A Russian pilot tried to shoot down an RAF surveillance plane after believing he had permission to fire, the BBC has learned. The pilot fired two missiles, the first of which missed rather than malfunctioned as claimed at the time. Russia had claimed the incident last September was caused by a “technical malfunction.”
U.S. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall does not shy away from commenting on controversy—even as it relates to the world’s richest person and a key Department of Defense contractor. Kendall weighed in Sept. 12 after SpaceX CEO Elon Musk acknowledged withholding Starlink satellite service to Ukraine as it planned a surprise attack on Russian forces last year. The disclosure sparked criticism of Musk, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., called for a probe into SpaceX.
The Defense Department has unveiled plans to compete a new, high-priority radar project in the Indo-Pacific region—a long-range surveillance sensor slated for emplacement in the Republic of Palau that top brass say is needed to plug air domain awareness gaps in the Western Pacific by providing thousands of square miles of wide-area surveillance. The Air Force this week announced plans to issue a request for proposals for the Tactical Multi-Mission Over the Horizon Radar (TACMOR).
Pentagon Soliciting Industry for Adapter and Software to Convert Remotely Piloted Drones into Autonomous Systems
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is about to fund a program to develop a “drone autonomy adapter” and other technologies that would allow the U.S. military and its international partners to convert their current fleets of teleoperated unmanned aerial systems and commercial UAS into more advanced platforms.
The Defense Department on Sept. 14 submitted to Congress a report explaining how it intends to keep satellites in orbit safe from aggression—and ensure that services like GPS navigation and space-based communications are always available. The unclassified report, “Space Policy Review and Strategy on Protection of Satellites,” was mandated by law and is an attempt to explain how DOD is dealing with threats facing U.S. satellites, such as Russian jammers and Chinese lasers that can blind satellites.
A five-year deal between the Pentagon and Lockheed Martin for a new sustainment contract for the F-35 enterprise likely won’t be reached this year, according to Lockheed Martin Chief Financial Officer Jay Malave. “We’ve already submitted a proposal to the Joint Program Office for sustainment. You know, originally we were expecting that we can get under contract by the end of the year. It probably will extend out to the beginning of next year is probably the most likely scenario,” he said during a conference hosted by Morgan Stanley.
The threat of a government shutdown—and the missed paychecks it would mean for service members—is growing after a chaotic week in the House that saw lawmakers unable to even take up a bill that would fund the Pentagon. The House had been scheduled to vote this week on the fiscal 2024 defense appropriations bill. But members of the far-right Freedom Caucus and other staunch conservatives threatened to oppose a procedural motion on the bill because of demands unrelated to its content, prompting House Republican leadership to scuttle the planned vote.
Last month, just days after four Russian military aircraft flew in Alaska Air Defense Identification Zone, teams of U.S. special operations forces conducted a mission on St. Lawrence island in the Bering Sea, just 50 miles away from continental Russia, as well as on Shemya Island, which sits in Alaska’s remote Aleutian island chain. The objective of what NORTHCOM is calling Operation Polar Dagger was to extend U.S capabilities to monitor the air and sea domain in the Arctic and showcase how well special operator air, land, and sea teams work together in harsh, long-distance environments like the Bering Sea.
In the midst of an historic recruiting crisis, two U.S. senators are pressing the Defense Department on whether a new medical screening system is hindering recruitment. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., sent Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin a letter Sept. 13 seeking answers about whether Military Health System Genesis—a medical records platform that the military first used for screening recruits last year—has slowed the recruitment process by forcing qualified applicants to secure medical waivers.
The Air Force will miss its annual enlisted recruiting goal across all three components for the first time since 1999, as waning interest in military service and administrative hurdles continue to plague efforts to train the next generation of troops. The Active-Duty Air Force made it about 90 percent of the way to its goal of 26,877 enlisted recruits, falling short by nearly 2,700 airmen, Air Force Recruiting Service boss Brig. Gen. Christopher Amrhein told reporters.
Since its maiden flight in 1954, the C-130 Hercules has demonstrated its prowess in various roles, from polar expeditions to military missions spanning Vietnam to Afghanistan. Among the most astonishing feats in the C-130's storied history occurred in October 1963 when the U.S. Navy dared to land this large aircraft on an aircraft carrier.