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A USAF B-52H Stratofortress, assigned to the 2nd Bomb Wing from Barksdale AFB, La., prepares to receive fuel from a 100th Air Refueling Wing KC-135 Stratotanker during Bomber Task Force 20-1, Nov. 4, 2019. Air Force photo by SSgt. Trevor T. McBride.

Hypersonic Weapons, Battle Management Now Part of Arsenal Plane Discussions

The years-old idea of an “arsenal plane,” a flying munitions truck that could accompany fighter jets and unmanned aircraft into battle, is now adapting to include the Air Force’s new technology pursuits. As the Air Force evolves its thinking on the prospect of an arsenal plane, top service officials are acknowledging the need to consider hypersonic weapons and new ideas in battle management. Air Force Global Strike Command boss Gen. Timothy Ray told Air Force Magazine in a Nov. 13 interview that arsenal plane experiments will take place over the next few years, and will begin to tap into the broader, networked Advanced Battle Management System idea the service is pursuing. Will Roper, the service’s acquisition chief, indicated that what constitutes an arsenal plane may come down to how aircraft like the bomber fleet are used, not only whether they offer a new design. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

Most Turkish-Made F-35 Parts Already Re-Sourced Among US Companies

New suppliers have been found for all but a dozen of the 850 parts Turkey is now making for the F-35, and most of the work is going to Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Whitney, company and program officials told a House Armed Services panel on Nov. 13—the same day Turkish President Recip Erdogan visited the White House. Much of the work is being brought back in-house, Lockheed F-35 Vice President and General Manager Greg Ulmer reported, but about 20 percent is going to foreign partner companies who already make identical components. Erdogan, at a White House press appearance, said he might be open to buying the American Patriot air defense system, but didn’t say whether it would be in lieu of the Russian S-400, the purchase of which prompted Turkey’s expulsion from the F-35 program. Read the full story by John A. Tirpak.

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Further F-35 ALIS Fixes in Progress as Pentagon Tackles Jet Costs

The F-35 is making progress but still faces major hurdles with its logistics system, intellectual property, supply chain, and more, officials overseeing the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program told lawmakers on Capitol Hill on Nov. 13. Program leadership laid out a path to turn one of the key challenges, the underperforming Autonomic Logistics Information System, into a functional tool for operations and maintenance data as it’s meant to be. Officials also discussed efforts to drive down the cost of flying the F-35 from $44,000 per hour to $25,000 per hour by 2025, though some in the department think that goal may be too lofty. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.


RPA Building Dedicated to Ollie Crawford

The Air Force’s only undergraduate remotely piloted aircraft training center was redubbed “Crawford Hall” in honor of WWII pilot Ollie Crawford, an Air Force Association charter member who went on to lead the organization as national president and chairman, in a Nov. 13 ceremony at JBSA-Randolph, Texas. Crawford, who died earlier this year at the age of 94, was known for his advocacy for airmen, his role in forming the Air Force Memorial Foundation and getting the monument constructed, and much more. “Ollie Crawford represents the passion for his service and for his service to his nation,” retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Douglas Raaberg, AFA’s executive vice president and one of the ceremony’s keynote speakers, told Air Force Magazine. “If every airman could have just a thimbleful of that passion that he had and strongly believed in, it’d be even more powerful for our Air Force, and for our joint forces, and our nation today.” Read the full story by Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory.

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RADAR SWEEP


Two Years in, How has a New Strategy Changed Cyber Operations?
Based on interviews with military officials and several cyber experts this is the story of how, in two years, a new strategy is forcing the national security community to rethink cyber operations and the strategy’s long-term effects. Fifth Domain

China Said It’s Developing 6G. What Does That Mean?
China’s Ministry of Science and Technology unveiled plans last week to launch a nationally coordinated research effort specifically focused on developing 6G technology. Science- and policy-based experts spoke to Nextgov about what the sixth generation of mobile technology is and entails, as well as what federal leaders should take away from the announcement, as they work to advance the United States’ cellular landscape. Nextgov

DOD Asks: Who Really Wrote Your Code?
Software developers routinely subcontract work to foreign firms, download tools from open-source libraries, or just copy-and-paste lines of code from existing software—without checking who originally wrote what or even understanding how it actually works. The resulting rise of bugs and backdoors in recycled code is so worrying to the Pentagon that it’s developing tools to track down where software really came from. Breaking Defense

Milley Describes Indo-Pacific Region as US Military's “Main Effort”
The US military capabilities allotted to the region illustrate that the Indo-Pacific is the focus of the US military's main effort, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in Tokyo. The region is home to the four most populous countries in the world: China, India, the United States, and Indonesia, and it has the largest military forces in the world. Defense Department release

CSAF Visits Luke to Meet with Airmen, Discuss F-35 Future
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein, accompanied by his wife, Dawn, visited Luke AFB, Ariz., on Nov. 8, to engage with key leaders and address 56th Fighter Wing airmen about the current state and future of the Air Force.  USAF release

Top Procurement Official Warns Budget Impasse “Debilitating” to Military Space Programs
Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology, and logistics, said the funding stalemate is setting back critical space programs that the Air Force funded in its fiscal 2020 budget. “All of them new starts, nearly all of them classified,” Roper said Nov. 12 during a breakfast meeting with reporters. Space News

US Air Force’s New International Affairs Chief Lays Out Her Goals
Defense News posed a number of questions to Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force for International Affairs Kelli Seybolt ahead of the Dubai Airshow to get her perspective on the evolution of the SAF/IA office, whether the pace of international sales is improving, and how the removal of Turkey from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is impacting the US Air Force’s willingness to export its most sensitive technologies. Defense News

Federal Investigators to Evaluate Aircraft Monitor and Control System’s Nuclear Certification
The Defense and Energy Departments’ inspectors general are conducting a joint review of the Aircraft Monitor and Control system’s nuclear certification process, according to a memorandum released Nov. 12. AMAC refers to “equipment installed in aircraft to permit nuclear weapon monitoring and control of safing, pre-arming, arming, and fuzing functions on nuclear weapons or nuclear weapon systems,” according to a July 2017 Air Force Instruction on the nuclear certification program. Inside Defense

One More Thing …

Wrap It Up: Vinyl Adds New Life to Museum Aircraft
Over the summer, the Air Force Armament Museum’s P-51 Mustang got its first new paint job in more than 30 years.  And not a single drop of paint was used in the process. That is because the P-51 became the first Air Force museum aircraft to be completely wrapped in vinyl. USAF release