Link 16, Laser Comms, ‘At Least One’ More Launch: 2024 Heats Up for SDA

The Space Development Agency plans to finish two major demonstrations of its low-Earth orbit satellites—and get started on a rapid series of launches—before the end of 2024, its director said March 6.  The series of milestones outlined by SDA boss Derek M. Tournear represent the beginning stages of a quickening pace for the agency as it starts to operationalize what it calls the Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture. 

Radar Sweep

Space Force Reimagines Training, Operations as Conflicts Intensify

Air Force Times

After four years of growth amid a steadily rising operational tempo, Space Force leaders say it’s time to improve on what they’ve built. The Space Force is the Pentagon’s hub for organizing, training and equipping the units that provide satellite communications to the joint force, track missile launches, catalog debris that could damage spacecraft, take images of troop movements and wildfires from orbit, and more.

Pulsejet Drone Flies, Could Have Big Impact on Cost of Future Weapons

The War Zone

A Baltimore-based startup has recently flown an experimental drone powered by a pulsejet engine, a type of powerplant that has few moving parts, in contrast to a conventional turbine, offering the promise of low-cost jet performance. Previously, the company, Wave Engine Corp., received U.S. Air Force funding to develop a decoy powered by a pulsejet—a powerplant best known for its infamous use in World War II.

The Military Is Funding New Chip Designs for the AI Era

Defense One

You’ve likely heard of Nvidia, which just beat out Aramco to become the world’s third-largest company by market capitalization. But that high stock valuation speaks to a big problem: demand for chips that can run energy-intensive AI applications far exceeds supply. That’s an especially big problem for the military, which is looking to run complex AI programs in environments where calling back to large enterprise cloud clusters won’t be possible due to electromagnetic interference, remoteness, etc.

Lawmakers Press Army Aviation Leadership on FARA Cancelation

Breaking Defense

Industrial base concerns played a role in the Army’s decision to radically change its aviation modernization plans, as two legacy helicopter production lines would have gone cold in five years under its previous strategy, the Army’s top acquisition official told lawmakers March 6. The Army canceled the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) program in February, arguing that the procurement of a bespoke reconnaissance helicopter was no longer viable when small drones have become ubiquitous on battlefields such as Ukraine.

India Plans to Spend $3 Billion on Space. Can It Catch up to China?

Defense News

India plans to spend about $3 billion on space-related contract awards over the next few years to reduce its dependence on foreign satellites and bolster its counter-space capabilities, according to the head of the military. Gen. Anil Chauhan’s call to close the gap between India’s own capabilities and other nations that are developing countermeasures in space comes amid tension with China.

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FY-25 Rollout Sidelines Missile Defense Agency, ‘De-Emphasizing’ Budget Day

Inside Defense

The Missile Defense Agency is not slated to publicly explain its expected $11 billion fiscal year 2025 request next week, breaking an annual practice that reaches back uninterrupted to at least 2000 that provides Pentagon reporters a once-a-year, carte blanche opportunity to ask agency leaders about program status, policies and more. Sources familiar with Defense Department plans for the fiscal year 2025 budget rollout on March 11 said the agency doesn't plan to send a representative to brief.

Planet Labs Gets US Navy Contract for Maritime Surveillance in the Pacific


Planet Labs will supply satellite imagery to the U.S. Navy’s Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific for vessel detection and monitoring, the company announced March 5. Based in San Francisco, Calif., Planet Labs operates a fleet of more than 200 Earth observation satellites that capture images of the entire planet on a daily basis.

Iran Proxy Attacks on US Troops in Iraq, Syria Drop Off as Red Sea Heats Up


It’s been more than a month since Iran-backed militia groups attacked U.S. troops in Iraq, Syria or Jordan. U.S. officials hope it’s a sign that previous airstrikes—and the threat of more—are working. But the Pentagon says it’s not getting complacent, as nearby in the Red Sea, the Yemen-based Houthis, another Iranian proxy, continue launching missiles and drones on international shipping.

One More Thing

Miss America Is Only One of Her Titles

The New York Times

In January, after graduation from the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado, Madison Marsh was crowned Miss America. She is the first active-duty military officer to win the title in the pageant’s 103-year history. ... Her interest in the military began at age 14 when she spent a summer at NASA’s Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala., and decided she wanted to be an astronaut. She started flying lessons at 15 and had her private pilot’s license two years later when she applied for admission to the Air Force Academy.