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  • The New Look of Deterrence

    Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein speaks at AFA's Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla., on March 2, 2017. Photo by Dan Higgins. ​

    ​Superior command and control will enable the US to prevent war by confronting enemies with too many perils to handle, Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said at AWS17. The ability to “create multiple dilemmas from multiple domains”—air, space, cyber, land, sea, and undersea—“at a pace that will overwhelm any enemy and deny him the ability to do the same … that’s deterrence in the 21st century.” It will be critical to create a common operating picture for all elements of the joint fighting force, Goldfein said, challenging industry to develop the sinews that will make that encompassing network real and resilient. He also pledged that the Air Force stands ready to do all it can to provide a welcoming environment for new ideas that it didn’t come up with on its own, toward making the so-called “combat cloud” a reality. “We get this,” Goldfein said, arguing that USAF is already thinking this way and is applying the concept as much as it is now able. “We have to think about … creating that common operating picture.” He held out as an example the Uber system of ride-sharing, noting that the application shows users where Uber cars are, and clicking on any one tells where it’s going, the name of the driver, make of the car, estimated time of arrival, etc. “Is that the future?” he asked. “Why not?”

  • Airmen at the Table

    ​The Air Force is pushing to get more airmen appointed as joint force commanders, and is working to ensure that they are ready for the job, Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said at AWS17. Airmen will start out in a specialty, but once identified as having the potential for joint command, will be assigned to jobs that allow them to build expertise in all aspects of USAF competencies, so the “airman at the table” in joint assignments will be able to speak with facility about air dominance, space, and any other aspect of the air domain. They will also be seasoned with joint assignments. “We own space,” Goldfein said, and all airmen, including those assigned to joint commands, will have to be experts in that field, regardless of their original specialty.

  • PGMs Coming Back

    ​The Air Force is “absolutely working to in​crease” stockpiles of precision-guided munitions, which, as the preferred weapons in the anti-ISIS campaign, have been drawn down to very low levels, service acquisition chief Darlene Costello said Thursday. Speaking with reporters at AWS17, she said there are some “anomalies” with the continuing resolution for defense spending, which seems to be accounting-speak for waivers that allow USAF to increase PGM purchases over last year’s levels. Costello called this a “good news story.” USAF will double its buy of Joint Direct Attack Munitions from Boeing, going from 18,000 last year to 36,000 this year; Small Diameter Bomb buys will rise from 3,000 to 5,000; and Hellfire purchases for the Air Force will rise to 650 a month, though Costello didn’t give the current rate of production.

    Update: This entry was updated on March 3, 2017, with the correct name of the Air Force's acquisition chief.

  • The USAF Role In Driving ISIS From Libya

    MQ-9 Reapers, like the one shown here, flew the majority of strikes in the four-month campaign to defeat ISIS in Libya, officials announced at AFA's Air Warfare Symposium on March 2, 2017. Air Force courtesy photo.

    ​Just three USAF MQ-9 Reapers contributed significantly to the defeat of ISIS in its largest stronghold outside of Iraq and Syria, flying more than 60 percent of all strikes to wipe out the group in Sirte, Libya. Operation Odyssey Lightning, the four-month long fight to free the coastal city, began on Aug. 1, 2016, with the Reapers flying strikes alongside Marine Corps Harriers and Super Cobras off the USS Wasp, said Col. Case Cunningham, commander of the 432nd Wing and 432nd Air Expeditionary Wing. Special Operations Forces in operations centers worked with the Libyan Government of National Accord in the offensive helping to coordinate the 495 airstrikes that took place in the operation. Of that total, more than 60 percent came from Reapers, Cunningham said at AWS17, the first time the USAF role in the operation was publicly disclosed. Seventy percent of those airstrikes were conducted within "danger close" range of GNA forces, some just under 100 feet away, Cunningham said. The operation was "extremely precise," with Hellfire missiles at times flying into specific windows to hit a sniper but keeping the rest of the building intact, he said. Aircrews at Creech AFB, Nev., flew the mission along with crews with the North Dakota and Tennessee Air National Guard. Some of the pilots were young lieutenants with 1,000 combat hours coming into the operation.

    Update: This entry was updated on March 3, 2017, to address the role of young lieutenants in the operation.

  • Russian Anti-Aircraft Systems Paint US Aircraft

    ​The US-led coalition has seen Russia turn on its advanced S-300 anti-aircraft systems in Syria and "paint" aircraft, but there has not been a threat from the systems yet, said Maj. Gen Jay Silveria, deputy commander of Air Forces Central Command. US and coalition aircraft have reported different levels of signals from the S-300 systems, based on the electronics the aircraft carries. Russia has the radar systems on regularly to raise their awareness of the battlespace, Silveria said, and there has not been a threat though at times the aircraft might report the signals as them being targeted. If the coalition ever feels Russia would be ready to launch these systems, they would use the established line of communication. A surface-to-air system uses radar surveillance, then takes the shot, and then guides the system. So far, they "haven't come close to that sequence of events," Silveria said at AWS17. The coalition hasn't ceded any airspace to Russia and continues to fly wherever it needs to, with deconfliction. F-22s fly missions daily into Iraq and Syria to both escort aircraft and help coordinate strikes with its sensor package, Sylveria said.

  • JTACs Maneuvering With Iraqi Forces in Western Mosul

    ​USAF joint terminal attack controllers are on the ground pushing into western Mosul with Iraqi forces, directing airstrikes within the city. The Air Force has talked extensively about the presence of JTACS in air operations centers both in Iraq and at the larger combined air operations center at Al Udeid AB, Qatar, but not about the presence of forces on the front lines. Lt. Col. Jeffrey Mack, commander of the 72nd Expeditionary Air Support Operations Squadron, said at AW​S17 the fight has been "grinding on" in western Mosul, but the "Iraqis are getting after it" and it is a matter of time until the city falls. JTACs have accompanied Iraqi "maneuver elements" on the south and north ends of the battle. These groups have retaken the remaining bridge in the city and the city's airport. "They are employing effects within the city," Mack said. The fight has been tough in western Mosul because the city's narrow streets have limited sightlines, and ISIS has increasingly gone underground to avoid being spotted. The airstrikes have been conducted with "great care," to the point where about 300 houses in eastern Mosul were fully destroyed because they had ISIS fighters inside but many more were left intact despite the strikes.

  • C2 Will Be the Edge

    ​Air Combat Command boss Gen. Hawk Carlisle spoke about command and control and fusion at AFA's Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla., on March 2, 2017. Air Force photo.

    ​Command and control is “what will keep us ahead” as China, Russia, and other potential adversaries catch up in aerospace technology and imitate the US Air Force, Air Combat Command chief Gen. Hawk Carlisle asserted at AWS17 Thursday. The key to prevailing in future conflicts will be knowing the situation “faster, better” than an opponent, and the ability to continually assess and act inside his ability to do so. The Air Force’s Combined Air Operations Centers are the envy of the world, Carlisle said, but USAF is working to make them better, and is dedicating itself to making sure every platform feeds the “combat cloud.” In the future, “everything in the battlespace has to be an information collector and disseminator,” Carlisle said. The F-22 will be a key to that effort, although USAF hasn’t “figured out … yet” how to pass that what it collects to the rest of the force automatically, due to its stealthy communications technology.

    Carlisle said C2 is really the key when USAF may not have numerical superiority, and its technology will not be generations ahead of any competitor. Observing that the US had a monopoly on stealth when the F-117 was introduced, Carlisle noted, “we’ll never have an advantage like that again.” The technology pushes, he said, will be in “autonomy and semi-autonomy” of both platforms and the means to interpret what they collect, as well as “manned and unmanned teaming” and “machine-to-machine” communications and collaboration. Unable to be specific due to secrecy, Carlisle promised “we’re truly on the edge of some big moves” in all these areas, and in connecting “all the disparate parts” of the combat enterprise.

  • Laser Proof of Concept Coming Soon

    ​US Special Operations Command is currently testing a laser weapon system and hopes to have “a layout of proof of concept” completed within “months to maybe a year,” Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, chief of Air Force Special Operations Command, told reporters at AWS17 on Thursday. He said the system is “SOCOM’s No. 1 unfunded priority” and that he remains “a strong supporter,” but the slow development of the program was understandable given the “scar tissue from programs from the past” that sought to develop directed energy weapons systems. He said the system in development is an “offensive capability” with “very different technology” from previous attempts. One purpose of the ongoing testing, Webb said, is to determine which aircraft would deploy the system, how it would be mounted, and whether current weapons would need to be eliminated from certain airframes to make room for it. Webb said the program is a “joint government and industry project” and that “there are massive supporters within our government of the program.”

  • B-21 Update

    ​The B-21 bomber is “progressing really well,” Global Strike Command chief Gen. Robin Rand told reporters at AWS17. AFGSC now has a contingent in the Pentagon at the Rapid Capabilities Office, which is running the program, he reported. And, so far, it looks like “in the mid-2020s, we’ll have the first one at one of our bases,” with initial operating capability “in the late ‘20s,” said Rand. He reiterated his “strong recommendation” that USAF buy “at least 100” of the bombers and “make sure we get to that [number] by the late ‘30s.” At such a rate, production would be around five per year. Rand said the Air Force has a “great relationship with Northrop Grumman,” which will design and build the bomber, and he gets regular updates on the program’s progress. The company recently started the work of funding and laying out expansion at its Palmdale, Calif., facility to build the bombers, although design work will reportedly be done in Melbourne, Fla.

  • Mobility Crews Active Setting Up Airfields Across CENTCOM

    ​Air mobility crews are active across the Middle East setting up remote airfields, like they did with the Qayyarah West airfield, which Iraqi forces retook from ISIS last year. Air Mobility Command chief Gen. Carlton Everhart, citing security, would not disclose specific locations where Air Force contingency response airmen are active, but said his crews are "always asked to open up airfields" and they are still active as a part of Operation Inherent Resolve and other actions in the Middle East. Airmen in the contingency response crews are tasked with setting up austere airfields, launching​ and recovering aircraft, and providing security, Everhart said at AWS17. Airmen last year set up the Qayyarah West airfield south o​f Mosul, extensively repairing the runway and securing it so aircraft, such as C-130s, could fly closer to the front line. Before Qayyarah, the crews also set up the al Taqaddum airfield near Fallujah.​

  • The ISR Mission After Mosul and Raqqa

    ​The US-led coalition has enough intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance to handle the current fight against ISIS, but it needs to prepare for what’s next and how the battlefield will change after allied forces retake the main cities held by the group. Maj. Gen. Jay Silveria, deputy commander of Air Forces Central Command, said at AWS17 the coalition and Iraqi forces will "get in and hold Mosul. Opposition forces will move on Raqqa. But there's still work to be done." ISIS will change into a different force, and remain in other areas, and the ISR mission will transition to "listening a lot more than actually watching a moving ground force." The mission will focus increasingly on signals intelligence used to listen in on the group because it will no longer be gathering in large numbers in cities.

  • Targeting ISIS's Drone Infrastructure

    ​The US-led coalition fighting ISIS needs to target the terrorist network’s use of drones not just as an individual quadcopter that needs to be taken down, but instead as a weapons system that needs to be targeted in full. Maj. Gen. Jay Silveria, the deputy commander of Air Forces Central Command, said it is clear that ISIS is regularly using drones, both commercial quadcopters and larger remotely piloted aircraft, to conduct missions such as intelligence gathering, surveillance, strike, and propaganda. While the coalition has purchased devices to target these devices, the problem is larger than that. The system has leadership, he said. The devices are stored somewhere. Their pilots train, and there's a logistics chain behind them. All of these should be targeted, so that a drone can never make its way to friendly forces. "I’d rather it not show up," Silveria said. Without discussing specifics already being done, Silveria said they can be targeted by simply blowing it up before it launches, or by taking out the pilot. Electronic jamming can prevent it from flying, or jamming of cellular phone services can inhibit its control or communication by the pilot. Even jamming aircraft, like a Compass Call, can be used to disrupt the electromagnetic spectrum is uses to fly, he said at AWS17.

  • More Than 150 Resupply Missions Flown to Airstrip Inside Syria

    ​US forces last fall set up a remote airfield inside Syria and have flown 50 C-17 missions as of last week, according to Air Forces Central Command. The remote airfield has also been used for more than 100 C-130 flights to help resupply US special operations forces and allied Syrian fighters in their approach to Raqqa and other ISIS strongholds inside Syria, AFCENT Deputy Commander Maj. Gen. Jay Silveria said at AWS17. The site was just a flat spot of dirt before crews, including Air Force contingency response airmen, arrived to build it up for air operations. It is still being built up, but has become essential for the fight inside Syria, Sylveria said. Without this site, aircraft would have been forced to fly a much greater distance and it would be "much more difficult to get into Syria," he said.

  • Intel Challenges and the Holy Grail


    ​Lani Kass (left), CACI’s senior vice president and corporate strategic advisor, and Brig. Gen. Pete Lambert (right), Air Combat Command's director of intelligence, speak at AFA's Air Warfare Syposium in Orlando, Fla., on March 2, 2017. Photo by Dan Higgins.

    ​Russians are testing fusion capabilities in Syria much like Americans experimented with technology during Desert Storm, but they’re “absolutely not” where USAF is with regard to command and control and fusion warfare, said Brig. Gen. Peter Lambert, Air Combat Command’s director of intelligence. Speaking at AWS17, Air Force leaders cited a host of growing information challenges, including ISIS and Russia, and outlined steps the service is taking to address those challenges.

    Read the full story from Gideon Grudo.

  • Space is the DNA of Fusion

    ​Air Force Space Command boss Gen. Jay Raymond called space "the DNA of fusion," noting space is a part of everything the US military does today. Speaking at AWS17 Thursday, Raymond said Space Command has worked hard “to integrate those space and now cyber capabilities into the fight,” but the Air Force now needs to address the threat posed by adversaries who are “actively developing capabilities” to thwart the US in space. “We must be able to protect and defend” our space assets, Raymond said. To do so, AFSPC is working on a “concept of operations with the National Reconnaissance Office” for the defense of space. That concept of operations sets two goals: ensuring “the ability to command and control” in space and developing better “situational awareness” of all space assets, both US and foreign. In taking intermediate steps toward achieving these goals, Raymond said, AFSPC has “overhauled our training programs” and is working on “developing tactics, techniques, and procedures” for an operational space environment.​

  • Global Strike Needs Modernization

    ​Air Force Global Strike Command needs to “upgrade our current platforms that we have so that they can be persistent in war,” said commander Gen. Robin Rand at AWS17 on Thursday. “We can hold … any target on the planet at risk” in just a few hours, but because of adversary advances, “if we’re going to be able to do that five years from now, 10 years from now, there’s things we’ve got to do to our existing platforms,” said Rand. He insisted that the development and integration of the new B-21 bomber would not be enough “because we’re going to need to keep operating with the systems that we have.” As an example of the kind of quick global strike capability he wants to protect, Rand mentioned the Whiteman AFB, Mo., B-2s that bombed an ISIS training camp in Libya in January. He said the crews readied five aircraft within 36 hours, loading 400 weapons, refueling three aircraft en route, and dropping 100 weapons. The crew also got updated target conditions while en route. “That’s fusion,” said Rand, who emphasized that the information network capabilities of Global Strike are increasingly significant. He said he tells pilots who are deploying, “frankly, the least important thing you might do is drop a bomb. The most important thing you might do is provide a critical piece of ISR that’s going to save someone’s life.”

  • Two New Air Force One Aircraft

    ​​There’s no cost-cutting going on with the Presidential Aircraft Replacement program yet, because the program isn’t yet to the stage of “negotiations,” Air Force acquisition chief Darlene Costello told reporters at AWS17. Costello said the service has been working for “over a year” to make sure, in writing the requirements, that “we’re not doing more than we have to.” Once the requirements stage concludes, and the requirements are “stable,”  then, and only then, will USAF get into the business of trying to negotiate the lowest prices it can, Costello said. Asked if the requirement for two airplanes might be reduced to one, Costello said, “I don’t think so,” citing the service’s probable operational need. She declined to comment on President Trump’s statements he has gotten the price down on the PAR, except to say when the time comes to negotiate, USAF will do “everything we can to make it an affordable platform.”​

    Update: This entry was updated on March 6, 2017, with the correct name of the service's acquisition chief.

  • White House Working on Requirements for Next Air Force One

  • Helo: Anyone? Anyone?

    ​The Air Force is giving helicopter companies more time to revise their offerings for the UH-1N utility helicopter replacement contest, service acquisition chief Darlene Costello said Thursday. Speaking with reporters at AWS17, Costello said after the release of the draft request for propos​als, “industry said they weren’t going to be able to meet our threshold requirements.” There will be no final RFP in the spring; it will be released in the summer, but the planned date of contract award and initial operating capability have not changed, she said. Though she did not say in what areas the helicopters on offer fell short, industry sources said it was chiefly in the amount of load they can carry. “I don’t expect the requirements to change,” Costello said, and the extra time will give companies a chance to see if they can tweak their offerings to meet them. “Everybody said they needed some additional time,” she said.

    Update: This entry was updated on March 6, 2017, with the correct name of the service's acquisition chief.

  • Boeing To Compete for Huey Replacement

    ​​Boeing on March 2, 2017, unveiled its MH-139 helicopter in the competition to replace the US Air Force’s UH-1N “Huey” fleet, which currently protects ICBMs and transports US government and security forces. Boeing photo.

    ​Boeing announced Thursday at AWS17 it will compete to replace the UH-1N Huey with its MH-139, a version of the AW139 already being produced by AgustaWestland. Program director Rick Lemaster said the MH-139 will have a top speed of 165 knots compared to the Huey’s top speed of 130 knots. The cabin will also be 30 percent bigger without additional length, and Boeing said the helicopter will be able to carry up to 15 people with equipment. Boeing also claims it can produce $1 billion in acquisitions and life cycle management savings if the MH-139 is selected, largely because the company would be “selecting aircraft off the line” and tailoring them to fit the Air Force’s needs. AgustaWestland is already producing one AW139 per month at its Philadelphia facility, which would also produce the MH-139, and Boeing said production levels have been as high as four per month or 45 in a year. “We understand the mission and the requirements,” said Dave Koopersmith, vice president for vertical lift. “We get that the Air Force needs the Huey replacement to be low-cost and ready to go from Day One.” The Air Force released a draft RFP for the Huey replacement in December. Acting Secretary of the Air Force Lisa Disbrow told Air Force Magazine Thursday another RFP, previously expected in April, would not be released until the summer.

  • AMC's First Mobility Guardian to Include 23 Partner Nations

    ​Twenty-three nations have signed on to either participate in or observe Air Mobility Command's first Mobility Guardian exercise, making the Air Force's first and largest mobility exercise a showcase of its capability in addition to training, AMC chief Gen. Carlton Everhart said. The exercise, which replaces the Air Mobility Rodeo as AMC's largest exercise, will focus on practicing AMC's entire mission, including airdropping about 1,000 paratroopers, setting up remote airfields, conducting aeromedical evacuation missions, in-air refueling, and other mission sets, Everhart said at AWS17. The exercise, planned to begin in late July at JB Lewis-McChord, Wash., will also include conducting fires with the Navy and Army, and will even include an industry day. Mobility crews have gotten "very good" at its current mission, including taking off from the East Coast, resting at a hub in Europe, and flying down "the boulevard" to different locations in the Middle East. However, AMC hasn't practiced how to bring it all back home after executing the mission. Mobility Guardian will allow AMC to "exercise a lot of pieces of the puzzle," Everhart said.​

  • Adaptive Engine Technology at Foundation of Future Propulsion

    ​The future of propulsion will at least be complemented heavily by adaptive engine design, according to a panel of experts and industry executives. And Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein thinks that future is bright. “I believe we’ll bring propulsion in aircraft … forward in a way no one else can,” he said Thursday at AWS17. Speaking in a different panel at the same event, executives from General Electric, Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce, and a subject expert rolled around ideas and concepts about the future of engines. Mark Lewis, director of the Institute for Defense Analyses’ Science and Technology Policy Institute, said development of propulsion will focus on better cycle efficiency (like an adaptive engine or alternative energy sources, for example), better propulsive efficiency (such as higher bypass/unducted fans), and better components (improved blades, for example). However, Lewis emphasized that rockets are currently very efficient, clocking it at rates higher than 90 percent, which is better than gas turbines (65 percent), cars (20 percent), and human beings (15 percent).

    Pratt & Whitney is going to be testing modifications to its F-135 engines in the Spring, said James Kenyon, the company’s director of advanced programs and technology. He added that additive manufacturing came in very useful as Pratt played with capabilities for these modifications, allowing engineers to “try things” they couldn’t have tried otherwise. More specifically, Phil Burkholder, Rolls-Royce’s president of Defense Aerospace in North America, said the company would be focusing on developing technologies in tilt-rotor aircraft, unmanned tilt-rotor aircraft, distributed propulsion, and hybrid engine designs. General Electric’s Dan McCormick, the company’s general manager for the advanced combat engine, said the company’s three-stream architecture—an advanced method of air injection as opposed to what a turbojet or turbofan offers—is one way to achieve the type of adaptive engine efficiency that will revolutionize engine tech in the future. Regardless of the future of engines, the old battle between efficiency and energy will be at the center of innovation.

  • B-52 Re-Engining

    ​Global Strike Command chief Gen. Robin Rand says he will “continue to advocate” for re-engining the B-52 bomber. “We have some money to look at that,” Rand told reporters at AWS17, though the funding is only enough for “feasibility analysis.” Rand said he wants new engines on the airplane “not for safety reasons” but because new powerplants would need less maintenance—saving on maintainers badly needed elsewhere—as well as reducing fuel consumption, and extending range, meaning Air Mobility Command could put some of its bomber-supporting tankers to use on other missions. New engines would also require fewer spare parts and spend more time on-wing, meaning more availability of the jets for action, Rand said. “There are about four or five good reasons” to do it, Rand said, but it would require the approval of Congress to use “creative” financing schemes to get the engines, he said. Those include a possible lease if USAF opted to do the program, but not buy the equipment outright. Rand later told Air Force Magazine that the ballpark price of a B-52 re-engining would be about $7 billion, assuming eight engines on each of the jets in the fleet. But “all dollars are in competition” with other worthy projects, Rand said. Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Steven Wilson, himself former head of AFGSC, has been a big proponent of B-52 re-engining “and still is,” Rand said.

  • CMSAF Wright Commits to Airmen Resiliency

    CMSAF Kaleth Wright speaks at AFA's Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla., on March 2, 2017. Photo by Dan Higgins.​​

    ​New CMSAF Kaleth Wright said his tenure as the service’s top enlisted leader will focus on training, leadership, and resiliency. Speaking at at AWS17, Wright acknowledged the service was facing “pockets of morale challenges,” but insisted that morale was not low across the force. “It’s tough right now in our United States Air Force to be an airman,” he said, adding improved training will be part of the answer. “You don’t become a champion on the field,” he said, “you become a champion in practice.” Wright promised to work together with AETC boss Lt. Gen. Darryl Roberson to focus training on airmen’s specific fields of expertise. Wright also said USAF needs to become better at “managing our talent.” He mentioned senior leaders recently “having to be removed from their positions” because “they didn’t have the right character.” He said the key question that will drive his work will be “how do we ensure as we move forward that all our airmen are resilient?” The Air Force has done a lot to address resiliency already, Wright said, but it needs to “integrate the programs we already have and make sure airmen feel comfortable using them.”​

  • Fusion Training for Fusion Warfare

    Training airmen for the battlespace of the future will require fusion training environments that use fifth generation capabilities of the F-35 and T-X trainer, top Air Force generals said at AW​S17 Thursday. Fusion warfare will require “agile airmen, highly trained in their primary duty,” but also ready to “synergize” across the force, said Lt. Gen. Darryl Roberson, chief of Air Education and Training Command. One way to achieve this goal is to get young airmen more time in air operations centers “to expose more airmen to the network infused environment.” This sort of experience can help “unleash that thought potential,” which Air Combat Command boss Gen. Hawk Carlisle said is the greatest advantage of the US military. The challenge is daunting, however. Roberson said the Air Force ultimately needs airmen who are “proficient at fighting in the dark with little or no technology at all.”

    New capabilities will help too. Roberson singled out the F-35 and the T-X trainer. The fifth generation fighter is “a difference-maker in how we can carry out command and control and fuse all components of warfighting in future conflicts,” he said. “In these future conflicts, the fifth-generation fighter aircraft is our key to mature air superiority for the United States.” He said the F-35 operates “more like an AWACS than an individual fighter,” bringing additional command capabilities to the battlespace. And the T-X will be necessary for “bridging the technological gap between our current trainers and that fifth-generation capability.” The continued development of the T-X trainer is “central to our ability to transition, to bring in more of this networked warfare and fusion, and start training our students from the very beginning what they’re going to see when they get out and operational.”​

  • US Aircraft Strikes Al Qaeda in Yemen


    ​US aircraft early Thursday conducted more than 20 airstrikes throughout Yemen, targeting Al Qaeda militants, equipment, and infrastructure, the Pentagon announced. The airstrikes, which took place in the Al Bayda and Shabwah governorates, were conducted in partnership with the Yemeni government. "The strikes will degrade the AQAP's ability to coordinate external terror attacks and limit their ability to use territory seized from the legitimate government of Yemen of as a safe space for terror plotting," Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said in a statement. The strikes come as some critics have said the Jan. 29 raid that resulted in the death of Navy SEAL Senior Chief William "Ryan" Owens did not result in actionable intelligence. The Pentagon announcement did not connect the airstrikes to intelligence gathered in the raid, which also resulted in the death of dozens of civilians.

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