B-1 crash at Ellsworth

Ellsworth Pauses Flight Ops After B-1 Crash; Carcass Not Yet Declared a Loss

The runway at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. will remain closed until Jan. 19 as investigators probe the Jan. 4 crash of a B-1B bomber there. Though severely damaged, the airplane has not yet been declared a total loss, and while potential replacements are in the Air Force “Boneyard”—aircraft retired just over a year ago—it's too early to say whether USAF will try to resurrect one.

Whiting Swears in as New SPACECOM Boss, Vowing to Foster Partnerships

Space Force Gen. Stephen N. Whiting became the new head of U.S. Space Command on Jan. 10, succeeding Army Gen. James Dickinson during a change of command ceremony at Peterson Space Force Base, Colo. In his speech as commander, Whiting pledged to foster partnerships with military branches and allies, reaffirming his commitment to safeguard space and deliver capabilities to the joint force.

Radar Sweep

Air Force Creates Digital Clone of Secretive ‘Doomsday Plane’

Task & Purpose

The Air Force’s E-4B Nightwatch, commonly referred to as the ‘Doomsday Plane,” is officially entering The Matrix. The service is nearing the end of a multi-year project to directly scan and digitize every inch of an E-4B, inside and out, to create virtual reality training modules that its crew and maintainers can be trained on, according to a news story from the Air Force’s 55th Wing.

Investors Form Alliance to Bolster AUKUS Military Partnership

Defense News

Much of the focus of the trilateral pact between Australia, the U.S. and the U.K., known as AUKUS, has been on military-to-military cooperation, but a group of more than 400 investors is establishing a parallel effort to increase collaboration among the countries’ private sectors.

Austin’s Secret Hospitalization Prompts Congressional Inquiry, Calls for Hearings


The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee has launched an investigation into the secrecy surrounding Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s hospitalization for complications that arose from a surgery for prostate cancer, a diagnosis that was also secret until this week. Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Ala., sent letters Jan. 9 to Austin, his chief of staff, and Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks demanding a stack of documents and answers about why Congress, the White House, and most of the Defense Department weren’t informed sooner.

Federal Watchdog to Investigate Osprey’s Safety Record After Crash

Air Force Times

A federal watchdog will review the safety history of the U.S. military’s V-22 Osprey fleet following a deadly crash that killed eight special operations airmen off the coast of Japan late last year. The Government Accountability Office’s managing director for congressional relations, A. Nicole Clowers, confirmed the probe in a Dec. 19 letter in response to a request from House Armed Services Committee members Reps. Mike Waltz and John Garamendi.

The 1,000th F-35 Has Been Built

The War Zone

Lockheed Martin has hit a huge milestone in F-35 Joint Strike Fighter production. However, that accomplishment, while outstanding, is complicated by the ongoing saga surrounding the development and testing of Tech Refresh-3 (TR-3) hardware configuration. TR-3 underpins the F-35's future capabilities, known collectively as Block 4. Delays with TR-3 mean that F-35s are being parked and not delivered after they are constructed, waiting for these features. So is the case for the 1,000th F-35.

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US Airman Hospitalized After Being Hit by Van on RAF Lakenheath Flight Line

Stars and Stripes

A U.S. Airman in England was severely injured on duty when he was hit head-on by a maintenance van on the flight line at RAF Lakenheath, Air Force officials confirmed Jan. 10, following posts about the accident shared over the weekend on social media. The Airman was taken off base for treatment, 48th Fighter Wing spokesperson Maj. Keavy Rake said.