President Joe Biden said Jan. 30 that he had made a decision on how to respond to the recent attack at a military base in Jordan that killed three U.S. troops and wounded 25 others. Asked if he holds Iran responsible, Biden said: “I do hold them responsible in the sense that they’re supplying the weapons to the people who did it.”
The Pentagon has successfully tested a new long-range precision bomb for Ukraine that is expected to arrive on the battlefield as soon as Jan. 31, according to two U.S. officials and two other people with knowledge of the talks. Ukraine will receive its first batch of Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bombs, a brand new long-range weapon made by Boeing that even the U.S. doesn’t have in its inventory, according to the four people, all of whom were granted anonymity to discuss matters ahead of an announcement.
An Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon out of South Korea crashed into the Yellow Sea on Jan. 31 after an “in-flight emergency,” according to the 8th Fighter Wing at Kunsan Air Base. The crash occurred around 8:41 a.m. and the pilot was recovered roughly 50 minutes later by U.S. and South Korean personnel, the wing said in a news release.
The U.S. Air Force wants to buy battery-powered planes after it deployed BETA Technologies’ ALIA aircraft to one of the service’s bases. A final decision on when and how many of the electric conventional takeoff and landing planes the service will buy is a “rolling process,” but the service is “definitely on an acquisition path to get these into the inventory,” said Andrew Lau, AFWERX’s Agility Prime program manager. The program was launched in 2020 to propel electric aviation development.
Boeing expects to start delivering the Air Force’s first field-ready MH-139A Grey Wolf helicopters later this year. In a release, Boeing said it finished construction on the first low-rate initial production Grey Wolf in late December. That helicopter also started its flight testing at Italian aerospace firm Leonardo’s facility in Philadelphia, the company said.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), has revealed that it has developed, built, and in-flight released a brand new and hitherto unknown small uncrewed aerial system (SUAS) as the Advanced Air-Launched Effects (A2LE). Shown in new images released by the manufacturer, the new A2LE is seen being deployed from the internal weapons bay of a company-owned MQ-20 Avenger drone.
The emergent on-orbit servicing market faces a case of misaligned expectations. On one side, companies developing technologies to provide satellite maintenance, repair, and other on-orbit services seek an early government commitment to bring about private investment. A flagship customer for these services, the U.S. Space Force, has funded development projects and demonstrations, but it’s not ready to become an anchor customer as it continues to define its requirements and realign budgets.
As it studies the potential for new satellites to extend the lifetime of its current network, the Space Force is engaged in an effort to map out a longer-range acquisition strategy for narrow-band satellite communications—including whether, and if so how, commercial systems might be better leveraged. A final report outlining the pros and cons of various options is slated for sometime this spring, a spokesperson for the service’s primary acquisition unit, Space Systems Command, told Breaking Defense in an email.
A year after 700 gallons of fuel spilled at a Space Force observatory located atop a sacred Hawaiian volcano on Maui, angering locals, officials are still working on approving a remediation plan and presenting it to the community. On Jan. 29, 2023, a diesel fuel pump for a backup generator at the Maui Space Surveillance Complex failed to shut off and the float—a piece that helps monitor fuel levels—inside the tank was defective, causing hundreds of gallons to seep into the soil on the 10,023-foot summit of Haleakalā, a volcano on the Hawaiian island.
A modern-day ocean explorer has claimed to have possibly solved one of the great mysteries of modern aviation by publishing sonar images which he claims may show the wreckage of the the airplane flown by Amelia Earhart at the bottom of the Pacific. Earhart’s plane disappeared over the Pacific in 1937 as she sought to become the first woman to fly around the world. Ever since then, mystery has surrounded the American aviator’s fate amid intense speculation as to what happened to her.