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​The Air Force officially retired its MQ-1 Predator fleet on Friday. The remotely piloted aircraft ushered in a new era of drone warfare in the mid-1990s and has been a constant eye in the sky in the Middle East since 2001. Here, airmen assigned to the 432nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron perform post-flight checks on an MQ-1 Predator, Feb. 16, 2018, at Creech AFB, Nev. Aircrew there flew one of its last local sorties before the official retirement. See also: USAF Predator Set to End Its Era at Creech and As the Predator Retires, Its Inventor Remembers Its Birth. Air Force photo by SrA. James Thompson.


TRANSCOM’s Reliance on Commercial Carriers Creates Cyber Weaknesses

The Air Force’s limited and stressed fleet of tactical airlifters means US Transportation Command has had to increase the number of private contractor flights, the head of TRANSCOM told lawmakers on Thursday. This has created issues for the command because working with more private companies potentially opens the military up to more cyber attacks, TRANSCOM boss Air Force Gen. Darren McDew said. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

Exercises With South Korea to Continue as Trump, Kim Jong Un Plan to Meet

Joint exercises between the US and South Korea “must continue” as planning begins for a meeting between President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, the South Korean national security adviser announced Thursday. Kim “understands that the routine joint military exercises” must continue after they had been delayed for the Olympics, South Korean National Security Adviser Chung Eui-yong said at the White House on Thursday. He announced that following a meeting in Pyongyang earlier in March that Kim is willing to meet directly with Trump. South Korea, the US, and other allies in the region are “fully resolutely committed to the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,” Chung said. The US and South Korea in January delayed the annual, large-scale Foal Eagle exercise, and a defense official told ABC News the event will now be held later this month. Last year’s exercise included multiple B-1B flights to the Korean Peninsula, along with 17,000 US troops and more than 300,000 South Korean forces. —Brian Everstine

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Lakenheath F-15Es Training in Greece

About 300 airmen and 14 F-15Es from RAF Lakenheath, England, have deployed to Greece for a large-scale flying exercise with multiple NATO partners. The aircraft and airmen from the 48th Fighter Wing are participating in INIOHOS 18, which in will include more than 50 aircraft from seven countries, according to a US Air Forces in Europe release. The exercise, which runs from March 12 to March 23, focuses on interoperability between the nations. It began in the late 1980s as just a Greek exercise. The F-15Es last flew in the exercise in 2016. —Brian Everstine

Body of World War II Pilot Accounted For

The Defense Department has accounted for an Army Air Forces pilot shot down in 1943, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency said Thursday. According to the agency, 1st Lt. William Shank, a pilot with the 338th Fighter Squadron, 55th Fighter Group, 66th Fighter Wing, was flying his P-38 over Bremen, Germany, but was killed after “engaging in fierce enemy action.”  Shank’s name is already on the Walls of the Missing at the Cambridge American Cemetery in the United Kingdom, along with other World War II missing service members. A rosette will now be placed next to his name to show he has been accounted for.

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RADAR SWEEP


—More than 120 New York Air and Army National Guardsmen helped respond to winter storms in the Hudson Valley on March 8: NYANG release.

—US European Command’s largest bilateral exercise of 2018, Juniper Cobra in Israel, is underway with a focus on ballistic missile defense: EUCOM release.

—Tactical Air Control Party airmen with the Idaho Air National Guard trained with civilian and state entities on search and rescue response March 1-4: Idaho ANG release.

—A monument honoring the nearly 5,000 helicopter pilots and crew members killed in Vietnam will be dedicated at Arlington National Cemetery on April 18: AFA release.