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​The Boeing MH-139 will replace the USAF's UH-1N fleet, the Air Force announced Monday. The fleet protects ICBMs and transports US government and security forces. Boeing photo.

Boeing Wins Contract to Build Huey Replacement

The Air Force on Monday announced Boeing will build the replacement to the UH-1N Huey with a firm-fixed-price contract worth $2.38 billion. The program begins with Monday’s award of an initial $375 million for four helicopters and the integration of non-developmental items. It is the result of a long-delayed process, which included protests from Sikorsky and frustration from US Strategic Command and Air Force Global Strike Command. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.​​

USAF Recognizes RPA Crews with Prominent Awards

The Air Force is finalizing the possible award of Legion of Merit medals to remotely piloted aircraft pilots and sensor operators for the first time, awarding a medal typically for higher-ranking officers and enlisted leaders to more junior RPA pilots and operators who already have extensive combat experience. The Legion of Merit is one of three awards currently eligible for an R device for RPA operators, though in the future Distinguished Flying Crosses could become eligible as the service strives to improve how it awards the expanding cadre of RPA pilots and sensor operators. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

PACAF Looking to Strengthen Red Air, Range Capability

Pacific Air Forces is determining ways to increase its aggressor capability and bolster its range complex as the Air Force brings in more fifth generation aircraft, the command’s boss said. PACAF Commander Gen. Charles Brown, speaking with reporters last week at ASC18, said the Air Force needs to “push the envelope” on its training as part of the National Defense Strategy’s push for great power competition. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

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Analyst Alleges USAF Space Force Cost Estimate May Be Too High

A Center for Strategic and International Studies budget specialist is questioning the Air Force’s estimate of the cost of a new Space Force as. The figure was contained in a Sept. 14 memo from the Air Force to the Defense Department, which estimated a first-year cost of the new department at $3.3 billion and the five-year cost at $12.9 billion. Todd Harrison, CSIS director of defense budget analysis, said Sept. 20 that the roughly $13 billion as “not a conservative estimate,” adding that “This is the highest estimate I think you could possibly come up with.” He also raised questions about a number of aspects of the memo, including its personnel estimates, and costs for a new building. “I don’t think that there’s a lot to this cost estimate,” he said. —Steve Hirsch​​ 

Air University Moves to Increase Military Space Capabilities

The Air Force has moved to expand its military space cadre, having begun its first class for a space immersion concentration at the Air Command and Staff College, the Air University said. The announcement said the “Schriever Scholars” is an Air Education and Training Command and Air Force Space Command effort to develop and train experts at integrating space and space-based capabilities into joint warfighting. The first class of 13 officers includes eight space operators, along with acquisition, intelligence and cyber officers, an Army space officer, and a space operator from the Navy, the announcement said. The students will study, in addition to joint warfighting subjects, space history, policy, strategy, technology and law during more than 120 classroom hours of instruction. Students will also participate in wargaming efforts and conduct research aimed at advancing thinking about the US approach to the space domain. —Steve Hirsch

Doctors at Travis Complete Landmark Cancer Treatment

Two Air Force doctors at Travis AFB, Calif., earlier this month made service history when they performed the first Air Force-only liver cancer treatment using yttrium-90 radioembolization treatment in less than an hour. Y-90 radioembolization is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure, unlike conventional chemotherapy treatment, which generally requires an overnight hospital stay for pain management. Using the newer method, interventional radiologists insert a catheter through the patient’s groin or wrist, and guide it into the artery supplying the tumor, according to a Travis release. The catheter carries tiny beads filled with radioactive Y-90, which emits cancer-killing radiation from within the tumor. In the Sept. 7 procedure, interventional radiologists Lt. Col. David Gover and Maj. Jason Hoskins of the 60th Medical Group, treated a 67-year-old Army veteran of two tours in Vietnam who said his cancer resulted from hepatitis C, contracted 20 years ago. Air Force doctors have used Y-90 radioembolization for seven years or more at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, according to Hoskins, who said it may not be a cure but it has been successful in shrinking liver tumors and relieving painful symptoms. Gover and Hoskins, among only five Air Force interventional radiologists, must successfully complete the procedure under supervision twice more to be certified to treat patients using the new method. —Steve Hirsch

AETC Cloud-Based Learning System in Beta

Air Education and Training Command’s cloud-based learning system in is in beta, with plans to make it operational in 2020 as a new way to let airmen learn anywhere instead of in established classrooms.. The Air Force Learning Services Ecosystem is in a test with four courses, and testing expected to be finished by next summer, according to an AETC release. The Air Force expects the system will service 800,000 users annually, with up to one million courses per month. It will include features such as content management and delivery, student management, evaluation and testing, the release states. “In the past in the industrial age, when you come into the service, Airmen have been told what to learn, when to learn and how to learn it,” AETC Commander Lt. Gen. Steven Kwast said in the release. “The learning ecosystem will put training in front of Airmen in a learner-centric way that is mobile and moves with 21st Century speed.” The current system tracks an airman’s learning in separate systems, without a central mechanism that prevents commanders from accurately tracking an airman’s education process and putting them in the right positions, according to AETC.

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RADAR SWEEP


—Russia said Monday it would provide Syria the S-300 air defense system after Syrian forces last week shot down a Russian plane in a friendly fire incident: Associated Press.

—A US airstrike Friday killed 18 al-Shabab militants after US and local forces were attacked in southern Somalia, according to US Africa Command: Associated Press.
—The US Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa are rollin out Operation GRIT, described by as “a holistic approach to strengthen resiliency, reinforce protective factors and reduce unwanted behaviors through deliberate and meaningful personal and professional development from commanders and supervisors”: US Air Forces in Europe & Air Forces Africa release.
—In the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, the Defense Health Agency has extended TRICARE provider referral waivers in North Carolina and South Carolina until Sept. 30: Air Force release.
—The Air Force on Friday approved resumption of T-6 trainer flights after temporarily halting them after a crash last week in Texas: Military.com.
—An Air Force couple is under investigation for the death of their infant son and injuries to their daughter in Hawaii, court records say: Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
—A US district judge has said federal lawsuits against the Air Force over a Texas church shooting that left dozens dead will be combined into a single case. The suits claim the Air Force was negligent in not reporting the past convictions of the gunman to a federal database, allowing him to pass a background check to obtain the guns involved: Associated Press.​