Air Force Combat Control trainees may soon be skipping a major portion of their traditional training pipeline, forgoing the chance to earn a Combat Diver “scuba bubble.” Air Force Special Operations Commander Lt. Gen. Tony Bauernfeind requested the “removal of Combat Dive” from the CCT training pipeline in a June memo to Air Force training officials. The cut in training would affect three Air Force jobs: enlisted Combat Control candidates, or CCTs; Special Tactics Officers, or STOs—a CCT position held by officers; and Special Reconnaissance troops, surveillance experts who train and operate with CCTs on Air Force Special Tactics teams.
Some military recruiters are skipping a screening process meant to flag whether applicants looking to enlist have affiliations with gangs or extremist groups, the Pentagon's internal watchdog has found. In a sample of 224 recruits from 2021 to 2022, 41 percent of applicants were not properly interviewed about affiliation with radical groups or gangs, while 12 percent did not have their tattoos properly examined, according to a Defense Department inspector general report released to the public Aug. 7.
In the fall of 2020, the National Security Agency made an alarming discovery: Chinese military hackers had compromised classified defense networks of the United States’ most important strategic ally in East Asia. Cyberspies from the People’s Liberation Army had wormed their way into Japan’s most sensitive computer systems.
Driven by advancements in technology and research, the Air Force and Space Force are adapting how they train their warfighters to complete the missions at hand. Keep up with all the latest news on changes and improvements to the services’ training enterprises.
A new 30-foot-long, gray drone quietly arrived at a U.S. Air Force base last fall, without a public announcement until weeks later. The drone’s arrival was discreet, but represented a key moment for its manufacturer Kratos Defense and Security Solutions—and the potential for a wave of business opportunities. The service’s 40th Flight Test Squadron at the Florida base took possession of its first Kratos-made XQ-58A Valkyrie, and a second followed soon thereafter. Inside the drone’s core was intricate programming to allow it to fly on its own, without humans directly providing instructions or controlling it.
When Sgt. Major of the Marine Corps Troy Black packs up his office to head over to his new position as the senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he’s planning to bring some of the tenets of Force Design 2030 with him. “I think if I was gonna say anything about [his new job] and moving forward, it's that the joint force must continue to modernize … in order to maintain primacy over our adversaries,” Black told reporters last week.
Japan has confirmed that it’s considering arming its Kawasaki C-2 military transport jets with air-launched standoff missiles, as it seeks to expand its long-range strike options. If Japan follows through with the plans, it will join the U.S. military, which is currently experimenting with adding a standoff attack option to existing transport fleets. Known as Rapid Dragon, the U.S. initiative is a means of rapidly and cost-effectively boosting this kind of capability, without the need to acquire and deploy more combat aircraft, especially bombers.
About two weeks ago Brazilian authorities sent up two Embraer A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft to intercept a Beechcraft Baron 50 that had flown into Brazilian airspace from Paraguay and was suspected of ferrying drugs. The planes, assisted by an early warning and control aircraft, fired warning shots at the private plane and eventually forced it down. Sure enough, the authorities discovered some 500 kilograms of cocaine inside, according to a July 26 press release by the Brazilian Air Force.
Two years ago, in the midst of the U.S. military’s frantic withdrawal from its two-decade war in Afghanistan, the Air Force unveiled a new, sweeping effort to change how it deploys Airmen overseas. The Air Force’s force generation plan, or “AFFORGEN,” aims to lay the foundation for the shrinking service to take on a faster, less predictable era of warfare after more than 20 years in multiple conflicts across the greater Middle East. Now the service is preparing to introduce a central tenet of the AFFORGEN plan. Starting in October, it will begin dispatching new groups known as “expeditionary air base teams” to replace air expeditionary wings after more than 20 years.
A communications satellite designed by Lockheed Martin for the U.S. Space Force’s Space Development Agency passed a critical design review, the company announced Aug. 7. Lockheed Martin will build 42 satellites for SDA’s Tranche 1 Transport Layer, a mesh network in low Earth orbit that will support U.S. military operations.
Russia's air force has been mostly restricted to flying within its own airspace because of the strength of Ukraine's air defenses, the U.K’'s Ministry of Defense (MoD) said Aug. 7. The report is the latest example of how Russia's once-vaunted air force has failed to live up to expectations in the Ukraine war. During the early stages of the conflict following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion in February 2022, many experts predicted his air force would display its might and help Russia secure a quick victory over Ukraine. But the air force has instead remained mostly on the sidelines, even as the Russian ground forces continue to struggle against Kyiv's military.
Top Aces is one of the firms that was awarded contracts under the Combat Air Forces (CAF)/Contracted Air Support (CAS) program to improve the training of the U.S. Air Force’s Formal Training Units (FTU) and increase the number of new pilots trained. To do so, the company employs former Israeli F-16A Netz (Hawk), as they are locally known, which were retired from the Israeli Air Force at the end of 2016 and were delivered in the U.S. in 2021. A video just published on YouTube shows one of Top Aces’ many Red Air missions from inside the cockpit, courtesy of Justin “Hasard” Lee, a U.S. Air Force Reserve F-35 pilot and former F-16 pilot.