UN Talks on Space Norms Surprisingly Collegial, But Fireworks to Come: Sources
Diplomats and experts at the first formal meeting of the UN working group attempting to forge new international norms to guide military activities in space were expecting the worst—that the week-long meeting would start and end in finger-pointing acrimony—only to be surprised by what key players say was for the most part a productive launch.
5 Missiles Hit Iraqi Base Hosting US Troops; No Casualties
At least five missiles hit a sprawling Iraqi army base hosting U.S. troops in the country’s western desert May 30, two Iraqi security officials said. The officials said the Grad missiles struck inside the Ain al-Asad base in Iraq’s western Anbar province and caused minor damages but no casualties. The officials said the missiles hit only a few meters (yards) from where U.S. forces are stationed. The officals spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief media.
Lawmakers Seek Another Big Increase for DOD ‘Responsive Launch’
Congress added $50 million to the Pentagon’s 2022 budget for responsive launch—or services from commercial small satellite launchers that can fly payloads on short notice. Lawmakers are now proposing to increase that funding to $150 million in the 2023 budget. A bipartisan group of 25 House lawmakers in a letter last month asked the leaders of the defense appropriations subcommittee to consider tripling the funding for “tactically responsive launch” in the Pentagon’s fiscal year 2023 budget.
Time is Ticking to Replace the Pentagon’s 1970s-era Doomsday Planes
Inside a military aircraft designed to survive a nuclear war, an area once used as a first class lounge now contains six blue passenger seats next to two sleeping bunks. Maj. Ted DeBonis, maintenance squadron commander, says it’s a break area for the 12 aircraft mechanics who accompany the plane on every hop, waiting to fix it anywhere in the world. It’s an unusual setup for a military aircraft. But a flying maintenance hangar is the kind of thing you need when you’re operating a plane that’s been around since the Carter administration.
Space Force Identifies National Security Launches Funded in 2022 and 2023
Of the eight missions, five were assigned to United Launch Alliance and three to SpaceX, the two companies that in 2020 won the National Security Space Launch (NSSL) Phase 2 launch services procurement contract, with ULA winning 60 percent and SpaceX 40 percent of the missions over five years.
Marine Pilot Receives Distinguished Flying Cross for Safely Landing After 2020 Mid-Air Collision with F-35
The Marine Corps pilot who safely landed a KC-130J tanker in a California field after a mid-air collision with an F-35B in 2020 received the highest military aviation award on May 25 in San Diego, the Marines said in a news release. Marine Capt. Michael Wolff, a KC-130J Super Hercules pilot, received the Distinguished Flying Cross at a ceremony at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, the Marines said, for landing “successfully after losing two engines in flight.”
Air Force to Get Largest Share of Germany's 100 Billion Euro Defense Bulk-up
The lion's share of the 100 billion euro special fund Germany is allocating to rebuilding its military after Russia's invasion of Ukraine will go to the air force, according to a document seen by Reuters. The document envisages 40.9 billion euros being spent on developments and purchases including of new Eurofighter and F-35 jets and a successor to the Tornado warplane, as well as the building of a space-based early warning system.
Time is Now to Reconsider Autonomous Weapons Rules, Horowitz Says
Nearly a decade after it was signed, a directive that laid out the ground rules for U.S. autonomous weapons is due for a refresh, according to the leader of the Pentagon’s emerging capabilities policy office. Given the time passed and significant advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning, now is “actually an opportune time” for the Department of Defense to “take a look at that directive and figure out what should be done to reflect, sort of, where we are now compared to where we were a decade ago,” Director Michael Horowitz said May 17 at the Nexus 22 symposium.
Boeing’s F/A-18 Outshines Lockheed’s Flashy Hypersonic Jet in ‘Top Gun: Maverick’
Wreathed in catapult steam and 1980s guitar riffs, the opening montage of "Top Gun: Maverick" puts the star front and center—no, not Tom Cruise, Jon Hamm, or Jennifer Connelly, but a jet that, like Capt. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, hasn’t been the new hotness for at least a decade. Yep, the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet stole the show.