The U.S. will allow European countries to train Ukrainians on F-16 fighter jets, a top Biden administration official confirmed Sunday, a potential boon for Ukraine’s efforts to counter Russia’s air superiority. “The president has given a green light and we will allow, permit, support, facilitate and in fact provide the necessary tools for Ukrainians to begin being trained on F-16s, as soon as the Europeans are prepared,” national security adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”
A lawmaker report into the state of U.K. military procurement has delivered a scathing verdict of the Royal Air Force’s E-7A AEW1 Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) program, declaring that the acquisition “represents extremely poor value for money.” Published by the UK Defence Committee, the report describes a decision to cut an original order of five aircraft to three units as “an absolute folly” in light of such a small number of aircraft being seen as a “prize target” for enemy forces.
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 Space Development Agency is seeking industry feedback on a draft solicitation for a procurement effort to build the fire-control segment of the Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture system. A notice posted on SAM.gov states that the Fire-control On Orbit-support-to-the-war Fighter program will comprise eight prototype satellites equipped with electro-optical/infrared sensors. Each space vehicle will provide fire control capabilities for SDA’s low Earth orbit satellite constellation for tracking hypersonic missile systems and other advanced missile threats.
An Alabama lawmaker is holding up the military's ability to move around budgeted funds and cover funding shortfalls because the Air Force hasn’t announced whether U.S. Space Command will be permanently located in his state. The move by Rep. Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the powerful House Armed Services Committee, has put the Air Force in a bind as it faces a personnel funding shortfall and looks to extend some deployments and pause some bonuses. Rogers said July 14 he is holding up reprogramming requests that could relieve the money woes because the service hasn’t confirmed the command's move to Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville.
The U.S. Space Force on July 13 released a revised draft solicitation for the next round of national security launch contracts, known as National Security Space Launch Phase 3. In a major departure from the first draft request for proposals released in February, the Space Force is increasing the number of heavy-lift launch providers it plans to select from two to three.
The U.K. Ministry of Defence’s Director of Future Combat Air sees “unique opportunities” for future partnerships on the Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP) program—but indicated that doesn’t have to mean adding more nations to the core membership of the U.K., Italy, and Japan. Richard Berthon made clear to the Global Air Chiefs Conference in London on July 12 that GCAP would, for the time being, remain in the hands of current member nations. But when asked whether the Australia-U.K.-U.S. (AUKUS) strategic alliance, which is currently focused on providing a next-generation and nuclear-powered submarine capability to participating nations, could impact GCAP, Berthon indicated there may be opportunity there.
The highest-ranking U.S. military officer on July 14 encouraged Japan’s commitment to doubling its defense spending over the next five years, calling Tokyo’s controversial push for a stronger military crucial to confront rising threats from North Korea and China. Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, mentioned Japan’s need for improvements in cruise missile defense, early warning missile systems, and air capabilities, all of which would help the United States as it looks to counter North Korea’s push for a nuclear missile program capable of pinpoint-targeting the U.S. mainland and China’s increasing aggression against Taiwan, the democratic island that Beijing claims as its own.
An unmanned aerial system from U.S. Air Forces Central’s newly formed Task Force 99 was deployed to conduct intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions against a U.S. adversary in the Middle East—and its performance was “very effective,” according to a senior Department of Defense official.
The U.S. military would be required to test its electronic warfare and information influence prowess in a future, interstate experiment, if lawmakers get their way. Included in a Senate version of fiscal 2024 defense legislation is a provision for a “Western regional range complex demonstration,” in which multiple services would together evaluate capacities to communicate, gather intelligence, conduct offensive and defensive cyber operations, and jam and spoof.
Air Force Special Operations Command has a long technology wish list. The command is tasked with transporting commandos covertly, quickly and across long distances and to penetrate where other aircraft can’t normally go. Naturally, it wants to improve its performance in all these categories, especially the latter, taking personnel to locations where there are no runways—a job best carried out by rotary-wing aircraft. But what if almost three-fourths of the planet could serve as a runway by allowing fixed-wing aircraft to land on water? The entire Indo-Pacific could be considered a runway, SOCOM Acquisitions Executive James Smith told reporters recently.
In Episode 137 of the Aerospace Advantage, host John “Slick” Baum explores the status of the Air Force’s fighter inventory and a path for reset with retired Maj. Gen. Charles “Corky” Corcoran, retired Lt. Col. Eric Gunzinger, and Douglas Birkey. The U.S. Air Force simply hasn’t acquired enough aircraft since the Reagan-era defense build-up and is way behind the curve resetting the force. Given the threat environment, we’re now in an untenable position. This is about viable joint power projection, and that demands the scale and scope that Air Force fighters uniquely bring to the table.
When the Mega Millions and Powerball multi-state lotteries reaching boggling prize levels you might start wondering—what happens if I'm the winner? Many military members, like the rest of us, spend time imagining what they'd do with a windfall of that size. Others might be concerned with the old urban legend that winning a jackpot means you get the boot from the armed forces. You can't win if you don't play. But if you're in the military and win, what happens next?