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Inside the Air Force - December 7, 2018
  • Readiness needs spur training, manpower changes for high-altitude ISR fleets

    BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, CA -- As tensions flared between the United States and North Korea over nuclear proliferation last year, the 9th Reconnaissance Wing saw an opportunity to ask: Are we ready to go to war somewhere new?

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  • Official: U-2 Dragon Lady, RQ-4 Global Hawk can help speed evolution of ISR

    BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, CA -- High-altitude intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft -- particularly Lockheed Martin's U-2 Dragon Lady -- can serve as a bridge to the next generation of reconnaissance aircraft by acting as a test truck for new sensors, according to the commander of the 9th Reconnaissance Wing here.

    1168 words

  • SMC 2.0 achieves IOC; DOD 'scrambling' to shape scope of new SDA

    The Air Force's space acquisition hub achieved initial operational capability in November for a major reorganization, a development that comes as the Pentagon considers major management shifts that could change the way the Defense Department buys and operates space capability.

    497 words

  • Airbus teams with Lockheed for another crack at Air Force tanker business

    Airbus, eyeing a growing need for aerial refueling service by the U.S. military, is teaming up with Lockheed Martin to offer the Pentagon the A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport as a fee-for-service aircraft and potential purchase -- a third attempt by the European company over the last decade to win a piece of the Air Force tanker business in a move that could squeeze Boeing.

    864 words

  • B-21 Completes CDR

    The B-21 bomber has completed its critical design review, the Air Force confirmed this week. During a Dec. 1 roundtable with reporters at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, CA, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said the program, which is managed out of the rapid capabilities office, is progressing well and completed its most recent review in late November. Wilson's office confirmed this week she was referring to the CDR. The Air Force has said it will buy at least 100 B-21s and expects to begin fielding the bomber in the mid-2020s.

    103 words

  • Air Force's new AI cross-functional team to hold first meeting Dec. 7

    The Air Force is launching a cross-functional team for artificial intelligence to write a service-wide strategy and mull plans to bake the technology into all of the service's systems and processes.

    342 words

  • DIU now able to issue its own OTAs as it looks to tackle broader projects

    MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA -- Three years after it launched as the Defense Department's conduit to Silicon Valley, the Defense Innovation Unit can now award contracts using its own other transaction authorities, rather than rely solely on service-led acquisition groups.

    974 words

  • Air Force gained 15 percent readiness since secretary's confirmation

    SIMI VALLEY, CA -- The Air Force is 15 percent more ready now than it was in May 2017, with 75 percent of operational squadrons able to deploy in lead force packages, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson recently told reporters here.

    376 words

  • Air Force awaits industry response to second draft light-attack aircraft RFP

    SIMI VALLEY, CA -- The Air Force is awaiting industry's response to a second draft request for proposals as the service finalizes its acquisition strategy for a light-attack aircraft, the Air Force's military deputy for acquisition told Inside Defense.

    452 words

  • Wilson asks team 'to scrub it again' after reviewing S&T review results

    SIMI VALLEY, CA -- Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said this past weekend she sent the Air Force Research Laboratory back to the drawing board after seeing the draft results of a yearlong study that considered ways to revamp the science and technology enterprise for the 21st century.

    255 words

  • Wilson wants USAF to explore new target location, identification technologies

    The Air Force is contemplating development of a new intelligence enterprise for target location and identification impervious to both kinetic and non-kinetic threats, which experts believe could eventually render today's sensor and command-and-control architecture -- technology that ushered in the age of precision-munition warfare a generation ago -- obsolete.

    566 words

  • F-35 formally enters initial operational test and evaluation

    The F-35 joint program office announced this week the program has officially entered the initial operational test and evaluation phase.

    206 words

  • F-35 JPO seeks industry support for sustainment SCRM review

    As the Defense Department continues to craft a long-term sustainment plan for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the joint program office is looking to partner with industry to better understand the sustainment risks involving sub-tier suppliers.

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  • Lockheed aims for mid-2019 delivery of F-35 virtual training capability

    Lockheed Martin expects to deliver a key F-35 simulator capability in mid-2019 that will allow pilots to connect with other aircraft and with partner jets in a virtual environment.

    393 words

  • Air Force eyeing new maintenance sensors to boost MC rate

    The Air Force is working with the airline industry to determine whether it can install sensors in its fighter aircraft to detect key fatigue and maintenance issues -- a technology that could reduce the time it takes to diagnose and repair aircraft.

    298 words

  • Inhofe 'urging' Trump to up defense budget, but tweets make him 'cringe'

    Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-OK) said Dec. 6 he used a recent White House meeting with President Trump, Vice President Pence and national security adviser John Bolton to urge the administration to forgo a planned $33 billion cut to defense spending.

    571 words

  • USAF's revamped ATO policy aims to deliver greater cybersecurity faster

    Air Force Deputy Chief Information Officer Bill Marion said this week the service would release a "fast-track" authority to operate policy within the next week, hoping to deploy more cybersecure capabilities faster instead of remaining beholden to the current ATO process that can last 18 months.

    399 words

  • Mattis: NDS priorities will flounder without military spending boost

    SIMI VALLEY, CA -- Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Dec. 1 denounced a potential cut to the Pentagon's future funding, saying the Defense Department needs Congress' full financial support to meet the National Defense Strategy's goals.

    745 words

  • Pompeo: U.S. to withdraw from INF Treaty in 60 days unless Russia complies

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this week formally announced that if Russia does not come back into compliance with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, the United States would withdraw from the pact in 60 days.

    1050 words

  • China takes center stage at Reagan Forum

    China's evolving military and surging economy continue to loom large in the minds of U.S. defense policy experts, but President Trump sparked new uncertainty about his administration's posture this week by voicing a desire to halt an "uncontrollable arms race" between China, Russia and the United States.

    491 words

  • As programs grow, Lockheed pursues new talent

    The surge of new aerospace and defense work means Lockheed Martin must look beyond simply recruiting from competitors and must attract new employees to the industry, according to Jeff Babione, the general manager of the company's Skunk Works unit.

    211 words

  • Mercury Systems looks to acquisitions and R&D for growth

    Mercury Systems, a supplier to dozens of prime contractors, has been rapidly making acquisitions and is investing heavily in research and development as it seeks growth.

    540 words

  • Pentagon moves to implement LPTA limitations

    The Defense Department this week issued a proposed rule that would implement sections of 2017 and 2018 legislation limiting the use of lowest-price, technically acceptable source selection.

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  • Information technology to be specialized between services

    The military's information technology world is being divided up into specialties to synchronize capabilities and improve interoperability among the services, according to the Army's deputy chief information officer, G6.

    378 words