminder that the space community is not yet identifiable as a coherent team. He said that the qualification process will be “rigorous.” Award will require performance in addition to completion of training.

Officials on the planning team that created the new insignia said that previous AFSPC leaders had noted the discrepancy with separate space and missile insignia, but there was resistance to giving up the missileer’s badge. Lord’s status as a missileer gives the change more credibility, officials said.

The new badge was unveiled Oct. 7 at the Strategic Space 2004 Convention in Omaha, Neb., the home of US Strategic Command.

SSgt. Colin Loring, the badge designer, later told Air Force Magazine that he submitted several preliminary ideas to Lord, including one very similar to the final design but with the “thrusts” on one side only. This gave the badge the appearance of a comet.

Lord liked that basic concept, Loring said, but the comet shape was deemed “too radical” and was modified to add thrusts on the other side as well.

The AFSPC commander said the basic badge design has been approved by the Air Force’s top leadership, but it will be several months before it becomes available for wear.

The Iraq Story Continues


By Oct. 25, a total of 1,103 Americans had died in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The fatalities included 1,100 troops and three Defense Department civilians.

Of those casualties, 845 Americans were killed by enemy action, including the three DOD civilians. The other 258 troops died in noncombat incidents, such as accidents.

Four Dead in Green Zone Blasts

A pair of Oct. 14 explosions in Baghdad’s heavily defended “Green Zone” killed four US contractors, employed to provide diplomatic security for the State Department. The attacks were the first explosions to originate in the Green Zone, which is home to the new Iraqi government and most US officials in Baghdad. Access into the Green Zone is heavily regulated, and it was not immediately clear how the explosives were brought in.

The four dead were employees of DynCorp, and two other company employees were injured in the attacks. A State Department news release about the attacks said, “The DynCorp victims of this outrageous terrorist attack were valued members of the State Department family. … These brave men died in service to their country.”

US, Iraqi Forces Retake Samarra

A two-day battle successfully defeated the terrorist insurgency in the city of Samarra, 60 miles north of Baghdad, officials reported Oct. 3. The insurgency in the city was put down as an initial step toward securing insurgent-controlled areas before Iraq holds national elections.

“Insurgencies have a tendency to wax and wane,” said National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice on CNN, but the results in Samarra were encouraging. “The really good news out of this is that the Iraqi forces have fought alongside American forces and … [have] done well,” she said.

US and Iraqi forces are attempting to defeat insurgents in as many areas as possible, to ensure maximum safe participation in the upcoming elections.

News Notes

By Tamar A. Mehuron, Associate Editor

  • DOD has “paused” its anthrax vaccination program, officials said Oct. 27. The department must review an injunction issued by a US district court that cited problems with FDA procedure in issuing a final rule on the effectiveness of the vaccine against airborne anthrax. The court maintained FDA should have held an additional public comment period before issuing the rule late last year.
  • Two USAF F-16s, for the first time, simultaneously dropped two 500-pound Joint Direct Attack Munitions (GBU-38) in combat, successfully demolishing a single two-story building. The nighttime mission struck a terrorist meeting place, with minimal collateral damage, USAF officials said Oct. 4. The mission was conducted primarily by Air National Guardsmen from Alabama, Illinois, and Wisconsin.
  • In a ceremony Oct. 14, the Air Force changed the name of its lead official museum, located at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, from the US Air Force Museum to the National Museum of the US Air Force. At the ceremony, Gen. John P. Jumper, Chief of Staff, called the museum a “national treasure.” The new name places the museum on a level with peer organizations, all of which incorporate national within their names, said museum officials.
  • Veterans should ignore an Internet e-mail message warning them to get their military paper records from the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis before they are destroyed. Officials at the National Archives and Records Administration said there is no move to destroy those records, contrary to the Internet claim. NARA is digitizing some records for preservation and reference because frequent handling wears out paper copies. “The idea is to preserve [the records], not destroy them,” asserted Susan Cooper, NARA spokeswoman.
  • Lockheed Martin officials told reporters in October that an A-10 armed with the precision guided Joint Direct Attack Munition and the Wind-Corrected Munitions Dispenser is scheduled to fly in December, according to Defense Daily. Upgrades also include digital cockpit displays and data link integration. First delivery of the aircraft is late 2005 to an Air National Guard unit.
  • In anticipation of the C-141 Starlifter’s retirement in 2006, Air Force Reserve Command officials closed the C-141 schoolhouse Oct. 14 at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. It was run by AFRC’s 445th Airlift Wing, which is slated to get C-5 aircraft in October 2005.
  • The last class of Peacekeeper ICBM operators graduated Oct. 15 at Vandenberg AFB, Calif. Peacekeepers are slated for deactivation by September 2005. After the 400th Missile Squadron at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., deactivates, the six missileers will receive upgrade training and move to a Minuteman ICBM unit.
  • The Air National Guard on Oct. 1 took over operation of NORAD’s regional air operations center at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, from the active duty 611th Air Control Squadron. Officials said that Guardsmen had been working with the 611th for several years in anticipation of the changeover to an all-Guard operation under ANG’s new 176th Air Control Squadron.
  • SI International, Colorado Springs, Colo., received a $610 million contract for advisory and assistance services and engineering and technical services to Air Force Space Command, Peterson, AFB, Colo. Work is to be completed by October 2009. >
  • An Air Force accident investigation report released Sept. 30 concluded that crew error caused an MQ-1L Predator unmanned aerial vehicle to crash June 14 during a training mission at Indian Springs AFAF, Nev. An instructor pilot waited too long to correct a student pilot’s poor landing approach. The approach exhibited high-sink rates, poor airspeed, poor aim-point control, and poor runway alignment. A late abort caused the rear stabilizers to hit the ground, and the UAV crashed immediately. USAF estimated damage at $4.2 million.
  • USAF awarded a contract that could total up to $173 million to the Entwistle Co., Hudson, Mass., to provide a mobile aircraft and ground fuel delivery system. Work is to be completed by September 2009.
  • USAF will move all Predator UAV operational and support functions to Indian Springs AFAF, Nev., beginning late next year, according to Inside the Air Force. The 15th and 17th Reconnaissance Squadrons and the Predator Operations Center are operating out of Nellis AFB, Nev., because Indian Springs lacked the communications capability to handle ongoing combat operations. USAF plans to spend up to $200 million to improve the communications infrastructure at Indian Springs, now host to the UAV Battlelab, which moved there from Eglin AFB, Fla. Officials said space was a concern at Nellis, which conducts advanced training, tactics development, and weapons testing.
  • The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency in September awarded ORBIMAGE, Inc., Dulles, Va., a four-year agreement valued at up to $500 million, to ensure the US government priority access to high-resolution commercial satellite imagery.
  • At the end of September, USAF selection board officials approved 1,482 majors out of 7,331 line and Biomedical Science Corps officers considered for promotion to lieutenant colonel. That is a selection rate of 20 percent.
  • Air Force Research Laboratory scientists achieved a successful first flight with a joined-wing technology demonstrator Sept. 22 at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. The SensorCraft vehicle will combine the aerial and ground surveillance capabilities of E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System battle management aircraft and the E-8 Joint STARS ground surveillance aircraft.
  • Two Russian military satellites were placed into orbit Sept. 23 by a Kosmos-3M rocket launched from Plesetsk, according to ITAR-TASS news agency. The satellites can be tasked for telecommunications, ocean surveillance, and tracking ballistic missile launches.
  • Air Force Junior ROTC wants retirees to serve as aerospace science instructors for 200 new units scheduled to open from 2005 through 2007. Airmen from all career fields who have retired in the last five years, and those who plan to retire in the next two years, can apply. For more information, call AFJROTC toll-free at 866-235-7682, ext. 35275 or 35300, or check the Web site at, then choose the AFJROTC link.
  • Lockheed Martin on Oct. 11 delivered the turret assembly for the Airborne Laser aircraft to Edwards AFB, Calif. The assembly completes the Beam Control/Fire Control system designed to direct and shoot the high-energy laser against a ballistic missile while the missile is still in boost phase flight. In a related development, a Missile Defense Agency official announced Oct. 13 that a problem with too much moisture in the iodine chemical used in the ABL’s kill laser had been resolved with a new batch of iodine. Tests with the new iodine were successful.
  • USAF fell short of its health professions recruiting goal in Fiscal 2004 by 17 percent. It had recruited 767 doctors, nurses, and dentists by Sept. 30, but that was shy of its goal of 923 medical personnel.
  • SrA. Ahmad al-Halabi, formerly a translator at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was found guilty—but not of espionage—in a trial that ended Sept. 23 at Travis AFB, Calif. As the case developed and evidence was reviewed, the Air Force reduced the charges to failure to obey a general order by photographing the Camp Delta facility and moving classified information; making a false official statement in denying taking the photos; and wrongfully and willfully keeping classified documents. His sentence included demotion and a bad-conduct discharge.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin Oct. 16 signed an agreement to create a permanent Russian military base in 2005 at Aini Airfield outside of Dushanbe, Tajikistan, reported the Interfax-Military News Agency. The base will house as many as 20 military aircraft and helicopters.