Sheppard T-6 Crashes, Pilots Eject

A T-6 training aircraft crashed Wednesday afternoon in Oklahoma. The pilot and co-pilot were able to safely eject the aircraft, which was on a training flight from Sheppard AFB, Texas, when it crashed near Lake Waurika, Okla., about 40 miles northeast of the base. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

Shanahan: F-22, F-35 Struggling to Meet Readiness Goal While F-18s Show “Significant” Progress

The US military is struggling to meet its 80 percent mission capable goal for tactical aircraft, especially for the F-35 and F-22, though other airframes such as the F/A-18 have made “significant progress,” Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told lawmakers on Wednesday. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

Walker: Hypersonic HAWC and TBG Neck-And-Neck to Fly by End of Year

It’s likely that one or both of the hypersonic missile programs being jointly pursued by the Air Force and DARPA will fly by the end of the year; certainly by a year from now, DARPA director Steven Walker told reporters Wednesday. The Tactical Boost Glide or Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept are in a “race” to be first, Walker reported, but both are also entering a fabrication and test phase fraught with possible delays. Read the full story by John A. Tirpak.

Harrigian Takes Command of USAFE

Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian received his fourth star and took over as commander of US Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa and NATO Allied Air Command during a ceremony Wednesday at Ramstein AB, Germany. Harrigian, who previously was the deputy commander of USAFE and before that head of Air Forces Central Command, took over for Gen. Tod Wolters. Wolters will assume command of US European Command and NATO Supreme Allied Command, Europe, during a ceremony Thursday. Harrigian took the guidon from Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein during the ceremony, alongside EUCOM Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti and US Africa Command boss USMC Gen. Thomas Waldhauser. —Brian Everstine

Retired Generals Press Congress to Fund More F-35s, Discourage “Legacy” Buy

An April 30 letter signed by 128 retired flag officers from all the military services urges Congress to add 24 F-35s to the fiscal 2020 defense spending bill and ignore a Pentagon request to start buying new F-15EXs. The letter, sent to the chairmen and ranking members of the four House and Senate committees that oversee defense spending, faults the Budget Control Act for “tamping” down the proper number of F-35s, which the signers said are needed urgently to counter growing threats from peer adversaries. In the letter, the generals pushed against buying new “legacy” jets with “little operational value” against a near-peer. Read the full story by John A. Tirpak.

Final BRAC Property Transfers Delayed at Least Six Years

Transferring property from six military installations affected by the last Base Realignment and Closure round in 2005 will take at least six years longer than expected because the Air Force needs to spend that money to address drinking water contamination, according to the service’s top installations official. The process of shifting property back into local communities’ hands is now slated to wrap up by 2027, John Henderson, assistant secretary for installations, environment, and energy, said in prepared testimony submitted for a House Appropriations defense subcommittee hearing Wednesday. His testimony did not name the installations that will have to wait. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

Vandy Test Launches Minuteman III

The Air Force test launched an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile early Wednesday from Vandenberg AFB, Calif. The missile, launched by a crew from the 90th Missile Wing at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., flew 4,200 miles to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. The test, which was planned more than six months in advance, was to “verify the accuracy and reliability” of the missile, according to an Air Force Global Strike Command release. “The test launch is the culmination of months of hard work and preparation that involve multiple partners,” Col. Dave Kelley, commander of the 576th Flight Test Squadron, said in the release. “I couldn’t be more impressed with the team that we partner with to successfully execute this mission.” The Air Force regularly tests the missiles from Vandenberg with crews from the service’s three ICBM bases. During a previous test in August, the ICBM experienced an “anomaly” and was destroyed. —Brian Everstine

Thornberry: More Contractors May Alleviate Military’s Border Burden

House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) on Wednesday suggested the Defense Department should consider hiring contractors for tasks at America’s southern border instead of relying on military personnel. The Department of Homeland Security and US Customs and Border Protection do employ contractors, but aren’t always available where work needs to be done, said Kenneth Rapuano, the Pentagon’s assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and global security. It also takes time to get the workers under contract and started on projects. “In terms of the logistics management for migrant processing, that is not necessarily a lead military skill, but it certainly is a capability that we can provide in exigent circumstances,” Rapuano said. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.


The Pentagon is Ending a Training Program for Afghan Pilots After Nearly Half Go AWOL in the US

Afghan AC-208 pilots are no longer trained in the United States because more than 40 percent of the students training to fly the aircraft end up deserting within US borders. Task and Purpose

Fed Up with Mold, Vermin, and Lead, House Budget Plan Adds $140 Million for Military Housing Fixes

House Democrats want to add $140 million to the president’s military construction budget for next year to help improve the quality of family housing across the force. Military Times

Boeing’s MQ-25 Refueling Drone Moved to Air Base for Flight Testing

Boeing’s prototype MQ-25 unmanned aerial refueling drone is so huge it needed help from government agencies in Missouri and Illinois to move 40 miles. UPI

Lockheed Martin Completes On-Orbit Test of AEHF-4 Spacecraft

Lockheed Martin has completed on-orbit test of the US Air Force’s (USAF) advanced extremely high frequency AEHF-4 spacecraft. Air Force Technology

One More Thing …

91 Refuelings. You’re Welcome.

Do you know what ‘NKAWTG’ means? Our friends over at RAF Lakenheath sure know what it means, especially after the 48 hours we had this week. Video on Real Clear Defense