Daily Report

June 7, 2012

Senators Want Re-engined JSTARS Fleet

The Senate Armed Services Committee wants the Air Force to proceed with re-engining the E-8C JSTARS ground-surveillance fleet, an upgrade the Air Force has been distancing itself from. The committee added $12 million to the Air Force's budget request for Fiscal 2013 to restart the production line for the new engines, according to the SASC report accompanying the Senate's draft version of the Fiscal 2013 defense authorization bill. Committee members were "troubled" that the Air Force didn't request procurement funds for the engines as in previous years, even though there's no clear JSTARS alternative for decades and new engines would "improve performance and fuel efficiency" of the fleet, states the report, issued in early June. The JSTARS test bed aircraft already possesses the new powerplants, but the Air Force put off fitting its operational E-8Cs with them until it completed an analysis of future options for overhead tracking of moving ground targets. Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said to Congress in March the Air Force would stick with the JSTARS fleet, based on the analysis' findings. However, in May, he said the Air Force does not intend to re-engine the fleet. (SASC report; caution, large-sized file.)

Academy Training Group Realigns

The 306th Flying Training Group realigned under the 12th Flying Training Wing in a ceremony at the Air Force Academy airfield in Colorado Springs, Colo. “It’s fitting that the 306th Flying Training Group, which hosts US Air Force Academy airmanship...

Charleston Single-Tracking

Officials at JB Charleston, S.C., are preparing to close the base’s main runway to begin a $40 million full-up replacement of its 9,000-foot surface over the next year, reported Charleston’s Post and Courier on June 6. During the work, which...

Sharpening the Lancer

The B-1B bomber fleet is in the midst of its most comprehensive cockpit and operator station rework, according to service officials. “The B-1 has never seen this many upgrades in one block,” said Maj. Thomas Bryant, assistant director of operations...

SASC Wants More F-22 Oversight

The Senate Armed Services Committee wants more oversight of the way the Air Force handles its F-22 modernization activities, according to the committee's report accompanying the Senate's draft version of the defense authorization bill. The committee wants the Air Force to report regularly on the status of its F–22 modernization and upgrade programs via the mechanism that the Pentagon uses to keep Congress apprised of the status of the major defense acquisition programs: the selected acquisition reports. This is due to factors, including the fact that "there could be as much as $11.7 billion remaining to be spent" on defined F-22 upgrades, and they "are much more complicated than those made to other legacy fighters, giving rise to likelihood of schedule slips and cost growth," states the report. The committee is also concerned that many F-22s in the fleet "may not get their long-promised capability upgrades until they will have, in some cases, expended as much as 20 percent of their service lives," states the report, issued in early June. This could limit the amount of utility that the Air Force gains from these "enormously expensive modernization" activities, it states. (SASC report; caution, large-sized file.)

Investing in Hypersonics Test Infrastructure

The Senate Armed Services Committee has directed the Air Force to create a master plan outlining future requirements and proposed investment in hypersonics test infrastructure out to 2025, according to the report accompanying the Senate's draft version of the Fiscal 2013 defense authorization bill. The committee said it is concerned because of the "dated" and limited nature of the existing test facilities at a time when hypersonic weapon systems could play a significant role in overcoming the tyranny of distance in the Asia-Pacific region and in countering anti-access, area-denial challenges from potential adversaries. "The state of the nation's hypersonics ground test and evaluation facilities and workforce have not received adequate attention over the years" and they are "facing both threats of divesture as well as gradual decay," states the report, issued the first week of June. Therefore, the committee instructed the Air Force Secretary to conduct a study examining the ability of the service's air and ground test and evaluation infrastructure to support near- and far-term hypersonics development activities, and to incorporate the findings into the master plan. (SASC report; caution, large-sized file.) (See also Advocating Hypersonics from the Daily Report archives.)

Dempsey Sees Growth Potential in US-Thai Relationship

With a strategic location, mature armed forces, and growing economy, Thailand will be an important US partner in the realm of future military and security cooperation, said Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey upon concluding his visit to Thailand this...

Early Warning Network Gets Upgrade

The 50th Space Communications Squadron at Schriever AFB, Colo., is in the final phase of a six-year, $6 million project to upgrade the communications links connecting ballistic missile warning sensors at global sites to North American Aerospace Defense Command headquarters...

Emphasizing its Striped Heritage

The 23rd Wing at Moody AFB, Ga., has returned to its heritage by adopting the legendary “Flying Tigers” motto on the patch worn by its airmen, announced wing officials. The Army Institute of Heraldry recently approved the new rendition of...