Headlines – September 21, 2016



One of two U-2 pilots dead in California crash –
One pilot is dead and a second injured after a U-2 Dragon Lady spy plane crashed Sept. 20 in California, the Air Force announced. The plane was from the 9th Reconnaissance Wing at Beale Air Force Base in California.
Bogdan: F-35 coolant line fix coming in weeks –
The 15 operational F-35A joint strike fighters grounded by a recent fuel line issue will likely be fixed and able to fly again by the end of the year, the program’s director said Sept. 20.
Blaze at Vandenberg Air Force Base grows to 16 square miles –
Crews are working to surround a wildfire at a central California Air Force base that forced the postponement of a weekend satellite launch.


Storms disrupt first-ever Taiwan Maritime and Defense Expo –
The Kaohsiung International Maritime and Defense Industry Expo held last week in southern Taiwan could be considered a public relations disaster. But despite being pancaked between two typhoons — forcing a delay of one day that pushed it into the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival — and ending with numerous exhibitors, visitors, and guests failing to show up, the expo still managed to stand up despite a second typhoon slamming into the island, further reaping chaos and destruction.
$162.7 million for Sentinels to watch the skies –
Egypt is to receive eight Sentinel AN/MPQ-64F1 radars following the foreign military sale approval by the US State Department. The package, including training and other associative equipment, is estimated to cost $70 million. Once delivered, the Sentinels will work toward improving existing Egyptian air-defense capabilities following a series of aviation disasters over the last year.
Turkish Havelsan develops submarine systems –
Turkish state-controlled military software company Havelsan has successfully developed four systems for the country’s submarines, the company has said.
Connecticut Pledges $220 million in incentives to keep Sikorsky –
The office of Connecticut’s governor says Sikorsky Aircraft has committed to keeping its headquarters in the state and adding jobs in an agreement that involves $220 million in state incentives.
Kazakhstan looks to start UAV assembly in 2017 –
Kazakhstan is expected to shortly sign an agreement with Israel’s Elbit Systems to undertake assembly of Skylark and Hermes unmanned aerial vehicles in the Central Asian country.
Thailand makes progress on bid to build Ukrainian BTR-3E1 APCs –
Ukraine and Thailand are moving ahead with plans to collaborate on the 8×8 BTR-3E1 armored personnel carrier, IHS Jane’s understands.


Pentagon to cover sex-reassignment surgery for transgender active-duty troops –
Transgender troops on active duty may qualify for sex-reassignment surgery if their physicians deem it necessary, according to Pentagon officials.
Goldfein: Air Force must ‘redefine our 21st Century squadron’ –
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein on Sept. 20 announced the three one-star generals who will lead the effort to revamp the service’s squadron structure, command and control, and joint leader development.
Airmen first, weapons second: SecAF James –
For the foreseeable future, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James told me today, when push comes to shove, personnel funding should win and modernization must wait.
Officials lukewarm on unmanned version of B-21 –
Senior Air Force officials involved in the development of the B-21 Raider long-range strike bomber expressed little interest in developing an unmanned version of the aircraft.
STRATCOM nominee favors boosting cyber command, nuke modernization –
U.S. Cyber Command should be elevated to an independent, unified combatant command, the nominee to head US Strategic Command told lawmakers Sept. 20.
Air Force to consolidate battlefield training locations to ‘3 or 4’ –
The Air Force will consolidate eight locations it uses to train its battlefield airmen into “three or four,” the head of Air Education Training Command said Sept. 19.
Tomorrow’s downed pilots may be rescued by an Osprey-Black Hawk team –
A U.S. Air Force chief of staff who was shot down over Serbia has reenergized the debate over the best way to do combat search and rescue.
Air Force Huey replacement could carry more troops –
The U.S. Air Force is considering a requirement that a replacement for the UH-1N Huey helicopter fleet must carry more troops than the current design, according to the service’s top nuclear official — a requirement that could give a big boost to one particular industry bidder.
Air Force requirement could narrow down Huey competition –
The head of the U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command is calling for the replacement for the service’s Bell Helicopter UH-1N Huey to fly faster, farther and with more personnel, but those requirements could narrow the field of eligible helicopters for what was once a competitive acquisition strategy.
Planned ICBM replacement to move forward without consensus on cost –
An unresolved discrepancy in cost estimates between the Air Force and the Office of the Secretary of Defense over the next-generation intercontinental ballistic missile replacement will not keep the program from moving forward, the secretary of the Air Force said Sept. 20.
AI for Air Force: Cyber, electronic warfare –
The Air Force wants artificial intelligence to track and react to cyber and electronic threats, to update countermeasures against enemy hackers, radars, and missiles faster than human minds can manage. But first you have to fix the basics.
Air Force could pursue stealthy aerial-refueling tanker –
The Air Force’s future KC-Z tanker could usher in a massive technological leap forward, with autonomy, low observability and flying wing designs possibly playing a role in the program.
U.S. Air Force sees multi-domain command, control as critical –
Multi-domain command and control will be a critical factor in the way the U.S. Air Force operates in the future, according to service officials.
F-35 program officer anticipates LRIP 9, 10 deal by year’s end –
The Pentagon and Lockheed Martin will probably reach an agreement on lots 9 and 10 of the joint strike fighter by the end of the year, the F-35 joint program executive officer predicted Sept. 20.
AFA 2016: Lockheed Martin explores potential technology upgrades to JASSM-ER –
Lockheed Martin is anticipating a contract with the U.S. Air Force for an additional 360 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile — Extended Range variants by the end of 2016.
Global Strike commander worried about domestic drone threat –
The commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, charged with maintaining the capability to strike targets with nuclear or conventional weapons anywhere in the world, is worried about threats closer to home.
Air Force is starting to think about its next strike aircraft –
Service leaders are laying groundwork for a new strike capability — even as they work to unground their F-35s.
U.S. Army’s GMLRS is getting new warhead –
The Army plans to fire an upgraded, all-weather, precision-guided, ground-fired rocket which will pinpoint enemy targets at distances up to 70 or more kilometers – while removing the prospect of leaving dangerous unexploded ordnance behind, service and industry officials said.
Amphib, Destroyer pairing seen in high-end exercise, current 6th Fleet operations –
As the Navy and Marine Corps work through a high-end war fighting exercise in the Pacific, which features a traditional three-ship amphibious ready group operating with a guided-missile destroyer as a peek into future operations, a similar ship pairing is performing real-world missions in the Mediterranean today.
Marines’ F/A-18 Hornet stand-down addressed ground mishaps –
A mandatory “operational pause” for all Marine F/A-18 Hornet squadrons in August allowed the units to review procedures in hopes of reversing an increase in ground mishaps, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller told Military.com this month.


Justice Department’s new $4 million pledge to keep veterans out of jail –
Marine Sgt. Tim Wynn was home from Iraq less than three days when he wound up in handcuffs, arrested for aggravated assault at a bar in his native Philadelphia.


Is there alien life on Europa? –
Jupiter’s sixth-closest moon Europa is one of the most interesting bodies in our solar system when it comes to the hunt for alien life.
China’s space station is out of control –
China has confirmed that its Tiangong-1 space station is out of control and will crash back to Earth in 2017.
Russian cosmonauts are preparing to land on moon –
Russia’s plan to conquer the moon has started to take shape.
Slow-motion footage shows pieces of nozzle plug for NASA’s SLS booster breaking apart –
NASA has released a stunning new video of a booster for its Space Launch System being tested.