509th WPS KC-135 Stratotanker refuels aircraft during WSINT

Private Tankers Could Help USAF Keep Up With Demand

Air Mobility Command is pursuing a contract for privately operated tankers to meet the unrelenting need for booms in the air as the service proposes cutting 29 KC-135s and KC-10s. The command is wrapping up a feasibility study on the plan this month with the goal of a contract solicitation in June. The initial requirement would be about 5,000 hours annually, totaling about 1,100 sorties, but eventually the Air Force would like to contract nearly 30,000 hours, the vast majority of which would support training and exercises.
USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71)

Military Facing Operational Impacts of Coronavirus

The new coronavirus is starting to have operational impacts in the Indo-Pacific, as the Navy sidelines a carrier that was previously underway. There were 280 current U.S. military cases of COVID-19 as of March 26—73 more than the previous day—and 600 cases total, including civilians, dependents, and contractors. Within the Air Force, 92 Active-Duty Airmen have tested positive, and the service has 159 cases total, including dependents, civilians, and contractors. Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett, in a video to Airmen released March 26, said the outbreak is “a challenge we have not faced before,” and though the coming weeks “will test us,” the services will lead through the crisis. The Air Force is responding in several ways, including flying aid to Italy and evacuating U.S. citizens from Honduras, and the Air National Guard is activating across the country.
T-50A Trainer

Air Force to Lease T-50A Trainers Ahead of T-7As

Though the Lockheed Martin/KAI T-50A lost the T-X competition, the Air Force will lease a handful of the jets to train pilots ahead of their instruction in the new Boeing T-7A, according to a Korean newspaper. The pricing for the jets is being negotiated, according to The Korea Herald. The jets are to provide 3,000 sorties, or 4,500 flight hours, over five years.
US, Japan, Australia forces conduct air operations in Cope North 2020

Think Tank Urges USAF to Dial Back RDT&E, Buy In-Production Hardware

The Air Force should prioritize buying new hardware over new concepts like the Advanced Battle Management Systems, because it has an obligation to meet National Defense Strategy requirements and the service already is too old and small to do so, a new Heritage Foundation white paper argues. “The Air Force should prioritize procurement well ahead of research, development, test, and evaluation,” according to the Heritage Foundation white paper. Senior USAF leaders have been arguing the exact opposite, saying the service must accept risk now to buy future capability.
AEHF-6 Launch

Final AEHF Satellite Launches After Brief Delay

The Space Force and United Launch Alliance successfully launched the sixth Advanced Extremely High Frequency communications satellite from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., around 4:15 p.m. March 26. AEHF-6, the final piece of the protected satellite comms constellation, will reach its destination after about six hours. Its launch is the Space Force’s first National Security Space Launch event since the new service was created in December.

Radar Sweep

Snapshot: DOD and COVID-19

Air Force Magazine

Here's a look at how the Defense Department is being impacted by and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Space and Missile Systems Center Taking Action to Help Contractors During Pandemic

Space News

The U.S. Space Force’s main procurement arm, the Space and Missile Systems Center in Los Angeles, Calif., shifted into telework mode more than a week ago, as did many of its contractors. But as the state of California moved to shut down non-essential businesses during the coronavirus outbreak, SMC worked with state and local authorities to make sure facilities that manufacture satellites, launch vehicles, and other critical equipment stayed open.

Military Families Overseas Say They Can’t Order from Amazon Anymore


Military families were surprised March 25 when Amazon refused delivery for certain items, including diapers, electronics, and clothes, to their international APO, FPO, and DPO addresses. "This item requires special handling and cannot be shipped to your selected location," appeared in red on Amazon's order page for items such as children's games, shampoo, and dog food when the military installation shipping address was to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Italy; or Bahrain.

U.S. Air Force Sets April Deadline for 3DELRR Replacement

Jane’s International Defence Review (subscription required)

U.S. Air Force officials want defense companies to submit prototype proposals for the revamped Three-Dimensional Expeditionary Long-Range Radar (3DELRR) system by April, as part of the service’s effort to get the beleaguered program back on track.

Faster Acquisition

Air Force Magazine

The Air Force is leveraging emerging technologies and new legislation to accelerate acquisition decisions and streamline sustainment. Read more here.