DOD, VA Officials Prep for a Possible Government Shutdown Later This Week
In anticipation of a possible government shutdown later this week, leaders from the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs have begun warning employees of possible office closures, program interruptions, and potential furloughs that will result from a budget lapse. The moves won’t mean any work stoppage for Active-duty service members, but it could mean a disruption in their pay until the federal financial issues are resolved.
Air Force Eyes Fix for Trainer Aircraft Hypoxia Problem
The Air Force thinks it's figured out what led to a surge of T-6A Texan II hypoxia incidents in 2018 and soon will be rolling out a new backup oxygen system to make sure pilots can breathe while developing their skills in trainer aircraft. That year, the service saw a sharp spike in incidents of pilots experiencing hypoxia, a lack of oxygen in the blood, or other related conditions referred to as "unexplained physiological events" while flying aircraft, particularly the T-6.
Boeing Secures Nearly $24B Contract to Help Maintain Air Force C-17 Fleet
Boeing has received a potential $23.76 billion contract to provide sustainment support services for the Air Force’s fleet of C-17 Globemaster III military transport aircraft. The indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract has a performance period of nine years and eight months and a base value of $3.5 billion, the Department of Defense said Sept. 27.
SASC Frets DOD Missile Warning Satellite Efforts May Be Flailing
The Senate Armed Services Committee is queasy about the status and interoperability of the Pentagon’s multiple efforts to develop missile warning satellites for various orbital altitudes, with lawmakers demanding that DOD report quarterly to the U.S. Comptroller General on the status of the programs. The reports, to include cost and schedule overrun risk mitigation measures, are designed to facilitate “periodic reviews” by the watchdog Government Accountability Office.
Could Britain Stop Argentina From Buying the JF-17 Warplane?
Argentina insists reports that the country is buying the JF-17 Thunder warplane are premature, but analysts believe it could still succeed where other fighter types failed—mostly as a result of British pressure. Speculation arose after media reports highlighted a request in Argentina’s fiscal 2022 draft budget for $664 million to purchase 12 JF-17s from Pakistan.
Boeing Tanker Hit New Setback on Stray Plastic Cap in Fuel Line
Deliveries of Boeing’s troubled KC-46 tanker were halted for about a month earlier this year after Air Force and company inspectors found a red plastic cap lodged in a fuel valve that caused the uncontrolled flow of fuel from one tank into another. Tanker deliveries resumed after the previously unreported halt once Boeing confirmed that the debris “was missed on the aircraft” before an April 30 delivery flight, according to Capt. Samantha Morrison, an Air Force spokesperson.
The Air Force Flies These Planes Daily. Here’s Why Civilian Airlines Won’t
One of the U.S. Air Force’s most important aircraft is so old and difficult to maintain that civilian airlines no longer fly it, the head of Air Combat Command told reporters last week. The Boeing 707, the jet which serves as the base of the Air Force E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS), last flew civilian passengers for a U.S. airline in 1983 and flew its last civilian flight in general when one flown by Iran’s Saha Airlines crashed in 2019.
Space Development Agency Revises Transport Layer Procurement, with Fewer Satellites per Launch
The Space Development Agency revised a request for proposals that previously had sought bids for 144 satellites. It is now seeking proposals for 126 satellites and will procure the other 18 at a later time. SDA Director Derek Tournear said Sept. 27 on a DefenseOne virtual event that the change was made after it was determined that the original plan to launch six stacks of 24 satellites would not work due to launch vehicle constraints. Each stack had to be reduced to 21 satellites.
Air Force Drones Fly High in Hawaii
The Air Force for the first time recently flew a pair of its big MQ-9 Reaper drones—better known for their missile-firing role in the Middle East—from the mainland to Hawaii, extending the reach of the unmanned aircraft and with an eye to aiding the Navy and Marine Corps in island-hopping operations in the Western Pacific.
This Air Force Unit You’ve Never Heard of Made the Afghan Airlift Possible
When most people think of the military, they think of tanks, guns, fighter jets, and other instruments of death and destruction. What often goes unnoticed is the immense logistical effort it takes to get all that equipment, the people who operate it, and the stuff they need to do it all the way around the world. But that effort shined last month when it geared up to evacuate more than 124,000 people out of Afghanistan as the United States ended its 20-year war there. In particular, the Airmen of the little-known 521st Air Mobility Operations Wing headquartered at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, made their presence felt throughout Operation Allies Refuge.
Flowers Family Continues to Write Air Force History
Under a beautiful sky painted with bold broad strokes of a deep rich blue, a military band played patriotic music Sept. 7, and the audience, dressed in olive drab camouflage, sat in anticipation of what promised to be a historic event about to unfold. The longest-serving Airman in the history of the Air Force, retired Maj. Gen. Al Flowers Sr., was on the stage as his grandsons—Kendell Flowers, a cadet at the Air Force Academy, and Ayden Flowers, a cadet at Texas A&M—pinned the first star on the uniform of his son, Al Flowers Jr.