Airstrikes against Islamic State terrorists in Iraq and Syria this week featured the combat debut of the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor stealth fighter, and of the Royal Saudi Air Force F-15S Strike Eagle. The air forces of Bahrain, France, Jordan, Qatar and the UAE also participated, and the Royal Australian Air Force is en route to the fight with F-18s and a Wedgetail AEW aircraft.
United States Air Force
Three aircraft approaching Salt Lake City International Airport in Utah on August 17 became targets of ground-based laser pointers. The attacks occurred between 8 and 8:30 p.m. as the aircraft approached a point six miles south of the airport. No injuries were reported and all three aircraft landed without incident. The FAA says that to date 35 pilots have required medical attention after their aircraft were struck by laser pointer beams.
Two U.S. humanitarian aid workers who contracted Ebola while working in Africa were flown from Liberia to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta aboard a specially equipped aeromedical Gulfstream GIII operated by Cartersville, Ga.-based Phoenix Air. Dr. Kent Brantly was transported to the U.S. on Saturday, August 2, and Nancy Writebol was flown back today, arriving early this afternoon at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, Ga. Both worked for aid group Samaritan’s Purse.
The U.S. Air Force announced that it released a request for proposals (RFP) to industry on July 9 for its new Long Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) program to develop the next generation heavy bomber. The service said it expects to make a contract award next spring.
Detailed requirements for the bomber are classified and in a press release the Air Force described the platform in generalities. It nevertheless designated the LRS-B as a top priority, along with the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter and KC-46A tanker.
Flight operations of the F-35A Lightning II conducted by the 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., were suspended after one of the fighters caught fire on June 23 as it prepared to take off on a training mission. The U.S. military is investigating the incident.
The Pentagon announced the award of an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract to Northrop Grumman on June 3 for ongoing modernization and sustainment of the B-2A Spirit bomber. The IDIQ contact comes with a ceiling of $9.9 billion; at the same time, Northrop Grumman is preparing for the possibility of its building the Long Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) that will replace the B-2.
The U.S. Air Force is flying surveillance missions over northern Nigeria using MC-12W twin turboprops from Project Liberty. The flights are trying to locate more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram. They throw some light on a relatively unknown fleet of ISR aircraft that is currently “owned” by Air Combat Command, but likely to move to Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) next year.
Delivery of a new SIGINT aircraft for the Royal Air Force has been postponed. The UK’s Military Airworthiness Authority (MAA) has not yet reviewed the safety case. The Airseeker (the RAF’s name for the U.S. Air Force RC-135 Rivet Joint system) is the latest airframe that could be delayed by the MAA’s detailed scrutiny, which British contractors have privately called overzealous.
FlightSafety Services Corporation (Booth No. N1921) has promoted Gen. Ron Ladnier (USAF, retired.) to vice president, replacing Mike Sangster, who retires from the position at the end of 2013.
In his new position Ladnier will oversee company finances, contracts, human resources and operations. He has been with FlightSafety since 2011 as director, Military Business Development, where he identified and provided training solutions.
Ladnier came to FlightSafety from the U.S. Air Force, where he reached the rank of Major General, and had extensive interagency experience.
Electrical accessory and instrument MRO provider Freedom Aero Service (Booth No. C11949) has relocated into a unique, historical building in the McClellan Business Park, formerly part of McClellan Air Force Base in Sacramento, Calif. “The building we are in was built in 1898,” said Scott Durham, president of the company. “It’s historically protected on the outside, but it is 23,900 square feet of totally rebuilt and modernized facility for repairing and overhauling electronic accessories and instruments on the inside.”
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