Goldfein: Solutions for the Pilot Crisis Center on Diversity

A big part of the Air Force’s assault on its pilot shortage will come from widening the base of potential pilots it draws on, and that means bringing in a greater diversity of pilot candidates. After hearing ideas offered by a diverse group of male, female and minority pilots and minority-focused aviation affinity and professional groups, Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein concluded there are “opportunities for bold moves” to make the USAF pilot corps look more like America. Read the full story by John A. Tirpak.?

Air Force F-35 Fleet Facing Low Availability, Logistics Limitations

About 100 of the total 130 F-35As in the Air Force’s fleet are operating on an older software suite and are flight ready less than half the time. At the same time, the operational jets the Air Force has deployed running a newer, more advanced suite are mission capable almost three-quarters of the time and are an “awesome improvement” over the bulk of the fleet, Lt. Gen. Jerry Harris, the deputy chief of staff for strategic plans, programs, and requirements said Wednesday. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

NATO Still Refining New Cyber Operations Center

NATO defense ministers agreed to the “general design” of a new cyber operations center at the defense ministerial in February and the alliance is now in the “implementation phase,” though the details are still being refined, Czech Gen. Petr Pavel, chairman of NATO’s Military Committee, told defense reporters in Washington on Wednesday. Pavel said the alliance hasn’t yet figured out how many personnel will be assigned to the center, which is part of the NATO command structure. “By this summer, we’ll have more information about all of these elements, including the cyber center,” said Pavel. Though some NATO members have offensive cyber capabilities and “are willing to operate to the benefit of the alliance,” Pavel said NATO is not considering “developing a NATO-wide offensive cyber” capability. “If there isa situation, then SACEUR [Supreme Allied Commander Europe] will coordinate use of all elements of cyber, including those who are acting,” said Pavel. —Amy McCullough

USAF Acquisition Head Calls for More Prototyping in Development

More use of prototyping in development could help avoid cost issues such as those that are plaguing the F-35, a top USAF civilian told lawmakers. Appearing before the House Armed Services Committee, Assistant Air Force Secretary William Roper said that during the Cold War the Air Force was able to develop advanced aircraft as it tried to stay ahead of the Soviets because it had the discipline to do only one new thing per prototype. Read the full story by Steve Hirsch.

DOD, STRATCOM Assure Capability of Missile Defenses in Face of Growing Threats

Key House Armed Services members expressed concerns Wednesday about the adequacy of the U.S. nuclear deterrence and missile defenses in light of growing capabilities of Russia, China and other nations, but the top Pentagon official on nuclear policy and the commander of US Strategic Command said nuclear deterrence still works and the missile defenses meet current threats. Read the full story by Otto Kreisher.

Propulsion System Malfunction Caused March 2017 A-29 Crash

An A-29, flown by an Afghan Air Force student pilot and USAF instructor pilot, crashed in March 2017 near Moody AFB, Ga., because a propulsion malfunction dramatically reduced thrust, according to an Air Force investigation. On March 6, 2017, an Air Force instructor pilot and an Afghan student pilot were flying a two-ship formation on a close air attack training flight out of Moody. Early in the flight, the A-29 experienced a Power Management System Fault but after consultation with leadership the flight continued. About one hour later, the propulsion system “suddenly malfunctioned” and the plane’s propeller speed significantly reduced according to an Air Education and Training Command investigation released Wednesday. The instructor pilot initiated a checklist, was able to establish control, determined the engine did not stall, and tried to troubleshoot the issue. The pilot diverted to the nearest airfield in Homerville, Ga., and tried to land but was unable to reach the field. At about 300 feet above ground level, the pilots ejected safely. The AETC investigation found the propulsion malfunction was the main cause of the mishap, with the instructor pilot’s limited visibility and task oversaturation contributing to the crash. The A-29 was destroyed at a cost of $17.7 million.—Brian Everstine


—Cadets with the Air Force Academy hiking on Torreys Peak in Colorado recently rescued hikers who were in danger. The Cadets will be honored by the American Red Cross on March 15: The (Colorado Springs) Gazette.

—Airmen with the Reserve 815th Airlift Squadron flew in Emerald Warrior 2018, a special operations joint training event that included high-altitude low opening jumps out of C-130Js. The exercised will wrap up on Friday: AFRC release.

—Members of Ohio’s Congressional delegation sent a letter on Monday to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to request that the Pentagon pick a site near Wright-Patterson AFB for an East Coast Missile Defense location: Dayton Daily News.