It was 75 years ago this June that the U.S. Army Air Forces first awarded Boeing a modest $1.7 million contract to begin work on a new strategic bomber. Later this year, the 76 remaining B-52 Stratofortresses will start to get new engines that just might keep the venerable bomber flying through its 100th birthday.
Virgin Orbit successfully delivered four U.S. military satellites to low Earth orbit on June 30 as part of the company’s second successful launch of the LauncherOne rocket. While most space launches start with the rocket standing vertically on a pad, VOX Space, a subsidiary of Virgin Orbit, is one of a growing number of launch providers that takes its rockets up into the sky via aircraft before launching them midair.
A little-noticed provision in Public Law 116-315, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2020, makes it easier for surviving spouses to continue receiving Department of Veterans Affairs benefits if they remarry. The law made changes to the remarriage rules for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC). Effective Jan. 5, 2021, a veteran's surviving spouse who remarries after the veteran's death will remain eligible for the benefit paid by the VA if the spouse is at least 55 years old. The remarriage must have occurred on or after that date.
The Air Force Research Laboratory Directed Energy Directorate held its second in a series of wargaming, modeling, and simulation events June 21-25 at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M. The latest Directed Energy Utility Concept Experiment, or DEUCE, focused on the use of high power electromagnetic (HPEM) weapons as part of an integrated air defense system, whereas the DEUCE held in January concentrated on the capabilities of high energy laser systems.
China’s Navy has taken another step toward eliminating the last advantages that the U.S. Navy enjoys, in the form of the new, stealthy carrier fighter aircraft known as the J-35. What has caught the attention of U.S. defense policy makers is the J-35’s appearance at the aircraft carrier building in Wuhan, Hubei Province that performs research for PLAN naval aviation operations. The photo is the latest of images taken of the Wuhan facility over the years by Chinese aviation enthusiasts and then posted anonymously on various PRC-based websites.
Boeing announced June 30 the appointment of a new chief financial officer, Brian West, a former CFO at GE Aviation. And Stayce Harris, a retired U.S. Air Force Reserve lieutenant general and former 747 captain with United Airlines, will join Boeing’s board. Effective at the end of August, West will report to Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun and serve on the company’s executive council.
The Sierra Nevada Corporation, or SNC, has given us the first look at its MC-145B Wily Coyote. This armed aircraft, which is derived from the Polish PZL M28 Skytruck, as is the U.S. Air Force's existing fleet of C-145A Combat Coyote special operations light transport planes, is the company's entry into the U.S. Special Operations Command's Armed Overwatch trials.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said June 30 that an incident involving a British destroyer in the Black Sea couldn’t have triggered a global conflict even if Russia had sunk the warship because the West knows it can’t win such a war. The tough statement appeared to indicate his resolve to raise the stakes should a similar incident happen again.
Oracle has filed a new brief with the Supreme Court, calling on it to hear the latest argument in its years-long legal battle against the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud contract. The tech company hopes to overturn the initial ruling of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, which identified issues with the $10 billion cloud contract’s award structure but said that potential conflicts of interest had not affected Oracle’s chances or cost it the deal.
The Army is upgrading the valor awards of 60 special operators who participated in the ill-fated Battle of Mogadishu 28 years ago—perhaps best known through the “Black Hawk Down” book and movie. The late recognition comes as Pentagon officials decide whether to send U.S. troops to Somalia anew.
Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass surprised an Airman with an on-the-spot promotion ceremony June 29, but not before having a little harmless fun with her first. “Jenkins, did you know you’re out of uniform?” Bass asked then-Airman 1st Class Ivanna Jenkins, of the 412th Security Forces Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., according to a video posted to Bass’ Facebook page.