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Air Force Global Strike Command Eyes Changes in Second Decade

Air Force Global Strike Command?s second decade in business will be a busy one. Created in 2009 as Strategic Air Command?s post-Cold War replacement, Global Strike oversees the bulk of the Pentagon?s nuclear weapons and provides bomber aircraft for combat operations and deterrence flights around the world.

More than 70 years since a nuclear weapon was last used, and three decades after the Cold War ended, Global Strike is making changes to take on a new era of deterrence?one that spans not just nuclear assets but faster weapons and growing space, cyber, and electromagnetic spectrum concerns as well.

In a recent interview with Air Force Magazine, Global Strike Commander Gen. Timothy Ray discussed what the command is trying as it heads into the 2020s, facing a world in which Russia is not the standalone strategic concern for the US.

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Military Pilots Aren’t Getting the Training Needed to Fight, Watchdog Warns

The U.S. military’s aviation training ranges are outdated and underfunded, leaving pilots operating in the Asia-Pacific region ill-prepared to deal with modern-day threats, a Defense Department investigation found.

Eighteen years of combat missions in the Middle East and the congressional gridlock that has delayed federal budgets have negatively impacted the DoD’s aviation range modernization efforts. That has left aviators in the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command training on ranges designed for World War II or Cold War-era threats, according to a once-secret 69-page Defense Department Inspector General report released this week.

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Building The Air Force We Need To Meet Chinese And Russian Threats

In January, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) released its unclassified assessment of China?s military capabilities, with the telling subtitle: ?Modernizing a Force to Fight and Win.? As DIA director Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley explained: ?China is building a robust, lethal force with capabilities spanning the air, maritime, space and information domains which will enable China to impose its will in the region.? He went on to emphasize: ??the PLA [People?s Liberation Army] is on the verge of fielding some of the most modern weapons systems in the world. In some areas, it already leads the world.?

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Why 2019 Needs To Be The Year The U.S. Army Picks Up The Pace On A New Long-Range Assault Aircraft

In the three decades since the Cold War ended, the U.S. Army has done a good job of sustaining the readiness of its helicopter fleet and installing new equipment when it was urgently needed.

What the Army hasn?t done is develop new combat rotorcraft. All of the combat aircraft in the current helicopter fleet were first fielded during the Reagan years?or earlier. Their designs reflect the state of technology when they were developed. For instance, none of the Army?s combat helicopters incorporate fly-by-wire technology, electronic flight controls that have been in use by other military services and commercial operators for decades.

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Army’s Cold War-Era Apache Gunship Will Fly 30 More Years, General Says

The U.S. Army has no current plans to replace its Cold-War era AH-64 Apache, a still-lethal attack helicopter that the service plans to fly into combat for at least another three decades, according to the head of Army aviation.

“Right now, it’s an incredibly capable aircraft that we know we are going to be flying well into the 40s,” Maj. Gen. William Gayler, who commands the Army’s Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker, Alabama, told an audience Wednesday at the Association of the United States Army’s Aviation Hot Topic event.

Military.com

Why Marine Aviation Is Leaping Into The Future And Army Aviation Isn’t

During the two difficult decades following the 9-11 attacks, the U.S. Marine Corps transformed its aviation arm. Aging CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters were replaced by far more capable MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotors, which combine the vertical agility of a rotorcraft with the speed and range of a fixed-wing plane. Meanwhile, the Marines became the first service to begin operating the F-35 fighter, a multi-role strike aircraft that in the Marine version can land and take off vertically (similar to a helicopter) while remaining invisible to enemy radar.

While these revolutionary developments were unfolding, the U.S. Army tried three times to replace its decrepit fleet of scout helicopters, and each time it failed. The service finally decided to simply retire the fleet even though it had no replacement, turning the armed reconnaissance mission over to heavier Apache attack helicopters — helicopters designed to conduct different missions in wartime.

Forbes.com