It’s Official: ARRW Is Done When All-Up Tests Conclude. What’s Next?

The Air Force’s ARRW hypersonic missile program will end after another couple of tests, service acquisition executive Andrew Hunter told the House Armed Services Committee. His written testimony affirmed remarks from Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall that the boost-glide ARRW will be supplanted by the air-breathing Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile.

F-35s Arrive at Kadena as F-15 Withdrawl Continues

F-35 Lightning II fighters arrived on Okinawa in March as the Air Force continues to swap out its permanently deployed F-15 Eagles at Kadena Air Base, Japan. Air Force officials declined to provide the exact number of F-35s at Kadena or say when more F-15s would depart, citing operational security.
tanker elephant walk mcconnell air force base

21 Tankers Line Up for Record-Breaking Launch as McConnell Practices ACE

More than 20 tankers lined the runway at McConnell Air Force Base, Kan., on March 27, for an “elephant walk” and the base’s largest mass launch of aircraft ever. Sixteen KC-46s and five KC-135s participated in the flush, with aircraft and Airmen from the 22nd Air Refueling Wing and the 931st Air Refueling Wing participating. The launch was part of the base’s Exercise Lethal Pride, a weeklong effort to simulate the Air Force’s plan for dispersing aircraft and crews to operate from smaller bases.

Radar Sweep

Two Black Hawks Crash Near Fort Campbell, 9 Soldiers Killed

Army Times

Nine Soldiers were killed when two HH-60 Black Hawk helicopters flying out of Fort Campbell, Ky., crashed March 29, a base official told Military Times. There were no survivors. The crash occurred just before 10 p.m. local time in Trigg County, Kentucky, during a “routine training mission,” according to a 101st Airborne Division press release. All of the deceased were assigned to the division’s 101st Combat Aviation Brigade.

F-35 Upgrades Slip to 2024, Drawing Lawmaker’s Ire

Air Force Times

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will receive a slate of important hardware and software upgrades known as Technology Refresh 3 a year later than originally expected, the three-star general in charge of the program told lawmakers March 29. Lt. Gen. Michael Schmidt, the F-35′s program executive officer, said in a House Armed Services subcommittee hearing March 30 that the Joint Program Office now estimates TR-3—which is intended to load the F-35 with improved displays, computer memory and processing power—will arrive in April 2024.

Go Deeper on Operational Imperatives

Air & Space Forces Magazine

Virtually every part of the Department of the Air Force’s drive to modernize is being shaped by Secretary Frank Kendall’s seven Operational Imperatives—lines of effort that address the most important and urgent challenges facing the Air Force today. Now, the department and industry are working together to develop solutions for each imperative, and the results will likely change the Air Force and Space Force for the next generation. Keep up with all the latest news on each Operational Imperative.

Finland Cleared to Join NATO Following Turkish Vote


The Turkish parliament on March 30 unanimously ratified Finland’s accession to NATO, effectively allowing Helsinki to join the military alliance but leaving Sweden out in the cold. Finland could now become a formal member of NATO within days. “All 30 NATO members have now ratified Finland’s membership,” Finnish President Sauli Niinistö tweeted. “I want to thank every one of them for their trust and support. Finland will be a strong and capable Ally, committed to the security of the Alliance,” he said.

US: Russia Seeks Arms-for-Food Deal with North Korea

The Associated Press

The White House on March 30 said it has new evidence that Russia is looking again to North Korea for weapons to fuel the war in Ukraine, this time in a deal that would provide Pyongyang with needed food and other commodities in return. It’s the latest accusation that Russia, desperate for weaponry and restricted by sanctions and export controls, is turning to “rogue” nations to help it continue to prosecute the 13-month-old war.

F-35s Need More Powerful Engines—But How Much More?

Defense One

As the Pentagon funds an engine upgrade for its entire F-35 fleet, the Joint Program Office says it knows the current engine doesn’t have enough power—but doesn’t know how much more power it will actually need. The F-35’s current Pratt & Whitney engine is running twice as hot as it was designed—driving the aircraft to require maintenance earlier, which runs up program costs.

SpaceX Aborts Initial Launch of SDA’s Tranche 0 Satellites


Just 3 seconds before it was set to lift off March 30, SpaceX aborted the launch for the Space Development Agency’s first batch of Tranche 0 satellites that are an important component of the Pentagon’s plans for data transport and missile warning. Ten satellites were scheduled to fly aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 reusable rocket deployed from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.

Maxar Eyes Military Customers for Satellite Images of Objects in Space


Maxar, an Earth imaging company, is looking to build a new business imaging objects in space. The company predicts a burgeoning market for high-resolution images of objects in orbit amid growing congestion and security concerns, said Tony Frazier, Maxar’s executive vice president and general manager of public sector Earth intelligence.

One More Thing

How To Land the World’s Biggest Aircraft According to Its Test Pilot

The War Zone

Steve Rainey is the test pilot for the largest airplane in the history of the world in terms of wingspan, and he has made it clear that operating it comes with its fair share of intricacies. The behemoth, owned by Stratolaunch, is known affectionately as the Roc—named after a bird of giant proportions from ancient mythology. It was originally designed to launch payloads into orbit, but now, Rainey and his team are aiming for the Roc to launch recoverable hypersonic vehicles that the aerospace industry will use for high-speed flight testing.