Misawa F-16 Mishap Caused by Years-Old Maintenance Issues, Investigation Finds

An F-16 pilot at Misawa AB, Japan, was forced to jettison tanks and return to base after an engine fire in February. An Air Force Investigation Board found that the fire was caused by an obsolete part installed in 2012 by a maintenance shop that was in “general disarray” and did not follow maintenance protocols. A separate investigation into a 2012 F-16 mishap found that the same F-16 shop was not proficient. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

Academy Increases Its Number of Cadets Approved to Fly

The Air Force Academy is matching more cadets for pilot training as the service tries to address its growing shortage of pilots. A total of 530 cadets from the 2019 graduating class have been approved for pilot training, pending final qualifications and commissioning—a 26 percent jump from last year, according to an Academy release. The Academy’s Operations and Analysis Directorate works with Air Education and Training Command with the goal to provide advanced candidates who can bypass initial flight training, since cadets already get academic, virtual, and hands-on training with experience in gliders, soaring, or powered flight programs, according to the Academy. The Academy also plans to increase its offerings by adding flight-related courses to sophomores and seniors so cadets will graduate with even more experience. The Air Force is short about 2,000 pilots, a shortage that is expected to grow if not effectively addressed as commercial airlines also tackle a shortage. —Brian Everstine

US Airstrikes in Somalia Reportedly Kill 37 al-Shabaab Militants

The US military carried out two airstrikes near Debatscile, Somalia, on Nov. 19, killing 37 al-Shabaab terrorists, according to a US Africa Command release. Twenty-seven of those fatalities came as the result of the first strike, which the release called “a planned and deliberate action.” “Airstrikes reduce al-Shabaab’s ability to plot future attacks, disrupt its leadership networks, and degrade its freedom of maneuver within the region,” according to the release. The US military also conducted a “collective self-defense airstrike” on Nov. 3, “after armed [al-Shabaab] militants were maneuvering to attack partner forces during a patrol,” killing four militants, according to a Nov. 4 AFRICOM release. All of the strikes were conducted “in coordination with” the country’s federal government, and no civilians are believed to have been hurt. —Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory

State Department Approves Possible Bomb Sales to 13 Nations

The State Department on Monday approved the possible sale of thousands of precision-guided munitions to 13 allied nations, a move that if approved by Congress could help countries involved in the anti-ISIS fight rebuild their stocks. The possible sale includes 5,000 joint direct attack munition kits and computer controls for GBU-31s, GBU-49s, and GBU-12s, along with programmable fuses for all GBU types, according to a Defense Security Cooperation Agency release. The possible sale is estimated at $320.5 million and would go to Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom, according to DSCA. The prime contractors are Boeing and Raytheon. The sale comes as the US is trying to rebuild its depleted munitions stockpile after years of war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria and an increase in operations in Afghanistan. The Pentagon has received an increase in funding that aims to surge production of weapons in high demand, such as JDAMS, small-diameter bombs, and advanced precision-kill weapon system rockets. —Brian Everstine


Troops at U.S.-Mexican Border to Start Coming Home

All the troops should be home by Christmas, as originally expected, Army Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan said in an interview Monday. Politico

Putting Some Intelligence Into Military Spending

Giving the Pentagon long-term budget stability would improve readiness and efficiency. Bloomberg

Completion of US Drone Base in Niger to be Delayed

Niger Air Base 201, a future hub for armed drones and other aircraft, won’t be completed until the middle of 2019. Air Force Times

DARPA to Showcase the Billions it’s Investing in ‘Third Wave’ AI Research

A couple of months ago, at a National Harbor symposium commemorating the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s 60th anniversary, agency officials unveiled its “AI Next” campaign, a $2 billion effort to usher in the so-called “third wave” of artificial intelligence technologies from concept to reality. Biz Journals

Air Force Taps Northrop, Space Vector for $424M Suborbital Launch Services Contract

Northrop Grumman‘s (NYSE: NOC) innovation systems business, formerly Orbital ATK, and Space Vector have landed spots under a potential seven-year, $424M contract for suborbital launch services in support of the U.S. Air Force‘s Sounding Rocket Program-4. GovConWire

New Video Shows Russia Putting its Most Advanced Stealth Fighter to the Test in War-Torn Syria

Russia has been using war-torn Syria as a testbed for its most advanced stealth fighter — the Su-57. Business Insider

One More Thing:

HMS Queen Elizabeth: ‘Bizarre’ Wrong-Way Landing as F-35 Fighter Jet Sets Down on £3bn Carrier

Squadron Leader Edgell said: ‘It was briefly bizarre to bear down on the ship and see the waves parting on the bow as you fly an approach aft facing,” Portsmouth News