F-15Es Deploy to Estonia to Aid NATO Air Policing Amid Russian Tensions

Half a dozen U.S. Air Force F-15Es landed in Estonia on Jan. 26 to aid NATO’s enhanced air policing mission, as tensions in Eastern Europe continue to simmer over a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine. While in Estonia, the American fighters will integrate with a detachment of Belgian F-16s, NATO Allied Air Command said in a press release. In addition to working on the enhanced air policing mission, they will also work with NATO allies in the Baltics to practice air-to-air and air-to-ground maneuvers, the release said.

As Air Force Considers E-7A Buy, It Gets a Sneak Peek at Red Flag

As the Air Force considers how and whether to proceed with a rapid acquisition of Boeing’s E-7A Wedgetail, the service will get an up-close-and-personal look at the airborne warning and control aircraft in the coming days. An E-7A from the Royal Australian Air Force is participating in USAF’s latest Red Flag exercise at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Maj. Gen. Case A. Cunningham, commander of the Air Warfare Center, confirmed during an AFA Air and Space Warfighters in Action virtual seminar on Jan. 26.
somalian air chief

Somalia Hopes to Reconstitute its Air Force with Renewed US Partnership

Somalia Air Force Brig. Gen. Sh Ali Mohamed Mohamud last sat in the cockpit of a Somali MiG fighter jet in March 1978. His country’s civil war decimated the Air Force he joined at age 14 and has been part of for over 50 years. Ravaged by the al-Shabab terrorist group, Somalia now has no aircraft to fight back. Instead, the east African nation depends on the U.S. and African Union partners, but the 75-year-old Somali Air Chief hopes that with U.S. Air Force help Somalia can reconstitute what was once the most powerful Air Force in the Horn of Africa.
Iron Dagger ACE

Making Agile Combat Employment Real

"Our adversaries have studied our force deployment and invested heavily in pervasive intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance and all-domain long-range offensive capabilities that put our global footprint at risk. To counter this emerging threat, the Air Force introduced Agile Combat Employment as a method to rapidly deploy across dispersed operating locations within a theater without sacrificing combat capability. The Air Force is already demonstrating an initial ability to bring ACE to the battlespace by focusing on non-material solutions like developing Multi-Capable Airmen. However, to fully mature this concept requires attention to the core elements that enable ACE’s operational framework," writes Matthew Donovan, vice president of requirements and capabilities for Raytheon Intelligence & Space, a business of Raytheon Technologies. Donovan previously served as Under Secretary and Acting Secretary of the Air Force.

Radar Sweep

Pentagon’s Civilian Casualty Tracking ‘a Hot Mess’

Military Times

Two months after the New York Times revealed how a U.S. military strike purportedly against ISIS in 2019 actually hit a crowd of women and children, the Defense Department is standing up an organization specifically dedicated to preventing and accounting for civilian casualties of such catastrophes. In partnership with Rand Corp., the department submitted what data it had on civilian casualties, and the processes to prevent or address them, for a report released Jan. 27.

​​Guam Group Fights Air Force Plan to Blow up Bombs, Munitions

The Associated Press

A community group on Guam is challenging the U.S. Air Force’s plans to blow up bombs and other waste munitions at a base on the U.S. territory, saying it could contaminate water supplies and threaten endangered species. The group devoted to protecting Guam’s natural and cultural resources alleged in a lawsuit filed in federal court Jan. 25 that the Air Force violated federal law by not evaluating cultural and environmental impacts from open burning and detonating munitions on ancestral lands.

Alaska, Texas Governors Sue Over National Guard Vaccine Rule

The Associated Press

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy has joined Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in seeking to block the U.S. Department of Defense from mandating COVID-19 vaccines for National Guard members who are under state command. The Pentagon has required COVID-19 vaccination for all service members, including the National Guard and Reserve. Attorneys for the two governors, in an amended lawsuit dated Jan. 25, say that when National Guard members are serving the state, the federal government has no command authority. The lawsuit said the mandate is an unconstitutional overstepping of bounds.

US Air Force Ramps up Intel Flights, Weapons Shipments to Ukraine

Air Force Times

Some American troops are on standby as the world waits to see whether Russia will invade Ukraine, but the U.S. Air Force’s involvement in the conflict is already well underway. U.S. and allied reconnaissance flights in the region have been ongoing since at least Dec. 24, dispatching multiple types of military planes to serve as extra eyes and ears over Eastern Europe.

US Warned Israel over Chinese Push to Get Defense Tech: Sources

Breaking Defense

Israel is launching a new effort to crack down on Chinese attempts to obtain Israeli defense technology, as the country gears up for a high-profile legal case, allegedly involving the sale of drones to Beijing, next month. Sources in the Israeli defense establishment say that enforcement has ramped up as a result of increased Chinese efforts, including Chinese firms making direct contact with Israeli industrial experts. Breaking Defense has learned that several months ago, the Biden administration warned Jerusalem that China is operating a web of companies inside Israel as part of a dedicated effort to acquire advanced defense technologies.

US Air Force Spends $60 Million on Supersonic Commercial Airliner

Ars Technica

The U.S. military has indicated its interest in commercial supersonic flight by granting as much as $60 million to Boom Supersonic for its airliner development efforts. The Colorado-based company has announced that the Air Force awarded a three-year contract to Boom to accelerate research and development of its Overture airliner. Boom is designing Overture to carry between 65 and 88 passengers at subsonic speeds over land and supersonic speeds over water—more than twice as fast as current commercial aircraft.

Faster, Cheaper, Greener—How the Air Force Wants to Cut Fossil Fuels out of its Jets

Task and Purpose

The Air Force is chasing a slew of new technologies to reduce its dependence on foreign oil, to make its engines more efficient and use less gas, and to make it easier to keep bases and aircraft gassed up downrange. Those technologies include designing better engines, analyzing jet fuel use, and even washing down engines differently so that they run better. But there is one technology that could have dramatic implications not just for the Air Force but for society in general: renewable jet fuel.

One More Thing

Space Shuttle Carrying 747 Was Secretly Modified To Defend Itself From Heat-Seeking Missiles

The Drive

In May 1983, what was then NASA's only Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, a highly-modified Boeing 747 airliner capable of carrying a Space Shuttle on the top of its fuselage, arrived at the Paris Air Show carrying the shuttle Enterprise. The international aviation spectacle, arguably Europe's highest-profile air show, had long been an arena for Cold War competition. While the visit was hugely publicized, what most don't know is that the plane had been modified for its European trip with an advanced countermeasures system to protect itself from heat-seeking that was still highly classified at the time.