As Ukrainian Pilot Training Passes House NDAA, Legislators Work to Overcome Roadblocks

Members of Congress took a big step toward granting Ukraine’s wish to defend its territory from Russia with American fighters when the House passed an amendment to train Ukrainian pilots, but hurdles remain to overcome fears of escalation with Russia, Air Force veteran Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.) told Air Force Magazine. “I understand the conversation,” Houlahan said, responding to concerns by the Biden administration that providing fighter aircraft could escalate tensions between the United States and Russia. “But I frankly think that we need to be responsive to the request of the Ukrainian administration and [President Volodymyr] Zelenskyy, and if this is the thing that he and his country are asking for, then we need to be prepared to be able to provide it.”

USAF Announces 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year for 2022

A selection board considered 36 nominees representing each of the Air Force's major commands, direct reporting units, and field operating agencies, along with Headquarters Air Force, selecting the 12 winning Outstanding Airmen of the Year based on “superior leadership, job performance, and personal achievements.”

Air Force Offering Even More Enlistment Bonuses for Certain Career Fields—Here They Are

Facing a tough recruiting environment that Air Force Recruiting Service commander Maj. Gen. Ed Thomas recently likened to a “week-to-week dogfight,” the Air Force has expanded its list of jobs that are eligible for initial enlistment bonuses, hoping to entice more potential Airmen. All told, 22 Air Force Speciality Codes are now eligible for some sort of enlistment bonus—some for four-year contracts, some for six-year deals, and some for both. 
Air Force training

Lawmakers Push for Air Force to Embrace New Immersive Training Tech Even Faster

In many ways, the Air Force has embraced new technologies such as augmented and virtual reality for its training in recent years like never before—pilots, maintainers, even commanders dealing with suicidal Airmen have started to participate in programs designed to engage them in new ways. But the service can move even faster and more aggressively to adopt these technologies, advocates say—and lawmakers have agreed, inserting language into the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act that would seek to push the Air Force’s efforts forward.

Radar Sweep

OPINION: The Air Force Must Adapt and Transform Now to Keep Pace With Strategic Competitors

The Hill

“Across its trailblazing 75-year history, the U.S. Air Force’s place as the world’s most capable and most respected source of airpower is well-established. The U.S. Air Force is undeniably proud of that history. Nevertheless, it is a fact that today the Air Force must accelerate change or lose. Current and emerging threats demand nothing less than a transformation that will integrate emerging technologies into new operational concepts, new organizations, and new families of systems designed to ensure the Air Force continues its proud history. Consistent with the National Defense Strategy and as directed by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, significant steps forward are being taken to begin that transformation in the president’s fiscal year 2023 budget. The Air Force must not only change but accelerate change in order to meet pacing challenges today and defeat those certain to arrive in the future,” write Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall and Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr.

Despite Inflation Woes, Boeing Says It Can Maintain $80M Unit Cost for F-15EX

Breaking Defense

Boeing intends to keep its next two lots of F-15EXs at or below the company’s original $80 million per unit price point despite inflationary pressures that are raising supply costs, the company’s vice president for fighters and bombers said. The declaration, made by Boeing’s Steve Parker in a roundtable with reporters at the Royal International Air Tattoo, stands in sharp contrast to repeated warnings about expected price jumps for another high-profile fighter program, the F-35.

Military Plans to Create Canadian Space Division in Coming Weeks

Ottawa Citizen

The Canadian Forces will create a new group to focus on the growing importance of space to military operations and the country’s security. The idea of establishing a Canadian Space Division has been circulating at National Defence headquarters in Ottawa since 2019, but it is now expected to be in place by September.

New Radars Are Giving Old Air Force F-16s Capabilities Like Never Before

The Drive

In June, the U.S. Air Force and Northrop Grumman announced the completion of an important modernization effort that saw 72 Air National Guard Block 30 F-16C Viper fighter jets get powerful new AN/APG-83 active electronically scanned array radars. Hundreds more Air Force F-16s and other Vipers around the world are now in line to get the same radars, which are also known as Scalable Agile Beam Radars or SABRs. Northrop Grumman's Mark Rossi, the company's director of SABR programs, talked about about this milestone, what these radars can do, and what the future might hold for this scalable and readily upgradable sensor.

Japan and US Conduct Joint Drills Involving 52 Aircraft

Japan Times

Japan conducted large-scale joint exercises with the United States over nearby waters involving a total of 52 aircraft earlier in July, said the Air Self-Defense Force, amid intensifying maritime activities by China and Russia in the region. Including aircraft that flew several times, 20 ASDF fighter jets, 29 fighters and two warplanes of the U.S. Air Force, and a U.S. Navy patrol plane participated in the drills over the Sea of Japan, the Pacific Ocean, and the East China Sea, the ASDF said.

The F-35 Engine Is at a Crossroads, With Billions of Dollars for Industry at Stake

Defense News

The Pentagon and industry agree that the F-35 engine needs improvements. But despite years of development and debate, the path forward isn’t yet clear. With the fifth-generation fighter’s missile capacity, electronic warfare, and targeting systems advancing beyond what was originally conceived, and the U.S. Air Force concerned about the potential for war against China, the service is planning to put more power and cooling ability on the F-35. But there remain multiple options for how to get there.

OPINION: Guam Needs Effective Missile Defense Now, Not in 2028

Breaking Defense

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, all eyes in the Pacific have been on President Xi Jingping, worried the Chinese leader might take the opportunity to strike out against Taiwan. If so, the U.S. territory of Guam could find itself in Chinese crosshairs as well, long before the island’s missile defenses have been upgraded as promised. In this op-ed, the Heritage Foundation’s Brent Sadler urges the U.S. to find an interim solution, potentially using older warships.

Italian F-35 Maintenance Hub Opens for International Customers With Norwegian Jet

Defense News

Italy’s F-35 final assembly line has been qualified to start offering maintenance to European jets and received its first customer: a Norwegian F-35. The Norwegian fighter flew in after the facility at Cameri in northern Italy achieved full operational capability for F-35 overhauls, F-35 manufacturer Lockheed Martin said.

One More Thing

How the US Military Ended Japanese Air Dominance by Destroying the Legend of the Zero

At the start of World War II, Japan's Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter was the most vaunted and feared weapon in the enemy arsenal. Lightweight and maneuverable, the Zero was able to outfly and outshoot every aircraft the Allies were flying in the early 1940s. That all changed when Japan attacked the Aleutian Islands in Alaska. On June 3, 1942, a Japanese fleet launched a two-day aerial assault on Dutch Harbor. Having broken Japanese naval codes, the Americans knew they were on the way and put up a wall of anti-aircraft fire.