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​US Air Force F-15C Eagles taxi to the runway for takeoff Dec. 5, 2017, at Gwangju AB, South Korea, during Exercise Vigilant Ace-18. Air Force photo by A1C Kristen A. Heller.


US to Suspend Joint Exercises With South Korea

The US will suspend joint exercises with South Korea following President Trump’s summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, a move that seemingly took both the Pentagon and Capitol Hill by surprise early Tuesday. The Pentagon and US Forces-Korea said they were awaiting guidance on how to go forward, and South Korea said it was working to understand the “intent” behind the announcement. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

Kadena to Resume F-15 Flights After Crash

Kadena AB, Japan, will resume F-15 operations on Wednesday following a brief stand down after Monday’s crash of an Eagle into the seas near Okinawa. The 18th Wing at Kadena conducted an inspection of all of its F-15s, and airmen reviewed initial facts and circumstances of the mishap to determine the base’s F-15 fleet is safe, according to an 18th Wing release. “In the last 24 hours, we’ve inspected all of our F-15s, and we are confident they are safe to resume training,” said Col. Richard Tanner, vice commander of the 18th Wing, in a statement. “At the same time, we have reinforced the importance of safety and adherence to flight regulations with all of our pilots.” On Monday morning, the pilot was forced to eject during a routine training flight at about 6:36 local time. The pilot was rescued by the Japan Air Self-Defense Force at taken to a hospital on Camp Foster. On Tuesday, the pilot’s condition had been upgraded to “fair” from the initial “serious” condition, according to Kadena. —Brian Everstine

Coalition Increases Strikes in Iraq and Syria as it “Rounds Up” ISIS Targets

US and coalition aircraft have significantly increased the number of airstrikes targeting ISIS in Syria and Iraq. In May, the coalition conducted 225 strikes in 280 engagements, a 304 percent increase from the 74 strikes it conducted in March and a 132 percent increase over the 183 strikes it recorded in April. The strikes are a part of Operation Roundup, the coalition’s effort to rid ISIS from its final holdouts inside Syria and Iraq. According to a US Central Command summary of the strikes, most were focused on ISIS supply routes, tactical units, and logistics facilities near the Syrian villages of Abu Kamal and Al Shadaddi. There are some remnants of the group near the liberated city of Mosul, where strikes targeted ISIS tunnels. —Brian Everstine

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Perdue: JSTARS Needs to Be Upgraded in Near Term, as Modern Battle Management is Formed

The Air Force is facing a “capability gap” in how it conducts its airborne battle management mission with the aging E-8C JSTARS aircraft, and its new plan to create an Advanced Battle Management System can help close that gap “on paper,” a key senator said Tuesday. Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has led the charge against the Air Force’s plan to retire the E-8C JSTARS, which he said is “based in my hometown.” The JSTARS is the Air Force’s most requested piece of hardware, and needs to be improved to keep flying while it is needed, Perdue told reporters Tuesday. The Air Force has shown, with other aircraft such as the B-52, that it can upgrade and keep older aircraft viable, and that should happen in the near future with the JSTARS. The Air Force recently announced plans to base the Advanced Battle Management System at Robins AFB, Ga.,—the home of the JSTARS—and Perdue said Tuesday that this capability when it comes online will be important as the JSTARS is eventually phased out. While it will not be as good as having the battle management airmen in the air on the plane with the radar, the ABMS will be more capable in denied environments, Perdue said. —Brian Everstine


Pratt & Whitney Forms Unit to Develop Military Engines Quickly, Cheaply

NEW YORK—Pratt & Whitney President Robert Leduc told reporters here Tuesday his company is ideally placed to take advantage of increases in planned US defense spending. The head of the aviation engine manufacturer made his comments to a group of aviation reporters the company brought to its Brooklyn headquarters as it announced the formation of a unit aimed at developing military aircraft engines more quickly and cheaper than conventional procurement efforts. Pointing to proposed defense increases for programs such as the Joint Strike Fighter, KC-46 tanker, and B-21 bomber, he said Pratt & Whitney is “on the right platforms.” The Joint Strike Fighter, he said, is the “No. 1 DOD priority,” while the tanker also has “high priority” and the bomber is “a strategic need.” “There is no doubt,” he said, “that we placed our bets in the right place.” Meanwhile, the company said it was setting up “GatorWorks,” a prototyping arm concentrating on quick development of dependable military engines at lower cost. The aim, the company said, is to cut the lead time and cost for engines compared to conventional procurement cycles. —Steve Hirsch

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RADAR SWEEP


—Lt. Gen. Thomas Bergeson has been nominated for assignment as deputy commander of US Central Command and Maj. Gen. James Slife has been nominated for a third star and assignment as vice commander of US Special Operations Command: DOD announcement.

—NATO and Chinese military officials resumed talks on June 5 at the new NATO headquarters building in Brussels after a three-year pause: NATO release.

—Lockheed Martin recently delivered it’s 300th production F-35 aircraft: F-35.com.

—The Senate Armed Services Committee wants a group of top scientists to research American and coalition electronic warfare capabilities and offer recommendations on how the US can improve its EW capabilities: Breaking Defense.

—Pacific Angel kicked off on July 11 in Timor Leste with representatives from the US, Timor-Leste, Australia, the United Kingdom, Indonesia, and the Philippines working together on humanitarian response: PACAF release.