Darn Tough Vermont

Air Force Announces Future Operating Concept

March 18th, 2023

AURORA, Colo. (AFNS) —  

The Air Force chief of staff announced March 7 a key component in how Airmen will Accelerate Change or Lose by successfully delivering airpower to deter and, if necessary, prevail.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr. announced at the 2023 Air and Space Forces Association Warfare Symposium in Aurora, he signed the Air Force Future Operating Concept to ensure long-range planning is intentionally linked to the Joint Warfighting Concept.

The new presentation of Airmen’s unique contributions to the Joint Force, allies and partners prioritizes conducting the service’s five core functions: Air Superiority; Global Strike; Rapid Global Mobility; Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance; and Command and Control.

“Without the integrated capabilities of the United States Air Force, Joint Force opportunities are infrequent, fleeting and costly,” Brown said. “Future conflicts will be contested and complex.”

The new operating concept supports the National Defense Strategy through the convergence of the Air Force Force Generation deployment model, the Department of the Air Force’s Operational Imperatives, the Air Force Chief of Staff’s Action Orders, Accelerate Change or Lose and ways in which Multi-Capable Airmen will be trained to operate in future contested environments practicing Agile Combat Employment.

The Air Force Future Operating Concept presents six operational fights that Airmen must win simultaneously and can do so by being empowered to make decisions under a doctrine and culture of mission command.

“Trained appropriately, Airmen do not have to wait for orders from higher headquarters to make bold decisions and take advantage of fleeting opportunities,” said Lt. Gen. S. Clinton Hinote, Air Force Futures director.

Airmen must be able to prevail in these six key fights as they apply airpower in the defense of allies, partners and national interests: the fight to compete with or deter, the fight to get into theater, the fight to get airborne, the fight for air superiority, the fight to deny adversary objectives, and the fight to sustain ourselves, our allies and partners in competition and conflict.

During his symposium keynote, Brown reinforced the Air Force Future Operating Concept will only be successful if Airmen across the force are trusted and empowered to execute what the nation has asked them to do.

“We will not be able to execute the Air Force Future Operating Concept without mission command. It takes practice and intentional development,” Brown said to an audience of Air Force leaders. “You must brief mission command, you must train mission command, you must exercise mission command and you must debrief mission command. Mission command is essential to winning … In order to execute at a high standard, we can’t play for second place; we need to play to win.”

Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

RAMP-C DoD Program Successfully Prototyping Microelectronics

March 17th, 2023

The Strategic and Spectrum Missions Advanced Resilient Trusted Systems (S2MARTS) OTA, powered by NSTXL, is managing multiple programs for the Department of Defense (DoD) that are advancing specific microelectronics capabilities. The Rapid Assured Microelectronics Prototypes – Commercial (RAMP-C) project was created by the DoD in January 2021 through the S2MARTS OTA vehicle to find partners for reshoring microelectronic fabrication and was originally awarded to two prime contractors – Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and Intel Technologies – with multiple subcontractors in August of 2021. Since the original award, multiple additional phases have been implemented to this project due to its success in delivering prototypes to the DoD in initial phases.

This program is critical in ensuring the DoD has assured access to the next generation of leading-edge (<7nm) semiconductor design and manufacturing. These chips will be intricately complex, enabling huge system performance increases, while decreasing size, weight, and power (SWaP), critical for many of the DoD modernization priorities. RAMP-C’s objective is to enable DoD assured access to leading-edge semiconductor technology through U.S. located sources of custom and dual-use leading edge integrated circuits. This will enable implementation of complex, computation intensive Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms for DoD AI, Electronic Warfare (EW), Radar and Autonomy applications. It will also facilitate use of integrated robust cyber-security methods, cryptography and authentication in DoD hardware and utilization of the complex computational capability required for 5G Radio access network (RAN) and Internet of Things (IoT) systems.

Currently, most domestic semiconductor companies are fabless, meaning they design and sell integrated circuits by outsourcing their fabrication to offshore foundries. With many of the cutting-edge innovators surrounding microelectronics located in America, the DoD sought to close the long-standing tradition of outsourcing this production. The RAMP-C opportunity was developed to bolster the U.S. microelectronics industrial base and encourage semiconductor manufacturing capabilities.

RAMP-C is complimented by two other programs launched by the Office of Under Secretary Defense Research & Engineering (OUSD R&E) to promote U.S. chip manufacturing including, Rapid Assured Microelectronics Prototypes using Advanced Commercial Capabilities (RAMP) and digital State of the Art Heterogeneous Integrated Packaging (SHIP). S2MARTS is also managing the Microelectronics Commons program, a CHIPS and Science Act-funded national network for onshore, microelectronics hardware prototyping, lab-to-fab transition of semiconductor technologies and semiconductor workforce training. All four programs will bring more access to advanced capabilities in U.S. facilities while improving the integrity and confidentiality of intellectual property (IP) of commercial and DoD designs by using Quantifiable Assurance methods.

Upfitter Suspenders

March 17th, 2023

I recently ran across Upfitter Suspenders and thought they were worth a share as so many folks like to wear suspenders with their uniforms.

The three point design clips into your belt loops. While are not adjustable at the front and you must measure yourself and order the proper size, the rear adjustment allows sizing up to two sizes down. If you order a Large, for instance, the strap is adjusted to size Large when they arrive, but it may be tightened down to Medium or Small as well. Available in a variety of colors.


NASA Unveils Next Generation Spacesuit

March 17th, 2023

A spacesuit prototype of what NASA Astronauts, including the first woman, plan to wear on the surface of the Moon during the agency’s NASA Artemis III mission was revealed today by Axiom Space.

The Artemis III spacesuit, the AxEMU, is showcased in a dark gray cover material, but the final version will likely be all-white when worn by NASA astronauts on the Moon’s surface, to help keep the astronauts safe and cool while working in the harsh environment of space.

NASA selected Axiom Space to deliver a moonwalking system to land the first astronauts near the lunar South Pole. By working with commercial partners, NASA is enabling a growing space economy that leverages industry capabilities and NASA’s expertise to provide spacewalk and moonwalk services as safely, effectively, and efficiently as possible.

New spacesuits allow humans to explore the lunar surface and advance our capability for human exploration in space. Under Artemis, new exploration spacesuits and other human surface mobility systems, along with the Space Launch System rocket, the Orion Spacecraft, Exploration Ground Systems facilities, Gateway lunar space station, and human landing systems, will enable NASA to return humans to the Moon and establish a long-term presence there for scientific discovery. This experience prepares us for the next giant leap: sending astronauts to Mars.

– Johnson Space Center

SOFWERX – Maritime Capable Tethered UAS Assessment Event

March 17th, 2023

SOFWERX, in collaboration with SOF Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (SOF AT&L) Program Executive Office Special Reconnaissance (PEO-SR), will host an Assessment Event (AE) 15-19 May, 2023 to identify solutions for a small tethered Uncrewed Aerial System (UAS) that can operate in both land and saltwater maritime environments for intelligence gathering, surveillance and communications. The system must have some built in capability for full motion video, but also enable the hosting of modular payloads to perform additional functions.

The tethered UAS should be capable of operating in a static or moving configuration while performing force protection and intelligence gathering functions. The tethered UAS should provide a basic full motion video capability, but also be adaptable to carry a variety of payloads. 

This assessment solicits white papers to describe off-the-shelf tethered UAS. The most promising candidates will be invited to demonstrate some performance attributes with vendor provided equipment and operators. The demonstration will occur at a remote site with representatives from USSOCOM. A stipend will be provided to defray the costs of travel and shipping to the demonstration site.

Interested parties must submit NLT 09 April 2023 11:59 PM ET.

Visit events.sofwerx.org/uas for more information.

Vortex Introduces the DEFENDER-CCW Micro Red Dot

March 17th, 2023

BARNEVELD, Wis. – From increasing your effective range to shooting faster without sacrificing precision, the benefits of running a red dot on handguns are numerous and proven. The new Vortex® Defender-CCW™ lets anyone packing a full-size, subcompact, or even a micro-compact for self-defense experience the speed and accuracy advantage that’s so critical when facing a threat with nowhere to run.

Meant for people who prioritize personal protection, the Defender-CCW™ is focus-built for the demands of modern concealed-carry users. Ultra-compact and tough, it delivers the biggest sight window in its class for “both eyes open” shooting and enhanced peripheral vision. The smooth, slim profile means no extra bulk or width for a no-snag draw from under clothes and less chance of printing, so the only one on the street who knows you’re packing is you. Other design benefits include:

LARGE ASPHERICAL LENS for distortion-free sight picture and truer colors

SHOCKSHIELD™ polymer insert to protect against hard, daily abuse

FAST-RACK™ textured front face that adds grip for racking slide

ADJUSTABLE BRIGHTNESS for customizable illumination settings

AUTO-SHUTOFF to preserve battery life

MOTION ACTIVATED for instant readiness when you need it

SHIELD RMS FOOTPRINT eliminates costly retro-fitting, extra plates, drill and tapping

3 or 6 MOA red dot reticles available

Rugged. Reliable. Ready to defend. Trust the Defender-CCW™ (MSRP $349.99 / MAP $249.99) to help you carry discreetly and with more confidence, keeping you prepared for personal self-defense when the stakes are high.

To see more from Vortex®, visit VortexOptics.com

FirstSpear Friday Focus: Skirmisher Firearms Training Bag

March 17th, 2023

The Skirmisher Firearms Training Bag facilitates transportation and organization of your firearms and ammunition along with related accessories. The bag can be transported backpack style, single strap style or carried from a continuous-length webbing handle. Discreet and smartly arranged, this system can hold up to 3 full-sized handguns with or without lights in protected pockets.

It will also fit 1 AR style take-down rifle which can be secured with an included retention strap. There is also room for associated training gear such as ear/eye pro, magazines, boxed ammunition, and a top center bin for loose “top up” ammunition. 

The Skirmisher also comes with 4 magazine attachment straps to contain magazines. Each strap is capable of holding multiple magazines and secure to the bag with hook and loop. Available in 4 colors and patterns.

Visit FirstSpear to find America’s premier tactical gear and equipment.

US Army, Thai Paratroopers Supported by US Air Force During Cobra Gold 23

March 17th, 2023

PATTAYA, Thailand — The U.S. Air Force’s 15th Wing successfully supported a personnel drop operation while in an eight-ship formation on Mar. 3, 2023, during one of the largest multilateral theater security operation exercises in the Indo-Pacific.

Operation planning took place on Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory, from Feb. 27 to Mar. 2, 2023, before dropping over a combined 600 U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division and Royal Thai Army soldiers over the Kingdom of Thailand as part of Exercise Cobra Gold 2023.

U.S. Army Col. Todd Burroughs, commander, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, mentioned that nearly 150 Thai soldiers were integrated to jump alongside the U.S. army.

“They are very proficient and they are ready to roll as part of Task Force Falcon,” said Burroughs.

To support the 82nd Airborne Division, aircrew assigned to the 535th Airlift Squadron and the 204th Airlift Squadron coordinated flight and personnel drop plans for the aerial operation, creating the majority of products needed for the event within two days.

“For an operation of this size, the planning timeline is typically nine months long,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Mike Hank, 204th Airlift Squadron chief of tactics. “The Air Force planning team, in conjunction with the Air Mobility Division, accomplished this in 20 days.”

Of the eight C-17s that arrived on Diego Garcia, three were assigned to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii; two to Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina; and three to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.

“We’ve amassed seasoned pilots and loadmasters across all of our jets, and we have a robust maintenance team with participation from both the active duty, guard, U.S. Pacific Air Forces, Air Mobility Command, and integrated support from the Joint Communications Support Element and the AMD,” said Hank.

A joint mission brief was held the morning before the operation, highlighting important information needed for all participating parties, including weather conditions, aircraft rosters and drop zones.

“It’s in our DNA as air droppers — from joint forcible entry operations into Iraq in 2003 to the annual swift response exercises on our eastern flank — delivering the 82nd Airborne Division’s global response force concept is our bread and butter,” said Hank. “This time we get to conduct with the 82nd Airborne Division and our allies, the Royal Thai Army, always delivering our promise of anywhere, anytime and on time.”

Cobra Gold, now in its 42nd year, is a Thai-U.S. co-sponsored training event that builds on the long-standing friendship between the two allied nations and brings together a robust multinational force to promote regional peace and security in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific.

By SSgt Alan Ricker, U.S. Air Force