An Air Force CV-22 Osprey conducts training around Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Sept. 16, 2021.

An Air Force CV-22 Osprey conducts training around Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Sept. 16, 2021. U.S. Air Force / Master Sgt. Wolfram M. Stumpf

The Air & Space Brief: New B-21 public debut details, Taiwan ADIZ incursions by China, Why the Space Force uniform opens diagonally

Welcome to the Defense One Air and Space newsletter. Both Chief of Staff of the Air Force C.Q. Brown and Chief of Space Operations Gen. Jay Raymond sat down with Defense One this week for State of Defense. The full sessions are here, viewable anytime. 

B-21 Rollout: The Air Force has five B-21 Raider stealth bombers in development, but they won’t all roll out at once, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. C.Q. Brown said. “As you might imagine, they’re big airplanes,” Brown said. “It’ll be sequenced as the five come out.” As to how those bombers will be introduced to the public, ”There will be a ceremony at some point—whether it’s for the very first one for the first flight, or a little later …. I’m sure we’ll do something special as we bring out the B-21.” 

China ADIZ Incursions: Brown said as he’s watched China’s air force develop, he’s noticed they are flying more frequently, and more often over water. In the past, a flight of a H-6K bomber over the water “was a reportable incident,” said Brown, who was previously commander of Pacific Air Forces. “What we see now is it happens every day, multiple aircraft per day,” with China now testing sensitive boundaries, including the Taiwan ADIZ, or Air Defense Identification Zone. “It’s a bit more provocative,” Brown said. 

Diagonal buttons: Chief of Space Operations Gen. Jay Raymond said the Space Force considered 150 designs for its dress uniform before selecting the dark blue jacket and grey pants the service unveiled last week. Unlike the rest of the services, the Space Force jacket buttons diagonally, in a nod to its official logo, the Delta. 

Space Force Afghanistan role: While the heavy lifting in the historic Afghanistan evacuation was done by the Air Force, Space Force contributed too, providing a common operating picture for the Joint Chiefs so they could track aircraft and the progress of the evacuation, Raymond said. He anticipates that role to continue growing in the future. 

Sign up to get The Air & Space Brief every Tuesday from Tara Copp, Defense One’s Senior Pentagon Reporter. Space fact: Ellen Ochoa was the first Hispanic woman to fly in space and was the 11th director of the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. 


From Defense One

Vulnerabilities May Slow Air Force’s Adoption of Artificial Intelligence // Patrick Tucker: More data on the battlefield means a wider attack surface, something the Defense Department has yet to prepare for, experts say.

AFA Conference Wire: Keeping AI Safe From Bad Data // Defense One staff

Racial Division, Troops’ Role in Protests Has Hurt Minority Recruiting, Air Force Says // Tara Copp: Black interest in military service plummeted after the George Floyd protests. Can the Pentagon undo the damage?

AFA Conference Wire: New Space Force Uniforms, Hub-and-Spoke // Defense One staff

Trump’s Red, White & Blue Air Force One Paint Job is Not Final, General Says // Marcus Weisgerber: The concept image is “just something that’s on a paper,” according to Air Force acquisition official.

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