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​Gen. Jay Raymond, commander of Air Force Space Command, addresses the 34th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colo., April 17, 2018. Air Force photo by Dave Grim.

Raymond Tapped as First Leader of US Space Command

Gen. Jay Raymond was nominated Monday to become the first commander of the new US Space Command, the Air Force told Air Force Magazine Tuesday. Raymond would also keep his post as leader of Air Force Space Command. A service spokesman did not confirm whether the new combatant command will be located alongside AFSPC at Peterson AFB, Colo. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

Harrigian Tapped to Lead USAFE

President Donald Trump has nominated Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian for a fourth star and assignment as commander of US Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa. Harrigian, who has served as the deputy commander of USAFE-AFAFRICA since September 2018, would replace Gen. Tod Wolters, who has been nominated to lead US European Command. Prior to coming to Europe, Harrigian led Air Forces Central Command from July 2016 to August 2018. Both nominations must be approved by the Senate. —Amy McCullough

Guard Director Calls for More C-130Js as Fleet of H-Models Continues to Age

The Air Force in the future should consider buying more C-130Js even as it looks to modernize the aging C-130H fleet, which faces increasing operations and sustainment costs, Guard Director Gen. Joseph Lengyel told the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee on Tuesday. Although the 2020 budget request does not call for more C-130Js, and there aren’t currently plans for more in future years, it should be something the Air Force considers because the Guard’s tactical airlift fleet “is going to need to be modernized,” he added. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

Guard Calls for More Upgraded Radars on F-16s

The Air Force and Congress should look at extending the plan to install new radars in F-16s—beyond those specifically tasked with protecting the homeland—to improve the capability of the whole Viper fleet and create consistency across the Total Force, the head of the National Guard said Tuesday. The Air Force plans to install AN/APG-83 Active Electronically Scanned Array Radars in 72 Guard F-16s that are specifically focused on the homeland defense mission. The requirement stems from a 2015 urgent need request. National Guard Bureau Chief Gen. Joseph Lengyel told the House Appropriations defense subcommittee that installing the radar in just 72 aircraft, and leaving another 261 Guard jets without the radar, “does create a problem for us” because there will be different systems across the Air National Guard and even within squadrons. “It makes logistics more difficult,” Lengyel said. “It’s important that we consider, should funds become available, consider modifying more than 72,” he said,  adding more radars would “make it a more capable platform.” Lengyel estimated it would cost $110 million per year to upgrade 50 airplanes per year, for a total of about $600 million to upgrade the rest of the fleet. —Brian Everstine

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Reprogramming Opens Rift Between Pentagon, House Lawmakers

The House Armed Services Committee is clashing with the Pentagon over a decision to shift up to $1 billion in Army funding to pay for fencing along the southern US border, a move the department decided to make even though it may mean losing its ability to reprogram money. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told lawmakers Tuesday the Defense Department has considered the “significant downsides” of a congressional decision to withhold reprogramming authority, but it is moving out on an order from President Donald Trump. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

MDA Conducts Successful ICBM Interceptor Salvo Test

The Missile Defense Agency on Monday conducted its first successful test of a missile interceptor salvo—firing multiple interceptors that successfully destroyed a re-entry vehicle. The test included a threat-representative intercontinental ballistic missile-class target fired from the Kwajalein Atoll, and two ground-based interceptors launched from Vandenberg AFB, Calif., approximately 4,000 miles away, according to a Missile Defense Agency release. During the test, ballistic missile defense sensors in space, on the ground, and at sea acquired and tracked the target, and the two GBIs were able to successfully intercept the target. “This was the first GBI salvo intercept of a complex, threat-representative ICBM target, and it was a critical milestone,” MDA Director USAF Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves said in a release. “The system worked exactly as it was designed to do ...” —Brian Everstine

African Lion Kicks Off in Morocco, Tunisia

US aircraft and airmen kicked off one of the biggest multi-lateral training exercises in Africa this week. African Lion 2019 will include more than 1,100 US military personnel, including F-16s and airmen from Aviano AB, Italy, and the Utah National Guard, along with US Marine Corps, US Navy, US Army, United Kingdom, Spanish, Tunisian, and Moroccan armed forces. The yearly exercise includes counter-violent extremist tactical training, according to US Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa release. In addition to operations in Morocco, there will be flying and field exercises in Tunisia. The exercise is scheduled to run until April 3.

McConville Nominated as Army Chief of Staff

Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville was nominated to lead the service on Monday, according to the Senate. After serving as vice chief for nearly two years, he will replace Gen. Mark Milley, who is leaving the top Army post to chair the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Senate will consider McConville for Chief of Staff as the Army overhauls its modernization enterprise and amid reports that Army money will be redirected to pay for fencing along America’s southern border. —Rachel S. Cohen

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RADAR SWEEP


OPINION: The Air Force Wants More F-35s In FY 2020: Congress Needs To Step In
Retired Lt. Gen. Dave Deptula, dean of AFA’s Mitchell Institute writes: The Air Force presently has only 186 F-22s and approximately 175 F-35s. That inventory is woefully inadequate to meet moderate combat demands, let alone a potential North Korean conflict simultaneous with a requirement to check Russian aggression in Europe or Chinese aggression in East Asia. What was once “tomorrow’s threat” is now today’s reality. Deterring the ambitions of modern adversaries demands a fighter force inventory properly sized and infused with advanced fifth-generation capabilities. Forbes

Pease Salutes Final Departure of KC-135 Refueling Tanker, The Military’s Oldest Plane
Pease Air National Guard Base said goodbye to the oldest individual plane in the U.S. military’s inventory Sunday. New Hampshire Public Radio

If Your Military Housing is Contaminated, Who Pays Your Mold-Related Expenses?
After six months of living with mold, amid concerns about their children’s ongoing medical issues that began after they moved into their house, Traci Lenz and her Air Force husband moved off base in January. Military Times

Raytheon to Develop ASARS-2B Radar for USAF’s U-2 Aircraft
Raytheon has received a $320m undefined contract from the US Air Force (USAF) to develop a version of the advanced synthetic aperture radar (ASARS-2B) for the U-2 Dragon Lady reconnaissance aircraft. Airforce-technology

One More Thing ...
Russian MOD Releases Video of Su-27 Fighter Jets intercepting US B-52 bombers over Baltic Sea
The footage follows a statement released by Russian MOD earlier in the day stating that the Russian fighters had spotted two US planes flying at “a considerable distance from the Russian state border.” After that, the aircraft were escorted by Russian Su-27 fighter jets. Fighter Jets World