USAF Aircraft from Across Europe Join in on ACE Exercise

Aircraft from every U.S. Air Forces in Europe flying wing kicked off Astral Knight 23-6 late last week, the latest in a series of exercises across the continent focused on Agile Combat Employment. F-16s, F-35s, KC-135s, and a C-130J are all flying in the exercise from forward operating bases in Finland and Lithuania, according to a USAFE release. From there, Airmen will participate in operations in the Arctic and Baltics, focusing on “proactive and reactive asset movements.” 

Outstanding Airmen of the Year: SrA. Ryan G. Hospelhorn  

The Air Force’s 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year for 2023 will be formally recognized at AFA’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference from Sept. 11-13 in National Harbor, Md. Air & Space Forces Magazine is highlighting one each weekday from now until the conference begins. Today, we honor Senior Airman Ryan Hospelhorn, a flight security controller for the 841st Missile Security Forces Squadron at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. 

Radar Sweep

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Russia Removes 'General Armageddon' as Air Force Chief after Mutiny-Related Disappearance


Russia has removed Sergei Surovikin, nicknamed "General Armageddon", as head of the air force after he vanished from public view during a Wagner mercenary mutiny against the top army brass, two Russian news outlets reported on Aug. 23. A recipient of Russia's top military award, Surovikin is the most senior Russian military figure to lose his job over the June 23-34 mutiny, which President Vladimir Putin said could have tipped Russia into civil war.

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.

Air Force Lays Out $1.6B Worth of Dorm, Child-Care Development Center Projects

More than 60 Air Force and Space Force installations will see renovated dorms or new child development centers over the next couple of years as the Department of the Air Force prepares to sink more than $1.6 billion into improvements. The Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center announced a roundup of all their ongoing and future projects between fiscal years 2023 and 2027 in a press release on Aug. 23.

North Korea Says Its 2nd Attempt to Launch a Spy Satellite Has Failed, Vows 3rd Try

The Associated Press

North Korea said Aug. 24 that its second attempt to launch a spy satellite failed again but vowed to make another attempt in October, demonstrating willingness to endure flops to acquire a key military asset coveted by leader Kim Jong Un. The failed launch prompted neighboring Japan to issue brief a “J-alert” ordering some residents to evacuate to safe places as the North Korean rocket flew over its southernmost islands of Okinawa to the Pacific Ocean.

Brazil to Double Air Fleet as Part of $10.6 Billion Investment

Defense News

Brazil plans to invest 52.8 billion reals (U.S. $10.6 billion) for research, development and equipment acquisition efforts for its military, including nearly doubling the size of its Gripen fighter fleet and financing projects by local aircraft manufacturer Embraer for aerial refueling planes, the government announced earlier this month.

Learning from COVID-19, Pentagon’s Biodefense Council to Break Down Stovepipes

Breaking Defense

With an eye towards the proliferation of biodefense threats and being ready when a future emergency crops up, the Pentagon’s new Biodefense Council will be tasked with breaking down internal stovepipes, and streamlining responses and acquisition plans, according to senior Pentagon officials. The Department of Defense (DoD) released its first Biodefense Posture Review earlier this month designed to capture lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic response and align itself to operate more effectively during future bioincidents.

Indonesia Commits to Buying ‘up to 24’ F-15EXs from Boeing

Breaking Defense

Indonesian and Boeing officials have inked a memorandum of understanding for the Southeast Asian country to acquire “up to 24” F-15EX fighter jets, Boeing announced in a Aug. 21 press release. The agreement was signed following a tour of Boeing’s production line in St. Louis. Dollar amounts and delivery timelines for the potential deal, which must be approved by the U.S. State Department, were not specified.

Pentagon Preps for $48B Tech-Research Contracts

Defense One

The Defense Department has started to give industry some expectations and pointers on how it plans to conduct the on-ramp for a $48 billion technology research-and-development services contract vehicle. A final solicitation to reopen the Information Analysis Center Multiple-Award Contract, or IAC-MAC, and the associated requirements documents should go live on or after Sept. 5, DOD said in a presolicitation notice Aug. 21.

Taiwan’s F-16s Cleared to Receive IRST Targeting Systems

The War Zone

The U.S. government has approved the potential sale of infrared search and track systems, or IRSTs, to Taiwan for use on its F-16 Viper fighters. IRSTs would give Taiwanese Vipers a hugely valuable additional tool to spot and track aerial threats, especially stealthy ones like China's J-20 fighters. This comes amid delays in the Taiwanese Air Force's acquisition of new Block 70 F-16C/Ds, but the new sensor systems could also be used on its fleet of upgraded F-16Vs.

Prigozhin, Wagner Group Chief, Listed Among Those Killed in Plane Crash North of Moscow

NBC News

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the violent Wagner mercenary group who in June led his fighters on an aborted mutinous march to Moscow, likely died in a jet crash in Russia on Aug. 23 with nine others, Russia's Federal Agency for Air Transport said. While the agency listed Prigozhin as having been on the flight, NBC News has not confirmed that he was. But if it proves true, it is a sudden and shocking end for the onetime ally of President Vladimir Putin and global warlord, whose group fought on the front lines in Ukraine and has been linked to violence in Syria, Mali, the Central African Republic and other countries.

One More Thing

Air Force Defends ‘Doolittle’ Football Uniform from Online Critics

Air Force Times

The Air Force Academy football team kicked up virtual praise—and criticism—for its new alternate uniform, honoring Airmen that carried out the World War II “Doolittle Raid” on Japan, considered one of the most daring, defining moments in Air Force history.