New Longer-Range Missiles Needed to Preserve Stealth Advantages

The range of current Air Force weapons compels pilots of stealth aircraft to get too close to their targets, risking that they’ll be seen and shot down, Air Combat Command boss Gen. Mark D. Kelly said Sep. 22. The service must have longer-range “fifth-generation weapons” to go with its fifth-gen combat aircraft, he said. “We [take] a lot of bang out of our low-observable force because we push them into ranges where everyone”—even stealth aircraft—“is observable,” Kelly told reporters during a press roundtable at AFA’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference.
air force pilot production

Air Force ‘Making Some Progress’ on Pilot Production With Diversity, Training Changes

The Air Force’s pilot production numbers stayed relatively steady from fiscal 2019 to 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. said, an encouraging sign that the service’s efforts to speed up that pipeline are working. That progress could be especially key in the next few years. While the pandemic isn’t over yet, commercial airlines have expressed optimism about a rebound in travel and their long-term futures. Growth for those companies would mean more competition for pilots, which has caused shortages for the Air Force in the past.

Radar Sweep

Air Force Secretary Mulls Space Acquisitions Nominees

Defense Systems

The Space Force is inching closer to getting an acquisitions chief. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said candidate interviews are underway for the space acquisition system secretary position and that he expects to make a recommendation to the defense Secretary and White House soon.

Air Force F-22s Make First Landing at Fort Drum Airfield for Rapid Refueling Operation

Army release

Two F-22 Raptors from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., touched ground at Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield for the first time Sept. 21, and, roughly 30 minutes later, they were gone. The brief visit demonstrated both Fort Drum’s capabilities to expand its airfield operations to support different types of aircraft, as well as the ability of 174th Maintenance Group Detachment 1 to facilitate rapid refueling and armament for unit training missions.

Air Force Software Tool Helped Coordinate Afghanistan Evacuation of Civilians

Defense News

A tool created by an Air Force software factory played an important role in the recent evacuation of civilians from Afghanistan, according to the service. The tool, built by Kessel Run, a first-of-its-kind software factory within the military, provided information regarding real-time, theaterwide awareness of logistics for the evacuation operation, allowing for more informed decision-making.

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Taiwan Jets Scramble Again as Chinese Air Force Enters Air Defense Zone


Taiwan's air force scrambled again Thursday to warn off 19 Chinese aircraft that entered its air defense zone, Taiwan's defense ministry said, the latest uptick in tensions across the Taiwan Strait. The Chinese aircraft included 12 J-16 fighters and two nuclear-capable H-6 bombers, the ministry added.

Space Force Looking for ‘Unity’ in Acquisitions Despite a Medley of Agencies

Space News

The U.S. Space Force has an acquisitions arm called the Space Systems Command. A separate Space Rapid Capabilities Office that procures classified systems and reports to the chief of the Space Force. The Space Development Agency and the Missile Defense Agency also oversee space procurement programs. And many satellite programs are also run jointly with the National Reconnaissance Office, a U.S. intelligence agency.

Space Florida Seeks Space Force Training Site

Tampa Bay Business Journal

Florida’s aerospace agency has been working to bring a Space Force training site to the state after the command headquarters for a related military command landed in Alabama.

One More Thing

How Air Force Vet Melvin Van Peebles Changed Hollywood Forever

Melvin Van Peebles was a fierce, complicated, and iconoclastic filmmaker who didn’t release a lot of films in his life, but the ones he did complete had an outsized impact on the world. Van Peebles died Sept. 21, 2021, at the age of 89.