The Air Force has approved the plan to give incentive pay to officers who commit to flying remotely piloted aircraft and enlisted airmen who pledge to operate RPA sensors, service officials announced Wednesday. The incentive pay is equivalent to current aviation incentive pay programs and is available to officers in the 18X RPA pilot career field and enlisted members on the new 1U0X1 RPA sensor operator track. These incentives are scaled based on an airman’s time within these fields. “This represents a significant step forward in building a career field of RPA professionals,” said Lt. Col. David DuHadway, USAF’s rated force policy chief. There are slightly more than 400 airmen in RPA career fields today, a number expected to grow to more than 1,000 over the next few years to support burgeoning wartime demands for overhead imagery and armed reconnaissance. (SAF/PA release by SSgt. J.G. Buzanowski)
The Pentagon awarded a contract worth over $2 billion for the next batch of F-35 engines to Pratt & Whitney on June 5. The deal for Lot 17 F135 engines, totaling $2.02 billion, is expected to be completed by December 2025.