The Air & Space Brief: Tanker damage; Pacific comms; Smaller sats, at last; and more

F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jets assigned to the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron “Thunderbirds” perform an aerial demonstration during the Aviation Nation 2022 airshow at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, Nov. 4, 2022. U.S. AIR FORCE / AIRMAN 1ST CLASS JOSEY BLADES

C-130H damage. The Air Force’s procedure of etching serial numbers on propellers “likely contributed to cracks that are being found on the C-130Hs,” about 100 of which have been grounded since early October, an Air Force spokesperson told Defense One’s Marcus Weisgerber. 

Comm check. Air Force intelligence must be able to operate whether they have full connectivity or no connectivity at all, so the Air Force Research Laboratory is building in “as much redundancy as possible” as it plans for the future, Defense One’s Lauren C. Williams reports. “The public cloud offers great services as long as you have connectivity. If you’re disconnected, how do you still function and do what you need to do during that time frame?” said Norman Leach, a director in the lab’s information directorate. “You need to be able to get stuff through with those higher latencies and lower network comms.”

Smaller satellites. The Space Force’s long-anticipated move to cheaper, smaller satellites is the official policy as of Oct. 31, Defense One’s Marcus Weisgerber reports. Acquisition chief Frank Calvelli made the decision shortly after the Space Development Agency, which buys satellites, was formally transferred from the Office of the Secretary of Defense to the Space Force.

Defending Taiwan. If China tries to seize Taiwan in “the next year or two,” U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would not be ready to defend it, and the resulting assembly of forces would be akin to a “pick-up squad” facing “a well-prepared team,” Hudson Institute senior fellow Bryan Clark writes for Defense One. To avoid that scenario, the Pentagon should establish Joint Task Forces, he writes, to “fill a gap left by the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986.”

Sign up to get The Air & Space Brief every Tuesday from Jennifer Hlad, Defense One’s news editor. On this day in 1950, U.S. Air Force Lt. Russell J. Brown shot down two North Korean MiG-15s with his F-80 Shooting Star. It was the first all-jet air combat battle, and it lasted about 30 seconds.

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