Cleared of Assault Allegation, Hyten Now Faces Senate Scrutiny

Air Force investigators earlier this year cleared US Strategic Command chief Gen. John Hyten of sexual assault allegations raised in April, but those claims have surfaced again as the Senate considers him for the Pentagon’s No. 2 uniformed job. The Air Force said July 10 that a subordinate filed a complaint with the Air Force Inspector General alleging that Hyten committed “abusive sexual contact.” The complaint was referred to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, which investigated the claims. Defense One first reported on the allegations this week, saying the incident in question happened between late 2017 and early 2018. Neither the Defense Department nor USAF confirmed to Air Force Magazine when the alleged incident occurred. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

Skyborg Preps for First Flights This Summer

The Air Force’s unmanned “Skyborg” project will get its first flight test at Edwards AFB, Calif., this summer, putting autonomous flight controls to work on a “small, but representative, high-speed surrogate aircraft.” The ultimate goal is to create a combat-ready, autonomous aircraft comparable to a fighter jet by the end of 2023. Skyborg is envisioned as a robotic wingman for other pilots, using artificial intelligence to fly and control the aircraft and managing some combat mission tasks itself. After initial test flights, Skyborg will scale up to larger test platforms that are closer to the final airframe, according to Air Force spokeswoman Capt. Cara Bousie. She declined to specify when this summer’s testing will occur, but said it is part of a two-year experimentation campaign designed to see how advanced autonomy performs in a controlled setting. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

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Spooky Returns Home From Last Deployment

The Air Force’s venerable Spooky has finished its last ride in the Middle East. On July 8, two AC-130U Spooky gunships landed at Hurlburt Field, Fla., following their final scheduled combat deployment, according to an Air Force Special Operations Command video. While the aircraft are still available for a contingency deployment if needed, they are no longer in the rotation and will be replaced downrange by AC-130J Ghostriders. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

Lawmakers Introduce Measures to Promote Doolittle Raider, Tuskegee Airman

Lawmakers on July 10 introduced measures to promote two Air Force legends: the late retired Lt. Col. Dick Cole, who had been the last living Doolittle Raider, and famed Tuskegee Airman retired Col. Charles McGee. Two amendments to the House’s version of the 2020 defense policy bill, sponsored by three congressmen, call on President Donald Trump to promote Cole to colonel. Cole, who died in April, flew the lead B-25 bomber in the famed Doolittle Raid. A measure from Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Md.) also calls on Trump to promote McGee, 99. McGee flew 409 combat missions in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

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BMT Trainees Receive M-4 Instruction at Lackland

Basic military training participants went through a revamped weapons familiarization course for the first time at JB San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, this week. As part of an overhaul of BMT, trainees will now use the M-4 carbine as opposed to the old M-16A2 rifle. This change, along with storm damage, prompted a makeover for the range at the JB San Antonio-Medina Annex, which opened for its first class July 8, according to an Air Education and Training Command release. The new range allows for 244 trainees per day, four days per week, according to AETC. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.



Bulgaria Agrees to Buy F-16 Jets From US in $1.25 Billion Deal

Bulgaria approved the purchase of eight Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter jets for $1.25 billion, a crucial part of the Balkan country’s biggest defense overhaul since the Cold War. Bloomberg

US Proceeding with Plan for Coalition to Deter Iran Threats

The United States will move ahead with plans to build a coalition of nations to monitor and deter Iranian threats against commercial shipping in the Persian Gulf area and in a heavy trafficked waterway between the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff said July 9. Associated Press

Tell Joint AI Center Your Cyber Defense Idea — in 99 Words or Less

The Pentagon’s year-old Joint Artificial Intelligence Center is giving all comers until July 26 to submit proposals for cyber and information warfare. JAIC’s Cyberspace National Mission Initiative is working with [Pentagon research chief Mike] Griffin’s Rapid Reaction Technology Office to find a wide range of AI tools, from automatically patching weak points in military networks to hunting hacker hangouts deep in the Dark Web. Breaking Defense

Amazon, Microsoft Wage War over the Pentagon’s “War Cloud”

Amazon and Microsoft are battling it out over a $10 billion opportunity to build the US military its first “war cloud” computing system. But Amazon’s early hopes of a shock-and-awe victory may be slipping away. Associated Press

Navy Declares Unmanned MQ-8C Fire Scout Helicopter Mission Capable

The Navy declared its MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter mission capable and ready to deploy aboard Littoral Combat Ships. USNI News

Here’s How Much the “Salute to America” Flyovers Cost the Military

The Pentagon estimates the "Salute to America" Fourth of July parade held in Washington, D.C., last week cost it $1.2 million, according to the DOD comptroller’s office.

Northrop Grumman Board Names Kathy J. Warden Chairman

The board of directors of Northrop Grumman Corporation has elected Kathy J. Warden as its chairman, effective Aug. 1. Warden will serve as chairman, chief executive officer, and president. Northrop Grumman release

One More Thing

Inside Starshot, the Audacious Plan to Shoot Tiny Ships to Alpha Centauri

Starshot wants to build the world’s most powerful laser and aim it at the closest star. What could go wrong? MIT Technology Review