146th Airlift Wing Provides Firefighting, Search and Rescue Support Amid California Wildfires

California Air National Guardsmen from the Channel Islands-based 146th Airlift Wing are assisting with aerial firefighting and search and rescue as wildfires continue to ravage the state, California Air National Guard Maj. Kimberly Holman told Air Force Magazine in an email Thursday. According to Holman, this wildfire-related work hits especially close to home for the wing, with 41 of its airmen being “directly affected by the fires due to evacuations.” Read the full story by Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory.

Investigation: Pilot Took Off With Incorrect Data, Causing F-22 to Slide at Navy Base

An F-22 pilot took off with incorrect data about the conditions at a Nevada Navy base and prematurely retracted the aircraft’s landing gear, causing it to slide on its belly for more than 6,000 feet. The incident, which occurred on April 13 at NAS Fallon, took place during a TOPGUN training flight. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

Lockheed Gets Two More F-35 Contracts

The Pentagon on Thursday awarded Lockheed Martin an almost $350 million contract to provide laboratory facilities to help F-35 development at three locations, including the main Air Force test location at Edwards AFB, Calif. The contract also covers flight test activities at NAS Patuxent River, Md., and the Lockheed facility at Fort Worth, Texas, in addition to Edwards. The Pentagon on Thursday also awarded a separate $83.1 million contract to Lockheed for certification of “dual capable aircraft capability,” including updated hardware and software, for the Air Force’s F-35A. This contract will cover equipment needed to allow the F-35A to carry nuclear weapons in addition to conventional munitions. The two contracts came one day after the Pentagon awarded Lockheed a $6 billion payment to continue the production line for F-35s as the two negotiate the next production lot of the aircraft. —Brian Everstine


B-21 Will Head to Edwards for Testing, Tinker for Maintenance

The Air Force on Friday announced Edwards AFB, Calif., would lead test and evaluation of the B-21 Raider, with Tinker AFB, Okla., coordinating maintenance and sustainment. The announcement does not include a timeline for when the aircraft will arrive at the bases, but the Air Force expects delivery of the aircraft in the mid-2020s. Tinker AFB hosts an Air Logistics Complex with “a talented workforce and decades of experience,” Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said in a release. In addition to Tinker, Robins AFB, Ga., and Hill AFB, Utah, will help overhaul and upgrade the aircraft, the release states. Edwards has long been the home to Air Force test and evaluation, and the announcement officially states that it will host the B-21’s Combined Test Force. —Brian Everstine


Tyndall Received New QF-16 Shortly After Hurricane Damage

Boeing on Oct. 24 delivered a QF-16 targeting drone to Tyndall AFB, Fla., just weeks after the base suffered a devastating blow from Hurricane Michael. The delivery of the aircraft, which is used for live-fire testing during Combat Archer evaluations, shows that Tyndall is “one step closer to resuming operations,” Col. Steven Boatright, commander of the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group, said in a release. On Oct. 10, Hurricane Michael made landfall and directly hit Tyndall, destroying or damaging about 95 percent of all buildings on base. Several F-22s and other aircraft, including QF-16s, were left behind as the storm hit and were damaged, though all F-22s have not left the base. The Air Force announced Nov. 4 that many of the base’s missions would return, including the 53rd WEG and Combat Archer. —Brian Everstine

Air Force Places LRASM Delivery

Lockheed Martin on Thursday received $172 million more to build long-range, anti-ship missiles. The LRASM, a joint program with the Navy and a variant of the Air Force’s stealthy AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile, has long been in development for the B-1B bomber and the Navy’s F/A-18. The Thursday contract covers the production of 50 of the missiles, with work expected to be completed by the end of 2021. —Brian Everstine


Pentagon Says It ‘Failed’ Its First, Massive Audit—As It Expected

The report won’t be released until later, but in a preview, the Pentagon’s No. 2 official said, “We failed the audit, but we never expected to pass it.” NBC News

AFMC Unleashes $4.6 Million in FY18 Squadron Innovation Funds

When Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein asked leaders to “unleash the brilliance in our Airmen,” Air Force Materiel Command answered the call, executing more than $4.6 million in Squadron Innovation Funds in fiscal year 2018. Wright-Patterson AFB

Murder Charges Filed Against Navy, Marine Special Operators in Incident That Killed Green Beret in Africa

Two Navy SEALs and two Marine Raiders will face murder charges in the June 2017 death of an Army Special Forces staff sergeant in Mali. Military Times

Pentagon to Pull Hundreds of Counterterror Troops From Africa

The number of U.S. troops helping to combat terror and extremist groups across Africa will be reduced by up to 720, or about 10 percent of the current force, the Pentagon said on Thursday. Washington Examiner