f-22 upgrades

Keeping the F-22 Credible Through 2030 Will Cost At Least $9 Billion, USAF Leaders Say

The Air Force plans to spend more than $9 billion through the end of the decade to keep the F-22 capable until its successor, the Next-Generation Air Dominance family of systems, becomes available. New sensors and fuel tanks dominate procurement, with other funding going to maintainability, engine, and communications/navigation improvements. It all depends, though, on whether Congress allows USAF to retire 32 of the oldest F-22s.

Lockheed Martin Looks to Boost LRASM Production as US Rushes to Buy Anti-Ship Weapons

Lockheed Martin has opened a second production line to make two of the Pentagon’s most in-demand weapons: the LRASM anti-ship cruise missile and the JASSM-ER air-to-surface variant. Wargames have shown the utility of the missiles in countering a Chinese invasion of Taiwan. The problem is that the simulations also show that the stocks of AGM-158C LRASM and JASSM-ER from which it is adapted would be quickly expended in a conflict, putting pressure on the services to boost their modest inventories.

A New Air Force-Wide Study Is Analyzing Suicides to Improve Prevention Efforts

The Air Force expects the final report of a sweeping, first-of-its-kind suicide analysis board in the next few months, as the department looks to refine its prevention and response efforts. The Department of the Air Force partnered with suicide researchers to compile over 1,000 data points for each person who died by suicide, and the final report is due this spring, Lt. Gen. Caroline Miller, deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel, and services, said.

Radar Sweep

US Sending Experimental Anti-Drone Weapons to Ukraine

Defense One

The U.S. is sending anti-drone missiles as part of an experimental platform to help Ukraine down the Iranian-built drones that have devastated its energy infrastructure, according to representatives of government contracting company SAIC. On April 4, the U.S. announced a large package of military aid to Ukraine focused on air defense, including what it called “10 mobile c-UAS laser-guided rocket systems.”

Apple VP Doug Beck Named Next DIU Director, Will Report Directly to Austin

Breaking Defense

Doug Beck, a vice president at Apple, will be the next director of the Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), and will now report directly up to the secretary of defense in an organizational reshuffle, the Defense Department announced. Historically, the position of DIU director has reported directly to the undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, but in a memo released April 4 by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, the innovation hub “will be under the authority, direction, and control” of his office.

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.

Russia Claims Stealth Material Breakthrough


Russia’s Roselectronics claims to have made a breakthrough in low observable materials, with a composite capable of absorbing a wide range of radar frequencies. The company, a unit of state arms manufacturer Rostec, says the lightweight material is composed of glass fibers with a metal core, and is suitable for the manufacture of aircraft parts. “In the process of creating a radio-absorbing material, several layers of fiberglass were connected to each other,” says Rostec.

Navy Drops Air Force’s Mission from Its Next ‘Doomsday Plane’

The War Zone

Industry officials have confirmed that the future E-XX aircraft, which will provide airborne strategic command and control support for America’s ballistic missile submarines, will not also have the ability to maintain communications with the Air Force’s intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and bomber units. While we knew that the C-130J-based aircraft—which will replace the current fleet of Navy E-6B Mercury ‘Doomsday Planes’—would initially perform only the TACAMO, or Take Charge And Move Out ballistic submarine communications mission, the latest development indicates that the new Hercules-based platform will be limited to this function long-term, too.

Air Force Again Looks to Cut Bonus Pay for Some Airmen in Tough Jobs

Air Force Times

The Air Force is set to cut bonus pay for thousands of airmen in the service’s most demanding jobs by nearly $10 million in fiscal 2024, according to the service’s latest budget request. If Congress approves the request in the service’s budget proposal, released March 13, the service would downsize its special duty assignment pay program from $101.7 million in 2023 to $92.2 million in the coming year.

NATO Fighter Jets Fly in ‘Large-Scale’ Joint Training Over Baltics

The Defense Post

More than 20 fighter jets from NATO allies and partners joined a “large-scale” training exercise over Baltic airspace. The activity commenced at Amari Air Base in Estonia and was joined by military forces from the U.S., the U.K., Finland, Germany, France, Estonia, and the Netherlands. The exercise saw the deployment of L-39 Albatrosses, F-15 Eagles, Eurofighter Typhoons, F/A-18 Hornets, Rafales, and F-35 Lightning IIs.

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Pentagon Seeking Trustworthy, Reliable AI

Inside Defense

Senior defense officials say they are prioritizing trustworthiness and reliability as they search for new artificial intelligence capabilities. Speaking at the Sea-Air-Space conference April 4, Matt Turek, deputy director of the Information Innovation Office at Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), said there is a “misalignment” between the needs of defense and private industry as AI develops.

One More Thing

Air Force Veteran Reunited with Old Friend after 60 Years

Iowa Air National Guard release

Air Force veteran crew chief Richard Devine’s interest was piqued recently, when he found a news story and photos about a military aircraft that he once crewed over 60 years ago. What really got the retired Omaha, Neb., resident excited was when he saw that the aircraft is still in service and that it is stationed just up the road in nearby Sioux City, Iowa. “I was wondering if there is any chance this 82-year-old veteran could tour 057?” Devine wrote in a message to the Iowa Air Guard. “I have a special interest in 057, as I crewed her when she was at Loring Air Force Base in the late 1950s, early 1960s.” The U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker that was the subject of Devine’s inquiry is tail number 58-0057.