A service member, assigned to 34th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, places chocks on a B-1B Lancer, assigned to 34th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, after returning from a Bomber Task Force mission with the Royal Australian Air Force, June 22, 2022.

A service member, assigned to 34th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, places chocks on a B-1B Lancer, assigned to 34th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, after returning from a Bomber Task Force mission with the Royal Australian Air Force, June 22, 2022. U.S. Air Force / 2nd Lt. Michael Caggiano

The Air & Space Brief: Air defenses for Ukraine; Air Force One costs; 5th-Gen for Guam

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

Air defense options for Ukraine: The Pentagon is looking at what kind of air defenses it can give to help Ukraine ward off Russian cruise missile attacks, a senior defense official said Monday. Those systems will be part of an upcoming security assistance package to Ukraine, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters Monday.

Air Force One costs: Boeing wants more money for Air Force One, but is on a fixed contract that to date has cost the company billions, Andrew Hunter, the Air Force’s top weapons buyer, said Friday. That can create some unexpected charges for the Air Force. “You get this dynamic, where they [Boeing] become very focused on ‘We need to finish. We're going to finish what's in the contract. Anything that appears to us to be in any way, shape, or form, not 100% required explicitly in the contract is an extra bill,’” Hunter said.

5th-gen fighters for Guam: The U.S. should permanently station fifth-generation combat jets on Guam to counter China, Adm. John Aquilino, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, said Friday. F-35s have operated from the island’s austere airfield since last year, but only on a temporary basis, Defense One’s Elizabeth Howe writes. Aquilino says having fifth-generation aircraft—F-35s or F-22s—permanently stationed in the theater is “critically important to the ability to deliver deterrence.”

Ukrainian pilots: Send air defense systems and fighter jets: In a series of interviews with Western media, two Ukrainian fighter pilots—“Juice” and “Moonfish,” a MiG-29 squadron commander—plus a Ukrainian Air Force anti-aircraft officer highlighed what’s missing from the recent shipments of foreign weapons: modern ground and air defense systems, and modern fighter jets. 

Sign up to get The Air & Space Brief every Tuesday from Tara Copp, Defense One’s Senior Pentagon Reporter. On June 29, 1927, Two Army Air Force aviators completed the first TransPacific flight—from Oakland, California, to Wheeler Air Field in Hawaii, aboard the “Bird of Paradise,” an Atlantic-Fokker C-2. The non-stop flight took almost 26 hours. 


From Defense One

Pentagon Is Seeking Air-Defense Options For Ukraine // Tara Copp

Biden told Zelenskyy that anti-cruise missile systems will be part of a future security package.

Boeing Wants More Money For New Air Force One, USAF Official Says // Marcus Weisgerber

The company is looking for loopholes in its $4 billion contract.

It's Time to Base Fifth-Gen Fighter Jets on Guam, INDOPACOM Chief Says // Elizabeth Howe

China's buildup means F-35s or F-22s should do more than exercise from the Pacific island, Aquilino said.

Ukrainian Fighter Pilots: Send Better Jets and Air Defenses // Tara Copp

They've shot down a few Russian cruise missiles—but they could do far more with modern gear.

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