RAND report

RAND to USAF: Don’t Take GBSD Support for Granted

A new report by the RAND Corp. cites support from the White House and Congress for modernizing the nuclear triad, but its authors also offer a stark warning to the Air Force, which owns two of the triad’s three legs—to “not take this support for granted.”

Cost of Rebuilding Offutt Will Top $1B, Congressman Says

Inflation, imperfect early estimates, and rising construction costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic have combined to significantly raise the expected cost of rebuilding Offutt Air Force Base from the devastating floods of 2019, Nebraska Rep. Don Bacon said in an interview. The new estimate is between $1.1 billion and $1.2 billion, roughly $300 million more than currently authorized by Congress for the base’s reconstruction.
data management

DOD Wants Data Management Capabilities on the Front Lines

The Defense Department’s most advanced and successful initiatives leveraging its huge troves of data involve back-office or support functions—not warfighting, according to the department's chief data officer. But DOD is pushing ahead with a recent program to bring data management capabilities to front-line combatant commands.
poland f-16s

US F-16s Train with Polish, Belgian F-16s in Lithuania

U.S. F-16s from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, deployed to Poland on Jan. 4 to train with Eastern European allies on air policing, according to a NATO press release. While deployed, the American F-16s will fly with Polish F-16s in Lithuania as part of their Baltic air policing mission; and with Belgian F-16s in Estonia for their enhanced air policing mission.

Radar Sweep

PODCAST: Into the Wild Blue Yonder: Mitchell Institute Flightline Stories, Part I

Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies

In episode 56 of the Aerospace Advantage podcast, Mitchell Institute team members recount some of their most memorable experiences flying and fighting. Normally, retired Lt. Gen. David A. Deptula, Heather Penney, and John Baum talk policy and budget issues, but over the holiday season, they decided to reflect on the adventures of past years, such as landing an F-15 on fire, providing close air support in danger-close situations, and strafing enemy forces.

Israel Inks $3B Deal for KC-46 Tankers, CH-53 Helos

Defense News

Israel’s Defense Ministry has agreed to purchase two Boeing KC-46A tankers and 12 Lockheed Martin CH-53K helicopters in a long-expected deal. The KC-46 deal is worth about $1.1 billion, and the helicopter deal is worth another $2 billion. The agreement includes an option for six more helicopters, the ministry said, adding that the first will arrive by 2026. It’s unclear when the KC-46s will arrive, and the ministry did not provide a timeline.

Oldest US Veteran of WWII, Lawrence N. Brooks, Dies at 112

The Associated Press

Lawrence N. Brooks, the oldest World War II veteran in the U.S.—and believed to be the oldest man in the country—died Jan. 5 at the age of 112. His death was announced by the National WWII Museum and confirmed by his daughter. Most African Americans serving in the segregated U.S. armed forces at the beginning of World War II were assigned to noncombat units and relegated to service duties, such as supply, maintenance, and transportation, said Col. Pete Crean, vice president of education and access at the museum in New Orleans.

DARPA Wants to Revolutionize Military Training With Augmented Reality

Task and Purpose

DARPA is building a manual for repairing war machines that don’t exist yet. That’s the premise of Autonomous Multimodal Ingestion for Goal-Oriented Support, or AMIGOS, a new program in which AI and augmented reality are used to assemble real-time training manuals for military mechanics and medics.

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Taiwan Air Force Stages Drill to Intercept Chinese Planes Amid Tensions


Taiwan air force jets screamed into the sky Jan. 5 in a drill simulating a war scenario, showing its combat readiness amid heightened military tensions with China, which claims the island as its own. Before takeoff, flight crews at a base in the southern city of Chiayi—home to U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets that are frequently scrambled to intercept Chinese warplanes—rushed to ready aircraft as an alarm sounded.

​​Space Force Wants to Help Fund Technologies to Recycle, Reuse, or Remove Space Debris


Vice Chief of Space Operations Gen. David D. Thompson in a video released Jan. 5 called on the private sector to help clean up space junk. “We need your help,” said Thompson in a video posted by the Space Force’s technology arm known as SpaceWERX. SpaceWERX is running a program called Orbital Prime that is soliciting proposals from private businesses and academic institutions on technologies that could be used to deal with the growing problem of space debris.

One More Thing

Meet the Civil Air Patrol’s Adorable Mini F-16

Task and Purpose

Ron Koplin was pushing the F-16 fighter jet into a steep climb when disaster struck: The lights in the cockpit started flickering, and he began losing power. “I hit the brakes, but it was not enough to hold me, so I thought, ‘Eject! Eject!’” Koplin said. But ejecting was not an option, because Koplin was not actually flying an F-16 fighter jet miles above the Earth. Instead, he was driving a 14-foot-long mini F-16 powered by a golf cart motor up a steep hill at the Veterans Day Parade in Milwaukee, Wis.