air force chinese silos

News about Chinese Silos Highlights Need for USAF to Accelerate Change, Brown Says

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. highlighted the “catastrophic” implications if the Air Force does not change fast enough to keep up with China but added that recent public information about China’s buildup of intercontinental ballistic missile silos will help generate the public support he needs. Brown used his National Press Club remarks to impress upon the audience the real threat that China could overcome U.S. air superiority by 2035.

Lack of JADC2 Coordination Across Services is ‘Recipe for Disaster,’ Analyst Warns

The Defense Department is setting up a “recipe for disaster” if it does not establish a joint program executive office to coordinate joint all-domain command and control efforts across services, a top defense analyst is warning. In a brief published by the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Aug. 5, Todd Harrison, director of the Aerospace Security Project, argued that DOD’s current approach risks individual services, combatant commands, and agencies all developing “multiple stove-piped networks that do not allow the kind of interoperability and resilience that would be possible with a more coordinated approach.”
kc-46 operations

AMC Frees Up KC-46 for More Refueling Operations

Air Mobility Command on Aug. 6 announced it is freeing up the KC-46 for more operations, allowing the tanker to refuel C-17s, B-52s, and other KC-46s in some circumstances. The move is the second “interim capability release” for the troubled tanker. AMC last month cleared it to refuel aircraft with its centerline drogue. Allowing KC-46s to pick up some of the tanker load in non-combat tasks can free up legacy KC-135s and KC-10s to fill more of those responsibilities. That ability is a "large part of how AMC is accelerating the KC-46 on the path to becoming fully operational and combat-ready," said Brig. Gen. Ryan R. Samuelson, AMC’s deputy director of strategy, plans, requirements, and programs and the KC-46 cross-functional team lead.
rq-4 grand forks crash

RQ-4 Global Hawk Drone Crashes in North Dakota

An RQ-4 Global Hawk crashed several miles away from Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., on Aug. 6, the Air Force announced. The unmanned aircraft went down in a rural field near Gilby, N.D., and no injuries were reported. The cause of the crash or the current status of the drone have not yet been released, but the 319th Reconnaissance Wing was on site for recovery operations. An investigation, which could take several weeks, is underway.

USAF-Related Foreign Military Sales to Surpass Last Year Despite Pandemic

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Foreign Military Sales of Air Force systems are on pace to eclipse fiscal 2020 levels, the head of USAF's Security Assistance and Cooperation Directorate said Aug. 5. Transfers have centered on F-15s, F-16s, F-35s, A-29s, and MQ-9 drones. Despite a push to get allies to buy more munitions, there's been no uptick in sales of those items, he reported.

Radar Sweep

DSCA Looking at ‘Creative Financing’ for Future Foreign Military Sales

Breaking Defense

Spurred in part by a potential sale to Colombia of F-16 fighters, the Defense Department is considering novel ways for cash-strapped allies and partners to finance and buy U.S. weapon systems—by bolstering the ability of domestic industry to compete, an Air Force international sales expert said Aug. 6. Although she hasn’t “finalized her thinking,” Heidi Grant, director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, “is looking at ways that we can compete … more creative financing options for partners,” said Col. Anthony Walker, senior materiel leader in the International Division of the Air Force Security Assistance and Cooperation Directorate.

What Will Decrease Training Deaths? More Training, GAO Says

Defense One

A number of high-profile training mishap deaths in recent years drew attention to the Defense Department’s resurging problem with non-combat fatalities. The number of deaths in training vehicle accidents has more than doubled over the last two reported years after hitting a 10-year low of seven in 2017. After the Marine Corps amphibious assault vehicle accident that killed nine in July 2020 and the May 2019 death of 1st Lt. Hugh Conor McDowell in a vehicle rollover, Congress requested that the Government Accountability Office report on these specific training deaths. The GAO found that no “prescribed training regimen” is currently being implemented.

Italy Hikes 2021 Defense Spending, Finds Cash for Tempest

Defense News

Italy has hiked defense spending with a new budget that includes the first 20 million euro Italian funding for the Tempest fighter. The 2021 budget includes 16.8 billion euros ($19.9B) in defense ministry spending, up five percent over 2020, which was in turn an increase on the previous year, putting an end to a series of annual falls. The part of the budget devoted to procurement stood at four billion euros, ($4.7B) up a massive 44 percent over the previous year.

Top Researcher Says Space Force Needs More Balanced Strategy to Deliver Short-Term Results

Federal News Network

The Space Force is taking a lot of flak from Congress for not producing expected results, especially considering the service has been around for nearly two years. The Air Force Research Laboratory’s director is advocating for a more balanced architecture for investment and planning in order to not only tackle long-term problems but also deliver short-term results.

GOP Senators Look to Add $50B for Defense into Infrastructure Bill


Top Senate Republicans are looking to add more than $50 billion in defense funding to bipartisan infrastructure legislation to tackle overdue repairs and upgrade efforts at shipyards, depots, test ranges, and defense laboratories. Senate Appropriations ranking member Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) has filed an amendment to the infrastructure package to boost defense funding, which was obtained by Politico. The Republican defense hawks' effort is the largest, and most detailed, proposal for defense money in an infrastructure bill so far.

Schumer Appeals to Air Force to Keep Helicopter Safety Feature


Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D.-N.Y., is demanding answers from the Air Force after the department nixed funding for a program that helps helicopter pilots avoid midair obstacles, which was put in place after a 2018 crash in Iraq killed seven service members, including three based on Long Island. The Air Force's 2022 budget request to Congress eliminated funding for the Degraded Visual Environment program, which equips rescue helicopters with sensors that help pilots guide through dust, snow, clouds of smoke, and hard-to-see electrical wires.

PODCAST: The Future of Air Force Pilot Training: A Crisis That Demands a Solution

Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies podcast

In episode 34 of the Aerospace Advantage, host John Baum delves into a key challenge facing the Air Force: The service has too few pilots and needs to produce a new generation of talent fast. In discussions with 19th Air Force commander Maj. Gen. Craig D. Wills, the leader who oversees the majority of Air Force pilot training, and members of the Mitchell team, he discusses what it takes to produce an Air Force pilot.

Curious Mission Flown Over the Baltic Sea by US Air Force Nuke-sniffing Plane

The Drive

The U.S. Air Force's lone WC-135W Constant Phoenix "nuke sniffer" aircraft flew an unusual mission over the Baltic Sea on Aug. 5. This plane is typically used to collect air samples to monitor for spikes in radiation levels in the atmosphere. It can also be employed after nuclear weapon tests and atomic accidents to help glean more information about those events and track the potential spread of dangerous radioactive material.

One More Thing

NHL Player Flies with Pilot Brother in F-16 Jet, Faster than Speed of Sound

Scott Mayfield plays arguably the fastest game on Earth for the New York Islanders, but hockey felt like kickball after the 28-year-old defenseman flew an F-16 Viper with his brother, Air Force Capt. Patrick Mayfield. One week of training and touring Holloman Air Force Base in Otero County, N.M., led to a flight that reached Mach 1.11, an estimated 852 mph and faster than the speed of sound (761.2 mph) assuming an air temperature of 59 degrees. Scott was trained to handle G-force, ensure his body was in the best position, and what to do in an emergency, and he had a couple of bags tied around his leg in case he felt sick.