B-21 artist rendering

Six B-21s in Production, Fuel Control Software Already Tested

The B-21 Raider continues to be a “model” program for the Air Force, with six of the new bombers currently in production and some of its software already validated through digital testing, a top general at Air Force Global Strike Command said Feb. 9. Speaking at the 2022 Nuclear Deterrence Summit, Maj. Gen. Jason R. Armagost said the new stealth bomber will likely fly in 2022, echoing previous predictions by other Air Force officials.
air force olympian

How to Watch the Air Force’s First Olympian Since 2016 Compete in Beijing

In the morning hours of Feb. 11 in Beijing—which will be during the evening of Feb. 10 in the U.S.—Airman 1st Class Kelly Curtis will take to the ice at the 2022 Winter Olympics, sliding headfirst down a frozen course at breakneck speeds in the women’s skeleton. Curtis, stationed out of Aviano Air Base, Italy, is the Air Force’s lone representative in this year’s Games. Here’s all you need to know about Curtis, her event, and how to watch.

Bloomberg Picked to Lead Defense Innovation Board

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III has nominated former New York mayor and media magnate Michael R. Bloomberg to be the chair of the Defense Innovation Board, Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby announced. At the same time, he announced that Austin had approved the DIB and several other boards for “resumption of operations" after a review.

Defense Innovation Unit Closes In on $1B in Contracts

The Defense Innovation Unit and its partnering Defense Department organizations transitioned six projects to programs of record in 2021, awarding contracts to eight companies in categories that ranged from assessing cyber threats to launching rocket payloads. 

Radar Sweep

Airpower on Parade

The Daily Mail

The Air Force is putting on a display of military might alongside crews from Japan and Australia for an annual Elephant Walk in Guam to flex their muscles near the South China Sea. Around 130 aircraft are taking part in the annual display at Andersen Air Force Base, 1,800 miles east of China, during the traditional processions for Exercise Cope North 22. The exercise is a show of the brute firepower and immense capabilities of the U.S. military and its Pacific allies on the doorstep of North Korea and China.

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US Sends Warship, Jets to Gulf to Fend Off Attacks on UAE


The U.S. plans to deploy a squadron of F-22 fighter jets in addition to moving guided-missile destroyer USS Cole to help the United Arab Emirates fend off attacks from Yemen’s Houthi rebels. The USS Cole “will patrol the waters of the UAE, working closely with UAE air defenders to protect their nation,” Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., commander of U.S. Central Command, told the state-run WAM news agency. “And then additionally, over the next week or so, we’re going to bring in a squadron of F-22 fighter jets.”

Space Force Missile-Warning Sensor Passes Environmental Test

Defense News

One of the U.S. Space Force’s next-generation missile warning sensor payloads just met a key testing milestone. The Raytheon Technologies-developed sensor, which will fly on at least one of the first three Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared geostationary satellites, completed thermal vacuum testing in late January, according to the company.

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North Korea Builds ICBM Base Near China as Fears of New Test Loom

New York Times

A team of analysts at the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Strategic and International Studies said they had located an underground, regiment-size military base used for housing North Korean intercontinental ballistic missiles just 15 miles from the border with China. The location, the analysts say, was chosen to deter pre-emptive strikes from the United States against North Korea’s most important weapons as the country continues to expand and modernize its arsenal.

US Approves Support Deal With Taiwan for Patriot Missiles

The Associated Press

The Biden administration has approved a $100 million support contract with Taiwan aimed at boosting the island’s missile defense systems as it faces increasing pressure from China. The State Department announced the engineering and maintenance agreement as China plays host to the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Dozens of Starlink Satellites From Latest Launch to Reenter After Geomagnetic Storm


Up to 80 percent of the Starlink satellites launched by SpaceX last week will soon reenter, or have already done so, because a geomagnetic storm kept the spacecraft from raising their orbits. SpaceX said late Feb. 8 that the 49 satellites it launched Feb. 3 were affected by a geomagnetic storm the next day. Such storms, triggered by solar activity such as coronal mass ejections, can increase the density of the upper atmosphere, including at the initial low orbit SpaceX uses to check out Starlink satellites before raising them to their higher operational orbits.

One More Thing

‘McLovin,’ ‘Fat Thor,’ and ‘White Guy’—Air Force Pilot Brings Goofy Callsigns to Life With Custom Helmet Decals

Task & Purpose

Whether it’s Luke Skywalker from “Star Wars” or Maverick from “Top Gun,” some of the most famous pilots wear eye-grabbing, custom-painted helmets. But for the past 35 years or so, Air Force pilots have been banned from wearing their 55/P helmets in any color save the drab gray they came out of the factory in. That is, until the ban was lifted in 2019, which ushered in a tiny cottage industry cranking out personalized decals for aviator helmets.