The Air & Space Brief: B-21 details & a new C-130 revealed; New Space Force uniforms; Drone strike investigator named
Welcome to the Defense One Air and Space newsletter. Here are our top stories of the week:
New Space Duds: Chief of Space Operations Gen. Jay Raymond introduced the male and female Space Force dress uniform prototypes at the Air Force Association’s Air, Space, and Cyber conference Tuesday. The uniform includes a dark blue jacket with six buttons—one for each of the service branches—and grey pants. Raymond told the audience the Space Force “will take comments and tweaks” over the next couple of months, then put the uniforms into testing.
China First Strike Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall told reporters at the Air, Space, and Cyber conference that China’s pursuit of silo-based intercontinental ballistic missiles would mean the nation would have a “de-facto” first strike capability soon. Kendall used the ICBMs as one of several examples of why the Air Force is largely focused on countering China now.
New B-21s and a new C-130: In that vein, Kendall also announced that the Air Force now has five prototype B-21 Raider stealth bombers in production, and Air Force Special Operations Command provided details on its project to turn an MC-130J Commando II into an amphibious warplane, capable of conducting extractions, insertions, and logistics—all without a runway.
Drone strike investigator named: The Air Force chose Lt. Gen. Sam Said, the Air Force inspector general, to investigate the Aug. 29 drone strike in Kabul that killed 10 civilians. Head of U.S. Central Command Gen. Frank McKenzie confirmed Friday that U.S. forces had mistakenly targeted a white Toyota Corolla with little other corroborating evidence after receiving an intelligence tip that an forthcoming ISIS attack may have used such a vehicle.
Sign up to get The Air & Space Brief every Tuesday from Tara Copp, Defense One’s Senior Pentagon Reporter. On Sept. 19, 1961, NASA announced it would locate its new human space flight center in Houston, Texas; that center was renamed the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in 1973.
From Defense One
Air Force Secretary Warns of China’s Burgeoning Nuclear Arsenal, Reveals B-21 Detail // Marcus Weisgerber: Frank Kendall also criticized Congress for not allowing the Air Force to retire old, unneeded warplanes and questioned the need for hypersonic weapons.
US Air Force Developing Combat Tanker-Airlifter that Can Land on Water // Tara Copp: In a conflict with China, aircraft will need flexibility in basing, and that means water takeoffs, landings.
‘Horrible Mistake’: Pentagon Admits Drone Strike Killed Children, Not Terrorists // Tara Copp: After just eight hours of surveillance and a tip about a “white Toyota Corolla,” the U.S. fired a Hellfire missile on Aug. 29 at the wrong target.