LOOK: Winners and Photos Released from William Tell Fighter Meet

The Air Force’s revived William Tell Air-to-Air Weapons Meet wrapped up last week, the first edition of the prestigious fighter competition in nearly 20 years—and a select group of Airmen walked away with some trophies. Fourteen different teams and individuals won awards at the meet’s closing ceremonies on Sept. 15 at the Air Dominance Center in Savannah, Ga. 

Radar Sweep

China Flies 103 Military Planes Toward Taiwan in a New High in Activity the Island Calls Harassment

The Associated Press

China’s military sent 103 warplanes toward Taiwan in a 24-hour period in what the island’s defense ministry called a recent new high. The planes were detected between 6 a.m. on Sept. 17 and 6 a.m. on Sept. 18, the ministry said. As is customary, they turned back before reaching Taiwan. Chinese warplanes fly toward the self-governing island on a near-daily basis but typically in smaller numbers. The Taiwan ministry didn’t explain what time period it meant by a “recent” high.

Wreck of Missing F-35 Found as Marines Ground Flights


The wreckage of a missing F-35 jet that disappeared Sept. 17 has been found less than 100 miles north of Charleston, a South Carolina military base announced Sept. 18. “Personnel from Joint Base Charleston and Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, in close coordination with local authorities, have located a debris field in Williamsburg County,” Joint Base Charleston announced in a statement on Facebook. “The mishap is currently under investigation, and we are unable to provide additional details to preserve the integrity of the investigative process.” … The announcement comes as the Marine Corps has announced it will suspend aviation units’ flights for two days in response to this incident, the third flight mishap to occur in six weeks.

As Lockheed Hungers for F-35 Sustainment Deal, Pentagon Says It Might Not Happen

Defense One

Lockheed Martin says a new five-year deal to sustain the F-35 fleet won’t be reached by the end of this year. The Pentagon says it might not happen at all. “For the F-35 program, and its continually expanding fleet, the process to put such a contract in place is complex, and we will take the time necessary to get it right. If we are unable to do so, we will move forward with another way to meet warfighter sustainment requirements. In the meantime, we continue to provide support through our existing contracts,” F-35 Joint Program Office spokesperson Russ Goemaere told Defense One in a statement.

SPONSORED: How HII is Refining Air Mobility Aircrew Training


HII has provided increased training opportunities for Air Mobility Command’s aircrews under the Mobility Air Forces (MAF) Distributed Missions Operations (DMO) program and has set records for unit participation since the program’s inception. Air Mobility Command awarded the $79 million task order under the Air Force’s Training Systems Acquisition III contract, marking the first time a Major Command DMO program was transitioned to a new contractor. Despite initial skepticism over the feasibility of transitioning a mature program to a new contractor, HII made the shift and AMC didn’t miss a beat. There were no breaks in service, and the warfighters continued training.

South Korea’s President Nominates New Defense Minister

Defense News

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yul has nominated lawmaker and retired Army Lt. Gen. Shin Won Sik as defense minister. The nomination comes as North Korea continues missile launch tests, and its leader Kim Jong Un visits Russia to meet with his counterpart Vladimir Putin.

At Hawaii Space Conference, DOD Space Monitoring Challenges in the Spotlight

Breaking Defense

At the annual Advanced Maui Optical and Space Surveillance Technologies (AMOS) Conference this week, industry experts are focusing on showing how their technical chops can help the Pentagon up its “lagging” game monitoring the heavens—but also hoping to gain insights into how the Space Force intends to flesh out its as yet largely unrealized plans for contracting them to do so.

Air Force Looks to New Concepts as It Aims to Advance Its Electronic Warfare Prowess


After years of neglect, the Air Force is seeking to reinvigorate its attention and investment in the electromagnetic spectrum. And senior officials are sharing their vision for what the future may hold. “In order to align with the National Defense Strategy, the Air Force will need to embrace new concepts for EW and increased emphasis on the broader Electromagnetic Spectrum (EMS),” Gen. David Allvin, the nominee to be the service’s next chief of staff, wrote in a questionnaire that accompanied his confirmation hearing last week.

ABL Gets Contract for US Space Force ‘Responsive Launch’ Mission


ABL Space Systems, a California-based launch startup that has yet to reach orbit, received a $15 million task order from the U.S. Space Force to demonstrate it can launch a payload on short notice from either one of the company’s two launch pads. The contract, announced Sept. 18, is part of a $60 million agreement announced in March known as a strategic funding increase, or STRATFI. ABL’s agreement includes $30 million in government funding and $30 million in matching funds from the company’s investors. The $15 million contract covers one-half of the government’s portion of the contract.

SAIC Hires Former Air Force CIO Knausenberger for Tech Innovation Role

Defense News

Lauren Knausenberger, who left her post as U.S. Air Force chief information officer in June, has been hired by Science Applications International Corp. The company announced her hiring as the chief innovation officer Sept. 14 alongside the tapping of Tim Turitto, who led the team at Microsoft that won the JEDI cloud-computing contract before it was canceled, to be chief of staff for CEO-elect Toni Townes-Whitley.

One More Thing

Have You Seen Me? All the Best ‘Missing F-35’ Memes

Task & Purpose

A Marine Corps F-35 was living up to its label as a “stealth” fighter by seeming to disappear into thin air Sunday night when its pilot bailed out Sept. 17 over Charleston, S.C.. But jokes about the missing $80 million jet were easy to find. There are, in fact, several reasons why an F-35 or any wayward plane might be hard to find after a mid-flight ejection, and history holds many examples of planes flying hundreds of miles without pilots (or with unconscious ones). But first—the memes!