mq-9 reaper

MQ-9 Pilots Learn To Take Off and Land Via Satellite in ACE Push

MQ-9 drone student operators are now trained to land and take off via satellite, dramatically shrinking the footprint of of personnel and equipment needed for Reaper operations. Previously, Reapers have been flown by operators in faraway ground control stations but launched and recovered by Airmen closer to the runway.

STRATCOM Boss Touts Value of Bomber Task Forces: ‘Everyone Likes a Bomber in Their Region’

The U.S. Air Force’s Bomber Task Forces have become an increasingly important way of reassuring allies who depend on the American nuclear umbrella, as well as a major tool for power projection, the head of America’s strategic forces said Aug. 16. “It seems as though everyone likes to have a bomber in their region,” Air Force Gen. Anthony J. Cotton told reporters at U.S. Strategic Command’s annual deterrence symposium. “It shows our resolve in showing that extended deterrence is alive and well when it comes to the United States.”


The Aug. 15 article “LOOK: How the Nominations Freeze Affects the Highest Levels of USAF, USSF Leadership” misidentified two nominations for Air Force Special Operations Command and the 16th Air Force. AFSOC vice commander Brig. Gen. Rebecca J. Sonkiss has been nominated for a promotion to major general, and 16th Air Force vice commander Maj. Gen. Thomas K. Hensley is not retiring. Air & Space Forces Magazine regrets these errors.

Radar Sweep

Orders Flooding in on Pentagon’s $9 Billion Cloud Contract


More than a dozen orders worth hundreds of millions of dollars have been awarded using the Pentagon’s landmark cloud-computing contract since its launch less than one year ago. U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Robert Skinner, the director of the Defense Information Systems Agency, on Aug. 16 said “13 different cloud task orders, over $200 million worth of value over the lifecycle,” have already been dished out with the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability. An additional 13 are in the works, he said.

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.

Pentagon’s CDAO Names New Leadership for Digital Services Team


The Pentagon’s Chief Digital and AI Office has selected Jennifer Hay as the new leader of the Defense Digital Service. As CDAO’s director of DDS, Hay takes over the portfolio—a product of the CDAO absorbing the Pentagon’s Defense Digital Service organization in 2022—from Jinyoung Englund, who had been acting in the role since this January, when former director Katie Savage left to be the secretary of information technology for Maryland.

DARPA to Study Integrated Lunar Infrastructure


The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is kicking off a study to develop an “analytical framework” to guide development of integrated lunar infrastructure over the next decade. DARPA announced the 10-Year Lunar Architecture, or LunA-10, project Aug. 15, seeking ideas from both potential developers or lunar power, communications, navigation and other infrastructure as well as users of such capabilities. The agency plans to select a group that will then work together on “new integrated system-level solutions that span multiple services” and be commercially available by 2035, it said in a release.

F-35s Keep F-16s In the Fight During Northern Lightning

The War Zone

Stealthy Marine Corps F-35B Joint Strike Fighters, as well as F-35As from active-duty Air Force and Air National Guard units, have been 'quarterbacking' larger groups of fighters during an exercise in Wisconsin. In doing so, the F-35s have been helping to protect older, non-stealthy F-16 Viper fighters so those jets can then more effectively bring their larger missile loads to bear against mock enemy forces, including fighters and cruise missiles. Marines taking part in the exercise say this is exactly the kind of teamwork that will be necessary to succeed in any future high-end fight, such as one against China in the Pacific.

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Germany Walks Back Plan to Meet NATO Spending Target on Annual Basis


The German government has retreated from a plan to legally commit itself to meeting NATO's 2 percent military spending target on an annual basis, a government source told Reuters on Aug. 16. A corresponding clause in a draft of the budget financing law passed by the cabinet of Chancellor Olaf Scholz was deleted at short notice, the source said. The change means that Germany will be able to stick to its current pledge of meeting the 2 percent target on average over a five-year period.

Air Force Won’t Disclose Causes of 17 Deaths at Tinker Air Force Base This Year

This year, 17 personnel have died at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma, but Air Force officials have refused to say what the causes of those deaths were, citing concerns for families and units on base. Kimberly Woodruff, a Tinker Air Force Base spokesperson, told on Aug. 16 that the base lost the personnel to “various causes, and several deaths remain under investigation.”

Plasma Breakthrough Could Enable Better Hypersonic Weapons, Spacecraft

Defense One

A potential new way to protect sensitive electronics from the extreme heat generated by flying at high speed could give the United States an edge in the race to deploy hypersonic missiles and new spacecraft. A July research paper in the American Chemical Society’s journal ACS Nano describes one potential solution that uses focused plasma, the photons and highly charged particles that make up the so-called fourth state of matter. If the method bears out in further research, it could usher in hypersonic weapons with much more advanced electronic guidance and could even enable on-the-ground weapons to evade heat sensors.

One More Thing

US Military’s Aerial Reconnaissance Pictures of England During WWII Go Online for the First Time

The Associated Press

Way before Google Earth, there was photo reconnaissance by the U.S. Army Air Forces. During World War II, specifically in 1943 and 1944, reconnaissance units of the USAAF—the predecessor to the U.S. Air Force—captured photos of the changing face of England, primarily around the American bases in the south of the country. More than 3,600 of their black and white images were made available Aug. 16 in a free online, searchable map through the archive of Historic England, a public body that seeks to champion England’s history and environment.