Rolls Royce F130

Rolls-Royce Wins B-52 Re-engining Program Worth $2.6 Billion

Rolls-Royce North America has prevailed in the Air Force's three-year competition to re-engine the nearly-60-year-old B-52H fleet of 76 aircraft, winning a contract worth up to $2.6 billion if all options are exercised. The engines are to be fully installed by 2038 and are meant to power the bomber through its planned service life extending into the 2050s.

Last B-1B Bombers Retire Until B-21 Comes Online

Air Force Global Strike Command has retired the last of 17 B-1B bombers from its inventory, leaving a fleet of 45 aircraft that will serve until the new B-21 stealth bomber is ready for duty, the command announced. Most but not all the airplanes went to the boneyard at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. One has been sent to Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., to serve as a prototype vehicle for test-fitting structural repairs, while another went to Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., for ground testing. One will be torn down to create a digital twin at the National Institute for Aviation Research in Wichita, Kan., and still another went to Barksdale Air Force Base, La., to serve as a static display at the command’s museum.
Hyten Wolters ASC21

Hyten, Wolters Call for ‘Whole of Government’ Effort to Deter Adversaries

Russia’s grey zone tactics and China’s rapid growth require a holistic deterrence response and less bureaucracy, Vice Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff Gen. John E. Hyten and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe Gen. Tod D. Wolters warned at the Air Force Association's conference Sept. 22. “We better wake up and get out of our own way, remove some of the bureaucracy—allow you, the people in here, to do the work they need to do,” Hyten told a full conference room of Airmen, Guardians, and members of the defense industry at the conference’s capstone event.
Air Force telework

Bunch: AFMC ‘Not Going Back’ to Pre-COVID Office Model

Telework will be the default arrangement for at least half of Air Force Materiel Command's headquarters personnel from now on, commander Gen. Arnold W. Bunch Jr. told reporters at AFA's Air, Space & Cyber Conference. The command demonstrated it could carry out its mission working remotely, and Bunch sees reduced in-office personnel as a facilities money-saver and an aid to recruitment and retention. "We will not go back" to the pre-telework world, he said.

RC-26 ‘Has Run Its Useful Life,’ But Keeping It Around Costs Air National Guard $30 Million Per Year

Of the scores of legacy aircraft the Air Force has sought, year over year, to retire, many reside in the Air National Guard, making up a small but sizable portion of the Guard’s 1,046-aircraft fleet. But while the proposed retirements would have an outsized impact on his component, Lt. Gen. Michael A. Loh, Air National Guard director, is in line with other Air Force leaders in saying the older aircraft need to go.

Radar Sweep

For DOD, New Flexibility for IT Spending is a Test of Trust with Congress

Federal News Network

When it comes to implementing modern software development techniques, one of the Defense Department’s biggest problems has been its own budgeting system. The procurement, R&D, and operations buckets the military uses to fund the development of missiles, frigates, and tanks are anything but agile. But Congress has signaled that it’s ready to expand DOD’s use of “colorless” money for software, and Defense officials think it will be critical to future acquisitions, as long as the department doesn’t get in its own way by misusing the new spending authority.

No Decoder Rings Needed: Air Force Moving to Narrative Enlisted Performance Reports

Air Force Times

Brush up on your English, enlisted Airmen. You’ll soon need to write in complete sentences. The Air Force is preparing to return to narrative-style writing on enlisted performance reports instead of the bullet lists that have proved more cryptic than clear. Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass announced the forthcoming change at the Air Force Association’s annual Air, Space & Cyber Conference. Airmen could save time if they aren’t trying to whittle down their responses into the “perfect bullet,” she told reporters.

OPINION: America Needs a Permanent Military Presence in the Baltics, and Here’s Why

Defense News

“With the Defense Department weighing whether and how to change the U.S. military's footprint overseas, it’s time to make the American military presence in the Baltic states durable. Maintaining merely periodic American boots on the ground, sometimes there and sometimes not—especially while a more permanent U.S. presence takes shape in nearby Poland—sends the wrong message at the wrong time to NATO’s most vulnerable allies and to Russian President Vladimir Putin,” writes John R. Deni, a research professor at the U.S. Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute.

Vulnerabilities May Slow Air Force’s Adoption of Artificial Intelligence

Defense One

The Air Force needs to better prepare to defend AI programs and algorithms from adversaries that may seek to corrupt training data, the service’s deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and cyber effects said Sept. 22. “There’s an assumption that once we develop the AI, we have the algorithm, we have the training data, it's giving us whatever it is we want it to do, that there’s no risk. There’s no threat,” said Lt. Gen. Mary F. O’Brien, the Air Force’s deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and cyber effects operations. That assumption could be costly to future operations.

House Passes NDAA, With $24B in Extra Pentagon Funding and Strings Attached

Breaking Defense

The House of Representatives passed its version of the fiscal year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act by a bipartisan 316-113 margin, paving the way for an investigation into the Afghanistan withdrawal, for women to register for the draft, and for new ships and missiles. The bill—which sets defense spending at $740 billion, $24 billion over what was requested by the Biden administration—now heads to the Senate, where changes undoubtedly await.

China Sends Jets and Bombers Near Taiwan as Beijing Opposes Island’s Trade Deal Bid

The Guardian

China has voiced opposition to Taiwan joining a major trans-Pacific trade deal as it flew 24 planes—including two nuclear-capable bombers—into the self-ruled island’s air defense zone, the biggest incursion in weeks, Taiwanese officials said. Last week Beijing submitted its own application to become a member of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Northrop Grumman to Launch New Satellite-Servicing Robot Aimed at Commercial and Government Market


Northrop Grumman has two Mission Extension Vehicles in orbit providing station-keeping services for two Intelsat geostationary satellites that were running low on fuel. The company, meanwhile, is preparing to launch a new servicing vehicle equipped with a robotic arm that will install propulsion jet packs on dying satellites. Six still-undisclosed customers have signed up to get their satellites serviced by the Mission Robotic Vehicle, projected to launch in 2024, Joe Anderson, vice president of operations and business development at Space Logistics, told SpaceNews.

One More Thing

Watch an Australian C-17 Weave Between Skyscrapers in ‘Insane’ Video

Task and Purpose

Big, slow, and bulky, the C-17 Globemaster III cargo jet may not be the first aircraft that comes to mind for pulling off insane aerial stunts, but that didn’t stop a crew of Royal Australian Air Force aviators from doing it anyway. In a video posted to the unofficial U.S. Air Force subreddit on Sept. 23, you can watch as an RAAF C-17 zooms between skyscrapers in Brisbane, Australia, while some enthusiastic onlookers drop some very colorful commentary behind the camera.