Wilsbach: No PACAF Airman Is Excused from Practicing ACE

The sight of the Air Force’s premier air-to-air fighter flying from the bare-bones base on Tinian earlier this month is a good reminder, the head of Pacific Air Forces said March 8—no part of the service is exempt from the Agile Combat Employment concept. The deployment of F-22s to the tiny island was a first for the aircraft, and it represented a high-profile example of the ACE training being conducted in the Pacific, Gen. Kenneth S. Wilsbach told reporters at the AFA Warfare Symposium. 
collaborative combat aircraft CCA air force

Air Combat Command Planner: Misconception that CCAs Will Be ‘Attritable’

Collaborative Combat Aircraft should be viewed as force-builders and not expendable vehicles, senior USAF and industry leaders said at a panel discussion during the AFA Warfare Symposium in Colorado this week. Building 1,000 such aircraft in the needed timelines will require tapping the commercial industrial base as well as the defense industrial base, they also said.

Top Enlisted Service Member: We’re Competing with the PLA, Not the Chinese People

“Shoot them in the face,” Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Ramón Colón-López said at the AFA Warfare Symposium, when asked to describe in five words how to defeat the People’s Republic of China. However, Colón-López cautioned that should a war break out, the U.S. military would target the People’s Liberation Army, not the Chinese people themselves.

Lessons from Vietnam: ‘Stay Connected, Don’t Be Alone’

st Lt. Lee Ellis’ F-4C Phantom was shot down on his 53rd bombing mission over North Vietnam. Captured immediately on Nov. 7, 1967, he was take to the notorious Hoa Lo prison in Hanoi, where he stayed for the next five and a half years. Despite the cramped conditions, Ellis and his fellow American POWs endured, helping each other maintain their collective spirit by offering encouragement and moral support. And when they were isolated from one another in attempts to break their wills, they did what they could to remain connected.

Radar Sweep

Chatter Builds About Gen. ‘CQ’ Brown Candidacy for Chairman of Joint Chiefs

Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall likely sees the writing on the wall. During his speech at the Air and Space Force Association's Warfare Symposium, Kendall complimented his Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. Charles “C.Q.” Brown, while acknowledging something that D.C. insiders have speculated for months: The senior leader is a top contender to become Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The US Air Force Is Moving Fast on AI-Piloted Fighter Jets


On the morning of Dec. 1, 2022, a modified F-16 fighter jet codenamed VISTA X-62A took off from Edwards Air Force Base, roughly 60 miles north of Los Angeles. Over the course of a short test flight, the VISTA engaged in advanced fighter maneuver drills, including simulated aerial dogfights, before landing successfully back at base. While this may sound like business as usual for the U.S.’s premier pilot training school—or like scenes lifted straight from Top Gun: Maverick—it was not a fighter pilot at the controls but, for the first time on a tactical aircraft, a sophisticated AI.

There’s a New Push to Create a Space National Guard. Lawmakers Say the Price Is Right.


Lawmakers from both parties have failed—twice—to give the Space Force its own Space National Guard, which they say the new service needs in order to draw on skilled personnel, just like the Army does with the National Guard. Now, supporters of creating the Space Guard have mounted a fresh pressure campaign with a revised pitch to win over the Biden administration and other opponents: it’s not as expensive as you think.

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MH-139A Enters LRIP after Air Force and Boeing Set Plan for Technical Data

Inside Defense

The MH-139A Grey Wolf helicopter program reached milestone C and will enter low-rate initial production after the Air Force successfully negotiated data rights, service acquisition chief Andrew Hunter told reporters. The program faced some headwinds, including a delay acquiring Federal Aviation Administration certifications and uncertainty about technical data rights on the program, that has since been resolved, Hunter said during the Air and Space Forces Association's annual Warfare Symposium.

Space Force’s INDOPACOM Unit to Embed Allies to Help Deter China

Breaking Defense

The Space Force’s new Indo-Pacific component command intends to “embed” allied military representatives and is studying what key space capabilities regional partners can “bring to the fight”—with an eye firmly on China’s growing space power. “We’re still evaluating … what can best be built by an ally,” command head Brig. Gen. Anthony Mastalir told reporters on the margins of the Air Force Association’s annual AFA Warfare Symposium. “I’ve gotten offers to embed allies within the component, and we are absolutely going to do that. We just haven’t made any final decisions.”

US Intelligence Report: China’s Commercial Space Sector to Become Global Competitor by 2030


The fast growth of China’s commercial space industry is helping the country progress toward its goal of edging out the United States in space, the U.S. intelligence community said in a report released March 8 by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The congressionally mandated “Annual Threat Assessment” report highlights China’s space capabilities as one element of the country’s larger quest for global dominance.

Everyone Please Chill, Okinawa Governor Says Amid Pacific Tensions

Defense One

As tensions rise again between China and the U.S. and its allies, the governor of Okinawa brought a message to Washington, D.C.: the delicate situation calls for diplomacy, not more “enhanced deterrence.” “If we focus too much on the deterrence by military, this balance may be lost,” Denny Tamaki said March 8 through a translator.

Space Force Offers Launch Pads to Companies as Commercial Demand Soars

Defense News

The U.S. Space Force will allocate launch pads at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station to four commercial launch companies as part of a broader effort to use excess range capacity to support the burgeoning market. Space Launch Delta 45, the unit that oversees operations at the Florida station, announced March 7 it assigned launch pads to ABL Space Systems, Stoke Space, Phantom Space, and Vaya Space as part of its launch pad allocation strategy.

Air Force Academy Cadet Dies in Off-Campus Incident

Colorado Springs Gazette

The death of an Air Force Academy cadet is under investigation following an incident in Park County, according to a press release from the academy. The release said the academy learned late March 6 that 22-year-old Cadet 1st Class Cole Kilty died in an off-campus incident. Kilty was from Elk Grove Village, Ill., and a member of the class of 2023.

Space Command HQ Decision Delayed Due to ‘Additional Analysis,’ Air Force Secretary Says

A decision on whether the headquarters for U.S. Space Command will remain in Colorado or move to Alabama has been held up because the Department of the Air Force is doing an extra layer of review, delaying a final announcement that has dragged on since the Trump era. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said in response to a question Tuesday that the final decision will come "fairly soon" but further analysis is needed.

One More Thing

The Most Expensive Plane Crash in History Cost the Air Force $1.4 Billion

We Are The Mighty

The United States maintains a continuous bomber presence in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region to enhance security among its regional allies and maintain an effective deterrent among its enemies. The continuous bomber presence deploys aircraft from all across the United States, including the normally reliable (and expensive) B-2 Spirit, America’s stealth bomber. The only time a B-2 Bomber has ever crashed, it was during this continuous mission. It crashed shortly after takeoff from Andersen Air Force Base on Guam, and resulted in the entire continuous bomber operation being temporarily halted. The aircraft was a total loss, though the pilots survived, and remains the most expensive airplane crash ever.