Author: Stephen Losey

WASHINGTON — The Air Force has grounded most of its older C-130H Hercules cargo planes and variants due to a problem with their propeller barrels.Air Mobility Command on Friday confirmed a wide swath of its C-130H fleet, which numbered 128 at the beginning of fiscal 2022, is unable to fly, and it’s unclear how long it will take to replace all the defective propeller assemblies.AMC said 116 C-130Hs, including variants of the mobility aircraft, were grounded on Tuesday due to concerns their propeller assemblies are defective, and that inspections over the coming days will show how many of those are…

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NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The Air Force’s secretive next-generation fighter platform is still in the design process, and has not formally entered its engineering, manufacturing and development stage, Secretary Frank Kendall said this month.The acknowledgment marks a step back from June, when Kendall publicly said the highly classified Next Generation Air Dominance program had already hit the key milestone.“We have now started on the EMD program to do the development aircraft that we’re going to take into production,” Kendall said at a Heritage Foundation event at the time.It also has some experts wondering if the service can meet its goal…

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NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The Air Force’s array of 48 fighter squadrons and nine attack squadrons are today being asked to do the work of 60 squadrons, the head of Air Combat Command said Wednesday.This is stretching the fighter fleet thin, ACC head Gen. Mark Kelly said in a keynote address at the Air Force Association’s Air Space Cyber conference here — and, in a major war, will become unsustainable.“It’s like a bill that comes to your house … for 60 multirole fighter squadrons,” Kelly told reporters in a roundtable later that day. “I’m trying to pay that bill with…

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WASHINGTON — The Air Force on Thursday awarded a $985 million contract to Raytheon Technologies to develop and demonstrate scramjet-powered hypersonic cruise missiles.The contract starts to move the Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile, or HACM, program out of the prototyping phase and into becoming an operational weapon that could be used in combat. It also cuts the number of companies vying to make the weapon from three to one.Under the deal, the HACM program will take Raytheon’s prototype design and prepare it to be integrated into a fighter aircraft that could then be used in combat, the Air Force said in…

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NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Lockheed Martin has eight completed F-35 fighters it is waiting to ship to the U.S. military after the discovery of a Chinese alloy in the aircraft prompted the Defense Department to halt further deliveries.In an interview with Defense News on Tuesday, Greg Ulmer, Lockheed Martin’s executive vice president for aeronautics, said the company has continued to build F-35s while it awaits a waiver from the department allowing deliveries to resume.Ulmer said it would take about a month or two of building undelivered F-35s before the company would run out of space to store the finished fighters.…

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NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The Air Force on Monday said the KC-46A Pegasus refueling tanker is now cleared to carry out all refueling missions around the world on all aircraft — with one exception.In a roundtable with reporters at the Air Force Association’s Air Space Cyber conference here, Air Mobility Command head Gen. Mike Minihan said he signed off on Friday on the final Interim Capability Release, opening up the Air Force’s 60 KC-46s to worldwide deployments. Minihan said that includes the B-2 and U.S. Strategic Command missions.However, AMC clarified later the KC-46 still cannot refuel the A-10 Warthog due…

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WASHINGTON — To win a future war against a major foe like China, lower-level commanders in U.S. and allied militaries need to be empowered to make decisions in the field, allied air chiefs said Friday — and not be afraid they’ll be hung out to dry if they make a mistake.Speaking at the International Air Chiefs Conference hosted by the U.S. Air Force in Washington, top officials from the air forces of Canada and Sweden as well as U.S. defense experts agreed distributed operations and decentralized command and control will be vital when fighting in the future.But, they said, this…

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WASHINGTON — Anduril Industries on Thursday announced a new command-and-control center that military forces could deploy to austere bases in rough environments and set up in about 10 minutes.The system, dubbed Menace, is an expeditionary command, control, communications and computing platform that would allow commanders to plan and execute missions at locations around the world.Anduril, a defense and security technology firm based in California, said the product could support the U.S. Air Force’s Agile Combat Employment effort. If a war erupts, that initiative would see the Air Force’s deployed forces spread out from centralized air bases and instead use a…

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WASHINGTON — General Electric Aviation on Monday said it and the U.S. Air Force finished testing the firm’s second adaptive engine, which it hopes the military will adopt for the F-35 jet, and is ready to move into the engineering and manufacturing development phase.In March, GE began testing the prototype XA100 — its offering for the military’s Adaptive Engine Transition Program — at the Arnold Engineering Development Complex on Arnold Air Force Base in Tennessee. This was the second phase of testing for the engine, GE said, and was meant to more closely replicate flight conditions and more precisely measure…

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WASHINGTON — The Pentagon’s top acquisition official said Friday he is hopeful a temporary halt to F-35 deliveries, prompted by the discovery that a key magnet in the fighter was made with raw materials that came from China, can be resolved soon.The magnet, part of a key component in the F-35′s engine made by Honeywell, was recently discovered to have been made with a cobalt and samarium alloy that came from China. However, the alloy was magnetized in the United States, and the F-35 Joint Program Office on Wednesday said the part does not transmit information nor does it jeopardize…

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