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​​The Air Force grounded its B-1 fleet on Thursday after an inspection identified potential fleet-wide problems. Here, a B-1B Lancer is refueled by a KC-10 Extender over an undisclosed location April 14, 2018. Air Force photo by SSgt. Colton Elliott.

B-1 Fleet Grounded After Inspection Identified Issues with Drogue Chute System

Air Force Global Strike Command on Thursday grounded its B-1B Lancer fleet, for the second time within a year.  The command announced that during a “routine inspection” of the B-1’s drogue chute system, “potentially fleet-wide issues were identified with the rigging of the drogue shoot,” AFGSC said in a statement. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

Inspector General: Afghan Government, Military Face Collapse Without Sustained Support

The Afghan government and security forces will not be able to exist following a US withdrawal without extensive foreign support, a fact that complicates the potential end to the war, the Pentagon’s Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction said Thursday. SIGAR on Thursday released a report detailing “high risk” parts of the US-led Afghan reconstruction effort, noting that the limited effectiveness of the country’s government could end without foreign help. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

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McKenzie Takes Over CENTCOM

Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth McKenzie assumed command of US Central Command during a ceremony Thursday, taking over for retiring Army Gen. Joseph Votel. McKenzie last served as the director of the Joint Staff at the Pentagon. He also previously served as the director of strategy, plans, and policy for CENTCOM and the commander of Marine Corps Forces for the command. He takes over at a time when the US-led fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria has largely subsided with the defeat of the group’s caliphate, though operations in Afghanistan have increased. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, speaking at the Tampa, Fla., ceremony, said McKenzie has trained his whole life for this job. “We are thankful you have accepted the challenge. Our job back at the pentagon is to support you,” Shanahan said. “We stand behind you, and we have the highest confidence in your abilities.” Votel had led the command since March 2016. —Brian Everstine

USAF Confident Only Two Launch Providers Needed for NSSL

The Air Force’s National Security Space mission won’t offer enough work through 2026 to warrant bringing three launch-services providers on board, although those companies could find other opportunities in the private sector, Space and Missile Systems Center Commander Lt. Gen. John Thompson told senators Wednesday. However, a Government Accountability Office official added the commercial sector may not be able to support three launch companies either, which could have ripple effects for the military space enterprise as well. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

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GBSD May Keep Competition Alive in Solid-Rocket Motor Industry

The Air Force is considering the pros and cons of using both major solid-rocket motor providers—Aerojet Rocketdyne and Orbital ATK—in the later stages of the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent program, after the Defense Department has voiced concerns about the state of that industrial base. Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch, the service’s top uniformed acquisition official, told lawmakers Thursday the Air Force will decide a way forward based on what would best meet the US’s nuclear-deterrence needs. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

US Military Delivering Aid to Mozambique

Two C-130Js and more than 50 service members are delivering almost 275 tons of food and medical supplies to Mozambique following a devastating cyclone earlier this month that has killed more than 750 people in Mozambique and Malawi. Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa is delivering the aid from Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, in coordination with the US Agency for International Development. “We are responding as quickly and safely as possible to help bring relief from the devastation,” CJTF-HOA commanding general Maj. Gen. James Craig said in a US Africa Command release. The initial deployment of service members to the region included contingency response airmen who assessed airfields prior to flying in aid to Maputo and Beira in the country. —Brian Everstine
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RADAR SWEEP


US Air Force B-52s Train With Italian Air Force in Iceland
Two U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortresses conducted flights from RAF Fairford, England, to Iceland on March 26, 2019, to conduct training with Italian air force Typhoon fighter jets supporting the NATO Icelandic Air Surveillance mission. USAFE News

US Studying India Anti-Satellite Weapons Test, Warns of Space Debris
Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan warned any nations contemplating anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons tests like the one India carried out on Wednesday that they risk making a “mess” in space because of debris fields they can leave behind. Reuters

Air Force Academy Chapel Renovation Halted After Funds Moved
A renovation of the Air Force Academy chapel has been canceled after funds were transferred to a Florida base. Air Force Times

Amid Russia Tensions, Producing F-35 Fighter Jets Without Turkey Possible: US Sources
Excluding NATO-member Turkey from the trillion-dollar F-35 fighter jet program would be challenging due to Ankara’s integral role in the stealthy jet’s production process, but not impossible, U.S. sources familiar with the situation said. Reuters

F-35: What The Pilots Say

Firsthand accounts of flying the world’s most advanced fighter. Air & Space Magazine

One More Thing …
There Are Some Fates Worse Than Death
A TEDx talk by Lieutenant Colonel Mike Drowley "Johnny Bravo", Commander, 66th Weapons Squadron. TEDx Talk at Scott Air Force Base. via YouTube.