Kelly: First Low-Cost Attritables will be in Stealth Red Air Role; No F-35 Cuts Planned

The Air Force's first application of low-cost attritable aircraft systems will be as stealthy, jamming adversary systems for F-22 and F-35 fighters to practice against, Gen. Mark D. Kelly, head of Air Combat Command, said in a virtual seminar presented by the Air Force's Life Cycle Management Center. Kelly also discussed cyber vulnerabilities of fighters and said he’s unaware of any move to curtail the total number of F-35 fighters.
Pentagon 2022 budget request

Police Officer, Attacker Killed at Pentagon Bus Stop

A Pentagon Force Protection Agency officer reportedly died of stab wounds, and the attacker was shot and killed by responding officers, on Aug. 3 at a bus stop outside the Pentagon. At 10:37 a.m., the Pentagon police officer was attacked at the metro bus platform outside of the building. Gunfire was exchanged, causing several casualties, PFPA Chief Woodrow G. Kusse said during a briefing. The officer was rushed to George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C. The Associated Press reported the officer later died, and the suspect died at the scene. Kusse said he could not confirm nor deny the deaths, saying it would compromise the investigation.
Sun sets over the MQ-9 Reaper

USAF Not Looking at ‘MQ-Next’ as a Direct MQ-9 Replacement, Outlines Reaper Upgrades

The Air Force is starting to field some enhanced capabilities for the MQ-9 Reaper fleet that will better prepare it to operate in more denied environments while also moving away from the idea of an “MQ-Next” direct follow-on for the remotely piloted aircraft. While the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center has released two requests for information looking at future RPA capabilities, those requests for information were just “market research,” not the beginning of an MQ-9 replacement, said Col. William Rogers, the program executive officer for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and special operations forces. “We’re really providing information, at this point, up to Air Force futures and the Air Staff on helping them try to decide how that future medium-altitude UAS capability could fit into the overall force design for the Air Force,” he said.

Dickinson Calls for International Norms in Space, Citing ‘Provocative’ Actions by Adversaries

Commander of U.S. Space Command Gen. James H. Dickinson drew parallels to the vital role of tiny Pacific islands in a vast ocean in describing his role protecting space lines of communication from increasing pressure by adversaries. Barring internationally accepted norms, Dickinson called for the U.S. to have a “position of strength” that could pressure adversaries to adhere to norms much in the same way the Navy does in the Pacific.
Air Force, Moody receive first Jolly Green II

Protest of HH-60W Upgrade Contract Could Limit, Delay New Systems for the Helicopter

The Air Force is assessing the impact of a judge’s ruling contesting the award of an almost $1 billion contract for HH-60W Jolly Green II upgrades to determine if the service can delay some upgrades or not do some of them at all. The new combat rescue helicopter is preparing for initial operational testing and evaluation. A U.S. Court of Federal Claims judge recently supported a Sierra Nevada Corp. protest to the February sole-source contract award to Sikorsky for a suite of upgrades to the brand-new helicopter. Sierra Nevada Corp. claimed the Air Force had violated competition rules when awarding the contract to Sikorsky, and the company called on the Air Force to accept multiple bids, Inside Defense reported. Col. William Rogers, the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s program executive officer for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and special operations forces, said the Air Force’s legal and contracting teams are assessing the options going forward.

Radar Sweep

APKWS Upgrade Extends Range By 30 Percent: BAE

Breaking Defense

BAE Systems has rolled out an upgrade for its Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) rocket guidance kit that the company claims will extend the weapon’s distance by up to 30 percent. The new kit design allows the rocket to strike a target at a steeper angle of attack than previous guidance systems, according to the company. The upgraded design also comes with options to improve use when training. Production on the new kits is slated to begin in the third quarter of this year.

PODCAST: A-10s, F-35s, and C-130s from the Congressional Vantage

Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies

In episode 33 of the Aerospace Advantage, the Mitchell Institute team discusses the latest developments from Capitol Hill. Given the compressed schedule of this year’s budget process, the debates are intense and the decisions are executing rapidly. There is a lot in play this year as Congress seeks to help the Air Force and Space Force modernize, deal with ongoing operations, and manage challenging fiscal realities.

Trio of Exercises Had Soldiers and Airmen Island-Hopping in the Pacific this Summer

Air Force Times

Over the weekend, U.S. Soldiers and Airmen in the Pacific saw the conclusion of what their commanders termed an “agile combat deployment” of at least 4,000 troops across the islands of Oceania. More than 150 Soldiers with the 82nd Airborne Division, 1st Special Forces Group, and allies in the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force parachuted into Guam early Friday morning as part of Exercise Forager 2021, which had kicked off on July 11.

Military Communications Payloads Could Hitchhike on Future GPS Satellites

Space News

The next generation of Global Positioning System satellites could host additional payloads to provide communications services, the U.S. Space Force said in a request for information. The RFI issued last month by the Space and Missile Systems Center asks contractors to pitch ideas for hosting communications payloads on GPS 3F satellites, the newest version of GPS currently being developed by Lockheed Martin.

Anduril Appoints Goldfein, MacFarland to Advisory Board


Defense technology firm Anduril has appointed a handful of top former defense officials to its advisory board. The company named five new advisors including Katharina McFarland, former assistant secretary of defense for acquisition, retired U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein, and former U.S. Navy officer Adm. Scott Swift, who was commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

In the Newly Noisy Arctic, Underwater Operations Are Getting Harder

Defense One

Underwater operations in the Arctic are becoming more challenging, in part because more ships are rumbling through the northern waters, a maritime transportation expert said Aug. 2. Within the last decade, the Bering Sea and Baffin Bay—near Greenland—have seen noise double during the summer months, an increase of 10 decibels, said Alyson Azzara, an international trade specialist at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration.

Breakneck Pace of Crises Keeps National Guard Away From Home

The Associated Press

Beyond overseas deployments, Guard members have been called in to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters, and protests against racial injustice. For many, it’s meant months away from their civilian jobs and scarce times with families. While Guard leaders say troops are upbeat, they worry about exhaustion setting in and wonder how much longer U.S. businesses can do without their long-absent workers.

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A Year After Doctors Said He Wouldn’t be Allowed to Commission, Air Force Academy Graduate Joins the Space Force

Stars and Stripes

A year before Tanner Johnson was due to graduate from the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado, he was lying in a hospital bed, and doctors were telling his family he had two hours to live. His organs were shutting down due to complications caused by Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune condition where the body attacks the cells that make insulin. Johnson pulled through the worst of the health crisis and began to deal with his new reality. “The doctors said I would have to take insulin shots every day for the rest of my life, I would not be able to fly, I would not be allowed in the military, and wouldn’t be allowed to return to the academy and graduate,” Johnson said. But he refused to accept what they said and set out to prove them wrong.

Senate Report Urges More Centralized Approach to Federal Cybersecurity

Federal News Network

A new Senate report is making the case for reforms to the law governing federal cybersecurity standards after finding multiple federal agencies made just “minimal improvements” over the past two years in their efforts to comply with the requirements. The report, released by leaders of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Aug. 3, follows up on a 2019 document that found eight federal agencies were out of step with federal cyber standards, putting sensitive data at risk.

One More Thing

Here’s Why the Air Force’s Workhorse C-17 is Called ‘the Moose’

Task and Purpose

Air Force jets have a lot of great nicknames. The legendary A-10 Thunderbolt II attack plane is called the Warthog because of its weird-looking appearance and pugnacious spirit; the F-16 Fighting Falcon is called the Viper because it resembles the eponymous spacecraft in Battlestar Galactica (according to some accounts). And then there’s the C-17 Globemaster III, the 30-year-old cargo jet that can do anything from drop paratroopers to carry a 69-ton M1 Abrams Battle Tank, and it’s got a great nickname: The Moose.