USAF Eyes No Maintainer Shortage at Year End

The Air Force’s maintainer shortage, which once stood at more than 4,000 airmen, has just about closed, Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein told Air Force Magazine in a recent interview. The protracted effort to rebuild the ranks has largely gone according to plan, and the career field is now 99 percent manned overall. The service is looking to have the career field fully manned by the end of the year, but the get-well plan has created unbalanced experience levels that will take years more to remedy. “We’re getting to zero,” Goldfein said. “That’s good.” Read the full story by Adam J. Hebert.

USAF Seeks to Groom Standout Squadron Commanders

The Air Force is looking to identify future squadron commanders early in their careers and deliberately and methodically develop their skills. “We’re focusing very precisely on the development of that officer that we believe has the potential to become a squadron commander,” Gen. Dave Goldfein, USAF Chief of Staff, told Air Force Magazine in a recent interview. “That’s why I’ve asked wing commanders to reestablish, if they don’t have them, their Flight Leader Courses at the wing level,” he said. “From that course, and from watching these young officers, I’m asking wing commanders to identify those that they believe have the most potential to eventually become a squadron commander,” Goldfein said. The future leaders will move through a more structured environment than they have in the past, he said. Read the full story by Adam J. Hebert.

Goldfein Says Light Attack Experiment Chiefly an International Partnership Initiative

The Light Attack aircraft experiment should be viewed chiefly as a way to partner with allied air forces and not simply as an inexpensive way to conduct operations against violent extremists, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said in an interview with Air Force Magazine. While saving the cost of high-end combat jets in an uncontested battlespace is a plus, Goldfein said the Light Attack concept is mainly geared toward meeting the National Defense Strategy’s mandate to seek partnerships and alliances. A draft request for proposals has been released, and a final version is expected by the end of the year, but Goldfein said the jury is still out on how many of the aircraft USAF will want to buy. Read the full story by John A. Tirpak.

Ray Takes Over Global Strike

Gen. Timothy Ray took over leadership of Air Force Global Strike Command on Tuesday, assuming command from retiring Gen. Robin Rand. Ray, who received his fourth star in the promotion, previously was the deputy commander of US European Command. A command pilot with more than 4,000 hours in several aircraft including B-52s and B-1s, Ray has also served as the commander of 3rd Air Force and the director of global power programs for Headquarters US Air Force. Rand, who was the command’s first four star boss, had led Global Strike since July 2015. —Brian Everstine

Raptors, C-130s, KC-135 Deploy to Romania

F-22s from the 95th Fighter Squadron at Tyndall AFB, Fla., have forward deployed to Romania for local training alongside a USAF KC-135 and C-130Js. The Raptors are touring through several countries during their ongoing deployment to Europe. At Campia Turzii AB, Romania, the aircraft will demonstrate the Air Force’s “commitment to field and operate fifth generation” jets in Europe. The jets originally deployed to Germany, and have flown training exercises in Spain, Poland, and Norway. —Brian Everstine

General Atomics Gets MQ-9 Missile Defense Contract

The Missile Defense Agency on Monday awarded General Atomics a $134 million contract to integrate an “advanced sensor” onto MQ-9s. The contract calls on General Atomics to develop, integrate, and test the sensor on Reapers “in realistic test scenarios at continental US and outside continental US locations,” according to a Pentagon release. General Atomics has been testing missile tracking systems on remotely piloted aircraft, previously using Raytheon Multi-spectral Targeting Systems-C Electro-optical Infrared turrets, according to a company release. —Brian Everstine


—The Defense Department identified the soldier killed in a helicopter crash Monday in Iraq as Chief Warrant Officer 3 Taylor J. Galvin, 34, of Spokane, Wash. Galvin was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR) at Fort Campbell, Ky.: DOD release.

—Exercise Pitch Black 2018 wrapped up Aug. 17. The large-scale exercise, hosted by the Royal Australian Air Force, included units from USAF, US Marine Corps, along with other 15 countries: USAF release.

—The US Department of Agriculture has safety teams across the Air Force, including some who are deployed to an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, to manage a drop net system to help trap birds near busy flight lines: AFCENT release.

—A Swedish Air Force Gripen fighter crashed in Ronneby, Sweden, on Tuesday. The pilot safely ejected: The Associated Press.

—A private investigative firm has reportedly been shopping a dossier alleging corruption in the process of awarding the Defense Department’s upcoming massive cloud contract: Defense One.