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​Environmental restoration employees deploy a containment boom from a boat March 18, 2019, on Offutt AFB, Neb. One-third of the installation was flooded and the boom was a precautionary measure for possible fuel leaks. Air Force photo by Delanie Stafford.

​Offutt Starts Recovery as Flooding Recedes from Flightline

Days after massive flooding inundated Offutt AFB, Neb., waters are finally starting to recede. Col. Michael Manion, commander of the 55th Wing, said the runway is dry and the base’s gates have opened, but the base is not yet fully open, as airmen are still assessing flooded buildings. The aircraft that evacuated the base before the flightline flooded have begun flying training sorties at other locations. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.


Microwave Weapons Moving Toward Operational Use

The Air Force expects delivery of the Tactical High-Power Operational Responder, a high-power microwave system that can attack multiple short-range targets, in April, said Kelly Hammett, who runs the Air Force Research Laboratory’s directed-energy branch. Another microwave weapon intended for base defense is headed for a field test in fiscal 2020, as the service ramps up its directed-energy experimentation campaign. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

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Air Force Replacing Failing Aircrew Locator Beacons, Years After Call for Expedited Replacements

The Air Force is finally moving forward with plans to replace the locator beacons used to find ejected aircrew in the case of an emergency, years after an urgent request for replacements. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center has announced it is fielding 12,000 new URT-46 locator beacons to replace legacy URT-44 beacons, which were found to have an unacceptably high failure rate. The $19.4 million program is being fielded in a phased approach, with the first beacons to be installed on Pacific-based aircraft. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.


BAE Prepares to Demo Autonomous Air War Planning Software

BAE Systems will demonstrate its new autonomous operational-level command-and-control software, the Distributed, Interactive, Command-and-Control Tool (DIRECT), with the Air Force later this year, according to Michael Schneider, a chief scientist in the company. DIRECT is part of a DARPA program aimed at determining mission risk and finding ways to keep the flow of information going between C2 nodes if communications are cut off. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

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RADAR SWEEP


Gender-Neutral Fitness Test For All? Air Force Considering Running-Based Formula
The Air Force is developing a new formula that it hopes will provide a more accurate measure of fitness vs fatness — and could possibly result in a gender-neutral fitness test for all airmen. Air Force Times

IG Investigating Shanahan Over Boeing Comments
The Pentagon's inspector general has begun an investigation into Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan's reported Boeing bias, the IG's office said Wednesday. Politico

Judge Says Trump Cannot Implement Transgender Military Policy
A federal judge on Tuesday said her injunction preventing President Trump’s transgender military policy from taking effect remains in place days after the Pentagon released a memo to implement the policy. The Hill

B-1B Returns to Arnold Air Force Base For Store Separation Testing
It had been nearly 20 years since a test involving the B-1B Lancer aircraft was conducted by Arnold Engineering Development Complex at Arnold Air Force Base. Air Force News

DARPA Launches Social Media Platform to Accelerate R&D
DARPA aims to apply the power of social networks to research and development via a novel social media platform purpose-built to quicken the pace of U.S. technology development. DARPA

One More Thing …

NASA's Mars 2020 Rover Is Put to the Test
In a little more than seven minutes in the early afternoon of Feb. 18, 2021, NASA's Mars 2020 rover will execute about 27,000 actions and calculations as it speeds through the hazardous transition from the edge of space to Mars' Jezero Crater. NASA