The Air & Space Brief: Refueling strategy in a China conflict; SBIRS to stay; $817B for DOD
Welcome to the Defense One Air and Space newsletter. Here are our top stories this week:
Refueling strategy: It’s a military pilot’s worst nightmare: your aircraft is running dangerously low on fuel, but the tanker that’s supposed to meet you for your airborne refueling never shows up. That’s the situation U.S. pilots could face in a conflict against China unless the Pentagon quickly makes some changes in its investment priorities and operational concepts, Hudson Institute senior fellow Timothy Walton writes in Ideas.
SBIRS to Stay: A set of five planned U.S. missile-warning satellites are often described as “replacing” the Space-Based Infrared Systems satellites that currently keep an eye out for enemy launches. That’s not the case, a Space Systems Command leader said Wednesday. Instead, the Pentagon’s Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared, or OPIR, satellites will be integrated with the existing SBIRS constellation, said Col. “Rhet” Turnbull, deputy director of the Space Systems Integration Office.
Budget topline: The Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday approved $817 billion for the Defense Department in fiscal 2023, topping the Biden administration’s request by $45 billion and setting up a discrepancy with counterparts in the House, Defense One’s Jacqueline Feldscher writes. That’s almost 6 percent more than President Joe Biden’s $773 billion request for the Pentagon, and more than 5 percent above his total national defense request of $813 billion.
Hyten to Blue Origin: Former Joint Chiefs of Staff vice chairman John Hyten will join Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’ space launch company as an executive director and strategic advisor. Hyten retired in November after 40 years of service in the U.S. Air Force.
Sign up to get The Air & Space Brief every Tuesday from Tara Copp, Defense One’s Senior Pentagon Reporter. This week in space news: On June 24, 1983, Sally Ride, the first woman in space, returned from her historic mission aboard the Challenger Space Shuttle. The U.S. Mint honored Ride this year by printing a “Sally Ride” quarter.
From Defense One
Tomorrow's Missile-Warning Satellites Will Join SBIRS, Not Replace Them: Space Systems Command // Tara Copp
Off-the-shelf spacecraft and lunar-mission gear are also on the table for Space Force's acquisition command.
Got Fuel? Fixing the US Military's Aerial Refueling Architecture // Timothy A. Walton
Start by creating more hardened ground fuel dumps in the Pacific.
Defense Business Brief: Markup season, in full swing; US's new missile interceptor; UK's new AI strategy; and more. // Marcus Weisgerber
Senate Panel Approves $45B Boost To 2023 Defense Topline // Jacqueline Feldscher
The House draft followed Biden's budget, but lawmakers are expected to debate the funding number next week.