US Carries Out Airstrikes in Syria in Response to Iran Militia Attacks

The U.S. carried out airstrikes against two facilities in eastern Syria used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and militias they support, the Pentagon announced Oct. 26. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III said the “narrowly tailored” strikes were intended to respond to a series of attacks against American forces in Iraq and Syria by Iranian-backed militias. The strikes were carried out by two U.S. Air Force F-16s, a senior military official told reporters.

INDOPACOM: Chinese Fighter Comes 10 Feet from B-52 in ‘Unsafe’ Nighttime Intercept

A Chinese fighter jet closed within 10 feet of a U.S. Air Force B-52 bomber in a nighttime intercept over the South China Sea on Oct. 24 that U.S. Indo-Pacific Command deemed “unsafe and unprofessional.” The incident marks the latest close call between Chinese and U.S. aircraft in the region. The Pentagon recently claimed in its annual China Military Power Report that there have been 180 instances of “coercive and risky behavior” between the fall of 2021 and fall of 2023.

Radar Sweep

Space Force Sees SATCOM Awards Surging to $20 Billion This Fiscal Year

Defense News

As the Space Force looks to modernize its military satellite communications and positioning, navigation and timing capabilities, its acquisition command is preparing to award contracts for programs in fiscal 2024 worth some $20 billion. The total value of the contracts to be solicited this fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, is an exponential increase from the $1.6 billion awarded across the SATCOM and PNT portfolios in fiscal 2023, according to Cordell DeLaPena, the Space Systems Command program executive officer who oversees those programs.

SDA Gets OK to Begin Limited Testing of Data Satellites Link 16 Nodes

Breaking Defense

The Space Development Agency (SDA) finally can begin testing Link-16 signals from its Transport Layer of data relay satellites in low Earth orbit, having just received approval from a key international regulatory body—although the agency remains caught up in a long-running Defense Department spat with the Federal Aviation Administration that is preventing use of the venerable military data/communications link over U.S. territory.

AFRL, Space Force to Collaborate with Indian Startups on Space Technologies


The Air Force Research Laboratory on Oct. 26 announced new Cooperative Research and Development Agreements, or CRADAs, between the U.S. Space Force and two Indian startups. The agreements are with artificial intelligence startup 114AI, which builds dual-use software for space domain awareness, and 3rd Itech, an imaging sensor supplier and developer of computer chips, integrated circuits and other semiconductor technologies.

Private Takeover of Military Household Good Shipments Delayed Again, This Time over Apps

The shift to private management of household goods shipments during military moves is being delayed yet again as U.S. Transportation Command and its new contractor, HomeSafe Alliance, work through technical issues with their respective apps. The privately managed household goods shipments were originally slated to begin in September featuring HomeSafe Alliance’s HomeSafe Connect digital interface, along with the military’s new MilMove platform.

Newest F-35, F-15EX Contracts Are Set. Here’s How Much They Cost.

Breaking Defense

The flyaway cost for the F-15EX Eagle II is approximately $90 million for each aircraft in the program’s second production lot, about $7.5 million more than the newest price for an F-35A, Breaking Defense has learned. The Air Force has confirmed to Breaking Defense that a contract for the next three production lots of the Boeing-made F-15EX was finalized on Sept. 28, a major milestone for the program. But the $90 million per unit cost in the contract—a number that is expected to grow in successive lots—will likely raise eyebrows among critics both within and outside the service who argue that officials should focus on buying more F-35s.

Senate Votes Down Bill to Withdraw Troops from Niger

Defense News

The Senate on Oct. 26 overwhelmingly voted down a bill 11-86 that would have required President Joe Biden to withdraw U.S. troops from Niger. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., secured a vote on the bill after Niger became the latest west African country to succumb to a coup in July, when a military junta ousted and detained democratically elected President Mohamed Bazoum.

Electric Plane Lands in Florida for Air Force Testing after 2,000-Mile Journey


A milestone in electric aviation took place Oct. 26, when Beta Technologies landed its ALIA eVTOL aircraft at Duke Field, on Eglin Air Force Base, for a deployment period with the U.S. Air Force. During its 2,000-mile journey from Burlington, Vt., to Florida, the plane completed multiple short- and long-distance legs.

One More Thing

1st Space Force Guardian Receives Arctic Service Medal

Air Force release

Capt. Henry Cho made history as the first U.S. Space Force Guardian to receive the Coast Guard Arctic Service Medal by spending 21 freezing cold days in the Arctic aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy (WAGB-20). “I never imagined I’d have this opportunity when I joined the Space Force, but it’s humbling to pave the way forward for my fellow Guardians,” Cho said. “I appreciate the opportunity to travel and see the spectacular views of the Arctic region onboard the Healy while assisting with monitoring our experiment onboard.”