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The Air Force wants to see improvements in privatized military housing at Tinker AFB, Okla. Screenshot of Air Force video by Ron Mullan.​

​USAF: Balfour Beatty Must Do More to Improve Military Housing at Tinker, Others

John Henderson, the Air Force’s assistant secretary for installations, environment, and energy, raised concerns about military housing provider Balfour Beatty Communities in a Sept. 30 letter to the company, saying Tinker AFB, Okla., is suffering from newly discovered issues in on-base homes. All 292 duplex units built by Balfour Beatty at Tinker need repairs, including 77 units that do not meet fire safety code. Homes also suffer from mold, rodents, pests, radon gas, and other structural deficits, according to Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), who visited the units with Henderson and Acting Air Force Secretary Matt Donovan. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

Seven Likely Killed in “Nine-O-Nine” Crash; Guardsman Hailed for Saving Injured

Seven people are confirmed or presumed dead in the Oct. 2 crash of a restored World War II-era B-17, while an Air National Guardsman who was on the plane is credited with swiftly helping the injured to escape as the bomber was engulfed in flames. Three crew members and 10 passengers were aboard the aircraft when it crashed in Connecticut. Among them was an unnamed Air National Guardsman who “popped the hatch” of the back of the plane to evacuate the injured after the crash, according to local TV news. National Transportation Safety Board member Jennifer Homendy said in a press conference that investigators will look at an engine that concerned the pilot. Read the full story by Brian Everstine and Rachel S. Cohen.

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Wolters: US-Turkey Military Relationship Strong Despite S-400 Dispute

Despite the drawn-out public fight over Turkey’s purchase of the Russian-made S400 missile system and the country’s subsequent expulsion from the F-35 program, the military relationship between Washington and Ankara “remains productive,” the head of the US military in Europe said Oct. 3. Air Force Gen. Tod Wolters, commander of US European Command, pointed to ongoing joint patrols in Syria as an example of American and Turkish forces working together. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

USAFA’s Longest-Serving Mascot, Aurora, Dies at 23

The US Air Force Academy is mourning the death of its longest-serving mascot, Aurora, a white phase gyrfalcon that died Oct. 2 at age 23. “Emblematic of the beauty and majesty of our Falcons, Aurora will be greatly missed by generations of cadets, graduates, faculty members and so many others,” USAFA Superintendent Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria said. In more than two decades of service to the Academy, Aurora interacted with thousands of people in the football stadium and at other sporting events and community engagements. “In addition to serving as an ambassador for the Academy, she was an ambassador for all falcons, helping us educate the public on the importance of these majestic birds,” Col. Jennifer Alexander, the officer in charge of the Academy’s falconry team, said. “She was a feisty, spirited bird who commanded respect.” Aurora lived about twice as long as wild falcons. She was a rare bird, according to the Academy. Just 3 percent of all falcons are gyrfalcons, and 1 percent of those are white. —Brian Everstine

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RADAR SWEEP


CSAF Charts Air Force Defender Way Forward in Year of Integrated Base Defense
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein discussed the Air Force’s transition from The Year of the Defender to The Year of Integrated Base Defense, focusing on how elite defenders fit into a layered defensive network, in a speech at the 33rd National Meeting of the Air Force Security Forces Association in San Antonio on Sept. 28. USAF release

TRANSCOM Chief: No More KC-135s Now Planned
Gen. Stephen Lyons, the Army general heading up TRANSCOM, says there is no ongoing work for a space plane to carry supplies. Breaking Defense

The Pentagon Wants to Extend the Life of Satellites and Refuel on Orbit
Northrop Grumman is on the verge of launching a new satellite-servicing vehicle that could extend the life of satellites by years, and the Pentagon is interested in becoming a customer. C4ISRNET

DARPA Scoping the Market for Small Satellite Launchers
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is seeking information from small-lift launch providers on the capabilities of their vehicles. The agency is doing market research in preparation for a 2022 launch of a payload that “may be classified and may include sight sensitive components,” said the request for information issued by DARPA on Sept. 30. Space News

AFRC Restructures Enlisted Grade Force
More than 3,500 enlisted Reserve airmen will see upgrades to their grade authorizations Oct. 1. USAF release

“Wild Weasel” Maintenance Squadron Commander Fired at Misawa
Lt. Col. Jason Moehle, the commander of the 35th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Misawa AB, Japan, who oversaw maintenance of its famed “Wild Weasel” F-16s, was relieved of his duties Sept. 30. Col. Rognald Christensen, commander of the 35th Maintenance Group, fired Moehle “due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command,” said Col. Kristopher Struve, commander of the 35th Fighter Wing, in a statement Oct. 2. Air Force Times

Fighting Cyber Crime Is Critical for National Security, Says Secret Service Chief
While election interference, espionage, and power grid threats get all the attention, nation-states also lean on cyber criminals to conduct operations on their behalf, according to Director James Murray. Nextgov

One More Thing …

Four of the Biggest Revelations from China's Massive 70th Anniversary Military Parade
It would take too long to go through everything that was on display, but here are four systems The War Zone thinks are especially significant in addition to our analysis of two advanced aerial systems we have already posted. The Drive