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  • Lawmakers Want New A-10 Wings; Massive Mobility Support for Weapons School Exercise; Big Contract for F-22 Engine Work

    ​An A-10 departs after receiving fuel from a 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron KC-135 during a flight in support of Operation Inherent Resolve in April 19. Air Force photo by SrA Trevor T. McBride

    Lawmakers Plead with Appropriators for A-10 Funds

    Twenty lawmakers on Friday called for funds needed to re-wing the remaining A-10s in the Air Force’s fleet in order to avoid creating “a significant capability gap” in the close air support and combat search and rescue missions. The service has already replaced the wings on 173 of its active A-10s, but 110 more will require new wings to extend their service life, the lawmakers write in a letter sent to congressional appropriators. Read the full story by Wilson Brissett

    NATO Pressures Russia on INF Treaty

    NATO is calling on Russia comply with the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty, joining the US in criticism after that country deployed a new missile system that could violate the treaty. “The United States is in compliance with its obligations under the INF Treaty and committed to strictly implementing it,” NATO said in a Friday statement. “Allies have identified a Russian missile system that raises serious concerns; NATO urges Russia to address these concerns in a substantial and transparent way, and actively engage in a technical dialogue with the United States.” Early this year, Russia deployed a new cruise missile, a possible violation of the 1987 treaty that bans ground-launched missiles with ranges between 500 kilometers and 5,500 kilometers. The treaty has “been crucial to Euro-Atlantic security” and has removed an “entire class” of weapons, NATO said. “Full compliance with the INF Treaty is essential and we remain fully committed to the preservation of this landmark arms control treaty,” the statement said. —Brian Everstine

    More Than 60 Mobility Aircraft Fly in Weapons School Capstone Exercise

    C-17s and C-130s supported a massive US Air Force Weapons School capstone event, flying 61 of the mobility aircraft from 12 bases to airdrop 120 US Army paratroopers. The 37 C-17s and 21 C-130s flew alongside F-16s and F-15s on Dec. 9 near Nellis AFB, Nev., for the exercise. The mobility aircraft “fought” their way in to deliver the soldiers. “It requires a lot of integration with other assets, F-16s and F-15s for example, to clear the lane for the (mobility aircraft) to get to the objective area, airdrop, and put in our joint partners, in this case the Army, to start building up combat power,” Maj. J.R. Wendler, 16th Airlift Squadron and 437th Operations Group director of staff, said in a JB Charleston, S.C., release. —Brian Everstine

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    Pratt & Whitney Gets $6.7 Billion F-22 Engine Contract

    The Air Force on Thursday awarded Pratt & Whitney $6.7 billion for continued work on F119 engines, which power F-22 Raptors. The sole-source contract covers work with an expected completion date of Dec. 31, 2025. It includes work at Pratt’s East Hartford, Conn., facility, along with Edwards AFB, Calif.; JB Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska; JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii; Hill AFB, Utah; Holloman AFB, N.M.; JB Langley-Eustis, Va.; Nellis AFB, Nev.; Sheppard AFB, Texas; Tinker AFB, Okla.; and Tyndall AFB, Fla.

    LRASM Completes Next Round of Testing

    Lockheed Martin recently completed another round of testing for the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile, which it is developing for the Air Force and Navy. A B-1B bomber successfully fired “production configuration” missiles over the Sea Range at Point Mugu, Calif., the company announced Dec. 12. The USAF bomber aircrew “simultaneously launched two LRASMs against multiple maritime targets, meeting the primary test objectives, including target impact,” according to a press release. The precision-guided, standoff missile is scheduled to be integrated on USAF B-1B bombers in 2018 and the Navy’s F/A-18 fighters in 2019.

    Fourth GPS III Payload Delivered

    The fourth advanced navigation payload in the GPS III constellation has been delivered to Lockheed Martin for system integration, the Harris Corporation announced Dec. 15. The delivery is the second of 2017, and Harris said it has achieved a “ reliable production cadence” for the program. The company also said it is “committed to delivering four more in 2018.” Lockheed Martin is under contract to produce the first 10 GPS III satellites, and Harris will provide navigation payloads for each vehicle. The fifth payload is currently in environmental testing. The first satellite in the GPS III constellation is scheduled to launch in 2018.

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    RADAR SWEEP

    How the California Air National Guard is using MQ-9 Reapers to help respond to wildfires: 9th Reconnaissance Wing release

    A reusable SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched Friday morning at Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., carrying supplies to the International Space Station. CBS News

    USTRANSCOM is putting together a prototype for a new transportation management system. Development began after a Dec. 1 proof-of-principle showcased modern capabilities like real-time visibility on shipments from journey beginning to end: DOD

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