transport plane

Can Gas-Hauling Cargo Planes Fuel the Air Force in the Pacific?

The Air Force is experimenting with having transport planes like the C-5, C-17, and C-130 haul hundreds of thousands of pounds of gas downrange. But experts say that while using transport jets to carry gas could be helpful in a pinch, the already-overburdened fleet likely cannot carry enough gas to sustain a long campaign.

The Air Force’s Final MC-130H Heads to the Boneyard

The Air Force’s final MC-130H Combat Talon II made its last flight April 2, Air Force Special Operations Command announced. The last of the aircraft, Tail Number 89-0280, took off from Hurlburt Field, Fla., crewed by members of the 15th Special Operations Squadron and AFSOC commander Lt. Gen. Tony Bauernfeind, himself a former MC-130H pilot. 

Speed, Cost, Performance—In That Order—Key to SDA’s Successful Tranche 0 Launch, Director Says

The Space Development Agency successfully got its Tranche 0 satellites off the ground April 2, two and half years after it first awarded the contract. Those two and a half years included a few extra days of delays, but when a SpaceX rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Space Force Base carrying 10 satellites—eight for transporting and relaying data and two for missile tracking—it put SDA's vision for the future into orbit for the first time.
space force uniform

Space Force Finishes Fit Testing New Uniforms, Targets 2025 Delivery

The Space Force is now one step closer to delivering its service dress uniform to the entire branch after 100 Guardians fit tested it. Now that the fit test is complete, the next step is the wear test, where selected Guardians will wear the uniform three times a week and provide feedback on its durability, functionality and comfort. The wear test starts this summer, and the Space Force expects to deliver the service dress uniform across the branch in late 2025.

Radar Sweep

Advocates Sue DOD to Find Out What Sickened Troops at Uzbek Air Base

Air Force Times

Veterans advocates filed a lawsuit against the Defense Department on April 3 demanding the release of reports regarding toxic materials found at Karshi-Khanabad Air Base in Uzbekistan, believed to have caused a series of rare illnesses in thousands of troops stationed there in the early 2000s. The lawsuit—filed in federal court—requests the release of all information pertaining to contaminants found at the Karshi-Khanabad Air Base, often called K2. More than 15,000 service members were stationed there between 2001 and 2005.

New Developments in Warfighter Training

Air & Space Forces Magazine

Driven by advancements in technology and research, the Air Force and Space Force are adapting how they train their warfighters to complete the missions at hand. Keep up with all the latest news on changes and improvements to the services’ training enterprises.

PODCAST: Air and Space in the FY24 Defense Budget, China and Russia Update, and Fighters on the Brink

Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies

In Episode 122 of the Aerospace Advantage podcast, Douglas Birkey chats with retired Lt. Gen. David Deptula, retired Lt. Gen. Joseph Guastella, Todd Harmer, Anthony Lazarski, and Tim Ryan about some of the latest developments in the national security realm. The conversation begins with a discussion about Congress’ reaction to the fiscal year 2024 defense budget submission, with a special focus on air and space power, then shifts to China and Russia’s increasing alignment, plus the latest developments in Ukraine. The discussion also includes a look at key trends with the Air Force’s fighter inventories, along with hot button topics like engine options for the F-35 and future tanker plans.

Philippines Names 4 New Camps for US Forces Amid China Fury

The Associated Press

The Philippine government identified four new military camps, including some across the sea from Taiwan, where rotating batches of American forces will be allowed to be stationed indefinitely despite strong objections from China. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s administration announced in February his approval of an expansion of the U.S. military presence to four additional Philippine military bases from the five existing sites under the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement between the longtime treaty allies. The new sites identified by Marcos’ office include a Philippine navy base in Santa Ana and an international airport in Lal-lo, both in northern Cagayan province.

Finland to Join NATO on April 4


Finland will formally become a full-fledged NATO ally on April 4, the alliance’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said April 3. “This is an historic week,” the NATO chief told reporters. “Tomorrow, we will welcome Finland as the 31st member of NATO, making Finland safer and our alliance stronger.” The move comes after Hungary and Turkey ratified Finland’s membership bid last week, removing the last hurdles to Helsinki’s accession. Sweden’s membership aspiration, however, remains in limbo as Budapest and Ankara continue to withhold support.

Service Members Are Struggling to Afford Housing. This Lawmaker Says She’s Working to Fix the Problem.

Updating the formula for housing allowances, making sure troops get a full stipend, and building more housing on bases: Those are a few of the ways a member of the House Armed Services Committee wants to make housing more affordable for service members. In a time when Congress is bitterly divided along partisan lines, Rep. Marilyn Strickland, D-Wash., is hopeful that housing and other issues that affect service members' quality of life, including child care and food insecurity, can engender rare bipartisan support.

Can F-35 Engine Plan Get Foreign OK?

Defense One

The Pentagon has not yet talked to its international partners about the future of the F-35 engine, and will likely have that discussion later this year, though it is already asking Congress to fund an engine upgrade for its entire fleet. The Air Force recently decided it will upgrade the existing Pratt & Whitney engine through a program called engine core upgrade, or ECU, and not pursue a new, adaptive engine for its F-35 fleet. But that decision has not yet been discussed with international partners in the program, F-35 Program Executive Officer Lt. Gen. Michael Schmidt said April 3.

Fatter Recruits Now Welcome as Air Force Revises Its Rules

Air Force Times

The Air Force has loosened its restrictions on body fat for new recruits, one of the latest moves to grow the pool of potential applicants amid the military’s recruiting crisis. In the past, men and women’s bodies needed to be 20 percent or 28 percent fat, respectively, to be eligible for service. That benchmark is now 26 percent for men and 36 percent for women, Air Force Recruiting Service spokesperson Leslie Brown said April 3.

Lockheed Martin Selected by Australia for Military SATCOM Project


Lockheed Martin was selected as the “preferred bidder” for a multibillion-dollar Australian military project to build military communications satellites and supporting infrastructure. The Australian Defence Force on April 3 announced Lockheed Martin as the preferred bidder. This means the company is not actually receiving a contract award but was selected to move into the next phase of negotiations with the Australian government.

Space Force Asks Industry Input for Second Phase of MEO Missile Warning/Tracking

Breaking Defense

With a prospective budget boost in fiscal 2024 as a tailwind, the Space Force is speeding towards development of a new constellation in medium Earth orbit (MEO) for missile warning and tracking—asking for industry input by May 16 on a second, more robust satellite configuration. The Resilient Missile Warning/Missile Tracking—MEO (MEO MW/MT) constellation “will be incrementally developed in capability-based deliveries called Epochs,” the service’s March 31 request for information (RFI) explains.

One More Thing

2 Navy Pilots Among Astronauts Who Will Make Historic Spaceflight to the Moon

Task & Purpose

It’s been more than 50 years since astronauts last traveled to the moon, or even distanced more than 400 miles from Earth’s surface. In November 2024, though, the National Aeronautics and Space Organization (NASA) plans to launch Artemis II, the first manned mission to orbit the moon since Apollo 17 in 1972. On April 3, at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, NASA announced the crew for this historic mission, among them two accomplished naval aviators: Capt. Gregory Reid Wiseman and Capt. Victor Glover.