USAF Slashes Plans for MH-139 Helicopter Fleet Size, Locations

The Air Force is dramatically scaling back its plans for the MH-139 Grey Wolf helicopter, cutting its projected fleet from 80 to 42 aircraft and reducing the number of bases that will host the new chopper. For now, that means some units will continue to operate the aging UN-1N Huey, some of which have been flying since the Vietnam War. 

Radar Sweep

AP Reporters Aboard a US Military Plane Watch Small Batches of Aid Airdropped on a Destroyed Gaza

The Associated Press

As American military pilots closed in on the northern coast of Gaza, Associated Press journalists aboard the aid mission could hardly spot a single building left untouched by six months of brutal war. They watched as three tons of humanitarian aid—food, water and hygiene products supplied by Jordan—tumbled out of the rear of the C-130 transport plane, a mess of parachutes trailing behind. It was the 11th American airdrop of aid since the U.S. began the program at the start of March.

Stratolaunch Sets Sights on Hypersonic Speeds for Next Talon-A Test

Defense News

Following a successful test flight in which its Talon-A vehicle reached near-hypersonic speeds, Stratolaunch is preparing for its next mission to reach or surpass the milestone of five times the speed of sound. The March 9 test hit all of its primary objectives, according to Stratolaunch CEO Zachary Krevor. Taking off from Stratolaunch’s manufacturing and test facility at Mojave Air and Space Port in California, the uncrewed vehicle separated from its carrier craft and reached high supersonic speeds before dropping into the Pacific Ocean.

NATO Lauds ‘Unprecedented’ Jump in Defense Spending, New Members, and Public Popularity

Breaking Defense

NATO on March 14 released its annual report in which it says 2023 was a “challenging but successful year,” highlighting a rise in defense spending by members, the historic accession of Finland—followed just days ago by Sweden—and what NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg called “extremely strong” public support for the alliance in the face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Pentagon Eyes Starship, Designed for Mars, for Military Missions Somewhat Closer to Home

Defense One

SpaceX’s Starship made it to orbit before failing on reentry during its March 14 test flight, taking another step toward becoming the biggest space hauler of all time. The reusable mega-rocket, whose third flight was described as a success because it achieved more than the first two, is expected to eventually bring launch costs down even further than has the company’s Falcon 9 rocket, which the Pentagon uses to send most of its satellites into space.

US Military Operations Across Sahel at Risk After Niger Ends Cooperation

Voice of America

The United States scrambled on March 17 to assess the future of its counterterrorism operations in the Sahel after Niger's junta said it was ending its yearslong military cooperation with Washington following a visit by top U.S. officials. The U.S. military has hundreds of troops stationed at a major airbase in northern Niger that deploys flights over the vast Sahel region—south of the Sahara Desert—where jihadi groups linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group operate.

Latest NATO Expansion Includes Massive Increase in DIANA Innovation Accelerator Sites


NATO isn’t just adding new member states to the military alliance—it’s also more than doubling the number of sites associated with its Defense Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic. The DIANA initiative, which was launched in 2022, was set up to boost cooperation on emerging technologies and foster a far-reaching innovation network. It’s particularly focused on supporting startups and other players in the high-tech sector that are working on dual-use technologies.

Putin's Air Force Bombs Russian Village Claimed by Rebels: Video


Russia's Air Force has bombed its own territory near the border with Ukraine amid a multi-pronged incursion by Russian defectors serving with the Ukrainian Armed Forces, a video appears to show. Andriy Tsaplienko, a Ukrainian journalist, shared a video of an explosion on March 15 after the Freedom of Russia Legion, Siberian Battalion and the Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK)—three Ukraine-aligned volunteer military units—on March 12 launched a cross-border raid into Russia's southern Belgorod and Kursk regions.

Mysterious Drones Swarmed Langley AFB for Weeks

The War Zone

Langley Air Force Base, located in one of the most strategic areas of the country, across the Chesapeake Bay from the sprawling Naval Station Norfolk and the open Atlantic, was at the epicenter of waves of mysterious drone incursions that occurred throughout December. The War Zone has been investigating these incidents and the response to them for months. We know that they were so troubling and persistent that they prompted bringing in advanced assets from around the U.S. government, including one of NASA's WB-57F high-flying research planes. Now the U.S. Air Force has confirmed to us that they did indeed occur and provided details on the timeframe and diversity of drones involved.

US Attempts to Stop Arms Smuggling to Yemen with Limited Resources

The Washington Post

The Biden administration is expanding efforts to surveil and intercept Iranian weapons being smuggled to Yemen, where Houthi militants have staged a deadly campaign of violence against commercial shipping that has proved resilient to six weeks of military strikes, said U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

40-Plus Countries Convening Next Week to Thrash out ‘Responsible AI’ for Military Use

Breaking Defense

Thirteen months after the State Department rolled out its Political Declaration on ethical military AI at an international conference in the Hague, representatives from the countries who signed on will gather outside of Washington to discuss next steps. “We’ve got over 100 participants from at least 42 countries of the 53,” a senior State Department Official told Breaking Defense, speaking on background to share details of the event for the first time. The delegates, a mix of military officers and civilian officials, will meet at a closed-door conference March 19 and 20 at the University of Maryland’s College Park campus.

One More Thing

The Search for Vietnam's Supposed Top Ace Who Beat the US Air Force

The National Interest

The tale of Col. Nguyen Tomb, Vietnam's legendary ace, remains one of aviation's most enduring myths. Supposedly scoring 13 kills against U.S. aircraft, Tomb was featured in the game Chuck Yeager’s Air Combat, fueling intrigue. However, detailed investigations reveal no evidence of Tomb's existence within Vietnamese records, and his name doesn't align with Vietnamese nomenclature. The myth possibly arose from NSA signals intelligence misinterpretations during the Vietnam War. Despite theories suggesting Tomb might have been a Russian pilot, no concrete evidence supports his existence, making Col. Nguyen Tomb a fascinating example of how legends can outpace reality in military history.