Several F-16 Fighting
Falcon’s from the 388th Fighter Wing sit on the flightline Sept. 9,
2013, at Hill AFB, Utah. For more than three months,
sequestration created many challenges for the fighter wing, including one F-16 squadron completely stood down
and its sister-squadron forced to fly with drastically reduced hours. Air
Force photo by Desiree N. Palacios.
Stateside bases could become a “no fly zone” if the Air Force can’t get some predictability to its budget, Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said Thursday. Speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., Goldfein said the prospect of a year-long continuing resolution—instead of an enacted budget—poses grave problems for the service. “It’s a $1.3 billion bill,” Goldfein said. “I won’t have the people I need, … depot lines will stop, … I won’t be able to hire maintainers, … I get no relief” from the readiness problems plaguing the service. “There is no enemy on the planet than can do more damage to the United States Air Force than us not getting a budget,” he said. Goldfein said the Air Force provides basic enabling capabilities that the country—and frequently the other services—take for granted, much as they assume lights will come on if a switch is flicked. “If we don’t put resources against the missions” the Air Force performs “under the radar,” he said. “Those lights won’t go on.”
Asked to compare the capabilities of the Chinese J-20 and J-31 to American F-22s and F-35s, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said it’s almost an irrelevant comparison, and what is a better discussion is “network versus network.” Speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., Goldfein said fighter combat, one vs. one, doesn’t interest him. “The network is where we need to focus,” he said, explaining that every platform will be most important based on its ability to populate the network with actionable combat information, and will be most lethal based on “either an app [application] or aperture.” The F-35 he described as the “quarterback” of this network war, gathering and distributing information to the whole force. He hopes to “evolve the discussion, over time” from the combat capabilities of any given aircraft to the “family of systems” brought to bear against an enemy, and the more the better. “We want to create dilemmas for the enemy” about what to watch, what to prioritize, what’s real, and what’s unimportant, Goldfein said. The capabilities of an individual platform is really “a 20th century discussion.”
An F-35A Lightning II from Hill AFB, Utah,
takes off from Nellis AFB, Nev., Feb. 2, 2017, during Red Flag 17-01. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw.
The Air Force is “getting ready” to deploy its F-35As on an overseas deployment, Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies Thursday. He didn’t elaborate, but said the F-35 “performed brilliantly” in recent Red Flag exercises, and the Marine Corps had a successful deployment to Japan recently, also. “This is not a ‘PowerPoint’ aircraft. It’s flying and ready for combat,” Goldfein said of the F-35A. In separate commentary, he also said the F-35 will never fight “by itself,” but as part of a joint force, supplying and receiving information from the “multi-domain, multi-component” combat enterprise. The F-35 will “control … and dominate” the combat network, he said. Goldfein supported buying “as many” F-35s as possible, “as quickly as possible,” to beef up anemic fighter squadrons that have been reduced to levels that don’t allow USAF to be everywhere it needs to be. His job is to make sure USAF manages the program well and keeps up the numbers so both other services and allies can afford the jet, and add their aircraft to the joint enterprise.
The Air Force is looking at light attack aircraft that are “shovel ready,” and could quickly be acquired to perform ground support missions in “uncontested” regions, Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said Thursday. Speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Goldfein said USAF wants a low-cost, “off the shelf” system requiring minimal or no changes to meet this requirement, but he also said it is not yet a program of record. The “Combat Dragon” experiments with such aircraft have produced “ a lot of data,” which is in-hand and ready to be applied to evaluating candidate systems, he said. Goldfein was asked why the mission could not be done by a remotely piloted aircraft, and he replied that he’s not yet sure it can’t be. The Air Force is now in the mode of asking industry to offer ideas. “Show me what ya got,” Goldfein said to attending contractors, cautioning that the service doesn’t have a lot of money for further experiments. Though the Air Force has tried out the old OV-10 Bronco in the role, Goldfein said that its only sensors are the pilot’s eyes, and “we’re way beyond that.” Even such an aircraft will have to “plug into” the network, he said.
Boeing photo of a KC-46A.
Boeing has sued two of its suppliers for allegedly mislabeling chemicals that damaged the refueling systems in a KC-46A, which delayed its first flight in 2015 by a month. The lawsuit, filed Friday in a California federal court, calls for at least $10 million in damages from Able Aerospace Adhesives and AflaKleen Chemical Labs, The Seattle Times reported. Boeing claims that the suppliers provided them with a chemical labeled that it met an Air Force requirement, though it did not, the paper reported. “When the liquid was introduced into the aircraft’s fuel boom and fuel system, the liquid damaged the components it touched,” the lawsuit states. “The fuel boom and fuel system were damaged, and a number of the components comprising the fuel boom and fuel system had to be replaced.” Boeing confirmed it had filed the lawsuit, but said it could not comment further on a pending legal matter. Able Aerospace Adhesives and AflaKleen Chemical Labs also declined to comment.
MSgt. Israel Del Toro listens to cadet instructor Jordan Wesemann
while taking the jumping course Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017, at the
parachute training center at the Air Force Academy. Photo courtesy of The Gazette's Christian Murdock.
MSgt. Israel Del Toro completed his 131st parachute jump at the US Air Force Academy, Colo., on Feb. 18. It had been about 12 years since his 130th jump—a time filled with the struggle and courage of his recovery from 100 percent disability status after a 2005 roadside bomb detonated under his Humvee in Afghanistan. The explosion took off his nose, severed his fingers, and gave him third-degree burns on 80 percent of his body, the Colorado Springs Gazette reported. His doctors gave him only a 15 percent chance to survive, and they told him he would never walk again. He was medically discharged, but in 2010 Del Toro became the first 100 percent disabled airman allowed by the service to re-enlist. He also discovered a talent for cycling and track and field events along the way, and he has participated in the USAF World Class Athlete program and has competed at paralympic events such as the Warrior Games and Invictus Games. Del Toro is currently a military training noncommissioned officer in the 98th Flying Training Squadron at the Academy, according to a USAFA spokesman. He works as an instructor in the Academy’s parachuting airmanship courses and trains cadets trying out for Wings of Blue, the Academy’s parachuting demonstration and competition team.
B-1 Lancer from Dyess AFB, Texas, a B-2 Spirit from Whiteman AFB,
Mo., and a B-52 Stratofortress from Minot AFB, N.D., rehearse
formations moments before performing a bomber trio in-trail flyover at
Barksdale AFB, La., Feb. 2, 2017. The all-bomber flyover took place to
commemorate the Eighth Air Force’s 75th Anniversary. Eighth Air Force,
also known as “The Mighty Eighth,” which dates
back to World War II, houses all of the Air Force’s nuclear-capable and
conventional bomber fleet. The Eighth Air Force, which is in charge of nuclear
and conventional bombers and is made up of five bomb wings at different
locations, is one of two Active Duty numbered
air forces with the Air Force Global Strike Command. The numbered air force traces its
lineage to the VIII Bomber Command, which was activated
on Feb. 1, 1942, at Langley Field, Va. VIII Bomber Command was
re-designated as Eighth Air Force on Feb. 22, 1944. (Air Force
photo courtesy of Sagar Pathak.) (Click on image above to reach wallpaper version.)
Air Force leaders are working to educate the American public on the importance of space in US military operations. “In the next year, you’ll hear us talking a lot about space and how we work closely with the Army, Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard. We believe it is imperative that Americans understand the nature of what is at stake as we rapidly prepare to defend our satellites and networks from attack and develop capabilities that will deter future adversaries from trying,” wrote Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein and Space Command boss Gen. Jay Raymond in an op-ed published by Defense News Wednesday. The leaders identified three areas of progress on this front. First, USAF is improving its “ability to command and control space assets in a contested environment.” Next, since most current US space assets were launched before conflict in space seemed possible, “we are building a more survivable space infrastructure.” Third, the Air Force has established the Joint Interagency Combined Space Operations Center in Colorado, “to help us innovate and test new tools in space.” At JICSPOC, USAF is collaborating with US Strategic Command because a large part of the mission in space is deterrence. “We must be able to detect threats early,” Goldfein and Raymond wrote, and “if need be, maneuver and respond so decisively that no foe is tempted to raise a weapon in anger.”
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joseph Dunford speaks to an audience at a Brookings Institution event in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 23, 2017. Screenshot photo.
The US and Russia will work together in the minimum way to deconflict operations over Syria and to establish a communication line to use in the event of a crisis, but current law prevents any additional work, the top US uniformed officer said Thursday. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joseph Dunford said Thursday that he agreed to not speak publicly about the details of his conversation with his Russian counterpart last week in Azerbaijan, to avoid any “politicization” of their talk. The 2017 National Defense Authorization Act explicitly prohibits bilateral military-to-military cooperation with Russia until that country ceases its occupation of Ukrainian territory. However, the US and Russia must talk productively to “mitigate the risk of miscalculation, and open lines of communication” in the event of a crisis, Dunford said Thursday at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.
The Pentagon’s anticipated review of ways to defeat ISIS will not solely focus on military actions, but will also call for political changes to ensure the group does not regain power in the region, Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said Thursday. The plan, laid out in a Jan. 28 memorandum to Defense Secretary James Mattis, must move beyond additional military activities and will focus on diplomatic efforts necessary to completely address the “transregional” threat posed by ISIS, which is a global problem. ISIS fighters are coming to Iraq and Syria from more than 100 countries, and the group has a global flow of resources. Local forces, with the help of the US-led international coalition, need to “cut the connective tissue” connecting ISIS to other nations and “drive the threat down to the level that local law enforcement” can handle it, Dunford said. Dunford’s comments came as Iraqi forces pushed intensely into ISIS-held western Mosul, retaking the city’s airport as they face car bombs and explosives dropped by drones, CNN reported.
An artist rendering of robotic arms servicing a commercial satellite in Geosynchronous Earth Orbit. DARPA illustration.
Space Systems Loral, recently partnered with DARPA
on a satellite-servicing project, is already partnered with DARPA and
NASA on two other programs, both aimed at modifying satellite culture in
space. The company's Restore-L and Dragonfly programs aim to change forever space’s “throwaway culture.”
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