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​Defense Secretary James Mattis meets with King Abdullah II of Jordan in Amman, Jordan, on Aug. 21. Mattis, who is currently on a visit to multiple Middle East nations, said Tuesday he is still developing the Pentagon’s plan for Afghanistan.  Defense Department photo by SSgt. Jette Carr

​Mattis: No Decision Made on Troop Levels for Afghanistan

The Pentagon is still evaluating the possible troop increase in Afghanistan after President Trump announced his strategy toward America’s longest war in that country. Read the full report by Brian Everstine

Air Force Awards Two GBSD Contracts

The Air Force announced Monday that it has awarded contracts to Boeing and Northrop Grumman to design the next-generation Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent intercontinental ballistic missile system. Boeing will receive $349 million and Northrop Grumman $329 million for technology maturation and risk reduction of the LGM-30 Minuteman III missile replacement. Read the full report by Wilson Brissett.


Rapid Pace of Strikes Continues as US-Backed Fighters Push Into Raqqa

The rapid pace of airstrikes on ISIS’s self-proclaimed capital of Raqqa, Syria, is a result of the intense fighting US-backed fighters have seen in the “hardest part of the city,” the commander of the international coalition said Tuesday. Syrian Democratic Forces need “greater assistance” as they move deeper into the city about two months after the campaign began, said Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve. This, coupled with the fact that Raqqa is now the coalition’s highest priority after the liberation of Mosul in Iraq, has meant a dramatic spike in airstrikes, Townsend said Tuesday in Baghdad. On Monday alone, coalition aircraft conducted 20 airstrikes in the city, hitting 13 ISIS units and 24 vehicles, US Central Command announced. Over the weekend, 33 strikes hit ISIS targets in the city. Townsend said he has seen claims of increased civilian casualties as the fight has increased, but said claims that there has been a significant rise are not based on “hard information.” —Brian Everstine

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Another Predator Crashes at Incirlik

An MQ-1B Predator crashed soon after takeoff from Incirlik AB, Turkey, on Monday morning. The remotely piloted aircraft went down in a field about 200 miles east of Adana, Turkey, at 11:50 a.m. local time, according to a base press release. There were no injuries, and US and Turkish officials have control of the aircraft. The Air Force has begun an investigation into the cause of the crash, which is the second this month involving a Predator taking off from Incirlik. —Wilson Brissett

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DARPA’s Mobile Force Protection (MFP) program has advanced into its first phase with three teams selected to demonstrate initial functionality. Illustration courtesy of DARPA


DARPA: Counter Small UAS Capabilities Ready Around 2021

DARPA announced Monday it’s selected three companies to develop a mobile force whose aim is to counter the expanding problem of enemy small, unmanned aircraft systems, so-called sUASs. According to DARPA, sUASs have recently been getting smaller, cheaper, easier to buy, and easier to upgrade, which means they're becoming more threatening to US ground and maritime forces. To find a way to counter this, DARPA launched its Mobile Force Protection program, soliciting RFPs late last year. Dynetics, Saab Defense and Security USA, and SRC are now tasked in developing “scalable, modular, and affordable approaches” expected to be ready for deployment around the 2020-21 window. Goals are to rapidly detect, identify, track, and neutralize sUASs, while of course minimizing  collateral damage. “The three teams we’ve assembled have innovative ideas for a versatile, layered defense system that could protect convoys on the move from multiple small unmanned aircraft systems in real time,” said Jean-Charles Ledé, a program manager in DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office. As of press time, DARPA didn't respond to queries about what those ideas are. The purpose of the first phase of the project is to demonstrate “initial functionality,” and planned to reach “a full-capability demonstration on a moving vehicle or vessel” by the third phase. —Gideon Grudo

Lockheed Awarded $427 Million for F-35 Equipment

The Pentagon has awarded a $427 million contract to Lockheed Martin for equipment related to F-35 low-rate initial production Lot 11. The contract involves “ancillary military equipment” and “pilot flight equipment” for the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps versions of the F-35 as well as for foreign military sales customers. The company received a $5.58 billion contract modification for Lot 11 production of the aircraft last month. Lot 11 will ultimately produce 141 aircraft for the US and partner nations and is the last lot in the program before the Pentagon begins a planned “block buy” strategy. $152 million (or 36 percent) of the equipment contract goes to the Air Force. —Wilson Brissett

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RADAR SWEEP

—The Army has called off the search and identified the missing Black Hawk crew after the helicopter crashed off the coast of Hawaii. ABC News

—The Navy has found “some remains” of 10 missing sailors after the USS John S McCain collided with an oil tanker near Singapore. CNN

—About 40 airmen trained with Nigerian personnel on aeromedical evacuation this month as part of the African Partnership Flight program. USAFE-AFAFRICA release

—Eglin AFB, Fla., airmen are working with Navy personnel to prepare for F-35C sea operations. Eglin release

—The 103rd Airlift Wing at Bradley ANGB, Conn., recently unveiled a new fuel cell, saying it is a model for the Guard. Bradley release

Correction

A photo cutline in the Aug. 20 Daily Report misidentified two F-15 Eagles flying in formation at the 2017 Royal International Air Tattoo. We have updated the information