F-35 Turkey

USAF Nets Turkey’s F-35s Under $861.7M Contract Mod

The Pentagon will acquire eight F-35A jets previously bound for Turkey, plus six more F-35As under an $861.7 million contract. The contract modifies a previous fixed-price award and “exercises options to procure eight Lot 14 F-35A Lightning II repositioned aircraft as a result of the Republic of Turkey’s removal from the F-35 program.” The other six Air Force F-35As covered by the contract are from the same lot. The deal funds “recurring engineering” to modify the Turkish-ordered jets to meet USAF specifications. Work is to be completed by May 2026.
RQ-4B fuselage

Oil Leak, Improper Mission Planning Caused 2018 RQ-4 Crash

A leak in a cracked oil line caused an RQ-4’s engine to fail during a ferry flight to the Middle East in June 2018, and because the operations aircrews did not properly plan divert airfields en route, the Global Hawk crashed into the sea near Spain, according to an Air Force investigation. The RQ-4B, tail number 09-2041, operated by the 348th Reconnaissance Squadron at Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., was deploying to U.S. Central Command when its engine failed more than 11 hours into the flight. After gliding for about an hour, the pilot determined the aircraft could not make it to a divert airfield and crashed it into the sea, destroying the RQ-4 at a loss of $98 million.
Dialogue on Race

Air Force Equips Airmen to Lead Discussions on Race

The Air Force released a list of resources to help foster conversations on race and inclusion within the service. Since protests started after the killing of George Floyd on May 25, Air Force leadership has encouraged frank discussions on race throughout the service. The goal of this list is to equip airmen with the knowledge to constructively solve issues of prejudice and bigotry. “We must arm our forces with the insights and perspectives of how they can first and foremost be empathetic leaders,” Lt. Col. Angel Lugo, education and training chief of the Air Force Diversity and Inclusion Division, said in a July 17 press release. The list includes books, videos from senior leaders, and TED Talks.

B-1 Task Force Trains With Japanese F-15Js, Deploys to Guam

Two B-1s deployed to the Pacific on July 17, flying intercept training with Japanese F-15Js before landing at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, for the first time since May. The two Lancers from the 37th Bomb Squadron at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., flew directly to the Sea of Japan for the integration training with the Japan Air Self-Defense Force F-15Js as part of the bomber task force deployment. Since ending the Continuous Bomber Presence mission in April, Air Force Global Strike Command has sent smaller task force deployments of bombers on direct flights to the Pacific as part of what it calls “dynamic force employment.”
OAY 2020

USAF Selects 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year for 2020

The Air Force has selected 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year from a pool of 36 nominees representing major commands, direct reporting units, field operating agencies, and Headquarters Air Force. The Airmen were selected based on their “superior leadership, job performance, and personal achievements,” according to a USAF release. The Outstanding Airman of the Year program debuted at AFA’s 10th annual National Convention in 1956, and the association has continued to shine a spotlight on the outstanding airmen from each major command every year since.
Heidi H. Grant

Heidi Grant Tapped to Lead Weapons Export Agency as First Civilian Chief

Heidi Grant, once the Air Force's top weapon exports official, will now lead the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, marking a shift from uniformed to civilian leadership at that agency. DSCA's current leader, Army Lt. Gen. Charles Hooper, is retiring. Grant will oversee arms sales that are increasing annually, to more than $55 billion last year.

Virtual Events: Scowcroft Group’s Miller on Mitchell’s Nuclear Deterrence Series, and More

On March 23, the Air Force Association's Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies will host a virtual Nuclear Deterrence Series event featuring Scowcroft Group Principal Frank Miller. At a time when nuclear modernization programs are accelerating around the world, proposals to recapitalize the U.S. nuclear arsenal are at the forefront of debates over defense spending. Miller will share his insights into the prospects for U.S. nuclear modernization programs and the value of nuclear deterrence in today's competitive security environment. The think tank will post event video on its website and YouTube page after the live event.

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.

Air Force ROTC Opens Summer Field Training Despite COVID-19 Pandemic

USAF release

Air University is hosting more than 1,100 Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets from universities around the country this summer for their required field training despite the coronavirus pandemic. That number is less than half the number of cadets that would normally show up for field training in a non-pandemic year, and it reflects the aggressive COVID-19 mitigation plan in place to ensure the health and safety of cadets, training staff, and military community.

Lengthy F-35 Upgrade List to Transform Strike Fighter’s Future Role

Aviation Week Network

Ten years ago, the F-35 was still in crisis mode: With the flight-test fleet grounded for most of 2009, the supply chain was reeling. Ashton Carter, who was then the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics, later acknowledged that proposals to cancel the program had been briefly considered during that period. In plotting the program’s next decade of development, a similar narrative of early struggles is becoming clear.

USSF and UK MOD Demonstrate Protected Tactical Waveform over SKYNET

Space Force release

On July 13, the U.S. Space Force and the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence successfully conducted a demonstration of the U.S. Protected Tactical Waveform over the U.K.’s SKYNET satellite system, showcasing PTW’s superior data rates and anti-jam performance. This collaboration was a pivotal first step in demonstrating the flexibility and compatibility of PTW over international partner SATCOM.

Sierra Nevada Wins DIU Contract for Experimental Space Station

Breaking Defense

The Defense Innovation Unit picked Sierra Nevada Corp.’s “Shooting Star” spacecraft, originally designed to carry payloads to the International Space Station for NASA, as its “Unmanned Orbital Outpost” space station to test capabilities—and perhaps in future serve as on-orbit fuel stations or logistics hubs.

One More Thing

AFSFC Launches Software to Monitor Health of MWDs

USAF release

The Air Force Security Forces Center at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, has officially launched the Kennel Health Assessment 2.0 project to ascertain the holistic state of all of the kennels across the U.S. Air Force and ensure the well-being of all Military Working Dogs. The project was started in 2018 as KHA 1.0 by Master Sgt. Steven Kaun, the current Air Force MWD program manager.