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​An F-22 Raptor from the 95th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron at Al Dhafra AB, United Arab Emirates, flies over Syria on March 5, 2018. Air National Guard photo by SSgt. Colton Elliott.

​F-22s Take Break from Middle East Combat to Increase Readiness, Basing Reassessment

After years of constant deployments to the region, the Air Force’s stealth air superiority fighter is not currently flying overwatch in Iraq and Syria, as the service tries to mend its F-22 fleet to meet readiness requirements and reassesses how it is basing its Raptors. The Air Force faces a deadline to meet an 80 percent mission capable rate for its fighters, and is now looking at increasing maintenance and training for the F-22s, while also increasing squadron size at its bases, following the decision to reassign Raptors from Tyndall AFB, Fla. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

EUCOM Says US Should Deny Turkey F-35s if it Buys S-400 Missile System

The US should pull Turkey from the F-35 program if it moves forward with plans to buy the Russian-made S-400 surface-to-air missile system, the head of US European Command told lawmakers Tuesday. Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti told the Senate Armed Services Committee there is a US delegation in Turkey discussing this issue, and detailing the pushback the country would receive if it buys the S-400. This system presents a “problem” to all aircraft, but especially the F-35, in addition to it not being able to integrate with allied systems, he said. “My best military advice would be that we don't then follow through with the F-35, buying it or working with an ally that's working with Russian systems, particularly air defense systems with, what I would say is probably one of our most advanced technological capabilities,” he said. —Brian Everstine

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PACAF Building Playbook to Better Plan Disaster Response, Strike Missions

Pacific Air Forces is “surveying” its capabilities and relationships with allies in the area, to better understand what airfields it has available to more quickly respond to peacetime and wartime needs. PACAF Commander Gen. Charles Q. Brown said he is looking to get a “playbook” of where the Air Force could send disaster relief aircraft, or strike aircraft, more quickly and with a better understanding of what capabilities are on standby. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.


USAF Releases Business Operations Plan Detailing “Roadmap to Reform”

The Air Force this week announced a new business operations plan, outlining specific goals to push for over the next two years as it works to rebuild readiness, strengthen alliances, and reform business practices. “Sharpening the Air Force’s competitive edge means building a more lethal, ready force for the high-end fight,” Under Secretary of the Air Force Matt Donovan said in a release. “It means reforming everything from organizational structures to outdated policies so our warfighters can increase their effectiveness … while remaining good stewards of the taxpayer dollar.” Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

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RADAR SWEEP


On National Security | The SpaceX-ULA Proxy War is Heating Up
The Defense Department’s Office of Inspector General disclosed Feb. 11 that it will examine whether the Air Force complied with its own criteria for new-entrant rockets when it certified SpaceX’s Falcon 9 in 2015 and Falcon Heavy in 2018 to carry national security payloads. Space News

Russia’s New ‘AI Supercomputer’ Runs on Western Technology
Russia’s latest supercomputer is unique in some ways — it is the country’s first to be devoted to “solving problems in the field of artificial intelligence” — but not in others. Like some other Russian defense and dual-use projects, the Zhores computer is built on Western technology. Defense One

Humanitarian Service Medal Approved for Troops Who Supported Thai Cave Rescue
The Joint Chiefs of Staff approved the medal for Operation Wild Boar, a three-day mission to rescue a soccer team who'd been trapped in a series of caves for more than two weeks. The joint award is given to personnel who participate in a significant military act or operation of a humanitarian nature. Military.com

Lawmakers Ramp Up Hearings in Face of Military Housing Crisis
In December 2017, a group of distressed military spouses submitted a 53-page presentation to the Military Family Readiness Council that painted a disturbing portrait of housing troubles for servicemembers across the country. They were told the council didn’t handle such worries, Crystal Cornwall and Jean Coffman remembered. Stars and Stripes

One More Thing …

Watch an Air Force Sergeant Reenlist in the Backseat of an F-16 Fighter Jet
There have been reenlistments carried out underwater. With explosions in the background. And most infamously, perhaps, with dinosaur puppets (that one didn't work out so well for everyone involved). Task & Purpose