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US Air Force chief’s top modernization priorities aren’t what you think they are

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force is spending tens of billions of dollars every year to buy new aircraft, including F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, KC-46 tankers, the T-7A trainer jet and more. But none of those platforms makes the list of Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown’s top three modernization priorities.

“In some cases, I’m not so much enamored with airplanes, although, you know, I flew airplanes,” Brown said during a Nov. 12 interview where Defense News asked him to list his top three weapons priorities for the Air Force.

“It’s really the capability” that matters, he said. “And as we look at, you know, future conflicts, we may be fighting differently. I don’t know that for a fact. But when I came in, cyber wasn’t a thing. Now it is. Space was a benign environment. Now, not as much.

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New Air Force leaders view plans for more virtual pilot training

The Air Force’s new military leaders, Chief of Staff Gen. Charles “CQ” Brown and Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne Bass, made their first trip with Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett Thursday.

The leadership team traveled to Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph in Texas, where they were shown Air Education and Training Command’s plans to take lessons from its virtual reality and artificial intelligence-infused pilot training experiment, called Pilot Training Next, and incorporate them into a new version of undergraduate pilot training, which the Air Force is calling UPT 2.5.

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