The Air Force anticipated only 50 cases annually when it announced a new pilot program last year that would allow some applicants who drug-tested positive for THC, the active compound in marijuana, a chance to retest and possibly enlist. But the Air Force Recruiting Service told Military.com on Oct. 3 that, within the first year of the program, the service encountered triple that number—granting 165 waivers after candidates retested and were shown to be free of THC.
“Now that Ukraine is in line to receive F-16s, opinions surrounding their effectiveness span from being counterproductive to war-winning for Ukraine. While most discussions have focused on the fighters’ air-to-air performance and the platform itself, the broader effect of their deployment with the right munitions will be decreased Russian ground strikes,” writes Michael Bohnert, a licensed engineer at the think tank RAND.
The Air Force is eyeing a thrust range of 3,000 to 8,000 pounds of force for future drone wingmen, and is setting its sights on launching an engine development program for the uncrewed systems known as Collaborative Combat Aircraft (CCA) in the first quarter of fiscal year 2025. The new details, outlined in a Sept. 29 request for information (RFI), suggest the Air Force is looking for a “mid-sized jet engine” that would power a “fairly capable military-class aircraft,” according to Caitlin Lee, director of the Acquisition and Technology Policy Program at the RAND Corp.
The Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) is asking industry to submit proposals for affordable, mass-produced open architecture, medium-range “unmanned aerial delivery vehicles,” weeks after the Pentagon announced a new effort to counter China with thousands of autonomous systems.
The F-35 program, pitched as a way to equip three services with one largely similar aircraft, has now produced “at least 14 different versions” of the Lightning II, according to a report from a government watchdog agency. “Extensive” differences in the variants are complicating maintenance and sustainability, contributing to the program’s poor readiness, the Government Accountability Office said in its report.
In their inaugural year, the DefenseScoop 50 awards honor the trailblazers and leaders in and outside the U.S. military who are dedicated to using modern technology to revolutionize defense. The list of award winners in its first year is comprised of leaders and programs from across the Department of Defense and industry that are shaping how technology is becoming a central fixture in deterring and defending against emerging threats.
Attracting a talented workforce is a high priority for Scott Erwin, chief scientist for the Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico. “If we don’t hire the best and brightest, it’s going to definitely impact our ability to do science and technology research, and keep up with competitors around the globe,” Erwin told SpaceNews.
The Air Force was 18 months into the Enterprise Cyber Capabilities acquisition and on the brink of making awards. The excitement over this potentially $5 billion multiple award indefinite delivery, indefinite quality contract among industry was a high as any opportunity on the street over the last few years. With a few strokes on the keyboard on Sept. 19, the Air Combat Command terminated EC2.
In recent months we have taken a close look at some fairly exceptional airshow photography. ... This has brought us very close to action including the moment of release of a counter-measures cartridge from an F/A-18 Hornet fighter, as well as the spectacle of a Polish Su-22 ground-attack jet using photo-flash flares to light up the night sky. Now, Twitter user and aviation photographer @Task_Force23 has shared with us a remarkable capture of an F-35A jet popping out a flare in its uniquely stealthy way.