Air

101119-N-2232G

UPDATE: Exclusive McCain Comment; Senate Staffer Chides White House For Inaction WASHINGTON: In a dramatic example of the increasing friction in the Spratly Islands between China, the United States and most of China’s neighbors, the US Navy today released a video of a P-8 surveillance plane crew as the PLA Navy challenges it while the plane… Keep reading →

Ray Mabus

[UPDATED with Congressional reaction] ROSLYN, VA: Ray Mabus likes robots. The Navy Secretary has declared the F-35 will be “the last manned strike fighter” the service ever buys and invested heavily in unmanned aircraft, boats, and submersibles. But Mabus has frustrated drone advocates on one major program: the Unmanned Carrier-Launched Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) aircraft. This morning, Mabus defended… Keep reading →

marines in afghanistan with v-22

BALLSTON, Va: Since early November, three Marine Corps MV-22B Ospreys and 26 marines have been on alert at Al Jaber Air Base in Kuwait, on 30-minute alert to fly in and rescue a U.S. or coalition pilot downed while bombing or shooting at the Islamic State in Iraq or Syria. On 29 occasions between Nov. 1 and… Keep reading →

Air Force artwork of a future dogfight with lasers.

PENTAGON: Star Wars fans, calm down. The US Air Force wants to fire a 100-plus-kilowatt laser from a small plane. And not just any airplane, Air Force Research Laboratory officials. The last laser on an airplane — the megawatt Airborne Laser, which filled a converted 747 and cancelled in 2011 — the 2022 demonstration will be… Keep reading →

AFSOC pilots Capt Brett Cassidy (l) and Maj. Taylor Fingarson, pilots of Rooster 75

When three CV-22s were riddled with 119 rounds of AK-47 and .50 caliber fire as they tried to land at Bor, South Sudan, 18 months ago to evacuate U.S. citizens from a civil war, four Navy SEALs in the lead Osprey were wounded. Now a Florida company is providing the program office at Naval Air Systems Command… Keep reading →

John McCain

WASHINGTON: The Navy won and the Air Force lost in the markup of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Sens. John McCain and Jack Reed presided over the SASC markup of the defense policy bill, cutting $860 million from three Air Force programs — including the two of the service’s top three priorities — and moving the money… Keep reading →

Laicie Heeley with Stimson

As the House and Senate gear up for votes in the coming days to fund the Defense Department, lawmakers are set to support a bow wave of costly nuclear weapons programs increasingly at odds with the needs of U.S. troops and the future threats that dominate their agenda. Notably for a president who famously championed… Keep reading →

army-ah-64e-apache-guardian-attack-helicopter

WASHINGTON: The Pentagon’s hardest-nosed accountants have endorsed the Army’s Aviation Restructure Initiative. ARI is a controversial cost-cutting plan which would retire the Vietnam-vintage OH-58 Kiowa scout helicopters and replace them with AH-64 Apache gunships taken from the National Guard. The Army said ARI, once fully implemented, would save $1.09 billion a year. In a document… Keep reading →

lockheed boeing long range strike bomber

The bomber has a long and distinguished history in the Air Force and its predecessor, the Army Air Corps. When the B-17 Flying Fortress was born, it was a controversial aircraft, but proved its worth when Nazi Germany controlled a continent and only the B-17 fleet could deliver strikes inside Nazi-controlled territory, thanks to the bomber’s range… Keep reading →

Chinese UAV image

WASHINGTON: How many drones is Beijing building? Relying on unidentified “estimates,” the Pentagon’s latest Chinese Military Power report says “China plans to produce upwards of 41,800 land- and sea-based unmanned systems, worth about $10.5 billion, between 2014 and 2023,” including armed and stealthy unmanned aircraft. (More on the report here). That sentence gave rise to… Keep reading →

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