Pentagon: Ukraine Expected to Employ F-16s in 2024

The U.S. and Western allies expect the Ukrainian Air Force to achieve “initial operating capability” on F-16s by the end of this year, assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs Celeste Wallander said after a meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group on Jan. 23. But the effort to provide the stalwart American fighter is complex one, she said.
Air Force readiness levels

Air Force Now ‘Very Weak’, New Report Says, But Space Force Is Gaining Strength

The Heritage Foundation described the Air Force’s readiness levels as “continuing to spiral downward” in its latest assessment of U.S. military strength, leading the conservative think tank to label USAF’s overall strength as “very weak,” its lowest possible grade on a five-point scale. In particular, the report noted concerns with the Air Force’s mission-capable rates, aircrew training, and “deployability” in questioning whether the service is prepared for a potential conflict with a peer competitor.

Radar Sweep

The Last USAF F-15C/D Eagle Instructor Pilots Are Now in Training

The War Zone

The U.S. Air Force is training what are very likely to be its last two F-15C/D instructor pilots at the Eagle’s ‘schoolhouse’ at Kingsley Field ("the land of no slack"), in Klamath Falls, Ore. As we have reported in the past, Kingsley Field will replace its current F-15C/Ds with F-35A stealth fighters, overturning a previous plan that would have seen the base’s 173rd Fighter Wing assume responsibility for training pilots for the new F-15EX Eagle II.

Blue Origin Gets US Space Force Funding for New Glenn ‘Integration Studies’


Blue Origin, the aerospace company founded by Jeff Bezos, has secured a contract with the U.S. Space Force for integration studies related to its New Glenn launch vehicle. The new agreement marks a significant step in Blue Origin’s potential participation in the National Security Space Launch Phase 3 program, a multi-billion dollar procurement of launch services for national security satellites.

‘A Bill That Will Be Due:’ Pentagon’s Middle East Buildup Costs $1.6B


The Pentagon estimates the U.S. military buildup in the Middle East since Hamas’ Oct. 7 attacks on Israel will cost $1.6 billion, a bill the department is unable to pay due to lawmakers’ inability to pass a budget, according to two U.S. officials. The Defense Department recently sent the estimate to congressional appropriators in response to questions, said the officials, who were granted anonymity to speak about information that hasn’t been made public.

Open-Ended Military Campaign Against Houthis Needs Congress’ Approval, Senators Tell Biden

As a U.S. campaign of military strikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen shows no signs of ending soon and questions mount about whether the United States is at war in the Middle East, some lawmakers are signaling they believe it’s time for Congress to weigh in. Four senators who have been leading voices on issues of war powers for years sent a letter to President Joe Biden on Jan. 23 questioning his legal authority and strategic reasoning behind the ongoing strikes.

Budget Disputes Put Pentagon’s Early JADC2 Goals in Jeopardy: Official

Breaking Defense

The Pentagon has achieved a “minimum viable capability” for its Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) effort, but budget disputes could delay making it accessible, according to an official from the Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office (CDAO). Speaking at a Hudson Institute event on Jan. 24, Deputy CDAO Margaret Palmieri said the minimum viable capability was reached through the most recent Global Information Dominance Experiment, GIDE 8, a high-tech exercise centered around data sharing.

Military Plane Crashes in Russia, Killing All Aboard, Moscow Says

The New York Times

A large Russian military transport plane crashed on Wednesday near the border with Ukraine, killing everyone onboard, the Russian Defense Ministry said, accusing Ukraine of shooting down the plane with missiles. The ministry said in a statement that the plane had been carrying 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war who were being transferred to the Belgorod region to be exchanged for Russian service personnel. ... The Russian claims could not be independently verified.

How The US Air Force Will Keep Its F-16s Flying into The 2040s

The Aviationist

Now that the F-16 is 50, it is fitting to talk about its future and how it will stay up to date with the capabilities required to face current and future threats. In fact, although the U.S. Air Force is retiring the older aircraft, the newer Block 40 and Block 50 aircraft are expected to fly well into the 2040s and, to do that, they will need to be upgraded. A total of 608 Block 40 and Block 50 aircraft, the so-called “Post Block” F-16s, will be upgraded through the Post Block Integration Team (PoBIT) project managed by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Fighters and Advanced Aircraft Directorate.

One More Thing

Army & Air Force Exchanges Help the Girl Scouts of USA Deliver Sweet Treats to Troops Overseas

DOD release

The Army & Air Force Exchange Service is bringing a taste of home to service members and their families overseas by delivering more than 228,000 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies. Girl Scouts of the USA councils at 40 military installations received the cookies in January to sell at booths in front of participating Exchange stores in Germany, Korea, Japan, Saipan, and other countries beginning Feb. 2.