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​Two USAF F-35A Lightning IIs, assigned to the 4th Fighter Squadron from Hill AFB, Utah, conduct flight training operations over the Utah Test and Training Range on Feb 14, 2018. Air Force photo by SSgt. Andrew Lee.


Two Years On, Goldfein Says Operations Show F-35 a Game-Changer

Two years after the Air Force declared initial operational capability with the F-35, the jet is turning in “game changing” performance, both in combat capability and, among the latest block of production jets, high reliability, Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said in an interview with Air Force Magazine. Goldfein said the jet provides its pilot with unprecedented visibility into the air combat picture even before becoming airborne, eliminating surprises and ensuring the pilot can employ the jet to its fullest advantage. Read the full story by John A. Tirpak.


American Service Member Killed in Special Ops Helicopter Crash in Iraq

A US service member was killed and multiple others injured when a US special operations helicopter crashed at about 10 p.m. in Iraq. The aircraft was conducting a “partnered counterterrorism mission” in support of the ongoing anti-ISIS campaign in an undisclosed part of the country, according to a US Central Command statement. Immediately following the crash, all personnel were recovered and three were taken to a hospital for treatment, according to CENTCOM. There were no indications that hostile fire caused the crash. The helicopter was an MH-60 Black Hawk from the Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, known as the Night Stalkers, Newsweek reported. The crash comes six months after a USAF HH-60G Pave Hawk crashed in Iraq, killing all seven on board.  —Brian Everstine

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F-22s Forward Deploy to Spain, Train with Typhoons

The F-22 squadron deployed to Europe continued its tour through the continent, forward deploying to Spain for partner training late last week. The F-22s from the 95th Fighter Squadron at Tyndall AFB, Fla., deployed from Spangdahlem AB, Germany, to Los Llanos AB, Spain, on Aug. 16 for aerial refueling training, along with simulated dogfights against Spanish Eurofighter Typhoons, according to a US Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa release. “It was very good training,” Capt. Antonio Juarez, 142nd Squadron Spanish Eurofighter Typhoon pilot, said in the release. “It was the first time we trained with this platform, and it’s good for us to fly with different squadrons and aircraft to see the movements in the air.” —Brian Everstine

Global Hawk Touches Down at Red Flag Alaska for the First Time

A Global Hawk is participating in Red Flag Alaska for the first time. An RQ-4 from the 12th Reconnaissance Squadron at Beale AFB, Calif., touched down at Eielson AFB, Alaska, for the exercise on Aug. 16, according to a 9th Reconnaissance Wing release. This iteration of the exercise includes more than 100 aircraft from the US, Australia, Canada, and Great Britain. The USAF contingent also includes F-16s from the Reserve 457th Fighter Squadron from NAS Fort Worth-Joint Reserve Base, Texas, which are treating Red Flag-Alaska as a “graduation exercise” with more realistic training than the squadron usually faces, according to a 354th Fighter Wing release.  —Brian Everstine

Belgian and German Air Forces Take Over Baltic Air Policing

The Belgian Air Force, augmented by the German Air Force, will take over policing the Baltic skies next month, according to NATO. The Belgian F-16s will deploy to Siauliai AB, Lithuania, while German Eurofighter Typhoons will deploy to Amari AB, Estonia, for the Baltic Air Policing mission, according to a release. NATO allies have rotated aircraft through the region since 2004 to help protect Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. USAF aircraft handled the mission as recent as January, when F-15Cs and airmen from RAF Lakenheath, England, finished a rotation in Lithuania. —Brian Everstine

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RADAR SWEEP


—Iran next week will unveil a new fighter jet and new missile capabilities, the country’s defense minister said on Saturday: Reuters.

—US pilots flying in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan have reported more than 350 incidents where they have been targeted by laser pointers over the past seven months, an increase over last year: The Wall Street Journal.

—A C-17 from the 315th Airlift Wing at JB Charleston, S.C., made an emergency landing at McGhee Tyson ANGB, Tenn., on Friday due to a pressurization issue. There were no injuries: 315th AW Facebook post.

—JB Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, is planning a $150 million runway extension to help reduce congestion: Anchorage Daily News.

—The United Kingdom Royal Navy’s aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth sailed from its home port for the US on Aug. 18. The ship will carry out flight trials with F-35Bs at NAS Patuxent River, Md.: Jane’s 360.