Russian Harassment of US Drones over Syria Drops After F-35s Arrive in the Middle East

After a series of incidents in the skies over Syria, Russian pilots appear to have become less aggressive toward U.S. forces following the arrival of F-35 stealth multirole fighters to the Middle East, according to U.S. officials. Originally tasked to deter Iranian attacks on commercial vessels in the Arabian Gulf, the F-35s have added capacity and capability throughout the region. “We’re flying them in a number of different areas,” a senior U.S. defense official told Air & Space Forces Magazine. “We are flying them on missions up in Syria."
Air Force Test Center focuses on UAS technology

Pentagon Wants to Buy 1,000s of Small, Cheap, Autonomous Drones in Next Two Years

Through a new effort called the Replicator Initiative, the Department of Defense is seeking to rapidly expand its capacity through relatively inexpensive autonomous systems. And the DOD wants those systems fast—in the “volume and velocity required to deter aggression or win if we’re forced to fight”—within 18-24 months, Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks said Aug. 28.

Outstanding Airmen of the Year: Staff Sgt. Dhruva S. Poluru 

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 Staff Sgt. Dhruva Poluru, Mission Planner and Strategist for the Air National Guard’s 222nd Command and Control Squadron in Rome, N.Y. 

Radar Sweep

Thousands of Garmin Smartwatches Being Used to Test Space Force Fitness Program

More than 6,000 Garmin smartwatches will be distributed to Space Force Guardians as the service tests how it can use wearable fitness technology for its new fitness program, according to the company. In May, the Space Force, which is part of the Department of the Air Force, announced it would conduct a two-year testing period with the Air Force Research Laboratory, or AFRL, to see how wearable fitness trackers might regularly monitor the fitness and wellness of Guardians.

Hera Systems and LeoStella Team Up to Compete for Military Satellite Orders


Small satellite manufacturers Hera Systems and LeoStella are teaming up to compete for a large military contract to be awarded this fall by the U.S. Space Development Agency. The companies announced Aug. 28 they are partnering with an undisclosed prime contractor in a bid for the Space Development Agency (SDA) Tranche 2 Transport Layer Alpha, a procurement of 100 satellites to be split between two teams.

New Developments in Warfighter Training

Air & Space Forces Magazine

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.

INDOPACOM Stands Up New Directorate to Better Connect Industry, DOD Innovation Efforts

Breaking Defense

The head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command hopes a new “Joint Mission Accelerator Directorate” under his command will help make it easier to connect industry to the military’s key innovation programs and efforts, he said Aug. 28. The new organization has been charged with pulling “together my key programs of joint fires network, mission partner environment, fintech, and StormBreaker, [and] link it with the support from DOD,” Adm. John Aquilino said at the National Defense Industrial Association’s Emerging Technologies for Defense conference.

PODCAST: Decoding China’s AI Ambitions: The Rise of Informationized and Intelligentized Warfare

Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies

In Episode 143 of the Aerospace Advantage podcast, host John ‘Slick’ Baum chats with China expert Daniel Rice and Dennis Murphy, who researches the implications emerging technologies will have on international security at Georgia Tech. China’s most cutting-edge concepts are shaping its vision of future warfare—ideas known as informationization and intelligentization. These concepts represent a shift from the past convention of attrition warfare toward a more dynamic, algorithm-driven model of engagement that leverages the information battlespace and emerging technologies like artificial intelligence.

Air Force Aims to Get More Civilians into Cyber Excepted Service


Bringing more workers into the Cyber Excepted Service is a priority for the Air Force, the department’s new chief information officer said Aug. 28. The CES personnel management system is based on an authority Congress granted the Pentagon in 2016. It is intended to provide the Defense Department greater flexibilities and options for recruiting and retaining cyber professionals, including by using a market-based pay structure.

Increasing Evidence That the US Air Force’s Nuclear Mission May Be Returning to UK Soil

Federation of American Scientists

New U.S. Air Force budgetary documents strongly imply that the United States Air Force is in the process of re-establishing its nuclear weapons mission on UK soil. The Air Force’s FY 2024 budgetary justification package, dated March 2023, notes the planned construction of a “surety dormitory” at RAF Lakenheath, approximately 100 kilometers northeast of London. The “surety dormitory” was also briefly mentioned in the Department of Defense’s testimony to Congress in March 2023, but with no accompanying explanation. “Surety” is a term commonly used within the Department of Defense and Department of Energy to refer to the capability to keep nuclear weapons safe, secure, and under positive control.

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MDA Tasked to Explore Missile Defense Policy Shift, Brace for ‘Regional’ Strikes by Russia, China

Inside Defense

The Pentagon is considering expanding current national missile defense policy—which is focused on threats from North Korea and, should Tehran obtain a long-range nuclear capability, Iran—to also counter "regional" aggressors, including Russia or China, according to a senior Defense Department official. Laura DeSimone, Missile Defense Agency executive director, said the Pentagon’s policy shop has tasked the agency to consider options for defending against a wider set of nations.

US Airstrike in Somalia Kills 13 al-Shabab Fighters

Task & Purpose

The U.S. military’s latest airstrike in Somalia has killed 13 fighters with al-Shabab as part of the ongoing struggle against al-Qaida and the Islamic State group across the African continent. No U.S. troops were on the ground during the Aug. 26 airstrike in support of Somali National Army forces that were fighting al-Shabab, according to U.S. Africa Command, or AFRICOM.

One More Thing

Rare Beasts: 5 Military Aircraft That You Might Not Have Heard Of

Simply Flying

The world's air forces have constantly attempted to innovate over the years, trying to gain every possible advantage in combat operations through the continued design of new aircraft. However, not all ideas that left the drawing board were successful and became household names. In this article, we'll look into five of the strangest military aircraft you may not have heard of.