The Biden administration has approved the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey following the Turkish government’s ratification this week of Sweden’s membership in NATO. The move is a significant development in the expansion of the alliance, which has taken on additional importance since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The State Department notified Congress of its approval of the $23 billion F-16 sale to Turkey, along with a companion $8.6 billion sale of advanced F-35 fighter jets to Greece, late Jan. 26.
The Pentagon has abruptly abandoned plans to train alongside the militaries of several countries either involved in the overthrow of democratic governments or accused of human rights violations, reversing course amid recent scrutiny. The plans, disclosed to Congress in October and reviewed by The Washington Post, detailed the Pentagon’s intent to hold joint exercises this year with Sudan, Niger, Mali and other troubled African nations. Each is broadly prohibited under U.S. law from receiving American security assistance.
In episode 165 of the Aerospace Advantage podcast, host John “Slick” Baum chats with retired Gen. Kevin Chilton, retired Maj. Gen. Thomas Taverny, and retired Col. Stu Pettis—all of the U.S. Air Force—as well as retired Space Force Col Charles Galbreath about how the nation is asking the Space Force to deliver an ever-increasing scale and scope of effects as mission demands and the threat environment evolve.
Israeli Ministry of Defense Director General Eyal Zamir completed a working visit to the U.S. this week, where he met with U.S. government officials as well as defense contracting giants Lockheed Martin and Boeing, according to the Israeli MOD. The visit, which wrapped Jan. 25, was part of a push by Jerusalem to acquire “advanced new agreements for the procurement of military armaments and advanced equipment,” the ministry said in a statement.
President Joe Biden’s foreign aid request for Ukraine, Israel and the Indo-Pacific remains stalled on Capitol Hill, inhibiting funding for a unique mechanism that could help U.S. allies and partners build up their own defense industries. Until recently, Israel was the only country with a special privilege called offshore procurement, which has allowed it to use a portion of its Foreign Military Financing, or FMF, grants to invest in its own defense-industrial base instead of purchasing weapons from U.S. defense contractors as other recipients are required to do.
Low-grade “AI versus AI” conflict in which artificial intelligence systems will be used by adversaries to carry out cyberattacks against the U.S. is likely in the near future, Jude Sunderbruch, the Defense Department’s Cyber Crime Center (DC3) director said Jan. 25.
U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) is testing the market to see if anyone can provide “rapid fielding” of AESA (active electronically scanned array) radars to replace the existing radars on AC-130J Ghostrider gunships and MC-130J Commando II special operations transport/tanker aircraft. Such a move would replace the AN/APN-241 mechanically scanned weather and navigation radars on these aircraft with an AESA radar set, bringing vastly different capabilities to the platform.
The Space Force’s Space Systems Command announced Jan. 26 that additional vendors have been selected for the Sounding Rocket Program-4. This is a multiyear contract where companies compete for orders to launch small rockets used to carry scientific instruments and experiments into suborbital space. Kratos Space & Missile Defense Systems, L3Harris’ Aerojet Rocketdyne Coleman Aerospace, and Corvid Technologies were awarded indefinite-delivery indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contracts for Sounding Rocket Program-4.
Pregnant Troops and New Military Moms Would Get Expanded Mental Health Care Under Lawmakers’ Proposal
Service members who are pregnant or just gave birth could get specialized mental health care under a pilot program proposed by the leaders of a House panel focused on military quality of life. The Maintaining Our Obligation to Moms, or MOMS, Who Serve Act, which was introduced in Congress this week, would establish a five-year, $25 million pilot program to provide evidence-based perinatal mental health programs for pregnant and postpartum service members and other beneficiaries in military treatment facilities.
The U.S. Army and Navy are exploring arrangements to extend secure environments to their smaller defense industrial base partners who can’t afford to earn a cybersecurity accreditation with the Pentagon but provide innovative services the branches still want to leverage.
Aircraft from California and Australia are in Hawaii through Jan. 21 conducting combat training with Honolulu-based F-22 fighters. Hosted by the Hawaii National Air Guard’s 154th Wing, Sentry Aloha is tailored to provide realistic combat training, Maj. Michael Oliver, the exercise director and a pilot with the wing, said by phone Jan. 26.
After a long wait, Masters of the Air is finally out. The show, based on Donald L. Miller’s book of the same name, follows the crews of the 100th Bomber Group of the 8th Air Force during World War II and their missions over the skies of Europe. The “Bloody Hundredth” suffered immense casualties in the war, but kept flying until it was over. The journey of bringing the show to life was long for John Orloff. Orloff, the head writer and a producer of Masters of the Air, had the task of adapting the real-life history of the 100th Bomber Group into nine hours of television.