When It Comes to Refueling Satellites, Space Force Faces Hard Choices

As Pentagon and Space Force leaders start planning for a future of dynamic space operations where satellites can maneuver as needed and get refueled to prolong their service lives, industry leaders are preparing to deploy new technology and finalizing their concepts of operations for what they agree is an “incredibly hard mission area.” 
b-1 lancer

New Photos Show B-1 Lancer Crews Prepping for Feb. 2 Middle East Strikes

A batch of photos and videos shows B-1B Lancer bomber crews preparing for the strikes targeting Iranian-aligned groups in Iraq and Syria on Feb. 2. The crews and jets came from Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., but they launched from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, due to an ongoing investigation at Ellsworth after a B-1 crashed there on Jan. 4. 

‘Connection Toward Unity’: Guardian Wins Polaris Award for Championing Space at USAFA

The U.S. Space Force selected Maj. Jessica M. Pratt of the United States Air Force Academy Cadet Wing in Colo. as the winner of the Polaris Award for Connection for “developing, growing, and sustaining connections while treating everyone with dignity, empathy, and respect” in 2023. Pratt played an integral role in the second year of USAFA’s Azimuth Space Program, a summer program designed to give USAFA cadets and ROTC cadets from all services a taste of a potential career in space operations.

Radar Sweep

As US Troops Take Fire in Middle East, Lawmakers Consider Billions in New Funding


Billions of dollars for U.S. military operations in the Middle East, where American troops have been under consistent fire from Iran-backed militants since October, are on the line as lawmakers bicker over U.S. border politics. A long-awaited bipartisan Senate agreement to provide funding for the conflicts in Israel and Ukraine in exchange for U.S. immigration reforms includes $2.4 billion to support American military operations in the Central Command region.

Subscription Required

Midair Fires and Malfunctions Surge on Russia’s Planes as Sanctions Bite

The Wall Street Journal

When Ural Airlines Flight 1383 to the Siberian city of Omsk suffered a technical fault with its hydraulics last September, the pilots decided to divert to a different airport. Then they discovered the defect meant the aircraft was rapidly running out of fuel and needed to land quickly.

Pentagon: Don’t Expect Houthis or Other Iran-Backed Groups to Stop Shooting

Defense One

The Pentagon expects Iran-backed militias to continue their attacks despite dozens of United States airstrikes on targets in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, a spokesman said Feb. 5. “It would not be surprising to anyone if they attempt to conduct attacks in the future,” Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters, as he answered multiple questions about whether the White House considered its efforts to deter Iranian-proxy aggression successful.

China’s Investing Billions in Quantum R&D, But Is Beijing Making Some Bad Bets?

Breaking Defense

Who is winning the quantum race? By many measures, that would be China. But if quantum physics holds just one lesson for daily life, it’s that reality is hard to measure. ... It turns out that “quantum” is really a whole array of related technologies, with different applications and potential, rather than a single thing. The U.S. and China are prioritizing different aspects—and Washington is betting that Beijing’s bets are bad ones.

DC Guard F-16s Deploy to Middle East as Airstrikes Continue

Air Force Times

F-16 Fighting Falcon jets from the D.C. Air National Guard’s 113th Wing have joined American forces in the Middle East, as the U.S. military strikes back against Iranian-linked military infrastructure in retaliation for a recent drone attack that killed three Soldiers and wounded dozens of other troops. The wing, based at Joint Base Andrews, Md., and nicknamed the “Capital Guardians,” departed for U.S. Central Command Jan. 17, according to a news release.

Boeing’s T-7A Trainer Faces New Delivery Delay amid Parts ‘Challenges’

Breaking Defense

Boeing’s new training jet for the U.S. Air Force is facing a fresh delay due to what the company is calling supply chain woes, putting new pressure on a T-7A Red Hawk schedule that is already approximately two years late. The company Feb. 5 revealed that unspecified “challenges” with particular parts have delayed plans to deliver two remaining test jets to the Air Force, with three already in the service’s hands. Additionally, Boeing said Feb. 5 that the T-7A’s production line should be up and running around the middle of this year, a few months later than previous plans to have it operational in early 2024.

Head of US Space Force’s Commercial Hub Talks Vendor Opportunities

Defense News

Since its establishment last spring, the U.S. Space Force’s Commercial Space Office has been busy making connections with industry and creating pathways to deliver off-the-shelf capabilities and services to users. The office is the service’s hub for commercial engagement, overseeing a slew of initiatives, including SpaceWERX—the Space Force’s innovation arm—and Space Systems Command’s Front Door, an online portal companies can use to connect with the acquisition community. It’s also leading the establishment of a Commercial Augmentation Space Reserve, an effort to scale up its use of commercial capabilities during a conflict.

Ukraine Says It’s Getting Long-Range Strike Missiles with Its F-16s

The War Zone

An undisclosed type of air-launched cruise missile with a range of up to 300 miles will be among the munitions delivered to Ukraine alongside its long-awaited F-16 fighters, according to Lt. Gen. Serhii Naev, the commander of the Joint Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

BAE Systems Advances Uncrewed Collaborative Platform Design

Aviation Week

BAE Systems has lifted the lid on a new configuration for its attritable autonomous collaborative platform (ACP) that could operate alongside future and current-generation combat aircraft. The latest design features a new diamond-delta shaped wing and more low-observable features, that take into consideration new approaches for wing assembly and production and the use of electrical rather than hydraulic actuation systems.

One More Thing

The Most Stunning F-117 Photos We’ve Seen Since Its ‘Retirement’

The War Zone

We have seen some great photos of the F-117 Nighthawks that continue to operate in developmental test and training roles. These images have improved incrementally since their use as aggressor and for test support became openly discussed by the Air Force, with the locales they could operate from expanding along with it. Now, one set of images, taken by aviation photographer James Reeder, is the best we've ever seen.