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​​​USAF already has narrowed the field for a new light attack aircraft to two competitors: Textron Aviation, which is offering the AT-6 (shown at top), and Sierra Nevada and Embraer, offering the A-29 Super Tucano (shown at bottom). Air Force photos. ​

​​Light Attack Basing, Deployment Model and Command Assignment Determined by Size of Buy

​The Air Force has two options for how it could base and deploy a new light attack aircraft, depending on the total number of planes it ends up buying, a top Air Combat Command official said Friday. A small buy of fewer than 100 aircraft would likely cause Air Force Special Operations Command to take over the planes, but a large buy likely would mean ACC would base the fleet across the US while also forward deploying aircraft to Europe and the Pacific. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

Rebuilding Tyndall’s Communication Infrastructure

Program managers from the Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence, and Networks Directorate at Hanscom AFB, Mass., are working to rebuild Tyndall Air Force Base’s communications infrastructure, which was almost completely “wiped out” when Hurricane Michael struck the Florida base in October. First responders already have established interval communications systems thanks to a f​​​ew existing nodes and generator-powered satellite trucks, but long-term the service is looking to build an organic communication infrastructure from scratch. Known as an “as-a-service” model, Hanscom said the model is similar to ordering the ingredients for a pizza and then assembling it yourself to meet your own specifications. “This is a similar as-a-service effort to what we’re setting up at other bases, but Tyndall is unique because it will be, in nearly every sense, new from the ground up. Almost everything except the in-ground fiber optic infrastructure will be replaced,” said Lt. Col. Bradley Panton, who is spearheading the communications contracting work at Tyndall, in a USAF release. The goal is to modernize the entire network so that it can continue to grow as missions return to the base. The Air Force announced last week it hoped to permanently relocate Tyndall’s operational F-22s to other Raptor bases and then eventually bring three new F-35 squadrons to the base. See also: Can Tyndall Recover from the December issue of Air Force Magazine. —Amy McCullough

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Global Defense Spending Expected to Increase in 2019

Global aerospace and defense industry spending is expected to increase again in 2019 due to heightened tensions around the world and geopolitical risks, especially in Korea and the Middle East, according to a new report from Deloitte. In 2018, China spent the equivalent of $175 billion US dollars on defense, an increase of 8.1 percent year over year, marking the largest increase in the last three years. China’s defense budget is expected to continue increasing by 9 to 10 percent “in the near future,” the report states. Read the full story by Amy McCullough. 

Australia Receives First Two In-Country F-35s

Australia on Sunday received its first two F-35 strike fighters to be based in country at Royal Australian Air Force Williamtown. Australia already has received 10 of the fifth-generation fighters, but the other aircraft are assigned to Luke AFB, Ariz., as part of the international cooperative F-35 training operations there, according to a Lockheed Martin release. With the delivery, Australia is now the seventh country to locally base F-35s, joining the United States, United Kingdom, Italy, Norway, Israel, and Japan. “Australia plays a significant role in the program with the suite of local industrial technology and know-how behind the hundreds of F-35s flying today, as well as the thousands of F-35s that will be produced in the future,” said Chief Executive of Lockheed Martin Australia Vince Di Pietro. More than 340 F-35s are now operating from 16 bases across the globe, including Williamtown. The total fleet has accumulated more than 170,000 flight hours, and more than 700 pilots and 6,500 maintainers have been training, according to Lockheed. —Amy McCullough

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RADAR SWEEP


Trump Reverses Course, Tells Pentagon to Boost Budget Request to $750 Billion
The president had previously called for a cut in defense spending. Politico

Military Officials Unveil Damage From Powerful Alaska Quake
Last week’s magnitude 7.0 earthquake near Anchorage caused multiple problems at the sprawling Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, including damage to steel frameworks, ceilings, and sprinkler and heating systems, military officials said Friday. The Tribune
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Nellis Puts Security Forces Who Allowed Gate Breach on Desk Duty
The security forces personnel who wrongly allowed a possible kidnapper and his alleged victim past the main gate of Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada early Tuesday morning have been placed on administrative duty. Air Force Times

Air Force Failed 6 Times to Keep Guns From Texas Church Shooter Before He Killed 26, ​Report Finds
The service failed six times to submit records to the FBI that would have barred the troubled former airman ​from buying the guns he used in the ​November 2017 massacre at a church in Sutherland Springs, Tex., a Pentagon inspector general's report concluded. The Washington Post​

The F-35 Is About to Get A Lot Smarter
A California company is looking to accelerate the Defense Department’s embrace of artificial intelligence, starting with some of its most important aircraft. Defense One

Russia Asked to Joint Operate a US Base in Syria. Coalition Says Hard Pass.
Russian officials have reportedly floated the idea of jointly running a U.S.-controlled corridor known as Al Tanf, located on the Iraq-Syria border near Jordan, where U.S. troops are garrisoned. Military Times

One more thing …

Grit and Determination: AFSOC Airmen Slide with Team USA Bobsled
Two Airmen within Air Force Special Operations Command were selected to compete with the USA Bobsled team this year. Capt. Dakota Lynch, a 34th Special Operations Squadron U-28A pilot, and Capt. Chris Walsh, a 24th Special Operations Wing special tactics officer, are push athletes who are ultimately competing for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team in 2022. USAF release