The U.S. is sending a $175 million package of military aid to Ukraine, including guided missiles for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), anti-armor systems and high-speed anti-radiation missiles, the Pentagon and State Department announced Dec. 6. The latest aid comes as Congress remains stalled on legislation that would provide new funding for Ukraine as it battles to push back Russian forces, as well as money for Israel’s war with Hamas and other security needs. The Biden administration has said funding to aid Ukraine is running out, and the Pentagon packages of weapons and other equipment for the war have become much smaller in recent months.
SpaceX’s Starlink satellite service successfully completed nine months of US military tests in the Arctic, potentially clearing the way for owner Elon Musk to deepen his ties with the Pentagon in a region of growing strategic competition. The previously undisclosed testing found that StarLink to be a “reliable and high-performance communications system in the Arctic, including on-the-move applications,” Brian Beal, principal engineer with the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Integrated Capabilities Directorate, said in a statement to Bloomberg News.
U.S. Central Command brought technology expert Michael Foster on board to serve as its chief data officer—one of the latest moves by CENTCOM to beef up its digital prowess and add tech talent to its workforce. In his new role as CDO, Foster will “lead will lead data efforts across the organization’s headquarters, components, and subordinate units,” according to a press release.
Taiwan has completed flight testing on the last of its F-16 fighters to be upgraded to the F-16V standard under the Feng Zhan (Phoenix Rising) program. With this milestone, the Republic of China Air Force (ROCAF) is now on track to wrap up the F-16 modernization effort before the end of this year, by which time the last of 141 aircraft will have been upgraded. Taiwan was the first F-16 operator anywhere in the world to field combat-capable F-16Vs.
Improving Pentagon space acquisition does not require new legal authorities or further organizational consolidation, but does require a hard scrubbing of self-imposed red tape and giving Space Acquisition Executive Frank Calvelli more decision-making authority, finds a new study by the Defense Business Board (DBB).
Delays to the F-35 fighter’s Technology Refresh 3 upgrades will have a cascading effect that will hinder a major follow-on modification to the jet, a leading House lawmaker said Dec. 2. Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee’s tactical air and land forces panel, told Defense News at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, Calif., he is “very disappointed” by the repeated delays in the TR-3 upgrades.
Deliveries of the F-35 stealth fighter, already delayed, could slip further as prime contractor Lockheed Martin sues a key supplier. Lockheed is suing Howmet Aerospace, which stopped supplying titanium materials for the jet’s airframe after demanding a “massive price increase” for them, according to a lawsuit filed by Lockheed on Nov. 30. The suit was first reported by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
A new Defense Department watchdog report raises troubling red flags about the state of military health care for the 9.6 million uniformed and civilian employees, contractors, veterans, and family members who depend on the system. Beneficiaries around the globe are grappling with provider shortages, subpar network options and long wait times, the Pentagon inspector general said in the Nov. 29 report. The publication compiled trends that watchdogs in each military branch have uncovered in recent years.
Senior Biden administration officials agree that striking Houthis in Yemen is the wrong course of action for now, per three U.S. officials, even though some military officers have proposed more forceful responses to the militants’ attacks in the Red Sea. There’s high-level consensus within the administration that it does not make sense for the U.S. military to respond directly to the Houthis, the officials said.
The first feature-length trailer for the much anticipated World War II series “Masters of the Air” has officially arrived. The Apple TV+ show from heavyweights Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, which was long-delayed by COVID-19 and other network issues, will premiere on Jan. 26, 2024. It marks the third WWII installment for the pair, who previously produced HBO’s “Band of Brothers” and “The Pacific.”