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​An artist illustration of the F-15EX. Boeing photo.

​Continuing Resolution Would Delay F-15EX Production, Up to 88 USAF New Starts

The Air Force is warning lawmakers that extending the current continuing resolution will delay development of key weapons systems—most notably F-15EX production—and will dramatically reduce munitions procurement. The Senate this week began debate on fiscal 2020 funding bills in advance of the Nov. 21 deadline, when the current stopgap spending bill expires. If Capitol Hill approves a new six- or 12-month CR, it would block 88 spending initiatives listed in the 2020 budget request, 14 production increases for various programs, and 41 military construction projects across 19 states, according to an Air Force document outlining CR impacts that was obtained by Air Force Magazine. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

B-21 Taking Shape, Though RCO Hedges on First Flight Date

The first flight of the B-21 Raider may slip beyond its current target date of December 2021 due to complexities of the program as the first bomber comes together, the head of the Air Force’s Rapid Capabilities Office said. Northrop Grumman is building the first bomber at its Palmdale, Calif., facility, where B-21s will eventually be produced in quantity. RCO boss Randy Walden told Air Force Magazine on Oct. 24 that the program is not relying on a subscale prototype or demonstrator before the production of the first airframe. Read the full story by John A. Tirpak.

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STRATCOM Nominee’s Confirmation Hearing Considers Future of Strategic Deterrence

Navy Vice Adm. Chas Richard is looking to be a new leader for a new era at US Strategic Command, one that looks markedly different from the last time STRATCOM changed commanders, in 2016. STRATCOM is now focusing more on its core mission set of nuclear operations and strategic deterrence after other key missions have gained their own dedicated organizations. If confirmed by the Senate as STRATCOM’s top uniformed officer, Richard will have to consider conventional, nuclear, space, cyberspace, and electromagnetic assets as part of the overall deterrence picture, but without the day-to-day operational responsibilities for some of those areas. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

Joint Staff Wargames Explore Who’s in Charge of Non-Kinetic Attacks

The Joint Staff is leading a series of exercises and wargames to decide who should manage the Pentagon’s modern range of kinetic and non-kinetic attacks, from missiles to electronic warfare, in combat as part of “globally integrated operations,” according to the nominee to lead US Strategic Command. The outcomes will be key data points that shape how the military approaches multi-domain operations and expands its toolbox to include new weapons in cyberspace, the electromagnetic spectrum, and more. It’s also of interest to STRATCOM, which is adjusting to an era in which strategic operations and deterrence encompasses more than nuclear weapons. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

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RADAR SWEEP


The Air Force Sees Progress in a GPS Ground Station Test
Air Force leaders said they are closer to formally accepting a new GPS III satellite and a new ground system program into day-to-day operations after an upgrade allowed the control system to connect to the space vehicle on orbit. C4ISR

New Sept. 11 Exhibit Stages the Hunt for Osama bin Laden
Declassified US government documents and artifacts will be part of a new exhibit about the decade-long search for Osama bin Laden at the site of the New York terrorist attack he masterminded. Associated Press via ABC News

B-52s Train in Tense Black Sea Region, in Signal to Russia
Airmen flew two B-52H Stratofortresses on a 12-hour mission Monday from RAF Fairford in England to train with allies bordering the Black Sea. Air Force Times

Defence Minister Says Turkey, US to Overcome F-35 Problem
Turkey expects that disagreements with the United States over production of F-35 jets will be overcome, its defense minister told Reuters, adding that Ankara remained at the center of NATO despite criticism from allies of its incursion into Syria. Reuters

Disruptor and Drone Combine to Take on IED Threats From the Air
Companies are looking at innovative concepts for dealing with improvised explosive devices, including the use of drones to reduce risk to bomb disposal experts. Grant Turnbull speaks to SteelRock Technologies about its IED disruptor drone. Airforce-technology

Squadron Commanders Play Key Role in Building Alliances Through LEAP
In the Air Force Culture and Language Center’s Language Enabled Airman Program, the 3,002 scholars currently in the program are utilizing this training to build and strengthen alliances in 96 languages worldwide. The number of scholars is expected to grow following the release of the 2019 Active Duty selection board. USAF release

USAF Awards 3D-Audio Contract for A-10s
The US Air Force has contracted Terma North America to equip its Fairchild-Republic A-10C Thunderbolt II combat aircraft with 3D-audio to enhance the situational awareness of its pilots. Jane’s

One More Thing …

Uh ... The Army Just Contracted With Tom DeLonge's UFO Group to Study Those "Alien Alloys"
To the Stars Academy of Arts and Sciences—the UFO research organization founded by former Blink 182 star Tom DeLonge—has struck a research deal with the US Army filled with eye-popping references to exotic technologies. Gizmodo