USAF F-22s Deploy to Qatar Amidst Heightened Tensions With Iran
A contingent of F-22 Raptors has deployed to Al Udeid AB, Qatar, amidst heightened tensions between the United States and Iran. “These aircraft are deployed to Qatar for the first time in order to defend American forces and interests in the US Central Command area of responsibility,” states a release, showing at least five Raptors getting ready to land at Al Udeid on June 27. The US has been bolstering its presence in the Middle East for the last month. Four B-52 Stratofortresses also deployed to Al Udeid on May 20, as part of the initial build up in the region. The Air Force also has deployed F-15E Strike Eagles from Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C.; F-15C Eagles from RAF Lakenheath, England; and F-35 strike fighters from Hill AFB, Utah, to Al Dhafra AB, United Arab Emirates, in response to Iranian threats. Read the full story by Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory.
As Key Part Producers Disappear, Future Advanced Aircraft in Peril, Pentagon Warns
The Pentagon’s latest industrial base report raises new alarms about diminishing sources of key components needed for the design and development of advanced aircraft. Lack of work, long droughts between programs, and a shrinking skilled workforce are combining to cause key vendors to go extinct, the Pentagon warned, saying budget predictability, anti-counterfeiting laws, and lighter export restrictions would help. Read the full story by John A. Tirpak.
Senate Confirms Raymond to Lead Revived US Space Command
The Senate confirmed Gen. Jay Raymond to be the first commander of the re-established US Space Command late June 27. Raymond will continue to lead Air Force Space Command for at least the first year even as he takes the helm of the Defense Department’s newest combatant command, which is expected to begin standing up this year. Under the Senate’s version of the 2020 defense policy bill, Air Force Space Command would be transformed into a Space Force, a new military service that falls under the Department of the Air Force, and Raymond would then be dual-hatted as both commander of US Space Command and of the Space Force for one year before the jobs are split. Read the full story by Amy McCullough.
Former MDA Director: Space-Based Lasers are Coming Sooner Than You Think
There may be clear divisions between the political parties in many areas of defense, but missile defense—once a highly divisive issue—is now an area of common interest and concern, said Sen. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn). “The big story here is how little division there is between the parties on these issues,” Cooper said. “The President’s Budget requested $11.4 billion for missile defense and the Democratic-led Housed Armed Services Committee is giving $11.3 billion.” But as for which technologies hold the greatest promise, Cooper was more circumspect: “We want what works,” he said, before adding that among directed energy options, Congress seems to favor lasers, while Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Mike Griffin favors neutral particle beams. Read the full story by Tobias Naegele.
Slife Succeeds Webb as AFSOC Commander
Air Force Lt. Gen. Jim Slife took the reins of Air Force Special Operations Command in a June 28 ceremony at Hurlburt Field, Fla., an Air Force release said. He succeeds Air Force Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, who is slated to take over Air Education and Training Command later this summer. Over the course of Slife’s 30-year Air Force career, he’s worked as a MH-53J instructor pilot, directed operations at the 20th Special Operations Squadron, commanded the 27th Special Operations Group and 1st Special Operations Wing, and, most recently, served as vice commander of US Special Operations Command. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein called Slife “the obvious choice” for the job, and SOCOM chief Army Gen. Richard Clarke called him “the perfect man at the perfect time for this critical position,” the release said. “He set an example for all of us to follow,” Clarke continued. “Your dedication to our nation and its great warriors has left a profound impact on all of us. You are going to continue to keep AFSOC on its global scale and foster the culture of there is a way––we find it.” During the ceremony, Slife pledged to serve the approximately 20,800 airmen now under his purview “with the humble dedication they deserve." ––Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory
NY Air National Guard Writing the Book on New Propellers While Flying Antarctica Mission
The airmen of the New York Air National Guard’s 109th Airlift Wing are not only tasked with flying one of the most unique missions in the Air Force—airlift in Antarctica using their ski-equipped LC-130s—they are doing it while literally writing the book on their plane’s new propellers. The wing is the first operational unit in the Air Force with the new NP-2000 eight-bladed propellers, so its maintainers have written the Air Force Instructions and the task order process the service will use as more aircraft are outfitted with them. Earlier this year, the 199th AW completed its first deployment for Operation Deep Freeze with a full fleet of the updated aircraft. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.
US-North Korea: Trump and Kim Agree to Restart Talks in Historic Meeting
Donald Trump has become the first sitting US president to set foot in North Korea, after meeting Kim Jong-un in the area dividing the two Koreas. BBC
Team Offutt Restores Lighthouse in the Sky
Offutt AFB, Neb., has restored its Tactical Air Navigation System. The transponder cabinet that housed the two-year-old system was damaged by severe floods in March. Though the outer shell remained intact, the inside components were heavily impaired. USAF release
New Course Aims to Transform Air Force Acquisition
Improving the integration between the Air Force acquisition community and members of the operational community is one of the goals of the Air Force Materiel Command-sponsored Advanced Acquisition Course, the inaugural cohort for which is scheduled to start in July. USAF release
HAW Changes Command, Celebrates 10 Years
USAF Col. James Sparrow assumed command of the Heavy Airlift Wing at Papa AB, Hungary, on June 26. The ceremony and the following air show marked the end of a two-day event, in which the Strategic Airlift Capability program celebrated 10 years of operations. HAW release
IoT, AI Mean More Targets for US Adversaries, Says Gordon
The more we connect different devices together, and the more we trust those devices to make decisions for us, the more targets we give hackers. That means that the rise of the much-hyped Internet of Things (IoT), from self-driving cars to networked baby monitors, and the increasing use of automated decision-making aides, in both the national security establishment and the private sector, are together creating an ever-increasing number of targets for America’s adversaries, warned Susan Gordon, the principal deputy Director of National Intelligence. Breaking Defense
Mold Problems Adding to Military Moving Misery
These three military families have been battling with their privatized housing companies, trying to get their mold problems addressed. Now they—and an unknown number of other military families—are finding the problems of mold are reaching further into their lives. Military Times
Air Force BRAC Program Reaches Innovation Milestone
AFCEC’s Base and Realignment Closure team developed and transferred geospatial data for 39 BRAC installations onto the Air Force GeoBase program, which centralizes all geospatial data and utilizes modern information procedures and technology to display and query data quickly and accurately, becoming the first organization to complete the Air Force-wide task. AFIMSC release
One More Thing…
Restored Mission Control Comes Alive 50 Years After Apollo
Gone is the haze of cigarette, cigar, and pipe smoke. Gone are the coffee, soda, and pizza stains. With only a few exceptions, NASA’s Apollo-era Mission Control has been restored to the way it looked 50 years ago when two men landed on the moon. It gets the stamp of approval from retired flight director Gene Kranz, a man for whom failure—or even a minor oversight—is never an option. Associated Press