UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has formally requested British Secretary of Defence Ben Wallace look into which RAF combat jets could be supplied to the Ukraine Air Force, following an announcement that London will offer to train Ukrainian fighter pilots for the first time. The move to transfer fighter jets did not appear imminent, however, as Sunak said it’s intended to serve as a “long-term solution rather than a short-term capability.” But it could mark a pivotal moment in the fight against Russia by kick-starting deliveries of highly capable, Western-made aircraft.
A Pentagon memo details steps to boost production of specialized air defenses, long-range missiles, and rockets whose stocks have dwindled as they are used in Ukraine—amid other behind-the-scenes steps being taken by defense officials, policymakers, and companies to ensure the U.S. military is adequately armed if the country gets directly involved in a conflict. Pentagon officials have created a “targeted list for multi-year procurement [that] includes munitions that support Ukraine, our own needs, and other conflict scenarios,” Bill LaPlante, defense undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment, wrote in a January memo to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
Today’s guest post digs into the legal issues surrounding yesterday’s shoot-down over U.S. territorial waters of a Chinese high altitude balloon (HAB). Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin says this HAB was “being used by the [People’s Republic of China] in an attempt to surveil strategic sites in the continental United States.” Our three guest authors, Lt. Col. Jay Jackson, Maj. Aaron Johnson, and Maj. Matt Montazzoli, are military lawyers but are writing in their personal, not official, capacities. They expertly unpack several of the legal issues associated with the incident (which are more complex than many might think!) and conclude that “the presence of the HAB in U.S. national airspace was unlawful.”
The chief executive of Firefly Aerospace Bill Weber said Feb. 7 the company is preparing to launch its first mission for the U.S. Space Force in May. The mission will attempt to demonstrate industry capabilities to send a payload to orbit on 24 hours’ notice. Firefly in September won a $17.6 million contract to launch a Millennium Space small satellite to low Earth orbit, a so-called Tactically Responsive Space mission that is part of a broader effort by the U.S. Space Force to accelerate the timeline for deploying payloads to orbit.
Attendees of the Vietnam War 50th Commemoration and the honoring of John O'Neal Rucker on Feb. 4 in Linden enjoyed a warm-hearted remembrance and a deepening of national legacy. The memorial combined two events—the nation's 50th anniversary of the war's end and the appreciation of Rucker whose name and plaque are part of the Veterans Memorial upon the courthouse lawn—the last American casualty of that war in 1973. The words of keynote speaker Gerald Murray, 14th, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, seemed to carefully note the understanding now being reached by veterans and their country.
The president of SpaceX said that the Ukraine military’s use of the Starlink broadband system for tactical communications has moved beyond the scope of company’s intention in providing the service. “It was never intended to be weaponized,” Gwynne Shotwell said Feb. 8 at the Federal Aviation Administration’s Commercial Space Transportation Conference in Washington, DC. “The Ukrainians have leveraged it in ways that were unintentional and not part of any agreement.”
A mysterious Russian satellite broke apart early last month, creating a cloud of debris that could linger in Earth orbit for a while. The Kosmos 2499 spacecraft disintegrated on the night of Jan. 3, according to the U.S. Space Force's 18th Space Defense Squadron (18th SDS), which tracks human-made objects in orbit. The breakup event generated at least 85 pieces of trackable debris, 18th SDS said via Twitter on Feb. 6.
This year is shaping up to be an exciting one in terms of movies slated for release that will appeal to military audiences. There is no dearth of topics to be covered when it comes to war, and 2023 seems poised to present some spectacular cinematic offerings. From war horror to historical fiction and biographies, these are the top anticipated military movies set to premiere in the coming months.