Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was transported to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Feb. 11 afternoon following symptoms of an “emergent bladder issue,” according to the Pentagon. “Today, at approximately 2:20 pm, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III was transported by his security detail to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to be seen for symptoms suggesting an emergent bladder issue,” Pentagon Press Secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said in a statement.
Next to Pakistani Shahpar armed drones and not far from Russia’s Pantsir-SM surface-to-air missile (SAM) system, this week visitors to the World Defense Show, staged about 40 miles outside Riyadh, were offered a rare, up-close look at some Chinese military equipment, from full-sized Wing Loong drones, FT series precision guided bombs, and HQ SAMs. It was an opportunity for Beijing’s defense industry to attempt to outshine the competition on the “world stage” so to speak, similar to displays at other Gulf exhibitions.
In Episode 167 of the Aerospace Advantage podcast, host John “Slick” Baum hosts a special set of guests to mark the 50th anniversary of the F-16’s first flight. Retired Gen. Mike Loh was a young officer just back from flying combat in Vietnam assigned to work with the “father of the F-16,” Col. John Boyd, in the Fighter Requirements Directorate in the Pentagon. Ret. Maj. Gen. Charlie Lyon began his career in the F-16 in the early 1980s, when the jet was brand new and far more basic than anything flying today. Finally, there’s retired Maj. Gen. Larry Stutzriem, who transitioned from the F-4 to the F-16 in the mid-1980s.
Maria Demaree, Vice President of National Security Space for Lockheed Martin Space, joined Air & Space Forces Magazine to discuss acceleration of tech readiness in space, such as new ways of powering satellites and Combined Joint All Domain Command and Control (CJADC2).
A key design review for the F-35 fighter jet’s engine upgrade will take place several months later than originally predicted, as the government adds another level of review to the process. An executive for Pratt & Whitney, the RTX-owned company that makes the jet’s F135 engines, told reporters that the Engine Core Upgrade program’s preliminary design review is expected to take place in May 2024.
OPINION: The Critical Role of Space in Modern Warfare and the Imperative of Joint Space Capabilities in Europe
“In today’s rapidly evolving security landscape, the importance of military space capabilities cannot be overstated. Through satellite-based communication, precise navigation, real-time intelligence and surveillance, and other capabilities, space operations are woven into the fabric of modern military operations. In the European theater, space assets support a wide range of missions, including deterring potential adversaries, responding to crises and protecting the Joint Force and our Allies and partners. The recent establishment of United States Space Forces Europe and Africa (SPACE-EURAF) underscores the vital role space capabilities play in advancing our defense objectives in Europe,” writes Lt. Gen. Steven L. Basham, deputy commander of U.S. European Command.
The Space Force is exploring options for expanding the capabilities of its GPS satellites and is asking companies to propose ideas for delivering low-cost demonstration spacecraft to help test new technologies. Space Systems Command, the service’s primary acquisition organization, said in a Feb. 5 notice it is conducting market research to refine its concept for a constellation of GPS demonstration satellites.
Russian forces appear to be using SpaceX’s Starlink communications service inside Ukraine, suggesting that a company celebrated for helping the defenders is now also aiding the invaders. Ukrainian troops first detected Russia’s frontline use of the satellite-connected devices several months ago, according to one Ukrainian source. A second Ukrainian source confirmed the use of Starlink, and added that its usage appeared to be increasing. Both sources were granted anonymity to discuss topics that they were not authorized to discuss.
A visibly incensed Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall took lawmakers to task Feb. 8 for failing to pass a budget for the 2024 fiscal year, and alongside the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer, warned that Congress is giving away time to the Defense Department’s pacing challenge of China. Since October, the federal government has been operating under a continuing resolution (CR) in lieu of a new budget, freezing spending for agencies like the Pentagon at FY23 levels. The problem is particularly frustrating for Kendall, whose first tranche of funds to finance his key initiatives, known as operational imperatives, came in the FY24 budget to the tune of about $5 billion, according to the secretary.
The Alabama National Guard on Feb. 9 showed off what officials called the world’s most technologically advanced combat aircraft at a ceremony and flight show in Montgomery, a celebration that signaled an important role in national military preparedness and a chance to carry on the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen.
The Air Force has awarded autonomy startup Xwing military approval to fly cargo missions across California after successful completion of the AGILE FLAG 24-1 Joint Force exercise, the company said in a Feb. 9 news release. This designation of airworthiness via a military flight release in unrestricted airspace marks the first granted under the Air Force Research Laboratory's AFWERX Autonomy Prime program.
Saab is working on a supersonic, stealthy ‘loyal wingman’ type drone concept. The program has been running for some time as a company-funded effort but has gone largely unnoticed until recently. Ultimately, however, the appearance of such a drone concept is entirely in keeping with the company’s status as one of Europe’s active developers of uncrewed systems and could be indicative of what Saab offers its customers in the future.
The NASA and Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) engineers, collaborating to evaluate the latest advancements in astronaut crew seats and flight suits for the Orion spacecraft, concluded the trials with human participants. The endeavor signifies a crucial phase in ensuring the safety and comfort of future space missions.