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​The Air Force is expected to soon award a contract for two mothballed 747-8i aircraft to replace the Boeing 747-200B series aircraft (USAF designation for the aircraft is VC-25A). White House photo.


Boneyard Boeings Will be the Next Air Force Ones   

The Air Force will shortly announce it is buying two 747-8i aircraft—neither new nor used—as the basis for the next presidential transport fleet. The jets are in storage in a Mojave Desert boneyard and were once destined to serve Transaero, a Russian airline that went belly-up in 2015, but were never paid for or delivered and have been hanging around on Boeing’s balance sheet for some time. The jets will reportedly be bought at a bargain price by the Air Force, which has been under White House pressure to reduce the cost of the Presidential Aircraft Replacement program. Read the full story by John A. Tirpak.


Heat Exposure Responsible for 2016 SERE Training Death

An Air Force investigation has found that “heat exposure” was the cause of death of A1C Kenneth Sturgill, who died at JBSA-Camp Bullis, Texas, on July 7, 2016, while participating in a Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) training program. Sturgill was found unresponsive at the conclusion of a six-hour “solo living exercise,” which requires trainees to “accomplish various survival tasks in an isolated setting, consistent with operational experience as a SERE specialist,” according to the report. His recorded body temperature was 112 degrees. Before the accident, fellow participants found Sturgill to be “performing above standard[s] in the course” and “very upbeat.” He had previously completed the swimming and running tests as well as push-up, sit-up, and pull-up requirements. The high temperature in the area on the day of Sturgill’s death was 101.8 degrees, according to the report, which also states that regular “water checks” were performed for all participants that day in accordance with USAF instructions. Air Education and Training Command said in a press release that Sturgill is the only trainee who has died while participating in the program, which was initiated in 2012. —Wilson Brissett

OCX Delayed Again, Rogers Renews Call for Reform

Deployment of the next-generation ground control system (OCX) for the GPS III satellite constellation has been delayed nine months beyond the Air Force’s most recent estimate, and congressional critics of the Air Force’s management of space operations are pouncing on the news. The service now expects OCX to be operational in April 2022. Read the full report by Wilson Brissett.

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New Mobile Software Will Improve Point of Injury Care

The Air Force has developed a software program that can identify the location and medical status of injured airmen in the field. The application can run on a smartphone and makes use of existing, off-the-shelf body sensors already approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The program, called Battlefield Assisted Trauma Distributed Observation Kit (BATDOK), combines electronic record-keeping with real-time health monitoring to improve health care at the point of injury. For system development, Air Force researchers joined a deployed team of pararescuemen and combat search officers on search and rescue missions in order to observe first hand the particular challenges they face. “We literally rode in the helicopters into hot landing zones, and observed medical airmen stabilize and package up patients for transport and load them back on the helicopter,” said Gregory Burnett, who led program development for the 711th Human Performance Wing’s Airman Systems Directorate, in a press release. —Wilson Brissett


STRATCOM Brings International Collaboration to Deterrence Symposium

Effective deterrence on a global scale requires sustained international collaboration, the chief of US Strategic Command Gen. John Hyten said at STRATCOM’s 2017 Deterrence Symposium, held in Omaha, Neb., July 26-27. A total of 650 participants from 13 nations attended the symposium, which focused on fostering frank conversation on some of the most difficult security risks in the world today. Read the full report by Wilson Brissett.

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RADAR SWEEP


—The Air Force will launch an unarmed Minuteman III ICBM from Vandenberg AFB, Calif., early Wednesday morning. The launch—the fourth such test this year—comes days after North Korea launched its own ICBM that experts say is capable of reaching several US cities.

—The Senate confirmed the reappointment of Gen. Paul Selva for a second term as Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Monday. Sevla’s nomination was approved “by unanimous consent,” according to a Senate Armed Services Committee spokesperson.

—Some 260 airmen and 18 F-16s from Spangdahlem AB, Germany, recently completed a three-week deployment to RAF Lakenheath, England, where they flew alongside their British counterparts and members of USAF’s 48th Fighter Wing: USAFE release.

—The Space and Missile Systems Center has asked industry for ways to reduce the design life of GPS satellites from 15 years to seven years: FBO request for information.

—Air Tractor and L3 will fly the AT-802L Longsword in the Air Force’s OA-X light attack competition, which will be held at Holloman AFB, N.M., next week: DOD Buzz.