John A. Tirpak

John A. Tirpak is Editorial Director of Air Force Magazine, with more than 25 years at the publication and more than 34 years in defense journalism. He has written for Aviation Week & Space Technology, Aerospace Daily, and Jane’s, reporting from all 50 U.S. states and 25 countries. He has been recognized with awards for journalistic excellence from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Aviation and Space Writer’s Association, the Association of Business Publications International, and was the recipient of the 2018 Gill Robb Wilson Award in Arts and Letters from the Air Force Association. He has also lectured at the National War College and did postgraduate research at the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum.   

Recent stories by John A. Tirpak

Northrop Grumman Offers New B-21 Raider Details Ahead of Rollout

Northrop Grumman has revealed new details about the B-21 Raider ahead of the bomber's rollout Dec. 2. Calling the B-21 a "sixth-generation" aircraft, the company confirmed that the bomber will rely on external support platforms; that it has a "digital twin" to aid development; and ...

Brookings Panel: Pentagon Progressing Slowly in Meeting New Challenges

Four years after the National Defense Strategy reset the American military focus from counter-extremism to “Great Power Competition”—and two weeks after the Pentagon’s new NDS named China the pacing threat—the Defense Department is only sluggishly taking concrete steps to change its operating constructs, although the ...

Air Force Orders 2 More New E-11A BACN Aircraft Systems, Making 5

The Air Force has awarded Northrop Grumman a contract to outfit two more E-11A Bombardier business jets with the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) system. The service already operates three such aircraft, which are used to improve tactical communications for joint and coalition forces. The ...

Shyu Says Wargames Define R&D Investment; New NDS Tech Document Coming

Wargame results and opportunities to asymmetrically counter adversaries are driving the Pentagon’s investment choices in new technologies, said Heidi Shyu, undersecretary of defense for research and engineering. She also said an unclassified document outlining the science and technologies underpinning the new National Defense Strategy will ...

T-38 Crashes Near Columbus AFB—Pilot OK

A T-38A Talon jet trainer of the 14th Flying Training Wing crashed near its home of Columbus Air Force Base, Miss., about 2:30 p.m. local time Nov. 7. The pilot ejected and survived, a base spokesperson said. No one on the ground was hurt.

LaPlante: Congress Will Support Multiyear Weapons Procurements

Congress is of a mind to allow the Pentagon to do more multiyear procurement—in the billions of dollars—particularly of munitions, given the situation in Ukraine and its implications for other potential conflicts, Pentagon acquisition and sustainment chief William LaPlante said.

F-16s From Spangdahlem May Head to Kadena After Alaskan F-22s

F-22s from Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, will initially fill in for F-15Cs as they begin to leave Kadena Air Base, Japan, but the Air Force is eyeing a later and longer deployment of F-16s from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, to reinforce the island base. ...

Strategy & Policy: The New National Defense Strategy 

The new, public version of the National Defense Strategy, unveiled by Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III on Oct. 27, calls out China as the U.S. military’s “pacing threat,” offers no force-sizing construct nor specifics about numbers of forces the U.S. needs.

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