Daily Report

April 24, 2024

F-35 Tech Upgrade Slips to 2025; ‘Truncated’ Version in the Fall

The full-up Tech Refresh 3 for the F-35 won't be delivered until 2025, Lockheed Martin officials said April 23. A "truncated" version will be delivered this fall so users can start taking delivery of their jets, and then be able to exploit the full capabilities once the complete upgrade is available. The TR-3 underwrites the Block 4 upgrade, which the F-35 program director said is now being "reimagined."

Saltzman: New Space Force Readiness Model Will Be ‘Drastic Change’

Chief of Space Operations Gen. B. Chance Saltzman said reforms underway to the Space Force’s deployment and training model are the “most drastic change accompanying the establishment of the Space Force” in a note distributed to Guardians on April 19. “It fundamentally alters how we prepare for operations,” Saltzman wrote in his latest “C-Note” update.

Why a C-130 Crew Braved a 26 Hour Flight to Guam

An Air Force C-130J crew braved a long flight around half the planet last week as part of an experiment testing how quickly they could respond to a crisis in the Indo-Pacific. Dubbed Hazard Leap, the test kicked off on April 20 when two full crews in a C-130J assigned to the 40th Airlift Squadron took off from Dyess Air Force Base, Tex., bound for Guam.

Radar Sweep

Senate Overwhelmingly Passes Aid for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan With Big Bipartisan Vote

The Associated Press

The Senate has passed $95 billion in war aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, sending the legislation to President Joe Biden after months of delays and contentious debate over how involved the United States should be in foreign wars. Biden, who worked with congressional leaders to win support, is expected to quickly sign the legislation and start the process of sending weapons to Ukraine, which has been struggling to hold its front lines against Russia. The legislation would also send $26 billion in wartime assistance to Israel and humanitarian relief to citizens of Gaza, and $8 billion to counter Chinese threats in Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific. U.S. officials said about $1 billion of the aid could be on its way shortly.

China’s Economy Is ‘Failing,’ US Indo-Pacific Commander Says

The Wall Street Journal

The U.S. military commander in the Indo-Pacific said he didn’t believe the economic growth figures reported by China and described the country’s economy as failing. Adm. John C. Aquilino, head of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, spoke at a briefing with reporters in Tokyo. He said China’s economy “has drastically been reduced” because of a “real-estate market crash.”

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DOD Seeks Changes to Reporting on Space Attacks, Space Domain Awareness Sharing

Inside Defense

The Defense Department would only need to report foreign attacks on "critical" national security space capabilities under a legislative proposal submitted to Congress last week. Rather than requiring the commander of U.S. Space Command to provide Congress notice of attempts to “disrupt, degrade or destroy” any such capabilities, it would only need to tell Congress if the capability is deemed “critical,” according to the proposal.

Air Force Issues Call for Cyber, Electromagnetic, Sensing Capabilities to Support ABMS


The Air Force issued a call to industry April 23 in its hunt for new tools to improve its sensor architectures and degrade adversaries’ ability to target U.S forces. The outreach came in an update to a broad agency announcement for technologies to support an operationally focused Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS), which is the Department of the Air Force’s contribution to the Pentagon’s warfighting construct known as Combined Joint All-Domain Command and Control.

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More Raptors Arrive on Okinawa as Part of Rotating Fighter Presence

Stars and Stripes

Another contingent of F-22 Raptors have landed on Okinawa as part of an Air Force plan to replace retired F-15 Eagles with frequent rotations of temporary replacement fighters. Six Raptors from the 27th Fighter Squadron at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., arrived Saturday to support the ongoing return of F-15C/D Eagles to the United States, a spokeswoman for the 18th Wing, Master Sgt. Natasha Stannard, said by email April 23.

OPINION: Now is Not the Time to Scale Back on the B-21 Bomber Program

Defense News

Given their global range, ability to carry large payloads, and unmatched stealth, B-21s will play a crucial role in missions that span the operational spectrum. In times of peace, they will deter adversaries, reassure allies, and favorably shape regions that are critical to our national interests.

Air Force Maintenance Mishaps Are Rising. Can a Worksheet Fix It?

Air Force Times

How is your personal stress? How much sleep did you get last night? Do you need to use hazardous materials or chemicals to complete your next task, and how is the lighting in the workspace? Those are just some of the questions that Air Education and Training Command wants its aircraft maintainers to answer on a new worksheet it rolled out in February.

PODCAST: Gen. Goldfein: His Rescue Story, Leadership: Character-Competence-Curiosity, and Uber as the Future of CSAR

Air Force Doctrine Podcast

This special episode features former Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Dave Goldfein. We discuss how his daring rescue after being shot down over enemy territory forged his views on everything from leadership (“Am I worthy?”) to the future of CSAR (spoiler: the “Uber” model). We also dive into culture versus technology, partnering with Silicon Valley, and how the United States’ CSAR capability serves as a strategic coalition asset.

OPINION: In a Taiwan Conflict, Tough Choices Could Come for Big Tech

Breaking Defense

Several of the companies that came to Ukraine’s defense have much deeper economic ties to China than they did to Russia, and those connections could expose them to Chinese coercion. So what, if anything, should the U.S. government do about these entanglements? There are no easy solutions. Preemptively forcing companies to eliminate their connections to China, often referred to as “decoupling,” would be costly and may not lead to geopolitical stability.

US Takes Aim at Chinese Banks Aiding Russia War Effort

The Wall Street Journal

The U.S. is drafting sanctions that threaten to cut some Chinese banks off from the global financial system, arming Washington’s top envoy with diplomatic leverage that officials hope will stop Beijing’s commercial support of Russia’s military production, according to people familiar with the matter.

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OPINION: The US— and Its Troops Abroad—Are Vulnerable to Low-Flying Drones

The Washington Post

Uncrewed aircraft systems have become a significant security problem for which the U.S. military has minimal countermeasures, write Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and ranking member Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) In classified briefings and open settings, our committee has examined the threat posed by high-altitude craft and low-altitude drones. We discovered a series of underlying issues complicating an effective response to them.

One More Thing

Vice President Harris to Give Air Force Academy Commencement Speech

Colorado Springs Gazette

The Air Force Academy announced April 23 that Vice President Kamala Harris will give the keynote speech at graduation on May 30. As vice president, Harris is part of the regular rotation of speakers for the academy, which graduates about 1,000 cadets each year. This is her first time speaking to the Air Force Academy graduating class.