Metro-East News

Roger That: KC-46A air tanker set to make first flight Sept. 25

Belleville News-Democrat reporter Mike Fitzgerald.
Belleville News-Democrat reporter Mike Fitzgerald. News-Democrat

The U.S. Air Force’s new KC-46A aerial refueling tanker made by Boeing Co. is scheduled to make its first flight on Sept. 25, a general said, according to DefenseOne.

The date was announced Tuesday by Brig. Gen. Duke Richardson during the Air & Space Conference near Washington, D.C. The milestone for the eventual successor to the KC-135 and KC-10 was initially planned for the spring.

“Once that first flight occurs we’ll go into initial air worthiness,” he said. That means the second flight will begin testing the boom, hose and drogue systems, he said.

Richardson, the program executive officer for tankers with the Air Force Material Command at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, said the subsequent flights will involve a variety of aircraft flying with the KC-46 and culminate with actual refueling flights in January.

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A private industry IT security firm tells Fox News that personal data stolen over the span of several high-profile U.S. cyber breaches is being indexed by China’s intelligence service into a massive Facebook-like network, according to Military.com.

According to CrowdStrike founder Dmitri Alperovitch, Chinese hackers are using information gained from the breaches of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, as well as intrusions into the Anthem and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield health insurance networks, to build a complete profile of federal employees in what the company calls a “Facebook of Everything.”

“That can now be used to embarrass you publicly and force you to work for the Chinese government,” Alperovitch told Fox News. “It's, in effect, a private version of Facebook with much more detail about your life than even Facebook has that the Chinese now have access to.”

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Only four or five U.S.-trained Syrian rebels were still fighting in Syria, a top general told Congress on Wednesday, a stark admission of setbacks to a fledgling military program that critics have already pronounced a failure, according to Reuters.

The U.S. military began training in May for up to 5,400 fighters a year, in what was seen as a test of President Barack Obama’s strategy of having local partners combat Islamist militants and keep U.S. troops off the front lines.

But the program was challenged from the start, with the first class of less than 60 fighters coming under attack from al Qaeda's Syria wing, Nusra Front, in their battlefield debut. Some were captured and killed while others scattered.

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Preliminary tests show female airmen can perform many of the same battlefield tasks as their male counterparts in Special Operations positions, a general said, according to Military.com.

The Air Force ran a series of tests involving 170 airmen, including about 70 women, between May and July at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, to predict how they would perform on a series of physical tasks required on the battlefield and for Special Operations jobs, according to Brig. Gen. Brian Kelly, the service’s director of military force management policy.

“In lots of cases, they were able to compete and stay up with the men,” Kelly said on Tuesday during a briefing with reporters at the annual Air and Space Conference held outside Washington, D.C. He later confirmed they did so most of the time.

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Ray Mabus has made up his mind: there’s no job in the Navy or Marine Corps that’s going to be off-limits to women.

With more than a month to go before the deadline, the Navy Secretary made it clear on Monday: he will not be requesting any exceptions to the Pentagon edict that all U.S. military jobs be opened to women, according to DefenseOne.

“Nobody’s asking for an exemption in the Navy,” Mabus told an audience at the the City Club of Cleveland. “And I’ve been pretty clear about this.”

Contact reporter Mike Fitzgerald at mfitzgerald@bnd.com or 618-239-2533.

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