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​Air Force Global Strike Command boss Gen. Robin Rand poses with the crew of a B-1B Lancer that experienced an in-flight emergency in May. The crew attempted to eject, but an ejection seat malfunction, so the crew landed the aircraft at a nearby airport. Photo courtesy Dyess AFB Facebook page


USAF Awards Distinguished Flying Crosses to B-1B Crew for May Emergency Landing

Air Force Global Strike Com​​​mand on Friday awarded Distinguished Flying Crosses to the B-1B Lancer crew that landed their bomber after experiencing an in-flight emergency, saving the aircraft and the lives of the crew after one attempted to eject. AFGSC boss Gen. Robin Rand awarded the DFCs to Maj. Christopher Duhon, Capt. Matthew Sutton, 1st Lt. Joseph Welch, and 1st Lt. Thomas A​hearn. On May 1, the crew was flying out of Dyess AFB, Texas, when the aircraft displayed three fire warnings. The crew visually confirmed two fires, and tooks steps that extinguished them though the last warning remained, according to a Dyess release​. The crew reportedly attempted to eject, but an ejection seat component of one of the crew members malfunctioned, so the crew decided to try to land the B-1. They were able to safely land at Midland International Air & Space Port. It was the first time a Lancer has landed ​while experiencing these malfunctions, according to Dyess. Photos of the aircraft showed a panel over the weapons systems officer’s seat open indicating the attempt to eject. Following the incident, the Air Force grounded all B-1s, including those deployed to US Central Command, to ensure the ejection seat systems were working properly. —Brian Everstine

Boeing Recaptures C-17 Trainer Contract

The Air Force has awarded Boeing a six and a half year, $986 million contract to upgrade USAF’s entire fleet of C-17 aircrew trainers and maintenance trailer systems. Ed Dolanski, president of the year-old Boeing Global Services, credited the company’s reorganization of its services division for helping it recapture the contract, which it had lost to L-3 back in 2010. Read the full report by Amy McCullough from Farnborough.

USAF Looking at Contract Red Air for Europe

RAF FAIRFORD, ENGLAND—The Air Force is expected to make a decision “very, very soon” on contracted Red Air in Europe as well as other parts of the globe, US Air Forces in Europe boss Gen. Tod Wolters said. In an interview with Air Force Magazine at the Royal International Air Tattoo here, Wolters said USAFE is working closely with Air Combat Command, which has the lead in the effort, and that once in place the contracted adversary air would be based at “many locations, not just one.” The Air Force awarded Draken International a $280 million contract to continue flying adversary air at Nellis AFB, Nev., early last month. The service is expected to award a much larger CAF ADAIR contract worth about 37,000 hours for 12 Stateside bases in July 2019. Wolters said ACC boss Gen. Mike Holmes has looked at the capabilities of USAF allies and partners and analyzed USAF needs across the globe, including Europe, the Pacific, and the Middle East. “We have a plan going forward for contract air to make sure we are maximizing our training in all regional areas and ensure each regional area has Red Air assigned to it that will allow them to increase readiness based on the posture of their force,” said Wolters. —Amy McCullough​​
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State Department Repeats Concerns Over Turkey’s Planned S-400 Purchase
A State Department official on Monday reiterated US concerns over Turkey’s plan to buy the S-400 missile system from Russia. Tina Kaidanow, acting assistant secretary of state for political military affairs, said the administration is concerned that purchasing such systems from Russia would “be supportive of some of the least good behavior that we have seen from them in various places including in Europe but also elsewhere” and that the administration wants to see US allies acquire systems that support the US relationship with its allies. The US wants its friends and partners to take these concerns into account as they make purchases. “We want them to understand the downsides, the real serious downsides to making these acquisitions, and particularly the S-400 acquisitions from the Russians, and to continue to—instead, to look to our systems and to put interoperability and all the other things we care about first,” she said during a conference call with reporters. Meanwhile, Reuters reported that USAF Gen. Tod Wolters, the NATO allied air commander, said Turkey’s plan to buy the system would give a weapon of “known foes” of NATO important understanding of the F-35s now arriving in Europe. —Steve Hirsch

Special Operations Pilot Awarded Distinguished Flying Cross

Maj. Michael Tolzien, of the 58th Special Operations Wing, was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor earlier this month for heroism as an aircraft commander in January 2016 in Afghanistan. The Air Force said Tolzien, the chief of current operations for the 58th Operations Group, received an alert that a special operations ground team had come under heavy fire, was isolated from conventional support, and near being overrun by enemy forces. He immediately prepared his aircraft, and MC-130J Commando II, with needed supplies and took off. The fighting was so intense, the airdrop location was changed a number of times, increasing pressure on the crew to determine the right release point. Tolzien made the airdrop at critically slow airspeeds, just 800 feet above the ground. The aircraft was hit multiple times but Tolzien’s actions resulted in providing needed ammunition and medical supplies within 50 meters of the special forces team, which prevented further loss of life and “directly contributed to a successful counterattack,” the Air Force said. Two airmen from Cannon AFB, N.M., had already been awarded DFCs for the mission. —Steve Hirsch

Contracts Awarded to Three Firms for Hazardous Materials Labs

Three organizations, Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, Ohio; MRIGlobal, in Kansas City, Mo.; and Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas, have each received Air Force Installation Contracting Agency research and development contracts worth up to $28 billion for chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear laboratories for the Defense Technical Information Center, the Defense Department said Friday. Thomas Gillespie, the director of Information Analysis Centers, whose Defense Department agency is being supported by the contracting agency, said this contract is aimed at providing a venue for Pentagon laboratories, acquisition offices, and combatant commands to conduct research and development in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense needing a laboratory certified to receive and use chemical or biological agents. —Steve Hirsch

Seymour-Johnson Airman Dies While Deployed for Inherent Resolve

An airman deployed for Operation Inherent Resolve died last week reportedly after being exposed to methane gas at Al Dhafra AB, UAE. SSgt. James T. Grotjan, 26, of Waterford, Conn., died July 12 at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany, after a “non-combat related incident” on July 8. He was assigned to the 4th Civil Engineer Squadron at Seymour-Johnson AFB, N.C. According to a Facebook fundraising page, Grotjan was working in a manhole underground when he was exposed to a methane gas leak. While trying to climb out, he went unconscious and fell. As of Monday, more than 650 people had raised almost $28,000 for Grotjan’s family. —Brian Everstine

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RADAR SWEEP

—President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin said during a joint press conference in Helsinki on Monday that they plan to work together on the Syrian crisis, along with working together on Israeli security: The Wall Street Journal.

—The US is ready for direct talks with the Taliban aimed at ending the 17-year war in Afghanistan, Army Gen. John Nicholson, leader of the Resolute Support mission and commander of US Forces-Afghanistan said in a Monday interview: Reuters.

—A joint team of BAE, Rolls Royce, Leonardo, and MBDA on Monday unveiled the Tempest, a new fighter jet for the United Kingdom, with the goal of flight by 2035: BBC. ​

—The Norwegian defense ministry has succeeded in test firing a Joint Strike Missile from an F-16, showing the missile’s ability to avoid a decoy target and fly at low altitudes, following news last month that a US-Norwegian team had completed a major segment of testing: Raytheon release.​

—The remains of 1st Lt. William Shank, a World War II airman killed on a mission in Germany, were buried with full military honors in Harrisonburg, Va., on Saturday, after the military said in March it had identified his remains: WHSV.

—Pentagon officials see quantum computing as an area where the US may be behind China and one that is potentially critical for information and space military operations: Space News.

—The Air Force, Army, NASA, and the University of Cincinnati are working together on ways to use carbon nanotubes in in military uniforms and fabric that can also function as batteries: Composites Manufacturing.​

—The Air Force Association on Monday that the Mitchell Institute has hosted its first two Advanced Concepts Engagement Seminars, classified seminars focused on how to rapidly integrate advanced technologies into the fielding of new Air Force weapons systems: AFA release.