As USAF Considers a Blended-Wing Body Tanker, New Startup Reveals Its Concept

As the Air Force embarks on what is likely to be a lengthy process of developing the Next Generation Air Refueling System (NGAS) to help recapitalize its aerial refueling fleet, the service is placing more and more of a “premium on survivability” for future tankers, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall told Congress last week. That could mean shifting away from “traditional” modified airliners or cargo jets and toward a blended-wing body design. Aerospace engineering company JetZero, partnering with defense giant Northrop Grumman, recently released their concept for just such an aircraft.
air force leadership library

CSAF Adds Books, Podcasts, and More to His Leadership Library

The “Leadership Library” of Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. got a lot bigger April 28, as the Air Force announced seven new pieces of media the CSAF has recommended for Airmen. The seven selections—three books, three podcasts, and one documentary—mark the largest addition to Brown’s Leadership Library since he first debuted the revamped format of the Chief’s Reading List in March 2021.  

Radar Sweep

No Cancer Risk Found at Nuclear Bases So Far, Air Force Says

The Associated Press

A review of a Montana nuclear missile base where an unusual number of troops have been diagnosed with blood cancer has found no current risk factors that could explain it, the Air Force says. The service has been investigating the issue since reports surfaced in January of at least nine missileers who had served at Malmstrom Air Force Base who were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. In the months since, more than 30 cancer cases at Malmstrom and the nation’s other nuclear missile facilities, including F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming, Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California have come to light.

Lockheed Eyes New F-35 Parts Deal, But Can It Handle Wartime Demands?

Defense News

By the end of the year, a new and unusual deal for the F-35 fighter′s spare parts could be in place—one that would flip the current supply model on its head. If the proposed performance-based logistics contract works the way F-35 manufacturer Lockheed Martin has promised, it will save the government money, improve the availability of spare parts, and give the company greater flexibility on how it assists repairs, such as making it easier to fix a broken part without fabricating a new one.

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.

Turkey Dubs 5th Gen Fighter ‘KAAN,’ Sees Other Domestic Aircraft Milestones

Breaking Defense

The ceremonial naming of Turkey’s homegrown fifth-generation-billed fighter jet is the latest in a string of milestones for Ankara’s domestic aircraft industry, in what analyst say show real progress even if it comes at a convenient time before crucial elections. On May 1, incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan revealed the fighter, previously known as TF-X or the national combat aircraft, would be named KAAN, reportedly a reference to historic titles for Turkic and Mongolian rulers.

US Sending 1,500 Active-Duty Troops to Southern Border Amid Migration Spike

CBS News

The Biden administration is deploying 1,500 Active-Duty troops to the southern border to provide operational support to U.S. immigration authorities as they grapple with a sharp increase in migrant crossings ahead of the termination of pandemic-era migration restrictions, the Department of Defense announced May 2. The service members will be deployed for 90 days, and will not be tasked with any law enforcement duties like detaining or processing migrants, said Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, Pentagon press secretary.

Where’d the Money Go? Lawmakers Press Air Force on Planned Radar Plane

Defense One

Congress gave money to the U.S. Air Force to speed up E-7 Wedgetail production. Now lawmakers are wondering where it went, since the first aircraft won’t be delivered any sooner. Lawmakers allocated an additional $200 million in last year’s defense policy bill to accelerate the production of two U.S. prototypes of the battle management and command-and-control aircraft, the first of which was—and is—scheduled for delivery in 2027.

Air Force to Launch Link 16 Tactical Communications Cubesat


A U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory cubesat equipped with a Link 16 tactical communications radio will launch to low Earth orbit as early as June on the SpaceX Transporter 8 rideshare. The long-delayed experiment, named XVI, will demonstrate “improved communication with the allied Link-16 community,” a spokesperson for AFRL told SpaceNews. “The knowledge gained from the XVI experiment will inform future U.S. space architectures and acquisitions.”

DISA Boss Asks for Industry Help to Leverage Generative AI ‘Faster and Better’ Than Adversaries


The United States needs to take advantage of generative artificial intelligence’s capabilities for high-end functions, and the Pentagon is looking for the commercial industry to assist the department along the way, according to Lt. Gen. Robert Skinner, director of the Defense Information Systems Agency. Generative AI has captured the world’s attention in recent months with platforms like ChatGPT, developed by research firm OpenAI, going viral on the internet since its publication in late 2022.

Air Force Prepares to Retire U-2 Spy Planes in 2026

Air Force Times

The Air Force is forging ahead with its plan to retire the storied U-2 Dragon Lady spy aircraft in fiscal 2026, as part of a yearslong effort to reshape how the service surveils American adversaries from above. Air Force leaders have considered retiring the U-2 fleet for nearly two decades, asking Congress in some years to ditch the Cold War-era workhorse or, in others, to retire the RQ-4 Global Hawk drones that were meant to replace it. Now both are on the chopping block.

Lawmakers Push for Review of How the Pentagon Grapples with Mental Health

A bill introduced April 28 in the House would create a task force to investigate military mental health and the Pentagon's varied approaches to supporting and treating affected troops and their family members. Under the bill, sponsored by Navy veteran Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, R-Pa., and Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., the task force would assess the extent of military mental health issues, examine all current programs and medical staffing, and make recommendations for improvements.

One More Thing

Take An MQ-9 Reaper’s View of Holloman Air Force Base’s Elephant Walk

The War Zone

Fans of U.S. Air Force “elephant walks”—shows of force that display levels of readiness, personnel skills, and sheer military might, as well as practicing generating large numbers of aircraft sorties quickly—have been spoiled for choice of late, with multiple such events taking place at airbases across the continental United States. Now we have the chance to watch a very unique elephant walk put on recently by Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico in an equally unique way, via the MTS-B sensor turret on an MQ-9 Reaper drone flying above the runway.