F-22 night flying

USAF Considering Pilot Training Changes to Curb Flight Accidents

The Air Force is considering changes to its pilot curriculum to curb the rising number of aviation accidents across the service, Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. said Feb. 25. The Air Force saw 72 accidents in fiscal 2020—10 more than in the previous year, Air Force Magazine reported Feb. 23. Thirteen of the 72 accidents last year caused injury or death, according to Air Force Safety Center data obtained by the magazine. Air Education and Training Command is working with major commands that own those aircraft, like Air Combat Command and Air Mobility Command, on a new approach to flight training.
Vermont's Final F-35A Lightning II Arrives

TacAir Study Will Determine If F-35 Production Surge Needed

The Air Force's new tactical aviation study will determine if a surge in F-35 production is needed in order to buy out the planned 1,763 airplanes before the 2040s. But that decision also will depend on funding, contractor capacity, and the need for complementary aircraft, including the new Next-Generation Air Dominance fighter, Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr. told reporters Feb. 25.
Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr.

USAF Leaders Send Videos, Instructions to Units for Extremism Stand Down

Department of the Air Force leadership has distributed videos and instructions for how local commanders can hold their Defense Department-ordered one-day stand down to focus on extremism, with the goal of small group discussions on core values in service. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., speaking to reporters during the Air Force Association’s virtual Aerospace Warfare Symposium, said the headquarters sent four videos “to give some situations and allow me to talk about extremism.” Commanders will schedule small groups to talk about the dangers of extremism, and how to create “the environment where all your members can reach your full potential,” Brown said.

Space Force to Test New Insignia Next Month

Space Force troops will try out new rank insignia for the first time next month, as the service looks to shake up the traditional chevron design it inherited from the Air Force. “We’re excited about that, to get feedback and figure out what that insignia looks like, and new uniforms and all those things coming up later in the year,” Chief Master Sergeant of the Space Force Roger A. Towberman said Feb. 25 during AFA’s virtual Aerospace Warfare Symposium. The new insignia will accompany the Space Force’s fresh take on a rank and grade structure that took effect at the beginning of February.
Gen. John W. "Jay" Raymond

For Military Superiority in Space, Start with Safety

The U.S. military has worked in space for decades, providing GPS to the masses and bouncing combat messages through satellites to troops around the world. In some ways, though, the Space Force feels like it's starting from scratch. Officials are looking for ways to keep space safe and maintain an upper hand while the Pentagon learns how to treat space as it does air, land, and sea. Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond laid out some of those foundational concerns during a discussion with famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson as part of AFA’s Aerospace Warfare Symposium.
Raymond and deGrasse Tyson

Watch, Read: Raymond and deGrasse Tyson Talk Space

At the Air Force Association's virtual Aerospace Warfare Symposium on Feb. 25, Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond laid out in plain language the serious threats facing U.S. and allied space capabilities. In a spirited discussion with renowned author and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, the space Chief and the Scientist shared their common view of the value, opportunities, and vulnerabilities of space in the modern context. Now you can watch the segment or read the transcript here.
Fighter jets simulate strikes in southeastern Syria

‘Great Power Competition’ Occurring in Middle East With Interference, Contested Communications

The U.S. military operating in Syria regularly confronts “great power competition” while conducting ongoing counterterrorism operations, facing regular interference and Russian aircraft close by in a confluence of threats, Air Force and Space Force officials said. “Great power competition … is alive and well in Central Command. Certainly in all domains, but certainly where air and space meet at the confluence of those domains,” Lt. Gen. Gregory M. Guillot, commander of Ninth Air Force (Air Forces Central), said during the Air Force Association’s virtual Aerospace Warfare Symposium. Maj. Gen. DeAnna M. Burt, the commander of U.S. Space Command’s Combined Force Space Component Command, said operations in Syria “day in and day out” look like the Air Force’s Red Flag exercise.
Bomber Task Forces

Ray Claims Big Success with Bomber Task Forces

The new Bomber Task Force concept is operationally successful, and is also a hit with aircrews, whose morale has increased with the flurry of short-term visits to nontraditional bomber destinations like India and Norway, Global Strike Command chief Gen. Timothy M. Ray said Feb. 25. Fresh from briefing Congress on a new bomber roadmap, Ray said there's good support for the new LRSO nuclear missile, and he expects hypersonic weapons to expand bomber capabilities soon.
Joint Task Force Quartz repositions U.S. forces in East Africa

How Airmen and Aircraft Helped Move U.S. Forces Out of Somalia

The withdrawal of about 700 U.S. forces from Somalia required a massive nocturnal airlift, movement of fighters and tankers from the Middle East, and other overwatch from drones and other special operations aircraft, all planned and executed within weeks. The mission, called Operation Octave Quartz, came after former President Donald J. Trump in early December ordered U.S. forces to leave Somalia and reposition to other bases in the region. The joint operation was planned and executed “inside of a month,” in a way to protect the forces that were moving from an adversary “that had the potential to hurt Americans,” said Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian, commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa, in an interview.

Here’s How Air Force Leaders Are Fighting COVID-19 Vaccine Stigma

When it comes to easing enlisted Airmen’s reservations about getting the COVID-19 vaccine, the wisest course of action is to be straightforward and well-informed, and lead by example, Chief Master Sgt. Brian P. Kruzelnick, Air Mobility Command’s command chief master sergeant, said during the Air Force Association’s virtual Aerospace Warfare Symposium. Enlisted leaders can help ease their Airmen’s nerves through “timely and accurate communication” that removes emotions and sticks to the facts, he said during a pre-recorded enlisted leadership panel that aired on Feb. 25. Kruzelnick also encouraged leaders who are eligible for vaccines to “get up front" and get vaccinated.

30 Years After Desert Storm: Feb. 26

In commemoration of the 30th Anniversary of Operation Desert Storm, Air Force Magazine is posting daily recollections from the six-week war, which expelled Iraq from occupied Kuwait.

Radar Sweep

AFRL Pushes Laser ‘SHiELD’ Flight Test Back, Again

Breaking Defense

The first full-up flight test of the Self-Protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator (SHiELD) is now slated for 2024, Jeff Heggemeier, Air Force Research Laboratory program manager, told Breaking Defense in an email. Some ground testing will be undertaken between now and then to “ensure system performance.” AFRL originally planned a flight test in 2021; last summer they pushed the date out to 2023.