Air Force and Army personnel worked with their Japanese counterparts to coordinate ground operations and control airspace during Exercise Yama Sakura 63 at Yokota AB, Japan. The exercise, which ran from Dec. 6 to Dec. 13, marked the first time that personnel from both nations utilized the new Bilateral Air Operations Coordination Center of the Japan Air Self Defense Force’s Air Defense Command, according to Yokota’s Dec. 18 release. “The exercise was extremely successful,” said Col. Stephen Meyers, commander of the Army’s 5th Battlefield Coordination Detachment. He added, “We gave the [joint forces air component commander] a comprehensive picture of both air and ground operations.” The US airmen and soldiers exchanged ideas, tactics, and techniques with the Japanese personnel during the exercise. ADC moved its headquarters from Fuchu Air Base to Yokota, and began operations there in March, to improve bilateral contingency planning, training, and intelligence sharing with 5th Air Force. (Yokota report by Capt. Cody Chiles)
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.