fairchild kc-135

Fairchild KC-135 ‘Super’ Wing Deploys Nonstop Amid Tanker Fleet Changes

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash.—For a barometer of the military’s unrelenting thirst for aerial refueling, look to the sprawling flight line here in the Inland Northwest. Fairchild is the home of the Air Force’s only “super” tanker wing, with four KC-135 squadrons. The fourth, the 97th Air Refueling Squadron, which activated in 2019, reached initial operational capability in October 2020 then quickly deployed. The base’s 92nd Refueling Wing is unique among the Air Force in that it always has a squadron deployed downrange. With a total of 63 aircraft in its inventory, Fairchild is often the Air Force’s first call when refueling is needed. “We get the call more than anybody else, and part of that reason is because we have more resources,” 92nd ARW Commander Col. Cassius T. Bentley III said in an interview.
space force pt policy

Space Force PT Guidelines Will Be Ready by Late 2021 or Early 2022

The Space Force is still a ways away from its own physical training guidelines, relying on the Air Force's physical fitness program while it develops its own wellness regimen. “The Space Force is currently building its first policy to capture the service’s comprehensive approach to holistic health and wellness, which will incorporate the physical fitness program,” she added. “We are exploring options to instill a culture of daily health and wellness that we think will benefit our Guardians.”
Tyndall Air Force Base Hurricane Damage

Air Force to Account for Climate Change in Installation Master Plans

The Air Force will implement changes to its installation development plans within the next five years that are aimed at shoring up each base's vulnerabilities to natural disasters and climate change, a top official said in a congressional hearing July 14. Jennifer L. Miller, acting assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment, and energy, told a House Armed Services subcommittee the department has already conducted initial assessments of the threats posed by severe weather and other natural disasters at more than 80 installations. Those assessments will form the basis for the updated development plans.

Radar Sweep

OPINION: China’s Space Program Is More Military Than You Might Think

Defense One

“Some are urging the U.S. and China to collaborate in space as a means to dampen great power tension, though the Wolf Amendment has since 2011 effectively barred NASA from such cooperation. The militarized tilt of the Chinese space program complicates these plans. Space planning and directing organizations, the ground infrastructure supporting its space programs, and the taikonauts themselves are all under the purview of the People’s Liberation Army,” writes Taylor A. Lee, an analyst with BluePath Labs, a D.C.-based consulting company, and Peter W. Singer, strategist at New America.

The Number of Major F-35 Flaws is Shrinking, but the Pentagon is Keeping Details of the Problems Under Wraps

Defense News

As the F-35 program inches its way through operational testing, the number of critical technical deficiencies is slowly dwindling, dropping from 11 critical deficiencies in January to seven in July. However, the exact nature of these problems will remain unknown to the public, even when the deficiency itself is not classified. The F-35 Joint Program Office declined to characterize the fighter jet’s remaining seven critical deficiencies but said in a statement that it has identified and tested fixes for each problem.

NORTHCOM Head To Press DOD Leaders For AI Tools

Breaking Defense

Gen. Glen VanHerck, the head of U.S. Northern Command, is pushing the Defense Department to rapidly adopt the use of artificial intelligence tools that would give decision-makers earlier, and better, options—not just for defeating an adversary on the battlefield, but for actually avoiding warfare in the first place. In an exclusive interview this week, VanHerck said AI could help military commanders, U.S. diplomats, allies, and partner nations all formulate comprehensive strategies for deterring adversarial global powers, such as Russia and China.

As America Moves Air Defenses From Middle East, Will Local Partners Step Up?

Breaking Defense

The Pentagon’s decision to pull military hardware out of the Middle East may be driving headlines, but regional experts say the moves do not actually amount to a major strategic shift in the region. However, the moves could lead to local governments investing more heavily in high-end air defense systems that have previously been provided by American forces in the region.

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Air Force Nuclear Cruise Missiles to Cost About $29 Billion


The U.S. Air Force’s new nuclear cruise missile will cost at least $29 billion to develop, procure, operate, and sustain, a Pentagon evaluation found. That’s $2 billion more than the service’s estimate, with the major difference stemming from the development and procurement phases for as many as 1,020 of the air-launched missiles, known as the Long-Range Standoff Weapon.

The Marine Corps Just Beat the Air Force and Navy in the Latest Jet Capability Race


While the U.S. Marine Corps says its first squadron of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters is fully equipped and ready for war, the Air Force and Navy need more time to catch up. Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 314 said earlier this month that its fifth-generation F-35C jets have achieved full operational capability. Experts believe that could be because the Marine Corps chose to buy far fewer of the C aircraft than the Navy and Air Force purchased of their variants, letting the Marine Corps reach the operational breakthrough faster.

New ‘Chaos Engineering’ Tool Shared Between DOD Software Factories


The Air Force’s Kessel Run software factory is transitioning to the Navy a tool that it has been developing for the past two years that is designed to emulate persistent enemy attacks on a system. The Navy’s Black Pearl software factory will be the first group outside of Kessel Run to get the tech stack and list of best practices on implementing it. But eventually, the goal is for as many coders to get their hands on it as possible, lead engineer Omar Marrero told FedScoop.

MQ-9 Reaper's Automatic Takeoff, Landing Capability Tested Successfully


The MQ-9 Reaper's automatic takeoff and landing capability has successfully been tested, which officials say could significantly expand the missions it is used for, the Air Force said July 15. Previously, the aircraft was required to land at the airfield of operation, but the aircraft can now divert to other landing locations while aircrew control it via satellite.

Space Force Has High Hopes for New Missile Warning Satellites

National Defense Magazine

The Space Force is pursuing a new generation of satellites and associated ground systems to better detect enemy missiles and provide greater resiliency against counterspace weapons. The Biden administration is boosting funding for the project as the military tries to stay ahead of the evolving threat.

One More Thing

Are you sitting comfortably ... ?

The Royal Aeronautical Society

Some 75 years ago, on July 24, 1946, a volunteer from Martin-Baker became the first person outside Germany to eject from an aircraft in flight. Take a look back on the early history and evolution of ejection seats, from their German origins all the way to the F-35.