blended wing body

Pentagon Seeks Blended Wing Body Concepts for Possible New Cargo, Tanker Aircraft

The Pentagon has put out a call for blended wing body aircraft concepts that could be applied to future military tanker and cargo aircraft as well as commercial aircraft, according to a solicitation posted by the Defense Innovation Unit. The Pentagon wants “concepts of design of an advanced aircraft configuration that provides at least 30 percent more aerodynamic efficiency than the Boeing 767 and Airbus A330 families of commercial and military aircraft, enabling operational advantages such as increased range, loiter time, and offload capabilities,” according to the solicitation.

Installs Begin on Production EPAWSS for F-15Es

Boeing has begun installing the Eagle Passive Active Warning Survivability System, or EPAWSS, on the first two F-15Es at the company’s San Antonio facilities, Boeing announced. “Forty-three F-15Es will receive EPAWSS” under the first low-rate production batch, Boeing said. The EPAWSS “is also the electronic warfare system that will equip the F-15EX Eagle II,” it noted.

Pentagon, Under Mandate, Creates New Office to Investigate and ‘Mitigate’ UFOs

The Defense Department is standing up a new organization to investigate unexplained aerial phenomena, particularly where it potentially affects military activities. The move was directed by Congress. The new organization is the All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office, or AARO, which replaces the Airborne Object Identification and Management Group. AARO will report to the undersecretary of defense for intelligence and security, Ronald S. Moultrie. The AARO itself will be under the direction of Sean M. Kirkpatrick, most recently chief scientist at the Defense Intelligence Agency’s missile and space intelligence center.

New AFCENT Commander Takes Over at Al Udeid

In a hangar flanked by F-15s and Apache helicopters at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Alexus G. Grynkewich was sworn in as the new commander of the Ninth Air Force, Air Forces Central, July 21. Grynkewich will be responsible for a 21-nation area of responsibility, some 15,000 Airmen, and active combat operations over Iraq and Syria. Grynkewich will now be responsible for the daily missions in support of the anti-ISIS Operation Inherent Resolve over Iraq and Syria; protecting air bases against attacks from unmanned aerial systems; and conducting airstrikes against Iranian-backed militias; and will perform deterrence missions in support of allies and partners.

Kendall, Brown Address the Question of Nuclear Weapons in Ukraine

The question has darkened the counsels of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in recent months to a degree arguably not seen since the Cuban Missile Crisis: If Russian President Vladimir Putin uses a tactical nuclear weapon to gain the upper hand in its already historically bloody slog of an invasion of Ukraine, how should the U.S. military respond?

AFRICOM Nominee Calls for More ISR; SOCOM Nominee Names Uncrewed Systems

Nominees to lead U.S. Africa Command and U.S. Special Operations Command who testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on July 21 described the Air Force assets they would need to better fight terrorism and counter influence by China and Russia. Army Lt. Gen. Bryan P. Fenton is nominated to receive his fourth star and head SOCOM, replacing Army Gen. Richard D. Clark; and Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Michael E. Langley, the son of retired Air Force Master Sgt. Willie C. Langley, is nominated to receive his fourth star and head AFRICOM. Langley would be the first African-American four-star Marine and the first to lead the African combatant command.
air force acquisition

Air Force Acquisition Boss Says Service’s Need for New Systems Is ‘Pretty Sharp and Pretty Urgent’

Air Force acquisition chief Andrew Hunter sees the need for faster design and development cycles for the service—they just likely won’t happen as quickly as his predecessor pushed for. As part of a panel discussion at Farnborough International Airshow, Hunter laid out his view of an Air Force acquisition and sustainment enterprise very much starting to take advantage of cutting-edge capabilities such as digital design and 3-D printing after years of futuristic promise. 

Radar Sweep

DOD IG to Evaluate Aircraft Certification for B61-12 Nuclear Bomb

Inside Defense

The Defense Department inspector general will begin evaluating the certification of three aircraft to carry the B61-12 nuclear bomb. The IG will determine to what extent the Air Force complied with the Energy Department, DOD, and Air Force requirements when certifying the F-15, F-35, and B-2 aircraft to carry the bomb. The program, which is intended to refurbish and consolidate three variants tied to the B-61 low-yield gravity bomb, faced technical problems with its non-nuclear electrical components.

Air Force Testing Autonomous Control on Transport Planes Amid Pilot Shortage

The Air Force is partnering with a Boston-based technology company to test an autonomous co-pilot on its cargo transport planes, a step toward one solution for the service as it faces pilot shortages and automation begins playing a larger role in the military. Merlin Labs said it had reached a deal to test its commercial autonomous pilot technology on the Air Force's C-130J Super Hercules cargo planes.

Air Force CIO Moves Ahead With Cloud One Amid JWCC Delays


The Air Force’s Chief Information Officer Lauren Knausenberger isn’t waiting for someone to provide the service with cloud capabilities—she’s leading the effort to build them out internally. At the same time, the Defense Department is moving forward with its new cloud program, the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability. The $9 billion JWCC contract was previously set to be awarded in the spring of 2022, but it has now been delayed to December 2022. Regardless, Knausenberger is moving forward with Cloud One as the Air Force’s cloud environment.

San Antonio’s CyberPatriot Community Rallies to Support Students in Uvalde, Texas

Air & Space Forces Association

In response to the tragedy at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, in May, an extensive network of STEM organizations assembled to provide a cybersecurity education camp for students of the rural Texas town. The initiative was spearheaded by the CyberTexas Foundation, a San Antonio-based nonprofit that is helping develop the next generation of cybersecurity workers with one of the most successful and populous CyberPatriot programs in the country.

For Emerging Tech, DOD Funds $100M in New Projects to Help Bridge ‘Valley of Death’

Breaking Defense

The Pentagon is giving $100 million in total to various program offices under a pilot program aimed at bridging the “valley of death” where promising technologies fail to transition from the lab into actual operations. The funding is to “expeditiously transition technologies” from small businesses and nontraditional defense contractors—those that have received less than $500 million from DOD—in an effort to get capabilities into service members’ hands more quickly.

Live, Virtual & Constructive Training

Air Force Magazine

The Air Force is transitioning to more virtual training to give pilots an edge, saying some higher-end maneuvers cannot be replicated in real-time training. Learn more on Air Force Magazine’s Live, Virtual & Constructive Training page.

Inside the Multinational Logistics Cell Coordinating Military Aid for Ukraine

Defense News

As the war between invading Russian soldiers and defensive Ukrainian troops enters its fifth month, nations around the world have provided billions of dollars worth of military assistance to Kiev to help defend its sovereignty. Since early March, a cohort of U.S. service members and a rotating crew of multinational partners have set up shop in U.S. European Command headquarters in Germany to ensure equipment gets from the donor nation to Ukraine’s doorstep.

16th Air Force Outgoing Commander Says Department’s Information Warfare Command Must Scale

Fed Scoop

The key to maintaining initial successes in the vision of the Air Force’s first information warfare command in reducing stovepipes and achieving outcomes is being able to scale in the future, its outgoing commander said. Regarding what’s next for 16th Air Force, “much of it has to do with our ability to scale and to meet the just ever increasing demand for what our Airmen bring as they generate insights, as they produce outcomes every day as part of various campaigns, but also how they are preparing for operations against our pacing threat,” Lt. Gen. Timothy D. Haugh said.

Senators Take Aim at Future Quantum-Enabled Hacking With New Bill

Defense One

Experts believe quantum computing may render some of the core cybersecurity algorithms at the heart of many modern-day digital experiences—from accessing money via an ATM to sending secure messages—obsolete. A new bipartisan bill pushes the U.S. government to prepare more quickly for that eventuality.  The problem is a complex one, literally. The public key encryption standards for everything from bank transactions to secure communications are based on the mathematical principle of factorization.

One More Thing

The MiG-25 Terrified the West Until a Defector Exposed Its True Nature


The spy satellite photos created panic in the Pentagon. They showed an enormous Soviet airplane, probably an interceptor, with engine intakes the size of small cars. The wings were huge, too, hinting at maneuverability far beyond anything America’s first-rank McDonnell F-4 Phantom II could achieve. These were prototypes of what would become the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25 Foxbat. After the airplane appeared in public for the first time in July 1967 and went on a record-setting spree, it appeared that the Soviets had a wonder weapon that could match the best in the West—the Mach 3.2 Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird spyplane.