Air Force tanker fleet

House Bill Pumps Brakes On USAF’s Tanker Plans

Lawmakers on the House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee are seeming skeptical of some the Air Force’s future tanker plans and want to put guardrails in place, as they unveiled their markup of the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act on June 12. The markup has four sections dealing with the Air Force’s tanker fleet that could affect the KC-46, the KC-135 and its recapitalization plan—often referred to as the “bridge tanker”—and the Next Generation Air Refueling System (NGAS).

NATO’s Biggest Air Exercise Ever Kicks Off, Led by Germany

The OCCASUS alliance, composed of the Eastern nations of Murinus, Plumbeus, Griseus, and Cinereus, have invaded Germany, and are “trying to push north to the Baltic Sea," the German military, or Bundeswehr, said in a release. All of this is fictional. But it is the premise of Air Defender 23, a massive air exercise led by Germany and taking place across Europe that kicked off June 12. All told, 25 nations are participating in the nearly two-week exercise.

House Panel OKs Plan to Retire 99 USAF Fighter Jets

Lawmakers on the key tactical air and land forces panel of the House Armed Services Committee are willing to let the Air Force go ahead with its plan to cut 42 A-10s and 57 F-15C/Ds in fiscal 2024. There’s still a long way to go before the divestments are officially approved—the full committee meets June 23 to vote on amendments and their version of the NDAA, after which the measure must also clear the full House, the Senate, and a conference process to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions. But the subcommittee markup is a key first step. 

Radar Sweep

Biggest Troop Pay Raise in 2 Decades on Track in House Defense Bill

Service members would get a 5.2 percent pay raise next year under the House Armed Services Committee's draft of the annual defense policy bill, the committee confirmed June 12. Including the raise in the committee's version of the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, puts troops on track to receive their highest pay raise in more than two decades.

Upgraded F-35s Won’t Be Accepted by Pentagon Come July

Breaking Defense

Starting in July, newly built F-35 Joint Strike Fighters outfitted with Tech Refresh 3 (TR-3) hardware will not be accepted by the government until ongoing testing for the system is completed, the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) tells Breaking Defense. “As we reported to Congress in March, we still see risk of TR-3 delivery slipping until the December 2023-April 2024 timeframe. Delivering combat capable aircraft to our warfighters is our #1 priority and TR-3 provides the computational horsepower that ensures the F-35 remains superior to potential adversaries for decades to come,” JPO spokesman Russ Goemaere said.

Draft House Defense Policy Bill Would Speed Hypersonic Missile Defense Interceptor

Breaking Defense

The House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee in its fiscal 2024 draft defense policy bill would speed delivery of a new Missile Defense Agency interceptor specifically designed to shoot down hypersonic missiles. The legislation would also demand better Space Force integration with commercial industry—including demanding routine integration of commercial space monitoring data and improved sharing of threats with corporate partners.

Inside The Air Force’s Biggest Live Air-To-Air Missile Shoot

The War Zone

“It’s incredibly important for us to get a weapons system evaluation of all of our munitions, whether it’s air-to-ground or air-to-air,” Col. Brian DeWitt, 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group (WEG) commander explains to The War Zone. To meet this requirement, the U.S. Air Force regularly invites its fighter squadrons to Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida to gain experience and hone their skills firing live missiles at real airborne targets.

Advancing the Warfighter

Air & Space Forces Magazine

The way modern Airmen and Guardians prepare for the future fight is changing, with live, virtual, and constructive training offering new ways to practice essential skills. Learn more about how virtual and augmented reality, simulated environments, and other technologies are helping train warfighters everywhere from the cockpit to the maintenance depot.

US Defense Companies Find Roadblocks in Selling Space Technologies to Allies


One of the largest U.S. arms makers, Lockheed Martin, is seeing growing demand for space technologies from U.S. military allies overseas. But selling to these customers is becoming more difficult for American companies due to policy and security barriers, a senior executive said. Some of the U.S. closest allies “have increased the pace of space acquisition tremendously over the last year,” Eric Brown, Lockheed Martin’s senior director of military space mission strategy, told SpaceNews.

Austin Recommends Pacific Leader as Next Navy Chief, Passing over Female Admiral


Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has recommended Adm. Samuel Paparo as the Navy’s next chief of naval operations, two administration officials said, tapping an operational leader focused on the Indo-Pacific and passing over Adm. Lisa Franchetti, widely regarded as the frontrunner for the job. The Pentagon sent over Austin’s nomination suggestion to the White House days ago, the U.S. officials said, but President Joe Biden has yet to make a final decision. Both officials were granted anonymity to discuss internal matters before an announcement.

Lawmakers Pushing for More Integration of National Guard, Reserve Personnel into DOD Cyber Forces


The House Armed Services Committee is concerned about the apparent lack of utilization of National Guard and Reserve forces for cyber operations. Under an “item of special interest” in the panel’s Cyber, Information Technologies and Innovation subcommittee mark for the fiscal 2024 National Defense Authorization Act, lawmakers note that the Pentagon has not made any substantial change to how it uses expertise among Guard and Reserve forces.

Pentagon Wants to Demo Space Internet Capabilities This Year

Defense One

The Pentagon’s innovation arm wants to test “internet in space” capabilities by the end of the year, the space portfolio director for the Defense Innovation Unit said June 8. “There is no internet in space. So we have to build an internet in space,” Steve Butow said at the AWS Summit in Washington. “We're trying to rapidly get to the point where we can do a demonstration. We're going to try to do some demonstrations by the end of the year.”

House’s Draft Defense Bill Pressures Pentagon on Space Command HQ

Defense News

The House released draft legislation on June 12 that puts the squeeze on the Pentagon to arrive at a long-overdue decision as to where to locate the Space Command headquarters following a two-and-a-half-year showdown between Alabama and Colorado. The draft text of the fiscal 2024 National Defense Authorization Act would halt military construction on the temporary Space Command headquarters in Colorado Springs until Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall submits a report justifying its final location.

Pentagon Celebrates 75 Years of Women in Permanent Military Roles

Military Times

First Lady Jill Biden and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) addressed more than 300 women service members gathered at the Military Women’s Memorial in Arlington, Va., on June 12, which coincided with the 75th anniversary of President Harry Truman’s signing of the Women’s Armed Service Integration Act. Signed into law on June 12, 1948, the legislation allowed women to serve in the military on a permanent basis, though thousands had served in temporary roles prior to the new policy.

One More Thing

Dozens of T-34s Land in Force at Air Force Museum

Dayton Daily News

History and heritage arrived in force at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on June 9 as 35 vintage T-34 military training aircraft landed for a weekend of education and fun. Tires screeching, the first six planes hit the 7,000-foot runway behind the museum shortly after 2 p.m. Forty-five minutes later, more started to arrive as members of the T-34 Association from around the country made the museum and the Dayton area their home for the weekend.