The U.S. urged China on Aug. 19 to stop pressuring Taiwan, after Beijing launched military drills around the democratically governed island in response to Taiwan Vice President William Lai's U.S. visit. “We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure against Taiwan and instead engage in meaningful dialogue with Taiwan,” a State Department spokesperson told Reuters in a statement.
The Netherlands and Denmark have announced they will donate up to 61 F-16 fighter jets between them to Ukraine once pilot training has been satisfactorily completed, as Volodymyr Zelensky visited both countries after months of entreaties to bolster the Ukrainian air force. Denmark’s prime minister, Mette Frederiksen, said her country would provide 19 jets—“hopefully” six around new year, eight more next year, and the remaining five in 2025.
The Pentagon is planning a change that will allow applicants to use calculators on the military's entrance exam—a timed test that gauges academic aptitude and dictates what jobs in the military, if any, they are qualified for, three defense officials told Military.com. The change in the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, or ASVAB, could help relieve an ongoing recruiting slump, which is attributed to many young Americans not scoring high enough to qualify for enlistment.
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 Air Force’s plans to divest hundreds of fighter jets in the coming years threatens to diminish the National Guard’s force structure, the kind of move that in the past has caused a major rift between the active and reserve component of the military and required Congress to step in. But despite over 600 fighter cuts spelled out in the Air Force’s most recent five-year spending plan, National Guard chief Gen. Daniel Hokanson seems to believe a major fight can be avoided, thanks to both solid communication with Air Force leaders and, potentially, some help from Congress.
Companies in the U.S. space industry are being increasingly targeted by foreign intelligence operations, U.S. intelligence agencies warn. “Foreign intelligence entities recognize the importance of the commercial space industry to the U.S. economy and national security, including the growing dependence of critical infrastructure on space-based assets,” said a bulletin published Aug. 18 by the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.
BAE Systems is making its largest-ever acquisition, buying Ball Corp.'s aerospace subsidiary for $5.5 billion at a time when space and supply-chain discussions dominate industry conversations. Both are driven by the conflict in Ukraine, which is swiftly consuming unmanned aerial vehicles, shoulder-fired missiles, and artillery, putting stresses on supply chains.
The U.S. is making precautionary plans to evacuate two key drone and counter-terror bases in Niger if that becomes necessary under the West African nation’s new ruling junta, the Air Force commander for Africa said Aug. 18. That planning includes looking for U.S.-allied nations in the Saharan and Sahel regions, some of the world’s most active areas for al-Qaida- and Islamic State-allied extremist groups, “that we could maybe partner up with, and then move our assets there,” Air Force Gen. James Hecker told reporters in Washington.
The Romanian Ministry of National Defense expects to sign a Letter of Acceptance (LoA) with the US government for the acquisition of 32 Lockheed Martin F-35 fifth generation fighter jets in 2024, after reports emerged earlier this month that the country’s parliament had been asked to approve the $6.5 billion program. “After the Parliament approval, such as the law requires, the procedures specific to the purchase G-to-G [government to government] type will be started,” a spokesperson for the Romanian MND told Breaking Defense in a statement.
NASA pilots flew a high-altitude science aircraft directly into thunderstorms and recorded incredible data on gamma-ray flashes. Thunderstorms can create powerful updrafts and downdrafts of wind that accelerate air and water to high speeds. As ice crystals collide in these swirling air currents, electrons are stripped away from them, generating the electric fields that produce lightning. Under certain conditions, these free electrons can also create flashes of gamma rays, the shortest and most energetic waves in the electromagnetic spectrum. To better understand these phenomena, an international group of scientists flew NASA's high-altitude ER-2 (Earth Resources 2) aircraft as close as safely possible to thunderclouds that stretched as high as 10 miles (18 kilometers), according to a statement from NASA's Marshall Flight Center in Alabama.