B-52s Return to the Middle East as Afghanistan Withdrawal Begins

Two B-52s arrived in the Middle East on April 23 as part of an increase in airpower to protect U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan as part of the withdrawal in the country. Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III approved the deployment of the bombers and the extension of the deployment of the USS Eisenhower aircraft carrier to be able to conduct possible airstrikes in Afghanistan if needed. The bombers are from the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., and the first two touched down at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, the evening of April 23.

AFGSC Stands Down B-1 Fleet to Inspect Fuel System Problems

Air Force Global Strike Command on April 20 ordered a safety stand-down of its B-1B Lancer fleet to inspect fuel system problems following an April 8 ground emergency. After the emergency at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., inspectors found a “discrepancy” with the B-1’s Augmenter Fuel Pump Filter Housing. As a “precautionary measure,” AFGSC boss Gen. Timothy M. Ray directed inspections on all B-1s to resolve the issue, AFGSC said in a statement. “After further analysis, the commander stood down the fleet because it was determined a more invasive inspection was needed to ensure the safety of aircrews,” the command said.

Quick Turnaround: How a Kadena Maintenance Group Radically Increased Sortie Production

In the summer of 2019, the 18th Maintenance Group at Kadena Air Base, Japan, was struggling to produce just a light day of sorties. Just 16 months later, the unit pulled off a “super surge,” putting up 436 sorties in three and a half days—the equivalent of more than a month’s worth of flying, condensed into less than a week, said Capt. David Barton, operations officer for 18th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. “It was considered an unsolvable problem,” 18th MXG Commander Col. William F. Ray explained. Now, with the same aging fleet, modifications, and other issues, “we’re putting up the most [F-15C/D] sorties in the Air Force.” The key to their success: The theory of constraints.

Rolls Teams with Purdue, Carnegie Mellon on Embedded Security

Engine-maker Rolls-Royce is teaming up with Purdue and Carnegie Mellon universities to develop cyber tools and protection for its sophisticated aircraft engines, the company announced April 22. Initial projects include an effort to use artificial intelligence to detect cyber intrusions in the embedded computers that control jet engines. Rolls-Royce will fund two or three projects a year through its new Cybersecurity Technology Research Network, choosing proposals submitted from academics at the two partner institutions, said S. Michael Gahn, the chief of technology for Rolls-Royce’s Product Cyber.

Radar Sweep

Panel: End Commanders’ Power to Block Military Sex Cases

AP News

A Pentagon panel is recommending that decisions to prosecute service members for sexual assault be made by independent authorities, not commanders, in what would be a major reversal of military practice and a change long sought by Congress members, The Associated Press has learned.

AFW2 announces Team Air Force for Warrior Games 2021

USAF release

The Air Force Wounded Warrior Program is proud to announce the 2021 Air Force Warrior Games team. A team of coaches and staff selected 45 primary and 15 alternates; a combination of Active duty, Guard and Reserve Airmen and veterans, after the 2021 Virtual Air Force Trials competition. The 45-person team will go on to compete at the Department of Defense Warrior Games in Orlando, Florida, Sept. 12-22.

'Kingpin' Command and Control Squadron Moves Out of UAE


The 727th Expeditionary Air Control Squadron began full operations from South Carolina's Shaw Air Force Base this week after 10 years of operations at Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates, the Air Force announced.

JADC2 Strategy Nearing Completion, Official Says


The Defense Department is in the final stages of work on its strategy to connect sensors from each military service under a unified network, according to the top project official on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

SpaceX and OneWeb Spar over Satellite Close Approach

Space News

An alleged close approach between satellites from OneWeb and SpaceX led to a meeting between the companies and the Federal Communications Commission, but the companies don’t completely agree on what resulted from that discussion.

B-21 A Good News Story; DoD Acquisition ‘Getting Better:’ HASC Chair

Breaking Defense

The secretive B-21 stealth bomber appears to be solidly on schedule, the top lawmaker on the House Armed Services Committee said today, calling a recent briefing on the program “one of the most positive, encouraging things that I’ve had happen to me in the last couple of weeks.”

One More Thing

2021 F-150 Raptor Takes Inspiration From its Aviation Namesake

Military Times

Tom Liu is a fan of Raptors. The four-wheeled variety. The winged version. The veloci-type? Maybe. It should come as no surprise, then, that Liu, the 30-year-old lead exterior designer of the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor, looked to the F-22 fighter for inspiration while designing the latest iteration of the Ford truck.