NATO photo

RESTON, VA: US command and control networks take too long to link to allies and respond to Russia’s rapid-fire aggression. In Ukraine, “we’ve had at least two, maybe three of these cycles [already, where] they’ll back off, and there’ll be a long kind of quiet period, and then they’ll spike back up,” Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges… Keep reading →

Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. photo

NAVAL AIR STATION PATUXENT RIVER, MD: Pax River is a robot zoo today, showcasing unmanned vehicles from micro-mini-submarines — so small you can throw one like a football — to what appears to be a solar-powered canoe. More than 40 systems here from 30 projects and six nations were gathered by the US Office of… Keep reading →

Chinese J-31 stealth fighter

AFA CONFERENCE: China’s increasing assertiveness and modernizing military are “concerning,” even “disconcerting,” the head of the US Air Force in the Pacific said today. But there are still strong prospects for military-to-military ties, Gen. Lori Robinson told the Air Force Association conference here this morning. Increased Russian patrols complicates US strategy more, Gen. Robinson told me… Keep reading →

A Russian Tu-95 Bear bomber being escorted away from US airspace by an F-22 in a 2007 incident.

AFA CONFERENCE: “The alarming thing,” said the commander of US Air Forces in Europe, is that the Russians are catching up. “They’ve closed the gap.” “The advantage that we had from the air I can honestly say is shrinking,” Gen. Frank Gorenc said, “not only with respect to the aircraft that they’re producing, but the… Keep reading →

F-35A first overseas flight Italy

WASHINGTON: The first F-35A built in Italy for the Italian Air Force took off yesterday for what the Lockheed Martin test pilot said was highly successful first flight. “It was identical to every other airplane we produce at Fort Worth,” pilot Bill Gigliotti told reporters today in what he clearly intended as a compliment to… Keep reading →

A computer-generated image of a Royal Navy F-35B taking off vertically from the new carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, which will be commissioned July 4th.

WASHINGTON: The United Kingdom is committed to a high-end battle fleet centered on two aircraft carriers, a senior Ministry of Defense official made clear yesterday. Just as important, the UK is committed to funding adequate crews to sail them — something that had been in doubt after much discussion about cutting costs by effectively mothballing the… Keep reading →

PLA Navy destroyer Qinqdao

WASHINGTON: In an intriguing and potentially significant declaration, the Chinese military declares: “Regardless of what corner of the earth, so long as it is blue there we will be on guard.” The declaration comes in an impressive recruiting video for the Peoples Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). “It’s beautifully done; really tugs at the heartstrings,” says Dean Cheng, the… Keep reading →

Ash Carter measuring!

WASHINGTON: Defense Secretary Ash Carter — for now — is resisting congressional calls to uninvite China from the biggest naval exercise in the world, known as RIMPAC. In a July 16 letter to Senate Armed Services Committee chairman John McCain, Carter goes to some lengths to avoid offending China, on the one hand, and, on the… Keep reading →

An American JSF AF-4 from the 461 FLTS, Edwards AFB, CA, piloted by Maj. Charles "FLAK" Trickey performs the first contact and fuel transfer from a KC-767 foreign partner Italian Tanker.

This is one of those intriguing benchmarks that illustrates several things about both the F-35 program — it means a lot to allies — and to the Italian tanker program — it works. Irritatingly, I knew this was supposed to happen but it’s hard to write about something that may happen until it does. We have… Keep reading →

F-35B with asymmetric weapons load

When Defense Secretary Bob Gates put the F-35B on “probation” and Sen. John McCain became his powerful echo chamber, we responded on the pages of Breaking Defense that these actions were misguided. We had spent many hours with the pilots, maintainers, builders, designers, and testers of the aircraft, and came to a very different conclusion: “The F-35B… Keep reading →

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