A-10 Flies Above CENTCOM

Legacy Fleets Take Hit to Pay for RDT&E Funding Boost

The Defense Department's $740.5 billion budget request for fiscal 2021 increases spending on nuclear modernization, space, cyberspace, and multi-domain operations in preparation for great power competition, while proposing to cut dozens of legacy aircraft and reducing overseas contingency operations funding for the wars in the Middle East. The Pentagon requested $705.4 billion, including $636.4 billion in base funding and $53 billion in overseas contingency operations funding. An additional $35.1 billion for the Department of Energy and other agencies brings the total national defense spending to $740.5 billion. The topline is flat and does not include growth for inflation; however, research, development, test, and evaluation increases $2 billion—the highest, by percentage of the overall budget, in 70 years, Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist said. “We had to make additional tough choices ... to free up money to continue to invest in preparing for the high-end fight,” Norquist said. Many of these cuts will hit Air Force flight lines directly.
02072020 Seals

USAF Budget Request Flat in 2021

The Air Force's total budget remains flat in fiscal 2021, with increased funding for space, research and development, and joint service connectivity, but declines in procurement and military construction. The budget funds an additional 1,500 Airmen, and includes a 3-percent pay raise for uniformed personnel and a 1 percent pay raise for civilians. The Air Force's overseas contingency operations account will get a boost, but aircraft purchases do not increase.
U.S. Space Force

Space Force Requests $15.4 Billion in Fiscal 2021

The Space Force is requesting $15.4 billion for its first full year of operations in fiscal 2021, ballooning from its $40 million allotment from Congress in 2020. The fledgling service was created under the Department of the Air Force in December by the Fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act. As the Air Force shifts much of its space enterprise into the new service, overall space funding is set to grow by $900 million. Maj. Gen. John Pletcher, the Air Force’s deputy assistant budget secretary, told reporters Feb. 10.
B-1Bs at Dyess

Expected $30 Billion Realignment Not in USAF Budget

A touted $30 billion realignment of the Air Force's budget, with some wholesale retirements of major systems, did not materialize in the spending documents released Feb. 10. Instead, the Air Force is reducing its operational fleet to pay for technology upgrades emphasizing connectivity, agile logistics, space, and increases in combat power.
KC-46 lands at Al Udeid Air Base

Budget Cuts Legacy Tankers Despite KC-46 Delays

The Air Force wants to retire 28 KC-10s and KC-135s, even though the KC-46 tanker is years away from operational capability. This KC-46 fleet has been plagued by problems, especially with its Remote Vision System, which links the boom operator to the refueling system. Air Force leaders have said the problems with the RVS and Boeing’s slow progress toward fixing it means the KC-46 will not be deployable for at least three years. “The bottom line is: To try ensure we have the capabilities we’re going to need in the future, we’re going to have to take some risk,” said Maj. Gen. John Pletcher, the Air Force deputy assistant secretary for budget, in a Feb. 10 briefing.

Air Force Cancels HCSW Hypersonic Missile in Favor of ARRW

The Air Force has canceled the Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon as a budget move, shifting emphasis to the Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon. While both are Lockheed Martin programs, the HCSW was being developed by the Space division in Huntsville, Alabama, while the ARRW is being developed by Missiles and Fire Control in Orlando, Florida. Work will continue through critical design review next month, then the program will shut down.
37th HS trains for real world operations

F.E. Warren Security Forces Airmen Under Investigation for Smoking Marijuana

Air Force Global Strike Command on Feb. 10 held a no-notice leadership call at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming, following reports of marijuana use by security forces airmen tasked with protecting the base’s nuclear missile fields. “Our solemn duty is to protect this nation. The majority of our Airmen are exceptional and have made significant gains in ensuring excellence and adhering exacting standards,” AFGSC boss Gen. Timothy Ray said in a news release. “But we will not give up one inch of this hard-earned ground. When any of us see those not living up to our high standards, we will hold them accountable using all of the disciplinary tools available under the military justice system.”

Radar Sweep

Over 100 U.S. Troops Diagnosed with Brain Injuries from Iran Attack


The U.S. military is preparing to report a more than 50-percent jump in cases of traumatic brain injury stemming from Iran’s missile attack on a base in Iraq last month, U.S. officials told Reuters on Feb. 10. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of an announcement, said there were over 100 cases of TBI, up from the 64 previously reported last month.

Two from Eglin Air Force Base Die in Combat in Afghanistan


Two soldiers from Eglin Air Force base died Feb. 8 in Afghanistan. Defense Department officials identified Sgt. 1st Class Javier Jaguar Gutierrez, 28, of San Antonio, and Sgt. 1st Class Antonio Rey Rodriguez, 28, of Las Cruces, New Mexico. Gutierrez and Rodriguez died in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, while engaged in combat operations.

Iran Again Fails to Put Satellite into Orbit Amid U.S. Worries

Associated Press

The launch happened at 7:15 p.m. local time at Imam Khomeini Spaceport in Iran’s Semnan province, some 230 kilometers (145 miles) southeast of Iran’s capital, Tehran. A Simorgh, or “Phoenix,” rocket couldn’t put the Zafar 1 communications satellite into orbit, however, due to a low speed, Iranian state TV reported.

One More Thing

That Time an F-22 Raptor Provided Refuge for 20,000 Honey Bees

The Aviation Geek Club

On June 11, 2016, 192nd Fighter Wing aircraft maintainers were bemused when they found a swarm of honey bees hanging from the exhaust nozzle of an F-22 Raptor engine following flight operations at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia.