U.S. Air Force Capt. Brenden “Biggie” Small peers out the window of a C-130 as roughly a dozen other aircraft deploy parachutes carrying supplies to a small group of troops assembled below. The mission is part of a training exercise involving 70 aircraft and more than 3,000 Airmen from seven countries—the largest readiness exercise in Air Mobility Command history. “On this scale,” it’s “really unprecedented,” Small says.
The U.S. Air Force expects to resume accepting deliveries of KC-46s next month after an extended pause as Boeing and supplier Daher have addressed quality issues on all newly built 767s. Only one KC-46 has been delivered to the Air Force so far this year, with 15 expected by year’s end. Boeing and supplier Daher discovered an issue with a surface coating nonconformance on center-wing fuel tanks. Boeing announced July 11 that it had resumed its commercial 767 deliveries, with eight out the door in the second quarter. Air Mobility Command (AMC) says it expects to have two KC-46s delivered in August, to begin standing up operations at Travis AFB, Calif.
A privately-owned KC-135R tanker refueled U.S. Air Force aircraft for the first time in a recent exercise. For years now, the service has been exploring the idea of using contractor-operated tankers for training and other non-combat missions to help ease the growing pressure on its organic tanker fleets. Private aerospace firm Metrea announced the milestone in a press release, which says that the company's KC-135Rs provided aerial refueling support during Exercise Resolute Hunter 23-2 to the Air Force.
A high-powered microwave weapon developed by Lockheed Martin was recently put through its paces at Yuma Proving Ground to evaluate its ability to defeat kamikaze drones, the Defense Department’s Joint Counter-small UAS Office (JCO) announced July 13.
President Joe Biden has authorized the military to call up 3,000 Reserve troops to support operations in Europe after tens of thousands were sent there last year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a top general said July 13. Although it is not clear whether Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin plans to actually deploy these reservists anytime soon, the move suggests that the U.S. military’s training mission in Europe, along with the deployment of several new brigades after the invasion, has stretched Active-Duty forces.
House Democrats are jumping ship on the traditionally bipartisan defense authorization bill after Republicans passed amendments overturning the Pentagon’s new abortion travel policy and restricting transgender medical care. Republican leaders put the amendments to the fiscal 2024 National Defense Authorization Act on the floor to placate the Freedom Caucus, which had threatened to stall procedural votes on the $874 billion bill.
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.
The Air National Guard Base would receive two additional F-15EX Eagle II fighters under a proposed amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2024. The amendment, proposed by Rep. John James, R-Mich., and accepted by voice vote on the floor of the House on July 12, would increase the Air Force’s advance funding for the F-15EX by $30.6 million.
Not long ago, I stood at a military training camp in the German countryside shaking hands with Ukrainian Soldiers preparing to go home and fight Russia’s illegal and unprovoked invasion. Their courage profoundly inspired and moved me,” writes Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson. “As chief of the National Guard Bureau and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, I traveled to Germany to meet those Ukrainian patriots, and just as importantly, to meet with their trainers—members of the U.S. National Guard. For more than a year, National Guard members from Florida, New York, and Arkansas have leveraged the Guard’s State Partnership Program to support the administration’s policy of providing Ukraine with key skills and resources needed to defend against Russian aggression.”
The Air Force and engine builder Pratt & Whitney have completed a $21 million, fleet-wide retrofit effort for the F-22 Raptor’s dual F119 engines, after identifying what the Air Force told Breaking Defense was a fatigue issue with turbine blades that led to seven class A mishaps, nearly $23 million in damages but no operational interruption. Brian Brackens, a spokesperson for the Air Force’s Life Cycle Management Center, said that the retrofit was prompted by “[a] low cycle fatigue defect in the 2nd stage Low Pressure Turbine Blades.”
With deliveries of new F-35s on hold while bugs are worked out of a planned upgrade, the plane’s lead test squadron is doing its part to spot problems where the new hardware and software interact. As the lead developmental flight test unit for the F-35 program, the 461st Flight Test Squadron sits at the “nexus” between development and the operator, said squadron commander Lt. Col. Philip “Joker” Jackson.
The war in Ukraine has demonstrated the importance of coordination among allies in the air, on land, and at sea—and that collaboration should also apply to the space domain, the head of the U.S. Space Force told an audience of international military leaders. “Interoperable equipment, common communications, and network infrastructure, these are the building blocks of successful multinational operations. If we ignore these lessons in space, space will be disconnected from the greater effort and operational effectiveness will suffer,” Gen. Chance Saltzman, Chief of Space Operations, said July 13 in a speech at the 2023 Global Air & Space Chiefs’ Conference in London.
Every year, baby food maker Gerber launches its annual Photo Search Contest, prompting thousands upon thousands of hopeful parents to send in an adorable photo of their infant (and one of themselves around the same age) for a chance to see the child become the new Gerber Baby. The 2023 contest winner is 10-month-old military brat Madison Mendoza. If you don't know military lingo, the first thing you should know is that the term "military brat" isn't derogatory. In fact, it's a term of endearment, proudly worn and used by hundreds of thousands of military brats the world over, and one more title Maddie gets to wear.