The US Air Force’s next strategic heavy bomber has passed a critical design review. On November 28 to 30, the US Defense Department carried out a multi-disciplined technical evaluation of the proposed B-21 Raider to see if its design was stable and mature enough to warrant moving on to manufacturing and flight testing, and the evaluation has determined that significant progress has been made on the three-year old project.
The US Air Force has selected the Boeing MH-139 helicopter to replace its venerable fleet of UH-1N “Huey” multirole choppers that are used to protect America’s land-based nuclear ICBMs in the US Midwest. The contract, worth US$2.4 billion, is for 84 aircraft along with support services and training systems.
The U.S. Air Force turned an F-16 fighter into an autonomous combat drone capable of flying combat missions on its own and then returning to fly alongside a manned aircraft. The program, known as “Have Raider II,” could lead to older U.S. fighters acting as semi-disposable wingmen for more modern planes, conducting missions too dangerous for manned aircraft to carry out.