A combat controller with the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Special Tactics Squadron jumps from a C-130J Super Hercules for a parachute demonstration during an airshow in Louisville, Ky., April 23, 2022.

A combat controller with the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Special Tactics Squadron jumps from a C-130J Super Hercules for a parachute demonstration during an airshow in Louisville, Ky., April 23, 2022. U.S. Air National Guard / Staff Sgt. Clayton Wear

The Air & Space Brief: Boeing’s AF1; Low-ball blowback; USAF's new space exec; and more

Welcome to the Defense One Air and Space newsletter. Here are our top stories this week:  

Air Force One losses: Boeing should have rejected then-President Donald Trump’s proposed terms to build two new Air Force One aircraft, the company’s CEO declared last week. Dave Calhoun spoke Wednesday on the company’s quarterly earnings call, just hours after Boeing disclosed that it has lost $660 million transforming two 747 airliners into flying White Houses. “Air Force One I'm just going to call a very unique moment, a very unique negotiation, a very unique set of risks that Boeing probably shouldn't have taken,” Calhoun said. “But we are where we are, and we're going to deliver great airplanes.”

Other Boeing losses: Nearly four years after Boeing won the Air Force One contract and three other high-profile bids—and amid a global pandemic that has disrupted the supply chain, sickened workers, and led to the highest inflation in four decades—Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun has acknowledged that the company has lost nearly $1.5 billion overall on these programs, including a competition to build new pilot training jets for the Air Force, a Navy deal to build an aircraft carrier-based drone that can refuel Navy jets, and an Air Force contest to supply helicopters for security teams that guard nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles fields.

Defend Taiwan air superiority: Taiwan is not Ukraine. It is, rather, in a far more vulnerable position. No matter what other idea guides the defense of the island republic, air superiority will be critical. Washington and Taipei must prepare now to ensure this air superiority. And while discussion of a Ukrainian no-fly zone has given a wide berth to military reality, planning for Taiwan’s air defense must include four key steps, Yorktown Institute Founder Seth Crospey writes. 

New space acquisitions exec: Frank Calvelli was sworn in this week as assistant Air Force secretary for space acquisition and integration, becoming his department’s first acquisition executive focused on space. Calvelli previously served as senior vice president of national security programs at Booz Allen Hamilton and as principal deputy director of the National Reconnaissance Office from 2012 to 2020, SpaceNews reports. 

Sign up to get The Air & Space Brief every Tuesday from Tara Copp, Defense One’s Senior Pentagon Reporter. On May 3, 1952, A ski-modified U.S. Air Force C-47 became the first aircraft to land on the North Pole.


From Defense One

Boeing's Low-Ball Defense Bidding Has Come Back to Bite Them // Marcus Weisgerber

The company has lost billions of dollars and the pandemic is making things worse.

CEO: Boeing Should Have Rejected Trump's Air Force One Deal // Marcus Weisgerber

The company revealed that it has lost $660 million outfitting the next presidential jets—so far.

Plan Now for a 'No-Fly Zone' Over Taiwan // Seth Cropsey

Thwarting a Chinese invasion depends on air defense, and that starts with these four steps.

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