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Author: Subject: USAF, Part 2

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[*] posted on 21-10-2020 at 05:16 PM

‘Advanced Manufacturing Olympics’ To Shape New Air Force Strategy

"Advanced manufacturing, scaled across the entire Air Force and Space Force, will transform sustainment," Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett says


on October 20, 2020 at 3:10 PM

Staff Sgt. Cameron Canupp and Steven Conway, both of 412th Maintenance Squadron, inspect a part manufactured in a 3D printer at Edwards AFB.

WASHINGTON: Advanced manufacturing techniques, including 3D printing and digital engineering, will be critical to slashing the astronomical costs of upkeep for aircraft and satellites, Air Force leaders said today in kicking off the service’s first Advanced Manufacturing Olympics (AMO) contest today.

“Advanced manufacturing, scaled across the entire Air Force and Space Force, will transform sustainment,” Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett said. “The Air Force and Space Force will build on solutions you are developing during these Olympics. This year, the Rapid Sustainment Office designated a team laser focused on creating a comprehensive strategy to scale advanced manufacturing across the Air and Space Forces. Your inputs are fundamental to determining this roadmap. You will directly influence this strategy.”

“So much of what we do is in the realm of sustainment,” explained Air Force acquisition czar Will Roper. “In fact, it’s 70 percent in terms of budget of what the Air Force and now Space Force do for a living — 70 percent! That is a lion’s share, but it really is the part of the iceberg that’s below the surface of the water.”

Roper said AMO is exploring a number of ways to do that. “We want to make parts that we currently can’t supply easily. We want to reverse engineer parts that we may not have the designs for anymore. We want to look at repeatability of parts, so that we’re not critically coupled to an individual printing machine. And we want to look at the entire process, and have what it takes to get a novelty manufactured part on to a mission-critical airplane or satellite. So, our events are meant to tackle challenges that are real challenges today.”

The average age of Air Force aircraft is about 29 years but some aircraft have been in the fleet much longer, like the B-52 Stratofortress first introduced 68 years ago. The Air Force has been struggling — and up to now, pretty much losing — the battle to afford force modernization while boosting readiness because of this.

Roper has been a champion of so-called challenge competitions like the AMO contest and the Agility Prime initiative on flying cars. They award small prizes to technology innovators, designed not only to find specific technical solutions but to expand the defense industrial base by creating new dual-use markets.

The idea of AMO was to increase interest in solving a number of interlinked problems, from the need for innovative solutions to specific issues such as how to expand the use of metals in 3D printing to how to build a talent pool of technicians.

“Let’s make it fun. Let’s put real challenges on the table things that will make a difference for the Air Force and the warfighter today. Let’s use this as a venue to find new talent in 3d printing and other technical fields. Let’s let it be an opportunity for small companies and large to send their calling card to the broader community that they are pushing the envelope,” he said.

There are five key technological “choke points” that the AMO challenges are aimed at addressing, said Lt. Gen. Shaun Morris, new head of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) and RSO program executive officer. “We may, at the end of this Advanced Manufacturing Olympics, hopefully have found solutions to some of those choke points that may reveal new choke points that we have to get after.”

The RSO is playing a key role in the week-long AMO, he said, focusing on how to rapidly scale technological solutions. Indeed, Morris noted, the RSO earlier this week was elevated to a permanent organization with Barrett’s signing of its charter.

“The areas we’re interested in are broad,” Roper elaborated. “We are interested in composites. We’re interested in polymers. We’re interested in metals. We’re interested in reverse engineering. We’re interested in having systemic and replicatable results across different kinds of machines. We’re interested in being able to certify these parts as being safe to fly on mission-critical aircraft. Bottom line: we’re interested in a lot.”

Barrett said that advanced manufacturing, while in its infancy at DoD, is already showing promise for both Air Force and Space Force efforts.

For example, she said, the service used 3D printing to re-create a ubiquitous part on the aging C-5 Galaxy transport aircraft, that first entered service in 1969. That piece, a “phenolic wedge” is “a small but critical piece between the center wing box and the inner wing splice,” she explained.

“There are 118 phenolic wedges on each C-5, and because of moisture and age, the wedges on every C-5 need to be replaced,” she said. “In all, more than 6,000 parts are needed. To efficiently produce replacement parts, the Rapid Sustainment Office turned to 3D printing. The result: a wedge that is produced at 8 percent faster, is 35 percent lighter, and saves almost a million dollars across the C-5 fleet.”

(The C-5, in fact, has been one of AFLCM’s guinea pigs for 3D printing. As we reported last year at the annual Air Force Association event, one of the first 3D printed parts flown on a military aircraft was a toilet seat cover for the C-5.)

Advanced manufacturing also is becoming increasingly important to the Space Force, Barrett said.

“Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellites were launched with a remote interface unit, produced by advanced manufacturing outlets and Delta rockets are leaving the Earth’s atmosphere with 3D printed components onboard,” she elaborated. “Advanced manufacturing is being incorporated into the next- generation intercontinental ballistic missiles. And the Space Force is exploring, in space, advanced manufacturing capabilities technology that will reduce the need for resupply missions.”

Indeed, Roper noted that up to now there are almost 10,000 3D printed parts being used across the Air Force, “many of which are flying today on aircraft at this moment.”

Lily Arcusa, RSO chief tech officer, explained that the AMO will give out cash prizes to 15 winning teams during the AMO event. There is a total of $1 million in prize money on the table. The specific challenges are as follows:

- The Box of Parts Challenge. Teams will demonstrate the ability to scan and 3D print parts that have been reverse-engineered without a blueprint.
- The F-16 Approval Sprint. Teams are competing to develop a flight-worthy part that will be used on the current fleet.
- The Material Hurdles. Competitors will demo new aluminum, polymer and hybrid (combination of both) materials for making parts, which will be judged on their strength and ease of use.
- The Supply Chain Marathon. The teams will roll out their competing strategies for increasing advanced manufacturing capacity and capabilities within the Air Force, answering questions such as how many 3D printing machines should the service buy and where should they locate them to maximize their efficient use? As Breaking D readers know, AFLCMC is buying 3D printers and teaching airmen to use them at selected depots.
- The Technical Data Package Challenge. Teams are competing to develop an easily shareable technical data package that allows materials printed on one type of 3D printer to be easily printed on another type in another location.
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[*] posted on 23-10-2020 at 12:27 AM

ACC to Conduct Experiment Testing Agility and Lead Wing Concepts During AGILE FLAG 21

(Source: Air Combat Command; issued Oct 21, 2020)

LANGLEY, Va. --- Air Combat Command will conduct an experiment known as Agile Flag 21-1 from Oct. 21-29 to test agile combat employment and a new lead wing deployment concept.

During Agile Flag 21-1, the 366th Fighter Wing from Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, will test its ability to deploy as a lead Air Expeditionary Wing with a wing-level air staff. The unit will employ mission generation, command and control, and base operating support elements from its main operating base at Tyndall AFB, Florida, while supporting a forward operating base at Hurlburt Field, Florida, and a contingency location at Eglin AFB, Florida.

Mountain Home will deploy F-15Es from the 389th Fighter Squadron along with Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson’s 90th Fighter Squadron F-22s. The 5th Combat Communication Group from Robins AFB, Georgia, will provide the communications infrastructure. Additional units and Airmen from Air Mobility Command and Air Force Special Operations Command will also support the experiment.

These units will come together to demonstrate and exercise how a wing-level organization can project combat air power, while remaining agile.

ACC is working to develop a model utilizing lead wings across the command, to align future forces with the 2018 National Defense Strategy and the “Accelerate Change or Lose” vision of Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr.

According to ACC commander Gen. Mark Kelly, a peer fight will not allow time for acclimation or team bonding for the first few weeks.

The Air Force is currently experimenting with the Agile Combat Employment model, or ACE, which allows units to forward deploy as teams into locations. The lead wing will increase those capabilities, developing a resilient, adaptive and proactive force able to operate in a contested environment with joint and coalition partners.

The lead wing concept creates deployed teams composed of several Air Force operational capabilities, including a wing headquarters command and control force element, one or more mission generation force elements and an air base squadron force element.

According to officials, these capabilities will be teamed to train and certify as a cohesive major force element before commitment to a national defense-directed operational mission.

“Our senior leaders are updating our force generation model to solve challenges with integration across the Department of the Air Force, as well as ensuring forces are prepared to accomplish our Air Force mission supporting the 2018 National Defense Strategy,” said Lt. Col. Doug Kabel, chief of the ACC Future Operations division.

According to Kelly, the Air Force owes it to the Airmen, making sure they have the skills needed to affectively accomplish the mission before going into a location.

“Lead wings are essentially an aggregation of capabilities across our Air Force in a construct that can lead and go into any location on the globe -- arriving as a previously trained and certified team and then fighting as a previously certified team,” Kelly said.

According to Brown, the model needs to be simple and easy to articulate for the Air Force.

“We want to make our force generation and force presentation model easy for us to understand and articulate inside our Air Force, and easy to understand in our joint force,” Brown said during the Air Force Association’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference in September. Doing so will “ensure we provide the right capabilities at the right place, at the right time while we maintain readiness now and into the future.”

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[*] posted on 23-10-2020 at 10:34 PM

23 OCTOBER 2020

USAF chief of staff sees Agility Prime aircraft fulfilling logistics missions

by Pat Host

The US Air Force’s (USAF’s) top officer views the service’s Agility Prime electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) effort as a way for the air force to develop an unmanned logistics capability.

General Charles Brown, USAF chief of staff, said on 21 October that the service has been able to use unmanned platforms to perform missions including strike and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), but not logistics. The USAF has used the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) MQ-9 Reaper medium altitude long endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for strike missions while the Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk high altitude long endurance (HALE) surveillance platform has been used extensively for ISR missions.

Sabrewing Aircraft’s Rhaegal-B heavy-lift, long-range, unmanned cargo aircraft. The USAF chief of staff views Agility Prime as an opportunity to acquire an unmanned logistics platform. The service has developed unmanned aircraft for ISR and strike missions. (Sabrewing Aircraft)

Gen Brown said that he is often asked why the USAF needs a ‘flying car’ (the colloquial term for eVTOL platforms).

“It is less about the flying car, it is the capability that it might provide in the future to be able to do logistics for us, to move things back and forth,” Gen Brown said during a Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies event.

Agility Prime platforms have capability beyond logistics. Gen Brown said that he has been approached by industry partners about performing personnel recovery in highly contested areas. Many Agility Prime platforms in development are being designed as optionally manned.
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[*] posted on 24-10-2020 at 12:29 PM

DoD aims to set up performance-based logistics contract for A-10 Thunderbolt II

By Garrett Reim

24 October 2020

The US Defense Logistics Agency is researching ways to set up a performance-based logistics contract for the US Air Force Fairchild-Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II to reduce the time it takes to repair the ground attack aircraft.

The market research is intended to inform the design of a possible five-year fixed price maintenance contract, which would have a five-year extension option, the services says in a sources sought notice posted online on 22 October by the agency.

Source: US Air Force
A-10 Thunderbolt II

“The overarching objectives of this acquisition are to decrease A-10 airframe repair delays due to outstanding consumable requirements, and fill requisitions within material availability priorities, and accelerate the airframe repair turnaround time through enhanced material availability”, says the notice.

The A-10 was originally developed and manufactured by Fairchild-Republic. The aircraft reached initial operating capability in 1977. The programme’s assets were acquired by Northrop Grumman in 1987.

A performance-based logistics contract typically awards a flat fee to a contractor to maintain a certain level of performance on an aircraft, such as a mission capability rate or cost per flight hour. Traditional maintenance programmes rely on one-off contracts for parts or repair services. In theory, performance-based programmes give a maintaining company an incentive to make long-term investments in improving an aircraft’s performance.

The USAF has said it wants to fly the A-10 beyond 2030. The service has spent more than $1.3 billion since 2011 to replace the wings on 200 examples of the aircraft. Each wing set is supposed to support 10,000h of flight before needing a depot inspection.

Despite the investment, the USAF has said recently that it may retire some A-10 aircraft early to save money for other budget priorities, such as buying new Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighters. Members of the US Congress have pushed back on retiring the A-10 as the ground attack aircraft has a sort of cult following with the American public and soldiers.

The aircraft was designed for straffing an invading force of Soviet and Warsaw Block tanks pouring through the Fulda Gap, an easy-to-traverse lowland on the former border of East and West Germany.

It is well known for its titanium-armoured cockpit and its massive 30mm GAU-8/A seven-barrel Gatling gun. It can also carry up to 7,200kg (16,000lb) of mixed ordnance including rockets, missiles and precision bombs.
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[*] posted on 27-10-2020 at 04:52 PM

Electromagnetic spectrum management moves to Headquarters Air Force

Mark Pomerleau

13 hours ago

The Air Force has officially moved its spectrum management office from Air Combat Command to the deputy chief of staff for ISR and cyber effects operations. (Staff Sgt. Evelyn Chavez/U.S. Air Force)

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force has officially moved its electromagnetic spectrum management office from Air Combat Command to the Headquarters Air Force staff.

Announced in September that the move was coming, the office officially moved Oct. 23 to the Cyberspace Operations and Warfighter Communications Directorate beneath the deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and cyber effects operations, or A2/6, the Air Force said.

The move is part of the Air Force’s larger push to ingrate information warfare capabilities under a single hat, which includes cyber, electronic warfare, intelligence, information operations and public affairs.

The transformation began when cyber effects operations to the A2 portfolio followed by merging its cyber and ISR-numbered Air Forces in October 2019 to create the first information warfare-numbered Air Force — 16th Air Force.

“To understand information warfare we must first focus on the EMS as the purveyor of data and information. To be a leader in AI [artificial intelligence], you have to first be a leader in Data and to be a leader in information warfare, you first have to be a leader in spectrum operations,” Lt. Gen. Christopher Weggeman, deputy commander of Air Combat Command, said in an Air Force release.

Officials also described the move as important to synchronizing the variety of technology and information warfare efforts.

“This is a critical step to information warfare integration and synchronization because command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) is inextricably linked to EMS management,” Lt. Gen. Mary O’Brien, deputy chief of staff for ISR and cyber effects operations, said in a release. “To compete and win in competition as well as a high-end fight, our Air and Space Force activities and capabilities like EMS must not only be de-conflicted, but integrated with our service counterparts. The heart of JADC2 [Joint All-Domain Command and Control] is that military activities in one domain must enhance the effectiveness of those in other domains and compensate for vulnerabilities, and I believe this move will help us in this area.”

The Air Force Spectrum Management Office, which is still based out of Fort Meade, Maryland, defends and ensures access to the electromagnetic spectrum for the Air Force as well as other entities and combatant commands. This is essential, officials say, to integrating technologies and moving the Defense Department’s top initiative, JADC2, forward by managing the finite EMS. (The JADC2 concept recently received an extra “C" for “Combined,” making it CJADC2.)

“Given the Air Force-wide scope of AFSMO’s roles and responsibilities, bringing it back to the Air Staff is a natural fit,” said Brig. Gen. Eric DeLange, director of cyber operations and war-fighter communications. “As we look to advance our efforts in information warfare, and with our focus squarely on cyberspace and warfighter communications that so heavily depend on the electromagnetic spectrum, I have no doubt that bringing AFSMO into the directorate fold will create new and important synergies.”

The EMS has gained significantly more attention and focus in recent years. Sophisticated adversaries have deemed it a critical reliance for U.S. forces and have sought high-tech methods to deny it, meaning they seek to jam or spoof communications.

“Competing in the EMS is a complex problem that must be properly evaluated to understand how future conflicts will be fought and won,” Ted Uchida, deputy director of operations at Air Combat Command, said in an Air Force release.

However, focusing on spectrum management alone is not enough to have the tangible impacts on the battlefield against adversaries that is necessary, according to some in the electronic warfare space. Spectrum management, while important for deconfliction and conducting operations, is different from maneuvering and influencing within the spectrum.
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[*] posted on 29-10-2020 at 12:05 AM

Dyess AFB Airmen Arrive in Indo-Pacific for Bomber Task Force, Integrate with Koku-Jieitai, U.S. Navy

(Source: US Air Force; issued Oct 27, 2020)

Two B-1B Lancer bombers sit on a runway during a Bomber Task Force deployment at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, on Oct. 21, 2020. They deployed to train with US Air Force F-15 and Japanese Air Self-Defense Force F-2 fighters. (US Air Force photo)

ANDERSEN AFB, Guam --- Approximately 200 Airmen and four B-1B Lancer aircraft with the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, arrived at Andersen AFB, to conduct Bomber Task Force missions in support of Pacific Air Forces’ training efforts with allies, partners and joint forces Oct. 20.

BTF missions enable Airmen to continuously conduct operations throughout the world at a moment’s notice to help maintain global stability and security while enabling units to become familiar with operations in different regions.

“Every bomber task force is important because they accomplish both tactical and strategic objectives,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Stallsworth, 9th EBS commander. “As we conduct training operations, we are able to increase our bomber force lethality, readiness and experience across the force. It also demonstrates the department of defense’s ability to operate in an agile fashion to the world.”

Before arriving, the bombers integrated with 16 F-15 Eagles and two F-2s from the Japanese Self-Defense Force, or JASDF, in the vicinity of the East Sea.

“The training proved to be a very good opportunity to improve tactical skills as well as to show our commitment to the robust Japan-U.S. alliance and the region,” said JASDF Lt. Col. Kobayashi Yoshiyuki, 305th Fighter Squadron commander. “Through continued bilateral training between the Koku-Jieitai and the U.S. Air Force, we are tough and strong, and always ready. We will continue working together with allies and partners to achieve a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

The bombers also integrated with the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship, USS America (LHA 6), in the western Pacific Ocean.

“Our ultimate strength in the Indo-Pacific is joint force lethality—our ability to train and operate as one layered, capable and credible combat team,” said Capt. Luke Frost, USS America commanding officer. “The Air Force plays hard. Integrated air defense and sea-control operations leveraging top-shelf capabilities of both the Navy and Air Force, like this, allow us to continually field a joint force ready to fight and win.”

The U.S. Air Force has modified its force employment model to enable strategic bombers to operate forward in the Indo-Pacific region from a broader array of worldwide locations with greater operational resilience to align with the National Defense Strategy’s objectives of strategic predictability and operational unpredictability.

“Every one of these operations is an opportunity for us to gain critical experience and become efficient in the deployment and execution processes,” Stallsworth said. “The U.S. Air Force is willing to and capable of operating out of different strategic locations. Our dynamic force employment construct helps us focus on being operationally unpredictable while still being strategically predictable.”

Having the B-1B at Andersen AFB enables U.S. Air Force personnel the ability to conduct training missions alongside their fellow Airmen within the Indo-Pacific and potentially work with their counterparts from allied and partner nations within the region.

“Training alongside our allies is important because it improves our combined military capabilities and the likelihood of success to accomplish military objectives,” Stallsworth said. “Reinforcing our connectivity and building personal relationships with our allies is critical to seamlessly executing combined objectives in the future.”

The BTF also helps the Airmen focus on the full spectrum readiness of military operations, whether it’s combat missions, humanitarian assistance or disaster relief.

“This deployment has everything to do with developing the integral elements of agile combat employment,” said Capt. David Teubl, 9th EBS project officer. “Whether that’s working with new entities to provide our capabilities and discuss requirements needed to complete tasks or simply changing how we complete our missions to become more agile.”

Airmen and B-1B Lancers from Dyess AFB last deployed to Guam in May in support of BTF operations

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[*] posted on 29-10-2020 at 01:58 PM

US Air Force wants help seeing moving targets in its sensor data

Nathan Strout

6 hours ago

Descartes Labs says its geospatial analytics platform will help the Air Force generate moving target indication data. (Satellogic)

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory has awarded Descartes Labs a $2.2 million contract to generate real-time analytics with a focus on developing moving target indication data, the company announced Oct. 27.

Under this new contract, AFRL will gain access to the company’s geospatial analytics platform, which uses artificial intelligence and computer vision to process and fuse sensor data, such as satellite imagery, for tactical use.

Descartes Labs claims the focus of this contract will involve using its platform to help the Air Force solve the challenge of generating moving target indication data for ground and airborne targets.

The New Mexico-based company was recently awarded a contract from AFRL and AFWERX — an Air Force effort to spark innovation through nontraditional vendors — that gave the service access to Descartes Labs' geospatial analytics platform for multi-sensor data fusion and situational awareness. The company has also worked with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, helping the firm further refine its approach.

“Through the implementation of multi-sensor analytics, the Air Force is creating a forward-thinking state-of-the-art national security system,” Mike Warren, Descartes Labs co-founder and chief technology officer, said in a statement. “Through increasing use of diverse types of data, the Air Force is laying the groundwork to solve tactical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance problems now and in the future.”

This latest contract was issued through AFRL’s Space Technology Advanced Research program, which was launched in summer 2019 to develop enabling technologies for space-based capabilities, including on-orbit servicing, debris management, ground systems and more.
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[*] posted on 29-10-2020 at 08:36 PM

Algorithmic Warfare: Air Force Meshes Info-War Capabilities


By Yasmin Tadjdeh

Illustration: Getty

The Air Force is working to coalesce a number of its information warfare operations as great power competitors Russia and China make investments in their own digital warfighting tools.

Last year, officials began merging and integrating headquarters staff for cyber and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance effects under an office known as A2/6, said Air Force Lt. Gen. Mary O’Brien, deputy chief of staff for the organization.

While cyber and ISR are the “primary focus today in A2/6, they’re not the only capabilities that we need to converge in order to deliver effects in the information environment of the future,” she noted during a panel discussion at the Air Force Association’s Virtual Air, Space and Cyber Conference.

There is also a need to influence the entire electromagnetic spectrum, O’Brien said. To get at that, the Air Force Spectrum Management Office will be integrated into the A2/6 team, she noted. The effort was slated to begin in October.

“Their mission is to defend and ensure electromagnetic spectrum access for the Air Force and DoD activities in support of our national policy objectives and global operations,” she said. “With this realignment, A2/6 continues along a multi-year path to support — from a headquarters Air Force perspective — the synchronization of information warfare functions.”

Information warfare is the employment of military capabilities in and through the information environment to deliberately affect adversary human and system behavior, O’Brien said. The convergence of several info-war functions within A2/6 is happening at the right time to influence a number of key initiatives such as the Air Force’s Advanced Battle Management System.

The service envisions ABMS as an “internet of things” for the military that will not only connect the Air Force and Space Force’s platforms, but also those of the other services through a concept called joint all-domain command and control, or JADC2.

A2/6 is working on several aspects of ABMS, she said. This includes open software-defined mesh networks, open software-defined radios and other open systems that will enable translation and communication across platforms.

“Each one of these product lines enables an aspect of connectivity necessary for command and control,” she said. “We will need to embrace modern technologies, especially those from our industry partners, to deliver the operational networks and threat information our joint warfighter needs to generate combat power.”

O’Brien noted that her team is thinking through critical capability developments necessary for future fights, including artificial intelligence.

“We’ve got to streamline the speed and accuracy of repetitive tasks,” she said. “We’ve got to free up and shift human intention and cognition toward those higher-level reasoning and judgment problem sets.”

Meanwhile, last year the service created a new numbered air force with enhanced mission capabilities for information warfare known as the 16th Air Force, or Air Force Cyber, which is located at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.

“The foundational problem that the Secretary of the Air Force aligned to 16th Air Force … was how do we integrate all the capabilities that we have from an ISR, [signals intelligence], cyber, electronic warfare and information operations perspective, to be able to compete” against potential adversaries such as China and Russia, said Lt. Gen. Timothy Haugh, commander of 16th Air Force.

“We’ve seen great progress in terms of each of our roles and missions and how we can be complementary across each of those functions,” he said.

Sixteenth Air Force was identified as the cryptologic component for both the Air Force and Space Force in partnership with the National Security Agency, Haugh said. The organization also has a responsibility to operate, secure and defend all Air Force networks.

It has organized around the idea of “convergence in the information environment,” he said.

It is focused on tackling hard problems in the air components and combatant commands and then accessing and leveraging its comparative advantages, including its access to data, unique authorities and partnerships, he said.

Haugh touted the progress the new organization is making, whether that be intelligence personnel generating insights or cyber professionals conducting offensive and defensive operations.

The group is accelerating a number of cybersecurity activities, Haugh said.

“We’ve seen our combatant commanders that we’re partnered with become very aggressive in the information environment,” he said. “We see this as a natural extension of what competition is going to look like for now and into the foreseeable future.”

Sixteenth Air Force has made much progress in executing U.S. Cyber Command Commander Gen. Paul Nakasone’s vision of persistent engagement in the cyber domain, Haugh said.

“One of those missions that we’re very focused on is his No. 1 priority of defense of the 2020 elections,” he said. Russia and China both have been attempting to influence the election between Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden, government officials say.

That is “a mission that three to four years ago, we would have never expected to be a Department of Defense mission,” Haugh said. Election security is now a key task for Air Force cyber teams.

Meanwhile, Haugh noted that 16th Air Force is closely aligned with the service’s JADC2 vision.

“Our role as a cyber component is really tied to JADC2 in a number of different ways that underpin our ability to move data across our Air Force,” he said.
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[*] posted on 30-10-2020 at 12:31 PM

Lockheed Martin to support JASSM-ER launch demonstrations from cargo aircraft

By Garrett Reim

30 October 2020

The US Air Force (USAF) awarded Lockheed Martin a $25 million contract to help with the service’s Palletized Munitions Experimentation Campaign, an effort to test the feasibility of launching cruise missiles from the back of cargo aircraft.

In January, the Air Force Research Laboratory and Air Force Special Operations Command successfully tested releasing mock cruise missiles on 28 January 2020 from the rear cargo ramp of a Lockheed Martin MC-130J Commando II. In September, the Air Force Strategic Development Planning and Experimentation office announced that it had conducted a similar mock cruise missile launch demonstration with a Boeing C-17 Globemaster III airlifter.

Source: US Air Force
A high-altitude airdrop of palletized munitions (mock JASSMs) from a C-17 using standard operational airdrop procedures

As part of the next phase of the experiment the USAF wants to conduct a “system-level” demonstration in 2021, says Lockheed Martin on 28 October. Lockheed Martin will help develop a modular air-launch system that uses standard cargo airdrop procedures. That system should have the ability to roll on and off cargo aircraft, such as the C-17 and C-130.

Short on bombers and fighters, the USAF is trying to determine if it can launch large numbers of cruise missiles using its cargo aircraft. It began soliciting ideas for palletized munition launch systems in June.

“Initial studies show that airlifters have the potential to deploy large quantities of Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile Extended Range (JASSM-ER) missiles, providing a significant increase in long-range standoff scale and complementing traditional strike and bomber aircrafts,” says Lockheed Martin. “This innovative approach enables warfighters to launch offensive operations from a greater number of airfields and engage a larger number of near-peer adversarial targets.”

The JASSM-ER is a stealthy cruise missile with a range of 540nm (1,000km). It is integrated on the USAF’s Rockwell B-1B bomber, Northrop Grumman B-2 stealth bomber, Boeing B-52 bomber, as well as Lockheed Martin F-16 and Boeing F-15E fighters.

Ultimately, the service is trying to determine if it would be more cost effective to launch cruise missiles from cargo aircraft or via a clean-sheet “Arsenal Plane”, a sort of new bomber. Both stand-off aircraft would fly to the edge of enemy airspace and then lob missiles at targets deep into an adversary’s territory, before turning back toward safety.
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