The 354th Fighter Wing has taken delivery of its first two F-35A fighters at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska on April 21. The jets flew non-stop from Forth Worth, Texas with mid-air refueling from two KC-135s from the 168th Wing. “This first aircraft is a milestone,” said Col. Benjamin Bishop, the 354th Fighter Wing commander. “Making the first aircraft arrival possible has been a long path, but it’s also just the first step in a journey that will continue at Eielson Air Force Base for decades to come.” By the end of 2021, 54 F-35s will make up two squadrons at Eielson, which is near Fairbanks.
The Pentagon announced that it is awarding $133 million to increase domestic production of N95 masks by over 39 million over the next 90 days. Under the contract, 3M will receive $76 million, O&M Halyward will receive $29 million and Honeywell will receive $27.4 million to make the masks, which have been in short supply since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. According to the Department of Defense, the investment is intended to ensure the United States government “gets dedicated long term industrial capacity to meet the needs of the nation.” 3M is contracted to provide 78 million units within six months, with an additional 13 million units per month by June, where O&M Halyward will add 25 million units within 6 months and an additional 12.5 million masks every month after. Under the contract Honeywell will add 38 million units within six months and 12 million units per month after.
Middle East & Africa
II Corps Consultants won a $68.7 deal for the Center for Advanced Operational Culture Learning program. The Center for Advanced Operational Culture Learning ensures Marines deploy with an operational understanding of the local military and partner cultures and regional dynamics relevant to the mission, with select Marines being language-enabled, in order to facilitate mission success. CAOCL’s designs, delivers, and manages programming throughout the education and training continuum, conducts research and assessments, and provides scientific, policy, and subject matter advising. It also serves as one of the three proponents for Language, Regional Expertise, and Culture (LREC)-related doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership, personnel, and facilities (DOTMLPF) issues throughout the Marine Corps as directed by the LREC Operational Advisory Group (OAG) Charter and the Marine Corps LREC Strategy. Work will take place in Virginia, Bahrain and Afghanistan. Expected completion date will be by April 2025.
Three Orion Unmanned Aerial Vehicles have been accepted by the Russian Ministry of Defense, JSC Kronshtadt Group said. General Designer of Kronshtadt, Nikolay Dolzhenkov, added that the aircraft will be modified for additional requirements that were not specified in the original contract. Orion is a Russian unmanned combat aerial vehicle developed by Kronshtadt Group. It can carry four bombs and four missiles and has maximum payload of 200 kg.
As health services across the world battle Coronavirus, NHS Wales is stepping up its defense against viruses of the technological kind. A new agreement with Thales will enable the NHS Wales Informatics Services (NWIS) team to protect vital systems from a surge in cyber-attacks by accessing Thales’s technical threat analysis service, a global centre of knowledge about the latest and emerging threats. According to Thales, the company will be providing the service to NHS Wales free of charge. Thales’s intelligence service makes available its intelligence, identification, computer virus spread monitoring, threat analysis and rapid response skills to healthcare systems across the world, now including NHS Wales.
Guizhou Aviation Industry Corporation is expecting to fly a new variant of its JL-9 advanced jet trainer that is capable of operating from China’s aircraft carriers soon. The company announced recently that assembly is finished and the jet is being prepared for its maiden flight. It has been suggested that the new variant has removed the drag chute. While the Guizhou company did not elaborate on the project, it said in a separate statement in March that the goal was to “win a new victory in developing and producing the Naval Mountain Eagle,” and the statement came with a picture showing an aircraft carrier at sea, with a Naval Mountain Eagle flying above the carrier and J-15 fighter jets parked on the carrier’s flight deck.