US and Russian officials again met via teleconference on Wednesday to deconflict air operations in Syria as new operations have further complicated the airspace. US officials, including acting assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs Ken Handelman and Rear Adm. Michael J. Dumont, the deputy director for strategic initiatives on the joint staff, met with representatives of the Russian Ministry of Defense “to ensure that each side continues to adhere to agreed-upon measures to mitigate incidents in the air over Syria,” according to a Pentagon statement. The meeting was the latest in a series of video teleconferences, along with daily phone calls between the US-led coalition’s air operations center and Russian officials. On Wednesday, coalition spokesman Air Force Col. John Dorrian said US aircraft have been supporting a Turkish advance in the Syrian city of Al-Bab, where Russian aircraft had also been operating. This battlespace is “complicated,” and the hotline has been in regular use, he said.
The Collaborative Combat Aircraft will be operational in the late 2020s, several years before the Next-Generation Air Dominance family of systems, Air Force officials told the House Armed Services tactical aviation panel. The CCAs will first be “shooters,” then electronic warfare platforms, then sensors, in that order, they added.