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Inside the Air Force - February 15, 2019
  • USAF works to mitigate early Next-Gen OPIR delay in the wake of reprogramming denial

    The Air Force's strategy to develop the next generation of missile warning satellites on an aggressive schedule using new acquisition concepts and resiliency standards hit a snag last fall when Congress partially denied funding for a reprogramming request, delaying the start of payload development by about four months, according to a service official.

    1182 words

  • Air Force sets $9.9 billion price tag for new T-X program

    The Air Force has established a $9.9 billion price tag for its new Advanced Pilot Training program, the Boeing-led project -- also dubbed T-X -- to recapitalize the aging fleet of T-38C aircraft used to train fighter and bomber pilots.

    406 words

  • Officials: Russian, Chinese organizational shifts signify greater space focus

    A defense intelligence official told reporters this week that the biggest threat to U.S. space superiority is likely not a single adversary capability, but rather actions in recent years by Russia and China to better organize and integrate space capabilities within their militaries -- actions that could help the Pentagon as it makes a case to create a new Space Force.

    611 words

  • Pentagon's plans for inflated OCO request spark conflict on Capitol Hill

    Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-OK) said this week he would back the Pentagon if it submitted a budget requesting a massively inflated warfighting account intended to skirt statutory spending caps, but his Democratic counterpart Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) opposes the move on the grounds that it is a "dramatic retreat . . . from common sense and good government."

    897 words

  • F-35 Funding

    Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Susan Collins (R-ME), Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) have sent a letter to President Trump urging him to support the current funding schedule for the F-35 as opposed to investing in what they call the "outdated" F-15. "In order to meet the overmatch and lethality goals laid out in the National Security Strategy, the DOD needs to make these investments in the F-35 to affordably deliver and operate this fifth-generation fighter fleet. The F-35 is the most affordable, lethal, and survivable air dominance fighter, and now is the time to double down on the program."

    114 words

  • DOT&E: Preliminary testing positive for DAIRCM

    A Navy and Air Force program to protect logistics helicopters from a variety of guided missiles was commended in its first report by the Pentagon's top weapons tester as being capable of defeating the threats identified in a 2015 joint urgent operational needs statement.

    275 words

  • DOD IG to review Air Force certification of SpaceX launchers

    The Defense Department inspector general's office announced this week it will kickoff an audit this month of the Air Force's certification of SpaceX's Falcon launch vehicles.

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  • Service secretaries sign joint memo on modular open systems standards

    The Air Force, Army and Navy secretaries recently signed a new memorandum that would require them to adopt common standards for cross-domain information-sharing on future systems.

    189 words

  • DOT&E points to shortfalls in evaluating emerging technologies

    From advanced software to autonomous systems to directed energy weapons, the Defense Department lacks the adequate tools, ranges and skills to fully vet many emerging technologies Pentagon leaders say are crucial to renewed great power competition, according to DOD's head of operational testing.

    1140 words

  • GAO finds inefficiencies in Air Force management of RPA pilots

    Despite progress in career advancement for remotely piloted aircraft pilots, the Air Force has not evaluated its process for efficiently managing certain staff positions, according to a congressional watchdog.

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  • Air Force looking for research on bioeffects of directed-energy applications

    The Air Force Research Laboratory is calling for industry insight into the bioeffects of directed-energy applications, according to a Feb. 12 request for information published on Federal Business Opportunities.

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  • CBO: Pentagon's spending plan calls for 11 percent base budget hike

    The Defense Department's base budget would have to reach $735 billion by 2033 -- an 11 percent increase from the topline projected for 2023 -- if it is to cover the spending plan the Pentagon envisions, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

    297 words

  • Pentagon seeks to accelerate AI developments under new strategy

    The Pentagon plans to work with a range of commercial companies to rapidly develop artificial intelligence capabilities "responsibly and ethically," according to a new Defense Department strategy.

    1142 words

  • Inhofe: Trump should pick new SECDEF; says Shanahan lacks 'humility'

    Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-OK) said this week he has talked with President Trump about nominating a new defense secretary to succeed Jim Mattis, voicing concern that acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan lacks the "humility" of his predecessor and is unable to muster the full force of his office because of his "temporary" status.

    565 words

  • Shaffer 'not optimistic' defense budget will grow in future years

    SAN DIEGO -- One of the Pentagon's top weapons buyers said this week that he is "not terribly optimistic" the defense budget will grow in future years, but rather the country will have "enormous pressure" to spend money paying down the national debt.

    304 words

  • GPS III Follow-On satellites acquisition will cost $10.7 billion

    The Defense Department estimates the newest Global Positioning System satellite program -- the GPS III Follow-On being built by Lockheed Martin -- will cost $10.7 billion, a figure the Air Force has recently conveyed to Congress as part of a report establishing a baseline for the planned 22-satellite acquisition effort.

    504 words

  • Fanning says AIA is 'working closely' with DOD on progress payments plan

    The Aerospace Industries Association has been 'working closely' with the Defense Department as DOD weighs how to revamp its approach to progress payments and performance-based payments.

    294 words