The Air Force Research Laboratory has organized its first WARTECH summit to help the lab prioritize the development of promising technologies. The Air Force's Science and Technology Strategy 2030 calls for 20% of the lab's annual budget to be allocated toward "transformational capabilities."
Australia will consider the Bell 429 and a bid from Airbus helicopters as the country builds a fleet of helicopters for its special forces. Babcock Australia and Hawker Pacific have separately selected the Bell 429, while Airbus says it has enlisted a network of 20 partners in Australia.
The Air Force is making use of 3-D printing to make its own aircraft components. The Air Force recently built a metal anti-ice gasket for a Pratt & Whitney TF33-P103 aircraft engine using 3-D printing.
Boeing is preparing to deliver two VIP 777 aircraft to India for government operations as that country's "Air Force One," while Germany has dubbed its new Airbus A350s "Merkel One." South Korea has enlisted a Korean Air Boeing 747-8 to transport government dignitaries, while Boeing is at work on the next Air Force One fleet for the US.
For the first time, a group of Senate Republicans is publicly supporting an extension of the CARES Act Payroll Support Program, which would provide help to airlines in exchange for protecting jobs. "We support a clean extension of payroll support for passenger air carrier employees included in the CARES Act to avoid furloughs and further support those workers," states an open letter signed by 16 senators.
Vandenberg Air Force Base is helping California grow its commercial space sector under a new agreement between the state and the US Space Force. "The spacelift industry requires an environment stimulated by opportunity," Col. Anthony Mastalir said.
The US is working with international arms buyers on payment plans and loans from US banks to help protect weapons deals amid the economic challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. "The bottom line here is, we are willing to work with our allies and partners, when they raise the challenges that they have, to find ways for them to continue to buy American and to ensure that they can pay for the equipment along a payment schedule that reflects their own economic conditions," Lt. Gen. Charles Hooper said.
The US Army's Maneuver Short-Range Air Defense is among several initiatives that will expand the US military's use of laser weapons in coming years. The Missile Defense Agency, meanwhile, is standing up a new Aegis Ashore defense system in Poland as the US Navy improves its ability to intercept intercontinental ballistic missiles.