To Help Explain Re-Optimization Changes, DAF Has Senior Leaders ‘Going Out’ to the Force

The Department of the Air Force is undertaking its biggest overhaul since the Cold War, with new commands, ranks, units, and training. And now, the services must sell the changes to the force of nearly 700,000 Airmen and Guardians. “One of the biggest challenges is having our force understand why these changes are coming,” Alex Wagner, the assistant secretary of the Air Force for manpower and reserve affairs, said at an AFA Warfighters in Action Event March 12.

Radar Sweep

White House Expected to Send More ATACMS to Ukraine


The U.S. is planning to send a number of additional Army Tactical Missile Systems to Ukraine, as part of a new $300 million package of military aid, according to two U.S. officials with knowledge of the discussions. The U.S. will send Kyiv additional Anti-Personnel/Anti-Materiel, or APAM, missiles, which are an older version of the long-range ATACMS, according to one of the officials. The missiles travel 100 miles and carry warheads containing hundreds of cluster bomblets.

Russia’s Airpower Roars Back into the War with Devastating Guided Bombs

The Washington Post

Russia’s air force has dramatically boosted its effectiveness in the Ukraine war with its increased use of “glide bombs,” contributing to Moscow’s recent battlefield successes, according to Western experts. The plentiful Soviet-era bombs, which carry up to a half-ton of explosives, have been fitted with wings and guidance systems to fly long distances with some accuracy—allowing the Russian jets that release them to operate away from Ukrainian antiaircraft systems.

Israel and Hezbollah Exchange Fire as Tensions Flare on Lebanon Border

The Wall Street Journal

Hostilities flared between Israel and the Lebanese Hezbollah militia, threatening to broaden Israel’s war to its northern border amid an impasse in negotiations to reach a cease-fire in Gaza. Hezbollah launched about 100 Katyusha rockets at northern Israel on March 12, the heaviest barrage since Israel’s war in Gaza against Hamas—an ally of the Lebanese group—began five months ago.

‘Jamming’: How Electronic Warfare Is Reshaping Ukraine’s Battlefields

The New York Times

For a while, the Ukrainians enjoyed a honeymoon period with their self-detonating drones that were used like homemade missiles. The weapons seemed like an effective alternative to artillery shells for striking Russian forces. Now, the bad days are starting to outweigh the good ones: electronic countermeasures have become one of the Russian military’s most formidable weapons after years of honing their capabilities.

Honeywell Unveils New F-35 Thermal Management Fix as Pentagon Hunts for Better Cooling

Breaking Defense

As F-35 program officials ponder whether to launch a new competition to replace the stealth fighter’s incumbent cooling system, Honeywell Aerospace on March 12 unveiled its own offering for turning down the temperature on the Joint Strike Fighter. It’s a solution that a company executive said in an exclusive interview would largely retain the jet’s current cooling architecture, should positive tests with a digital twin translate as well as the company hopes to the real world.

Air Force Halves MH-139 Grey Wolf Helo Buy in FY25 Budget Request

Breaking Defense

The Air Force is moving to halve its planned procurement of the new MH-139A Grey Wolf helicopter, according to the service’s fiscal year 2025 budget documents. Budget books for the last fiscal year had projected the service would buy a total of 74 MH-139As, which are made by Boeing in partnership with Italian defense firm Leonardo. Now, FY25 budget documents released by the service say that the MH-139A’s program of record has plummeted to just 36 of the helos.

F-35 Upgrade Delays Prompt US Air Force to Scale Back Jet Purchases

Air Force Times

The ongoing delay in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s latest upgrades was one factor in the U.S. Air Force’s recent decision to purchase fewer jets in fiscal 2025. The service announced March 11 it plans to buy 42 F-35As from Lockheed Martin in 2025, six fewer than it originally anticipated. In a news conference to discuss the 2025 budget, Air Force official Kristyn Jones told reporters that issues with the upgrades known as Technology Refresh 3 played a part in that decision, along with overall budgetary limitations.

Space Force Seeks Orbital-Refueling Tech in New Budget

Defense One

The Space Force is launching an effort to develop technology to refuel and maintain satellites, the service’s top officer said in an interview. “We're investing in demonstrations and capabilities to start to explore what you would need on orbit to be able to service and maintain satellites. This gives us some opportunities to explore dynamic maneuvering [and] maneuver without regret. These are things that will make our satellites harder to target, more defensible,” Chief of Space Operations Gen. Chance Saltzman said as part of Defense One’s State of Defense series.

Space Force Mulls Refueling as Industry Calls for Funding, Standards

Defense News

The Space Force in 2020 identified servicing, mobility and logistics as core competencies. The service has since crafted broad requirements for the mission area. Last year, it established a dedicated program office to coordinate near- and long-term development efforts as well as work with companies to demonstrate refueling capabilities. As momentum builds toward operationalizing these concepts, current and former defense and industry officials say that due to pioneering missions like Orbital Express and efforts from the commercial sector to build on that work, today’s challenge isn’t necessarily a technological one.

SSC Researching Constellation of Next-Generation GEO Satellite Scouts

Aviation Week

Space Systems Command (SSC) is researching development of a constellation of next-generation scout spacecraft to investigate adversary satellites in and around the geosynchronous equatorial orbit (GEO) belt. The command wants a constellation of free flier, rendezvous and proximity operations (RPO) space vehicles that would detect, track and characterize resident space objects using electro-optical sensor payloads, it said in a request for information (RFI) posted on March 5.

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New Jersey Air National Guard Activates New Refueling Squadron to Fly KC-46 Pegasus

Stars and Stripes

The New Jersey Air National Guard has a new refueling unit to fly the KC-46 Pegasus tanker. The 108th Wing’s 170th Air Refueling Squadron was activated during a ceremony March 7 at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, according to a 108th Wing news release. During the ceremony, Lt. Col. Matthew J. Secko assumed command as the squadron’s first commander.

One More Thing

How US Humanitarian Airdrops Work According to an Air Force Combat Controller

Task & Purpose

As the humanitarian crisis grows in Gaza, U.S. forces have begun airdropping food, medicine, water and other staples on parachute-borne bundles. Though they can look haphazard, airdrops are meticulously planned and can be hazardous for both crews and those on the ground. A mishap last week with one airdrop allegedly killed several civilians on the ground below, though that drop was not made by U.S. planes. An Active-Duty U.S. Air Force combat controller, or CCT, spoke with Task & Purpose to explain the planning and equipment that the U.S. military puts into humanitarian aid airdrops.