No Longer Protected by Congress, Air Force RC-26 Fleet Heading to the Boneyard

The Air National Guard is retiring its entire fleet of 11 RC-26 Condors, the Air Force said Jan. 6. The twin-prop plane had an often under-the-radar but sometimes controversial role as a reconnaissance aircraft used for both counterdrug and homeland security missions. A converted civilian airliner, the aircraft attracted unwanted attention several times recently, and for years the Department of Defense has sought to retire the aircraft in favor of cheaper platforms such as drones.

US to Supply Ukraine with Bradleys, New Air Weapons in Massive $3 Billion Aid Package

The Biden administration announced a massive new aid package for Ukraine on Jan. 6, totaling over $3 billion and including armored infantry fighting vehicles and other weapons once considered off-limits. The latest package also includes new air capabilities. In a bid to bolster Ukraine's air force, the U.S. will send 4,000 Zuni rockets, which can be fired at ground targets. The U.S. also recently announced it was sending Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs) to Ukraine.
space force refueling mobility

Tankers in Space? New Report Says ‘True Military Mobility’ Demands a More Agile USSF

Just as the Air Force relies on tankers to refuel fighters and bombers in flight, the Space Force should enable “true military mobility” for its satellites, a new report from the nonprofit Aerospace Corporation says. The report, "Enabling a New Space Paradigm: Harnessing Space Mobility and Logistics," argues the Space Force should leverage commercial, customized, and military-specific capabilities to increase satellite mobility.
flight nurse

This is the First-Ever ANG Flight Nurse to Earn Distinguished Flying Cross

A Minnesota Air National Guard flight nurse who responded to a deadly suicide bombing in the midst of the Afghanistan evacuation in August 2021 is set to receive the Distinguished Flying Cross on Jan. 7. Maj. Katie Lunning of the 133rd Airlift Wing will be the first Air National Guard nurse ever to be awarded the DFC, the military’s fourth-highest award for heroism. 

Radar Sweep

Space Force Shelves ‘Weather Data as a Service’ Model, For Now

Breaking Defense

The Space Force continues to be intrigued by the concept of acquiring weather data “as a service” from commercial vendors, but has determined that available services don’t fill their needs just yet, according to a senior Space Systems Command official. Lt. Col. Joseph Maguadog, SSC program manager for Electro-Optic/Infrared Weather Systems (EWS), explained that SSC’s January market survey of potential vendors, kicked off with a Request for Information in January 2022, failed to turn up any candidates capable of meeting current requirements.

More Than One-Third of Tricare Patients Have Limited or No Access to a Psychiatrist, Study Finds


Roughly 35 percent of U.S. military personnel, retirees and family members lived in areas that had few to no military or civilian psychiatrists from 2016 to 2020, with retirees and those residing in rural or low-income areas notably having the least access, a new study has found. Worse yet, 6 percent of Tricare beneficiaries resided in areas with no psychiatrists, according to the research, published Jan. 3 online at JAMA Network Open.

Pentagon Racing to Restore US Superiority in Hypersonics

Defense News

In 1959, the U.S. Air Force and Navy partnered with NASA to fly a piloted hypersonic test aircraft, the X-15, for the first time. During that flight, the high-speed vehicle designed to travel at speeds of at least Mach 5 was dropped from under the wing of a B-52 bomber flying over the Mojave Desert in Southern California. Pilot Scott Crossfield carried the aircraft to an altitude of 52,341 feet and reached a peak speed of Mach 2.11.

Rescue Crews Honored for Response to Iranian Ballistic Missile Attack

Air Force Times

Three years after Iran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles at U.S. troops in Iraq in January 2020, seven American airmen have been recognized for their actions overhead. The HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter crews who served at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, on Jan. 7-8, 2020, helped ensure thousands of Americans were safe following the first overseas ballistic missile attack on U.S. citizens in over 30 years, the Air Force said.

Is the V-22 Osprey Actually as Dangerous as People Think?


On December 5, the Army announced its selection of Bell’s tilt-rotor V-280 Valor as its replacement for the legendary (but aging) UH-60 Black Hawk, and almost immediately, we received a number of questions about the V-22 Osprey’s reputation for being an unsafe platform and how that could affect the V-280’s performance. These questions make some sense. After all, the V-22 program has certainly seen a number of high-profile incidents leading to the deaths of service members, dating all the way back to the early 1990s. But the truth is, the Osprey has proven itself to be a rather safe and reliable platform despite its setbacks.

A New Radar Installation in the Pacific Will Let US Forces Look over the Horizon

Popular Science

On December 28, the Department of Defense announced the award of an $118 million contract to build a special kind of radar installation in the Republic of Palau. Palau is a nation in the Pacific, about 800 miles southwest of Guam and about 1,000 miles southeast of Manila. It will, by 2026, be host to the Tactical Mobile Over-the-Horizon Radar, a new sensor about which the military is being fairly tight-lipped.

One More Thing

WWI Aircrews Trained In These Moving Cockpits On Rails To Learn Aerial Gunnery

The War Zone

During the dawn of aerial combat in World War I, flyers came up with inventive ways of practicing using their aircraft-mounted machine guns. This image is a case in point. Taken on July 17, 1918, it depicts a Royal Air Force (RAF) Pilot Officer conducting target practice from a moving ‘cockpit’ as it hurtles around a curved track at the RAF’s Rang-du-Fliers gunnery school at Berck in northern France.