Enlisted Airmen who sign up for the Space Force can expect to see a broader range of career opportunities than they had during their time in Air Force, the service’s senior enlisted adviser told Air Force Magazine in an exclusive interview. Chief Master Sgt. Roger Towberman, who formally joined the Space Force April 3 to help chart the fledgling service’s direction, said enlisted personnel could take on multiple specialties over the course of their career. “I don't believe that we'll be able to bin and specialize like they do in the Air Force, so that means their jobs will be different,” Towberman said April 30. “What you're being asked to do may change more than it does in the Air Force just because our small numbers will require that.”
Pacific Air Forces boss Gen. C.Q. Brown Jr. will get his shot at becoming the Air Force’s next Chief of Staff at his Senate confirmation hearing scheduled for May 7. The Senate Armed Services Committee plans to vet Brown, Navy Secretary nominee Kenneth Braithwaite, and Deputy Under Secretary Of Defense For Policy nominee James Anderson in its second in-person hearing since returning from an extended recess due to the coronavirus pandemic. SASC will "follow guidelines developed in consultation with the Office of the Attending Physician, the Senate Sergeant at Arms, and the Senate Rules Committee to protect the health of members, witnesses, staff, and the public,” the committee said. “This includes maintaining 6-foot social distance spacing in the hearing room.”
A T-38C instructor pilot failed to take control during a dangerous situation as the student pilot made an incorrect input during a formation landing in November 2019 at Vance Air Force Base, Okla., causing the Talon to flip and skid to a stop, killing both, according to an Air Force investigation. The Nov. 21, 2019, crash at the training base killed instructor Col. John “Matt” Kincade, 47, a highly regarded pilot with the reputation as one of the best T-38 instructors at Vance, and 2nd Lt. Travis Wilkie, 23, a student with a “stellar reputation as a hard worker,” according to an Air Education and Training Command Accident Investigation Board report released May 1. Wilkie’s family, in a statement, refuted the findings of the report as “grossly and unjustly incomplete," saying the Air Force is not "doing right by our Airmen and Airwomen by mandating student pilots land in formation in a plane so old that it doesn’t perform as responsively as needed to prevent loss of life.”
The Air Force is reshuffling the oversight of its fighters, bombers, and mobility aircraft, separating fighters and bombers and putting tankers and the Open Skies recap program together with other airlift programs. The reorganization is meant to put greater emphasis on bombers and extract the efficiencies of putting all mobility types under one leader. The replacement of Air Force One will retain a separate Program Executive Officer, the new B-21 bomber will still be run by the Rapid Capabilities Office, and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will still be run by the Joint Program Office.
A long-standing problem with F-16 landing gear caused the December 2019 crash of a Viper upon landing at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea. The documented problems with actuators and brackets on the main landing gear of F-16 Block 32 and Block 40 aircraft prompted an Air Force-wide time compliance technical order, which had not yet been addressed on the 80th Fighter Squadron F-16 involved in the mishap. The pilot was able to eject, and the F-16 was destroyed at a loss of $19.4 million, according to an Air Force investigation released April 29. F-16 units have until March 2, 2022, to implement the order, but after the mishap, the 8th Fighter Wing at Kunsan fixed its entire F-16 fleet, according to the Air Force.
A B-52 assigned to the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., lost an access panel during a May 1 flyover to honor individuals on the frontlines of the fight against the new coronavirus in New Orleans. The panel was recovered, and no one was injured in the incident, but a safety investigation is planned, wing spokesperson 2nd Lt. Aileen Lauer told Air Force Magazine later the same day.
Four B-1B Lancers and about 200 airmen deployed to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, on May 1 as a short “bomber task force” rotation, just two weeks after the service ended its Continuous Bomber Presence mission in the Pacific. The B-1s, from the 9th Bomb Squadron at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, will train with other USAF and allied units, and conduct “strategic deterrence missions to reinforce the rules-based international order” in the region. It is the third time within nine days that B-1s have flown in the theater. Two B-1s from the 37th Bomb Squadron at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., flew directly to train near Japan on April 22 and two B-1Bs also from Ellsworth flew directly to the South China Sea.
The Afghan Air Force lost 12 aircraft in the first quarter of 2020, an 8 percent drop of its flying fleet. The service also decreased its flying hours by a quarter, according to a new watchdog report. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction states that the USAF-led Train, Advise, Assist Command-Air mission reported a drop of 12 available Afghan Air Force aircraft in the beginning of this year, including six Russian-made Mi-17s that “expired” or were damaged, plus a new MD-530 attack helicopter lost in combat. SIGAR also notes that the U.S.-led mission in Afghanistan is no longer reporting the number of Taliban-initiated attacks, as part of negotiations toward a peace process.