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​A C-130J Super Hercules and its aircrew assigned to the 746th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron from Al Udeid AB, Qatar, load cargo destined for an undisclosed location in Afghanistan, May 5, 2018. The 774th EAS, out of the 41st Airlift Squadron, Little Rock, Ark., worked together with the 746th EAS, out of the 403rd Wing at Keesler AFB, Miss. Air Force photo by SrA. Xavier Navarro.

Need for Airdrops Skyrockets in Afghanistan

Last year, US aircraft airdropped more supplies in Afghanistan than any year since 2013. The C-130J aircrews largely responsible for flying many of these missions say the increased need for supplies is not necessarily because of a build-up in forces, but a shift in where the fight is taking place. C-130s and aircrews deployed from Little Rock AFB, Ark., maintained a 100 percent recovery rate during their deployment in the first half of 2018. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

AFRL Workforce Study Recommends Greater Job Flexibility, Hiring Changes

The Air Force Research Laboratory should embrace the gig economy, offer other types of job flexibility, and revamp its interviews to build a strong future workforce, a recent service-led study found. Over the next year and a half, AFRL will tweak its hiring processes with the eventual goal of onboarding new employees within 10 days. “Once we are able to tidy up these basic stepping stones of [the] workforce, then we look forward to future phases of experimentation where we can bring in some novel and exciting ideas related to gig projects, etc. to fruition in AFRL,” Deputy Executive Director Jessica Salyers said. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

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ULA, SpaceX Split Latest Launch Services Contract Awards

United Launch Services and SpaceX on Tuesday won contracts collectively worth about $740 million to send six national security payloads from the Air Force and National Reconnaissance Office into space in fiscal 2021 and 2022. Their awards are a result of the sixth competition under the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program, which tried to “strike a balance between meeting operational needs and lowering launch costs through reintroducing competition for National Security Space missions,” according to the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.


USAF’s Project HeRO Promotes Squadron Health, Readiness

Project HeRO, a USAF program that was tested in 2018 and is slated to go service-wide this year, aims to empower squadron leadership to lead the charge against bad health-related habits that can lead to potentially avoidable sickness and/or injury, impeding their units’ readiness. Read the full story by Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory.

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RADAR SWEEP


Senators Are Urging Trump to Stick With F-35s as the US Eyes Buying New, Souped-up F-15 Fighter Jets
The US Air Force will reportedly ask for eight new Boeing F-15 fighter jets in its next budget request, and Republican senators are already worried this could mean bad things for the US’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Business Insider

Fix It Before It Breaks: SOCOM, JAIC Pioneer Predictive Maintenance AI
The Pentagon’s new Joint Artificial Intelligence Center is about to deploy its first operational project, a joint venture with Special Operations Command to predict helicopter breakdowns before they happen. It’s the latest example of how SOCOM is applying artificial intelligence to real-world warfare, a cutting-edge role it previously played with the intelligence-gathering Project Maven. Breaking Defense

Lockheed Martin Offers India Enhanced F-16 Block 70 Multirole Combat Aircraft Dubbed “F-21”
The “new” F-21 takes the spotlight at Aero India 2019. The Aviationist

VA’s Appeals Modernization Act Takes Effect Today
New law streamlines department’s current claims and appeals process for Veterans. Veterans Affairs

Bad Weather Ruined a Shipment of Russia’s Best Missiles Bound for China
China recently ordered a number of advanced surface-to-air missiles from Russia. But the boat was caught in a major storm that jostled the weapons in every which way. Upon arriving in China, the shipment was too damaged to be used, so the deadly 40N6 missiles had to be returned to Russia and destroyed. Popular Mechanics

JASDF F-2 Fighter Crashes into Sea of Japan
A Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) Mitsubishi F-2B fighter aircraft operating from Tsuiki Air Base in Fukuoka Prefecture crashed into the Sea of Japan (also known as East Sea) near Yamaguchi Prefecture on 20 February. Jane’s

One More Thing …

John Collins’ Dunk Contest Failure Was Historically Accurate
Dunk contests are freewheeling events, but there’s one rule that should be taken seriously: If you’re going to use a prop, don’t break the prop. Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins went afoul of this edict during Saturday’s NBA Slam Dunk Contest when he attempted to leap over a scale model of the Wright brothers’ Wright Flyer and wound up breaking two large sections off the plane. Slate