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​F-16 Fighting Falcons pilots assigned to the Ohio Air National Guard’s 180th Fighter Wing conduct preflight checks at Tyndall AFB, Fla., on Sept. 17, 2018, during Combat Archer, a two-week air-to-air Weapons System Evaluation Program to prepare and evaluate operational fighter squadrons' readiness for combat operations. Air National Guard photo by SSgt. Shane Hughes.


Tyndall to Host First Exercise Since Hurricane Michael Ravaged Base

The 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group at Tyndall AFB, Fla., will host its first live weapons evaluation since Hurricane Michael nearly destroyed the base in October. During Combat Archer, which runs Dec. 3-14, F-22s from the 27th Fighter Squadron at JB Langley-Eustis, Va., and F-35s from the 58th Fighter Squadron will fire live weapons. The exercise will include QF-16s from the 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron, with the 81st Range Control Squadron providing command and control, and the 53rd Test Support Squadron providing electronic attack pods. The F-22s and F-35s will fly out of nearby Eglin Air Force Base and the live firing will be conducted in warning areas of the Gulf of Mexico south of Tyndall. The 83rd Fighter Weapon Squadron will conduct data collection and analysis at Tyndall, according to a 53rd Wing release. The Air Force announced earlier this month that the 53rd WEG will remain at the Florida base, and it recently received its first QF-16 after the storm hit. —Brian Everstine

Three US Service Members Killed in IED Blast in Afghanistan

Three US service members were killed and three more wounded when an improvised explosive device detonated near Ghazni city in Afghanistan, the US mission announced. Another American contractor was injured in the incident. The attack came three days after another US service member was killed during an operation against al Qaeda forces in Nimruz Province. An internal review determined that an Afghan soldier accidentally shot US Army Sgt. Leandro A.S. Jasso, 25, of Leavenworth, Wash., during the operation, Resolute Support announced in a Tuesday release. The review found the accident happened when the Afghan forces were engaged in a close-quarter battle with al Qaeda fighters. The names of the three US service members and their service affiliation were not released Tuesday. Five US soldiers have been killed so far this month in Afghanistan, with 13 total American troops killed this year. —Brian Everstine

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USAF Expands Directorate in Charge of Air Force One, VIP Aircraft Recapitalization

The Air Force office in charge of buying the next Air Force One has expanded its portfolio to take over the recapitalization of three more executive aircraft and the sustainment of eight total VIP and special mission aircraft. Air Force Materiel Command’s Presidential Airlift Recapitalization Directorate is now the Presidential and Executive Airlift Directorate, which now oversees not just the purchase of the VC-25B replacement—the current Air Force One—but also the replacement of the E-4B National Airborne Operations Center, the US Navy’s E-6B Airborne Command Post, and the C-32A executive aircraft, with analysis of alternatives for these aircraft expected to finish in late 2019, according to an AFMC release. The directorate is also overseeing the heavy maintenance of two VC-25As, with delivery expected next August and the interior refurbishment of the C-32 fleet, according to AFMC. Additionally, the directorate recently took over life cycle management of the VC-25A, C-12, C-21, C-32, C-37, C-40, and E-4B from the Mobility and Training Aircraft Directorate, according to the release. The Air Force in July awarded Boeing a $3.9 billion contract for the design, modification, testing, certification, and fielding of two 747-8is. —Brian Everstine


White House Budget Cuts Could Reverse Progress, Military Strategy Experts Say

The Defense Department’s Fiscal 2019 budget has reversed cuts and helped the military begin to tackle readiness and modernization challenges. However, the White House’s recent directive to cut budget requests by 5 percent could be a move in the wrong direction and limit the department’s ability to implement certain aspects of the National Defense Strategy, the authors of a recent independent study on the strategy told lawmakers on Tuesday. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

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RADAR SWEEP


Search for missing Air Force Academy cadet candidate leads to Longs Peak Trailhead       
A search for a missing U.S. Air Force Academy cadet candidate has led to Longs Peak where the Rocky Mountain National Park’s Search and Rescue team will set out early Tuesday morning. Micah Tice, 20, was last heard from on Friday night when he made a telephone call to his parents in Nevada, according to the academy. The Denver Post

Air Force Push For Better Pilot Protection Upsets Competitive Landscape In Ejection Seats
Earlier this month, the Air Force buying command responsible for developing a next-generation ejection seat to be installed on combat aircraft issued a curious request for information. It solicited industry inputs concerning whether the safety standards the service has established are too hard to meet. Forbes

Air Force Hopes Video Gamers, YouTubers Can Protect American Satellites
Known for being staid and secretive, Air Force Space Command is now looking for help from a crowd best known for "man buns" and YouTube channels. Military.com

Japan to Order 100 More F-35 Fighters From US
Japan is preparing to order another 100 F-35 stealth fighter jets from the U.S. to replace some of its aging F-15s, according to sources. Asia Nikkei

Rockwell Collins Upgrades Pilot Training Simulation Systems
Rockwell Collins announced the launch of its next-generation military pilot training environment on Nov. 26, during an industry conference in Orlando, Florida. National Defense Magazine

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