A wayward and unresponsive business plane that flew over the nation’s capital June 4 caused the military to scramble a fighter jet before the plane crashed in Virginia, officials said. The fighter jet caused a loud sonic boom that was heard across the capital region. The Federal Aviation Administration says the Cessna Citation took off from Elizabethtown, Tenn., and was headed for Long Island’s MacArthur Airport. Inexplicably, the plane turned around over New York’s Long Island and flew a straight path down over D.C. before it crashed over mountainous terrain near Montebello, Va., around 3:30 p.m.
China’s defense minister rebuked Washington for actions he said were disturbing peace in the Asia-Pacific region, while the U.S. military said a Chinese destroyer had “executed maneuvers in an unsafe manner” near an American warship transiting the Taiwan Strait, highlighting the tensions between the two powers.
The defense leaders of the United States, Japan, and South Korea agreed “to activate a data sharing mechanism to exchange real-time missile warning data before the end of the year in order to improve each country’s ability to detect and assess missiles launched by” North Korea. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Japanese Minister of Defense Hamada Yasukazu, and South Korean Minister of Defense Lee Jong-Sup shared “deep concerns about, and condemnation of, the DPRK’s weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs,” using diplomatic language that indicates more than the usual worry.
SPONSORED: How Boeing’s KC-46A Accelerates Mission Readiness for the Joint Force Today and into the Future
As near-peer adversaries have increased their reach and lethality, the U.S. Air Force is accelerating the tanker fleet recapitalization and aggressively pulling forward the Next Generation Aerial Refueling System (NGAS) to meet the threat. Globally operating the KC-46A has advanced mission readiness for the joint force as the service strategizes the path to a future “team of systems” for aerial refueling.
With the debt limit crisis settled, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are expected to move quickly this month on overdue work on the fiscal 2024 defense budget and annual defense authorization bill, in hopes of finishing that work by summer’s end. Markups of the respective House and Senate versions of the authorization bill were set to take place last month, but ended up delayed because of the debt ceiling uncertainty. The chambers’ armed services committees are expected to reschedule them in the next few weeks.
Maj. Gen. Ed Thomas retired on June 2. For the past three years, he has been the commander of the Air Force Recruiting Service, or AFRS. His successor, sworn in June 2, is Brig. Gen. Christopher Amrhein, who previously served as vice commander of the 19th Air Force at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas.
Following a government watchdog report that warned of a “tenuous” relationship between the Air Force and Boeing over delays for the T-7A Red Hawk training jet, a top Air Force official is pushing back, telling Breaking Defense that the two parties have a solid relationship. “I’d say our relationship is not tenuous. My relationship with my counterpart and my [program executive officer’s, or PEO’s] relationship with his counterpart are actually fantastic,” Col. Kirt Cassell, chief of the T-7A Red Hawk division, said.
Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall has defined seven Operational Imperatives for the Department of the Air Force to work on, warning that “if we don't get them right, we will have unacceptable operational risk.” From a resilient space order of battle to the development of next-generation tactical air dominance and global strike platforms, these imperatives will define the Air Force for decades to come—Dive deeper into each one with our new “Operational Imperatives” pages highlighting all the latest news and developments on these critical efforts.
The Defense Innovation Unit expects to fly an experimental hypersonic cruise vehicle as early as next summer in support of the Pentagon’s drive to boost its flight-test cadence. The agency, which aims to push technology from non-traditional and commercial companies to military users, awarded a contract in March through its Hypersonic and High-Cadence Airborne Testing Capabilities, or HyCAT, program. The company’s DART AE demonstration platform will pair with a launch provider, showcasing its ability to support Defense Department testing needs.
The U.S. Air Force denies running a simulation in which a drone killed its human operator—after comments from its chief of AI test and operations went viral on social media—saying the story was “anecdotal.” “The Department of the Air Force has not conducted any such AI-drone simulations and remains committed to ethical and responsible use of AI technology,” said Air Force spokesperson Ann Stefanek.
The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory awarded Northrop Grumman a contract worth $80.3 million to conduct communications experiments using multiple commercial space internet services. Under a program called Defense Experimentation Using Commercial Space Internet (DEUCSI), AFRL is working with defense contractors and commercial satcom providers to figure out how to integrate commercial space internet services with military platforms and weapon systems.
By March of 1944, World War II had turned decisively in favor of the Allies. The war was far from won, but the Allied nations were advancing on all fronts, in every theater of battle, all over the world. Everything seemed to be going well for the U.S. until March 21, 1944, when residents of a Montana town woke up to a startling picture: the Yellowstone River, full of ice floes amid a winter storm, began to overrun its banks. Large chunks of ice had jammed up the river and was threatening the nearby town of Miles City.