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​Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson speaks at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla., on Feb. 28, 2019. Staff photo by Mike Tsukamoto.

Wilson Points to Personnel Gains, Acquisition Strategies in Era of Change

Retaining pilots, maturing maintainers, and revamping acquisition are key to fixing the readiness issues facing the Air Force in a new age of “great power competition,” Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said during her keynote speech at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla. She also told reporters she’s pleased with the outcome of a forthcoming science-and-technology enterprise study, which is nearing completion after Wilson disapproved of its initial results. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen and Amy McCullough.

Air Force Didn’t Ask for New F-15s, But Needs to Bolster Fighter Buy

The Air Force’s fiscal 2020 budget is likely to include a request for new F-15 fighters, but the service didn’t ask for them, Secretary Heather Wilson revealed Thursday. The move was an add from other budget entities seeking to help the Air Force achieve an annual fighter buy of 72 jets per year, which Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said was necessary to bring the fighter fleet age down and achieve the capacity necessary to meet the National Defense Strategy with “moderate” risk. Buying all F-35s was seen as unaffordable, service leaders said, because even though the stealth fighter has a low unit cost, the sustainment cost is high. Air Combat Command chief Gen. Mike Holmes said the F-35s also impose military construction and training expenses the F-15s could avoid. Read the full story by John A. Tirpak.


USAF Pauses KC-46 Acceptance After FOD Found on Aircraft

The Air Force temporarily stopped accepting new KC-46 aircraft this week after foreign object debris was found in several tankers, though service officials are expected to make a decision soon on whether to resume flights, USAF’s acquisition chief said Thursday. Boeing said it is working with the Air Force and the Defense Contract Management Agency to finalize a plan to ensure FOD stays off the production line, but the company said, “There is no change to the current tanker delivery plan.” Read the full story by Amy McCullough.

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PACAF, USAFE Lack Resources and “Perfect” Posture for Major Wars

The heads of Pacific Air Forces and US Air Forces in Europe said there are limitations with materiel and posture that could affect their commands’ ability to meet the needs of the National Defense Strategy. In the Pacific, PACAF does not have the fuel or munitions stockpile to fight a near-peer adversary, while USAFE’s posture is limited in being able to “shoot fast and shoot longer” in a possible war. However, both commanders said they need to be effective with what they have and find ways to further improve. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

ACC Planning Integrated Cyber, ISR Ops As AFCYBER Evolves

Air Combat Command chief Gen. Mike Holmes told reporters today the service will figure out how to mesh cyber and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance forces over the next few months and make a final decision this summer, one year after ACC took over responsibility for Air Forces Cyber. Those planning changes promise to shape how cyber operators interact with warfighters in other domains, as AFCYBER builds out its own capabilities. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

USAF Needs to Shift Its Reliance Away from Just Live Flying for High-End Training

The improved capability of fifth generation aircraft and the need to replicate modern threats has outgrown the current size of the Air Force’s training ranges, so the service needs to respond by improving its infrastructure for live-virtual training. Maj. Gen. Peter Gersten, the commander of the Air Force Warfare Center, said Thursday the limited size of the ranges means aircraft can’t properly stretch their legs in training, and open-air flight also brings with it security problems from orbital surveillance and cyber attacks. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

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Renewable Energy for Chemical Weapon Detector Wins 2019 Spark Tank Contest

An airman’s idea to use solar energy, rather than daily battery changes, to power chemical weapon detectors is the winner of the 2019 Spark Tank award. The idea was one of six presented to a panel of USAF leaders and celebrity guests Thursday at AWS19. The award includes funding for building hundreds more of the prototype and an endorsement from top USAF leadership. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

Raytheon Investing in JPALS Software Upgrades

Raytheon is spending its own money to upgrade the Joint Precision Approach and Landing Systems (or JPALS), said retired US Navy Rear Adm. CJ Jaynes, executive technical advisor for precision landing systems at Raytheon Intelligence, Information, and Services. The upgrades, which it hopes to complete in time for a possible F-35A landing test at Edwards AFB, Calif., in the fall of 2019, aim to give the aircraft multi-runway, multi-aircraft, multi-touchdown-point capability, and to allow them to land up to 20 nautical miles away from a ground station. Read the full story by Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory.

Correction

An article in the Feb. 28 Daily Report included the wrong title for Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.). She is the ranking member of the House Armed Services intelligence, emerging threats, and capabilities subcommittee. We have corrected the original story.
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RADAR SWEEP


Trump Praises Troops, Pushes ANWR Drilling During JBER Refueling Stop for Air Force One
President Donald Trump showered praised on troops and touted the opening of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling when Air Force One made a refueling stop Thursday in Alaska as the president returned from Asia. Associated Press via Anchorage Daily News

First Female TACP Could Graduate This Spring
The Air Force could see its first female airman graduate from tactical air control party training this spring, the service’s personnel chief told Congress Wednesday. Air Force Times

Senate Bill Seeks Extension of the Space Station
A bill introduced by a bipartisan pair of senators Feb. 27 would authorize an extension of the International Space Station to 2030 and also make permanent human settlement of space a national goal. Space News

Boeing Unveils ‘Loyal Wingman’ Drone
Boeing introduced its Airpower Teaming System at the Australian International Airshow at Avalon on Wednesday. Defense News

How Climate Change Is Affecting Alaska's Military Radar Stations
Perched on a craggy rise along the western-most edge of the continent a few thousand feet above the Bering Strait sits a sophisticated piece of military technology, ensconced in ice. NPR

Opinion: I Ran the Air War Over Gaddafi. Here’s Why The US Should Stop Backing the Yemen War
One hopes Jared Kushner said it in Saudi Arabia, but Congress should curtail the Pentagon’s participation in this war. Defense One

One More Thing …

RAF Smashes Gender Stereotypes in a Recruiting Ad Gone Viral. Watch it Here.