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​The Air Force’s first KC-46A Pegasus lands on the flightline at McConnell AFB, Kansas, Jan. 25, 2019. McConnell will be the first operating base for the next-generation tanker. Air Force photo by A1C Alan Ricker.

​McConnell Celebrates the Arrival of Its First KC-46s

The first two KC-46 tankers for the Air Force flew from their production line at Boeing’s Everett, Wash., facility and touched down at McConnell AFB, Kan., on Friday to begin service. The ceremony at McConnell marked a “new era” of aerial refueling and extending US global reach, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

AFSPC Vice Stresses Need for Uninterrupted Operations As US Space Command Stands Up

Lt. Gen. David Thompson, the vice commander of Air Force Space Command, said the fiscal 2020 budget will emphasize “same focus, and desire, and expectation” to fully fund space as the service’s fiscal 2019 budget did. Speaking at an AFA Mitchell Institute event on Friday, he also cautioned that operations can’t falter while the Pentagon begins creating US Space Command this year. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.


CBO’s New $494B Price Tag for Nuclear Modernization Includes ICBM Cost Growth

A new Congressional Budget Office report pegs the cost of nuclear triad modernization at $494 billion over the next 10 years, about $94 billion more than the analysts last projected in 2017. As part of that estimate, updating the Air Force’s intercontinental ballistic missile enterprise is now expected to total $61 billion through Fiscal 2028, and bomber fleet and Long-Range Standoff Weapon costs are slated to reach $49 billion. The higher numbers fuel arguments from critics who believe the current modernization plan is unaffordable. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

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MDC2 Career Field to Offer First Training Course This Summer

The Air Force will launch its first course to train multidomain command and control officers this summer, open to those with seven to 12 years of service who want to work across the air, space, and cyber domains to schedule missions and employ forces at an air operations center. A 20-week course will be held at Hurlburt Field, Fla., followed by more training at Maxwell AFB, Ala. “Officers who complete the course will have the opportunity to be stationed at AOCs at a variety of US military bases in the United States, Europe, Southwest Asia, and Southeast Asia,” the service said in a press release. “After officers gain a general understanding of the operations of an AOC, they will be stationed at combatant commands.” Launching the 13O career field—open to officers in any specialty—is one of the Air Force’s first steps toward creating a more integrated force that can react to threats faster. —Rachel S. Cohen

USAF Thunderbirds F-16 Flyover Slated for Super Bowl LIII

The USAF Thunderbirds will perform a flyover during the last notes of the national anthem at Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta on Feb. 3, according to a Jan. 24 release. The six participating F-16s will take flight from Dobbins ARB, Ga., before flying over Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The event will be the team’s first public appearance of the year and its first Super Bowl flyover since 2017. “Supporting this event is a tremendous honor for the team and the US Air Force,” wrote Lt. Col. John Caldwell, the squadron’s commander and leader, in the release. “We look forward to showcasing the pride, precision, and professionalism of our nation’s 660,000 Total Force airmen to football fans around the world.” —Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory

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RADAR SWEEP

US-Led Coalition Destroys Syrian Mosque Used as ISIS Command Center
The US-led coalition in Syria destroyed on Saturday a mosque in the town of Hajin which had been used as an Islamic State command and control center, the U.S. military said. Reuters

Taliban Reaches Agreement With US to Block al Qaeda, Islamic State from Afghanistan: Report
The Taliban is on board with blocking al Qaeda and the Islamic State from entering Afghanistan to plot terrorist attacks, according to a new report. Washington Examiner

Space Force Push Slows Down
The Pentagon's new Space Development Agency is reportedly only two months away from becoming a reality, but one senior defense official tells us progress on the Space Force has slowed to a crawl among the leadership shake up at the Pentagon. Politico

Air Force Exercises Battlefield Airborne Communications Node Contract Option
Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., San Diego, has been awarded a $149,616,524 modification to contract FA8726-18-C-0005 to exercise Option Year One for Battlefield Airborne Communications Node, payload operations and sustainment. AFCEA Signal Magazine

USAF Chief Tests Boeing T-X For Future Pilot Training Programmes
US Air Force (USAF) chief of staff General David L Goldfein has tested the new ready-to-fly Boeing T-X aircraft, which was designed for use in future USAF pilot training programmes. Air Force Technology

US No Longer Announcing Deaths, Damage in Somalia Airstrikes
The U.S. military says it has carried out two new airstrikes in Somalia against the al-Shabab extremist group but will no longer give details on fighters killed or damage done. Daily Herald

One More Thing …

360° View of U.S. Air Force Gunner in Action
If a Special Ops team finds themselves in the middle of an intense ground operation, their fellow Airmen will be overhead providing close-air support. During this mission, you’ll experience what it’s like to lay down suppressive fire with a .50 caliber machine gun out of the back of a CV-22 Osprey. Military.com