Software, Networking Key Focus of Farnborough Discussions
One of USAF’s top acquisition executives said most of his conversations at the Farnborough International Air Show here in England have centered around networking, saying the Defense Department has a lot to learn from industry on how it can improve software development—one of his top priorities. Industry also highlighted its own cybersecurity efforts, with Raytheon welcoming visitors inside of a “cyber dome,” showing visitors the anatomy of a hack and demonstrating cyber threats to USAF aircraft and warfighters in realistic 3D videos. Read Amy McCullough’s report from Farnborough.
DOD, Lockheed Reach Agreement on Next Batch of F-35s
The Pentagon and Lockheed Martin have reached a “handshake deal” on the next lot of 141 F-35 strike fighters, saying the agreement sets the stage for future cost savings through multi-year block buys. Company officials, speaking to reporters at the Farnborough International Air Show in England, declined to provide a total cost until the deal is finalized, but said the agreement represents “significant” cost savings for all three variants. A senior company official told reporters Lockheed is “having discussions with our customer” on whether there will be a third iteration of the blueprint for affordability, which initially looked to bring the cost of the fifth-generation strike fighters more inline with legacy fourth-generation fighters. Read the full report by Amy McCullough from Farnborough.
Preparations Underway for Air Chiefs Space Conference Next Year
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein told reporters Tuesday the Air Force is making preparations for having an international air chiefs’ conference focused on space at next year’s Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colo. Goldfein brought the idea up earlier this month in an interview with Defense News and returned to it Tuesday when he met with a group of defense reporters at the Pentagon. “Right now, we’re in the planning stages of ensuring that we have all the logistics associated with inviting all my fellow air chiefs globally to come to Colorado Springs in April for the Space Symposium for an air chief conference focused on space,” he said. He made the statement the day before the scheduled transition of the Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., into a Combined space Operations Center, a move designed to improve cooperation with allies. —Steve Hirsch
Combat Controller Recovering from “Significant Injuries” Sustained in Afghanistan IED Blast
An Air Force special tactics combat controller is recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Maryland after being severely injured by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan. SrA Justin Day, a CCT who was assigned to a US Army Special Forces team, on July 10 was conducting a mission against ISIS near the border with Pakistan, when he stepped on an IED and was severely injured. Day’s right leg was amputated above his knee, and he lost portions of his left hand, according to a GoFundMe fundraiser started for his recovery. USAF Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein told reporters during a Pentagon briefing on Tuesday that while Day has “significant injuries,” the “good news is that he is stable.” Goldfein said he will visit Day and his family at Walter Reed soon. Day is a newly wed who is expecting his first child on Christmas day, according to the fundraiser. —Brian Everstine
Lockheed Sees Increased Interest in F-16 Thanks to Block 70 Capabilities
Lockheed Martin says it has seen a “remarkable and notable resurgence” of the F-16 across the globe, saying Slovakia is the latest country to select the F-16 fighter. The State Department earlier this year approved the sale of 16 F-16V Block 70 aircraft, the same type Slovakia wants to buy, for the Royal Bahraini Air Force. India also has expressed interest in the fighter, and if selected Lockheed would establish an exclusive F-16 production line in that country, Randy Howard, head of Lockheed’s F-16 business development, told reporters at the Farnborough International Air Show in England on Tuesday. Read the full story by Amy McCullough.
USAF Explains More About What Went Wrong in B-1B In Flight Emergency
The B-1B crew in the May emergency incident made a split second decision to stay together and try to land their hobbled aircraft, facing the possibility of spreading fire or malfunctioning egress systems that could launch them out of the plane at any time, USAF Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said Tuesday. The four crew members, based out of Dyess AFB, Texas, received Distinguished Flying Crosses for their actions in the May 1 incident. The crew was on a routine mission when their Lancer displayed three fire warnings. While they were able to extinguish two of the fires, one warning remained and they decided to punch out. However, when one crew member pulled the handle to go, it didn’t function, Goldfein told reporters on Tuesday. “They were on fire, it’s never a good thing to have a fire on an aircraft full of fuel,” he said, adding “That young man was sitting on a live ejection seat.” The crew then decided to remain with the plane and try to land. “You gotta think about what was in that crew’s mind, never knowing if a gust or something was going to fire them out of the aircraft,” Goldfein said. “They made the decision to stay together.” The crew was able to land at a local airport. The investigation found that a component of the egress system was “crimped,” and when the crewmember pulled the handle, the signal didn’t make it to the ejection seat. The B-1’s ejection systems have two separate ways to initiative ejection, so the Air Force allowed the Lancers to return to flight after a short stand down and now is going through technical change orders to ensure the systems are working properly, Goldfein said. —Brian Everstine
—The US-led Resolute Support mission late Monday pushed back on media reports that the command was ready for direct talks with the Taliban, saying that while the command is prepared to talk to the group, the US military is not a substitute for the Afghan government: Resolute Support statement.
—President Trump told CBS News he wants the new Air Force One to be modernized and have a more patriotic look, saying, “Air Force One is going to be incredible. It’s gonna be the top of the line, the top in the world. And it’s gonna be red, white and blue, which I think is appropriate”: CBS News.
—Two C-130Js and about 60 airmen from Ramstein AB, Germany, are in Bulgaria to fly as part of Exercise Thracian Summer 18: USAFE release.
—Eleven families are suing companies that own housing at Keesler AFB, Miss., claiming they were exposed to “toxic mold” in their homes: Biloxi Sun-Herald.
—Air Education and Training Command on July 10-12 hosted the first Remotely Piloted Aircraft Training Summit at JBSA-Randolph, Texas. The summit focused on ways to improve undergraduate and graduate-level RPA training: AETC release.
—The AIr Force on Monday released an update to its dress and personal appearance regulations, which includes new provisions such as allowing men to wear earrings while off duty and loosen rules on hairstyles for women: USAF release.
—The Government Accountability Office, in a new report, calls on the Pentagon to develop a new strategy for assessing contract award time frames: GAO.
—MSgt. Brett Davidson, an tactical air control party airman at Moody AFB, Ga., reportedly drowned in a popular nearby lake, according to a coroner’s report: WTXL.