Lockheed Tests New Planning Process in Latest Multi-Domain Command and Control Exercise

Fourteen airmen from various air, space, and cyber specialities participated in Lockheed Martin’s fourth Multi-Domain Command and Control exercise at its Center of Excellence in Suffolk, Va., this week. The airmen were tasked with destroying, disrupting, degrading, denying, or defeating a peer-threat adversary known as the Califan, which was aggressively trying to take over some mineral fields on the island of Pacifica. The island was shared by three nations, all of whom relied on the mineral fields. But the goal was not necessarily to win, rather to test out a whole new concept of operations for planning and force presentation, as well as new tools being developed by the company and the Air Force Research Laboratory. These tools will allow the customer to more quickly and efficiently conduct operations across multiple domains—in this case air, space, and cyber, said Bryan Gates, one of the co-leaders of the exercise. Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein told Air Force Magazine this week the service has matured its thinking on Multi-Domain Operations, saying he plans to use his speech at AFA’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference, Sept. 17-19 in National Harbor, Md., to lay out what the service has been doing and where it’s going. Read the full story by Amy McCullough.

Congressional Democrats Raise Yemen Concerns After Airstrike

More than two dozen congressional Democrats have expressed concerns to Trump administration officials over US military involvement in Yemen. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has sent a three-star general to look into an airstrike in that country last week that killed dozens of children; the US military has supported the Saudi-led war on Houthi rebels in Yemen since 2015. In a Monday letter to Mattis, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, 30 House members, including House Armed Services ranking minority member Adam Smith (D-Wash.), raised concern over Yemen’s humanitarian crisis and asked for a briefing next month. Among the subjects they want covered are whether the US continues to refuel coalition aircraft and “to what extent can the Pentagon distinguish between sorties flown by partners as part of the AQAP [al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula] mission and as part of the anti-Houthi campaign.” One of the signers, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), who served in the Air Force JAG corps, wrote another letter that day asking the acting Defense Department inspector general to start an investigation of the risk that US military personnel supporting the coalition in Yemen “are violating DOD regulations, the Law of Armed Conflict, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, federal statutes, or international law.” Finally, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a member of the Armed Services Committee, wrote Tuesday to US Central Command Commander Gen. Joseph Votel, asking him to clarify earlier committee testimony on a number of subjects, including details of aircraft refueling and the role of US advisers in targeting and airstrike approval. —Steve Hirsch

Three B-2s Deploy to Hawaii

Three B-2s have deployed to the Pacific to augment B-52s already in the region and train with allies throughout the region. The B-2s, deployed from Whiteman AFB, Mo., landed at JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, on Wednesday. B-52s, already deployed to Andersen AFB, Guam, also moved to Hickam this week. The Spirits “regularly rotate through the Indo-Pacific region to conduct routine air operations,” Pacific Air Forces said in a statement. B-2s most recently deployed to the Pacific in January for a Pacific deterrence mission, and at the time all three bombers were at the Guam base. This week’s B-2 deployment “demonstrates US commitment to peace and stability in the region,” according to PACAF. —Brian Everstine

Hill F-35 Unit Fires the Jet’s Gun for the First Time

An operational F-35A has pulled the trigger to its cannon during a training strafing run for the first time. During an Aug. 13 two-ship training flight of F-35As assigned to the 4th Fighter Squadron at Hill AFB, Utah, the aircraft fired on two sets of ground targets at the Utah Test and Training Range. The exercise was the first time an operational unit had fired the F-35A’s 25 mm cannon in a strafing run, according to photographs of the mission posted by the 388th Fighter Wing. Progress at the wing continued this week, as Hill stood up its final F-35A aircraft maintenance unit. The 421st Aircraft Maintenance Unit will receive its first aircraft in December, but is now receiving new airmen and training on four jets it is borrowing from other units at Hill, according to a 388th release. Hill is expected to receive all 78 aircraft by the end of next year. —Brian Everstine

GAO Calls on Pentagon to Improve Data Collection After Crashes

The Pentagon does not collect standardized data on aviation mishaps, and in many cases does not even collect enough data elements to track trends in crashes, the Government Accountability Office said in a report released Wednesday. The GAO found that the Air Force Safety Center collects 17 of the 35 agreed-upon data elements for reporting aviation crash incidents, the best of all the services but still only about half of what is expected. “As a result, [the Office of the Secretary of Defense] must perform time-consuming manipulation and interpretation of certain data elements received from the safety centers to facilitate comparative analyses, which introduces the risk of errors in the analysis and affects the timeliness of providing critical information to decision makers,” the GAO wrote. As a result, the office recommends the Pentagon works to ensure that all data elements are collected. The Pentagon agreed with the GAO’s recommendations in the report. —Brian Everstine

Fourth AEHF Satellite in Final Stages Before Launch

The fourth Advanced Extremely High Frequency missile warning satellite has now arrived at Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., setting the stage for final checkout of the vehicle before launch, now scheduled for Oct. 5, the Air Force said Wednesday. The July 27 delivery and the launch of the satellite “marks a significant milestone in fulfilling our communication commitment to the highest priority Department of Defense ground, sea, and air missions,” Lt. Gen. John Thompson, Space and Missiles Systems Center commander and Air Force program executive officer for space, said. “It’s an important asset for the warfighter and will be employed for years to come,” he added. The AEHF system provides global, protected communications for US Strategic Command and tactical forces, as well as for other countries such as Canada, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. In May Lockheed said it had finished launch environment tests for the fifth satellite.


—Two US F-22s engaged in simulated dogfights with two Norwegian F-35s Wednesday while on a training mission there: Reuters.

—President Trump’s Nov. 10 military parade now is estimated to cost $92 million, compared to the $12 million estimated earlier: CNBC.

—Polish President Andrzej Duda has expressed a desire for a permanent US military presence in that country: Associated Press.

—The Air Force is designing a new version of its dress blues uniform that could be available next year, and CMSAF Kaleth Wright says it may echo the past: Air Force Times.

—Robert Holmstrom, of Maplewood, Minn., a 92-year-old veteran of World War II OSS covert flights, received a replica Congressional Gold Medal Aug. 6 from Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.); in March, Congress presented the medal to OSS members collectively: Lillie News.