NGAD Price Per Tail Will More Than Double That of F-35

The manned fighter aircraft that will form the centerpiece of the Air Force’s Next Generation Air Dominance program will cost hundreds of millions of dollars per plane, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall told members of Congress on April 27—but the service can reduce costs in development and sustainment.

Air Force Leaders Explain 5-Year Divestment Plan and Smaller F-15EX Fleet

The Air Force plans to divest nearly 650 aircraft over the coming five years while purchasing fewer than 250, reducing its fleet by exactly 400 tails, a pair of congressmen said during House Armed Services Committee hearings April 27. Those cuts would include a much-reduced buy for the F-15EX, one of the few fighters the Air Force has planned on buying in the immediate future. But the overall decline of 400 aircraft would be significantly smaller than the one suggested by Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing several weeks ago.
Boeing VC-25B Air Force One

Boeing Loses $1 Billion on VC-25B, T-7A; Calhoun Pledges to Rethink Lowball Bids

Boeing lost more than a billion dollars on two Air Force programs in the first quarter of fiscal 2022, getting "whacked" by inflation, the pandemic, and supply chain issues, CEO David L. Calhoun said. He admitted that Boeing lowballed its bids for the fixed-price development programs taking the hits, and he pledged to take a less risky approach in future competitions.
aviation diversity

Airmen Aim to Promote Diversity in Aviation With Event at HBCU

An Air Force UH-1N helicopter will land near Cramton Auditorium on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C., on April 30, fulfilling one pilot’s dream and perhaps sparking a few more. That’s the hope of 1st Lt. Dontae Bell, a pilot with the 1st Helicopter Squadron at Joint Base Andrews, Md. Bell, along with others, helped organize the “We Fly Too” event showcasing diversity in aviation that will be highlighted by the UH-1’s arrival and will include an appearance by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., the service’s first Black Chief.

Radar Sweep

OPINION: The Space Force Has to Transform to Meet Its Goals

Defense News

“Our adversaries understand the importance of space superiority. Countries like China and Russia have worked so hard to rapidly develop, deploy, and demonstrate military capabilities that can put our space enterprise at risk. They believe space warfare is inevitable and that they could gain a significant warfighting advantage by attacking our capabilities on orbit. They’re right, and we need to change our approach. That’s why [Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall has stressed] the imperative of transforming the Space Force into a full-fledged armed force capable of empowering deterrence and achieving space superiority for U.S. Space Command,” writes Christopher Stone, senior fellow for space studies at the Spacepower Advantage Center of Excellence at AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.

Russia Releases US Marine Vet as Part of Prisoner Exchange

The Associated Press

Russia and the United States have carried out a dramatic prisoner exchange, trading a Marine veteran jailed by Moscow for a convicted Russian drug trafficker serving a long prison sentence in America. The surprise deal involving Trevor Reed, an American imprisoned for nearly three years, would have been a notable diplomatic maneuver even in times of peace, but it was all the more extraordinary because it was done as Russia’s war with Ukraine has driven relations with the U.S. to their lowest point in decades.

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GAO Reportedly Finds 'Shortfalls' in Space Command Relocation Process

Colorado Springs Gazette

A Government Accountability Office review of the process that awarded U.S. Space Command to Huntsville, Ala., instead of Colorado Springs, has identified “significant shortfalls” in the “transparency and credibility” that led to the decision, according to a senior-level source with knowledge of the report. The GAO report won’t be available to the public for at least another month, but Colorado lawmakers who requested and signed off on it got an early look.

Climate Change is Running the National Guard Ragged

Task and Purpose

Five years ago, the National Guard spent roughly 14,000 personnel hours fighting wildfires. By last year, that had increased to 170,000 hours. And experts agree the trend is only getting worse. The steep increase is just one example of how record-breaking weather and climate disasters are impacting the National Guard, who often serve as a response force to wildfires and hurricanes around the nation.

After Ukraine Success, NRO Says Electro-Optical Imagery Contracts Due This Summer

Breaking Defense

The National Reconnaissance Office will issue formal contracts to chosen commercial providers of electro-optical (EO) imagery this summer, said Pete Muend, the spy agency’s head of commercial operations. But while those contracts loom, Muend acknowledged to reporters that his organization has not accelerated its planned 2024 decision about a formal acquisition program from another kind of satellite-based capability, synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery—even though he noted that both EO and SAR imagery have been game-changers in the Ukraine conflict.

What Have US Special Operators Learned in Ukraine?

Defense One

U.S. special operators are taking at least two lessons from Russia’s two-month-old war in Ukraine. First, the international partnerships the U.S. has been fostering for the past 20 years are playing a huge role. And drones are playing an even bigger one.

Soldier Dead, 2 Injured in Joint Base Lewis-McChord Vehicle Incident

One Soldier was killed and another two were injured in a vehicle incident at Yakima Training Center in Washington state. Pfc. Joseph Marquez was killed in the accident. Marquez, 20, was a native of Dover, Del., and served as a motor transport operator in 8th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, which falls under the 2nd Infantry Division's 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team. The unit makes up part of the 7th Infantry Division at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.

One More Thing

The Air Force Is Trusting the Internet to Name Its Ridiculous New Cybersecurity Mascot

Task and Purpose

Cybersecurity. It’s important stuff. There’s a lot of critical data out there that you don’t want bad actors snooping on. That is why the Air Force apparently needs a cybersecurity mascot. A caped robot with a shield and lightning bolt adorned helmet, here to ask you if you’ve tried turning your computer off and on again and presumably solving the myriad of technical issues that come with the territory when you’re using decades-old software.