A Russian air force delegation led by its Chief, Col.-Gen. Alexander Nikolayevich Zelin, visited Barksdale AFB, La., as part of the US Air Force Chief of Staff Counterpart Visit Program. Zenin and his group met with senior Air Force Global Strike Command officials, including Lt. Gen. Jim Kowalski, AFGSC boss, to discuss training, safety, and other areas of common interest. Zelin and his team participated in two briefings during the early April visit: one hosted by the 2nd Bomb Wing on the B-52, and one including Kowalski to discuss the challenges of the strategic deterrence mission. Zenin also got to sit in a B-52’s cockpit on the flightline. The Counterpart Visit Program is designed to strengthen bilateral relations and provide visiting nations’ air force leaders with a first-hand view of the Air Force, while illustrating programs of mutual interest. (Barksdale report by Megan Meyer)
The F-35 Joint Program Office has officially announced plans to issue multiple sole-source contracts to Pratt & Whitney to upgrade the fighter’s F135 engine—a widely expected move after Pentagon officials indicated they would do so earlier this year instead of developing an entirely new engine.