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‘Hot crew swaps’: F-35s are the first single engine fighters to fly on repeat

F-35A Lightning IIs are the first single engine fighters capable of performing rapid crew swaps, in which a pilot takes off, flies a mission and lands to refuel while another pilot takes over the cockpit of the same jet. During wartime, crew swaps allow a steady stream of rested and capable fighter pilots to rotate…

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‘Hot crew swaps’: F-35s are the first single engine fighters to fly on repeat

F-35A Lightning IIs are the first single engine fighters capable of performing rapid crew swaps, in which a pilot takes off, flies a mission and lands to refuel while another pilot takes over the cockpit of the same jet.

During wartime, crew swaps allow a steady stream of rested and capable fighter pilots to rotate into the fight. And while the crew swaps could help cut down on maintenance work, problems with the F-35′s next-generation maintenance software reportedly linger.

Aircrew with the 388th Fighter Wing out of Hill Air Force Base, Utah, performed what they call “hot crew swaps” for the first time, Air Combat Command announced Wednesday.

“Other aircraft like bombers, tankers, helicopters, and twin engine fighters have been doing ‘hot crew swaps’ for some time. Until now, it hasn’t been safe to do with a single engine fighter, but the F-35’s maintenance-friendly design provided Airmen here an opportunity to develop this capability,” Col. Michael Miles, 388th Maintenance Group commander, said in an ACC news release.

“Flying more sorties with less down-time proves the capability of the F-35 to fly sustained combat operations,” Maj. Caleb Guthmann, the 388th Fighter Wing’s director of staff and an F-35 pilot, said in the release. “It gives us more time in the air to target bad guys and protect friendlies.”

Rapid crew swaps will potentially reduce the time it takes to generate a new sortie by up to two hours, according to 1st Lt. Ryan Naluai, assistant officer in charge of the 421st Aircraft Maintenance Unit.

“The jet’s systems report on the health of the aircraft as it is flying and after it lands. So, under these conditions, we can confidently put it back up in the air again immediately without doing a full post-operation inspection,” Naluai said in the release. “It’s a testament to the reliability of the F-35 and the proficiency of our maintainers.”

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Three full F-35 squadrons are eventually planned to fly out of Hill AFB, according to the ACC release. The rapid crew swaps will help during peacetime, as the Air Force works to condense sorties into shorter periods of time, keeping the flightline moving.

The F-35 program oscillates between good and bad news. The crew swaps are the positive end of the spectrum, while news that the Autonomic Logistics Information System, or ALIS, is still not working as intended sits on the negative end.

ALIS is the F-35′s next-generation software designed to detail maintenance issues on the jet. Maintainers plug the ALIS into the aircraft to diagnose performance issues and streamline the process of identifying replacement parts.

While the system has been advertised as a game-changer in aviation maintenance, “it does not yet perform as intended,” the Pentagon’s operational and live fire test office said in its 2018 report.

Maintainers from the 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron prepare an F-35A from Edwards Air Force Base during a deployment to Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, in February 2016. (J.M. Eddins Jr./Air Force)

Among the complaints: “Users must employ numerous workarounds due to data and functionality deficiencies. Most capabilities function as intended only with a high level of manual effort by ALIS administrators and maintenance personnel,” the report reads. “Manual workarounds are often needed to complete tasks designed to be automated.”

That report also criticized the accuracy of the internal 25mm gun “as installed in the F-35A, to be unacceptable.”

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein was unconcerned when asked about the cannon’s accuracy by reporters.

“Given what we built the F-35 to do, I’m not sure the gun is what we should focus on,” Goldfein said at a Brookings Institute event in February. “When we talk about fifth-generation, stealth is actually only a small part of that. … It’s about information fusion.”

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This is the dancing Soviet soldiers Twitter account we never knew we needed

Have you ever tried to drop it low and then just…dropped? If you’re looking to gain the thighs of steel required to not only drop it, but pop it, look no further than these Cold War-era Soviet soldiers leaving it all out on the dance floor. If watching these Soviets perform wildly athletic feats isn’t…

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This is the dancing Soviet soldiers Twitter account we never knew we needed

Have you ever tried to drop it low and then just…dropped? If you’re looking to gain the thighs of steel required to not only drop it, but pop it, look no further than these Cold War-era Soviet soldiers leaving it all out on the dance floor. If watching these Soviets perform wildly athletic feats isn’t mesmerizing enough, viewers can now enjoy the soldiers breaking it down to timeless classics such as Britney Spears’s “Toxic” and The Killer’s “Mr. Brightside,” courtesy of the Twitter account @communistbops. mr brightside – the killers pic.twitter.com/AXgD82WWwN— soviet soldiers dancing (@communistbops) August 30, 2019 Run by an 18-year-old in the U.K., the account traces its roots back to the user’s 20th century Russian history coursework. To fully immerse himself in that world, @communistbops began using some of his free time to listen to the Red Army Choir, he told Slate.com in 2019. The result? A bright spot amid the hellish cesspool that is oftentimes social media. Pulling most of the footage from a YouTube account run in the name of Leonid Kharitonov, a Russian opera singer who died in 2017, the teen has watched “these videos so much now, I kinda remember which dance moves would go best with certain lyrics.” And, like your drunk uncle at a wedding, who, despite doing zero cardio in 20 years, seemingly becomes as nimble as a gazelle as he guzzles his 17th Busch Light, the Soviet soldiers seem impervious to pain and ACL blowouts as they bound around the dance floor. Try not to feel vicarious pain, for example, as two soldiers seemingly re-invent the single-leg squat as the angsty tune of Evanescence’s “Bring me to life” blares. bring me to life – evanescence pic.twitter.com/6ON8V1yJvT— soviet soldiers dancing (@communistbops) September 13, 2020 Sign up for the Early Bird Brief Get the military’s most comprehensive news and information every morning (please select a country)United StatesUnited KingdomAfghanistanAlbaniaAlgeriaAmerican SamoaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBoliviaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of TheCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’ivoireCroatiaCubaCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuamGuatemalaGuineaGuinea-bissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMarshall IslandsMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMicronesia, Federated States ofMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNetherlands AntillesNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorthern Mariana IslandsNorwayOmanPakistanPalauPalestinian Territory, OccupiedPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalPuerto RicoQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRwandaSaint HelenaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and The GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbia and MontenegroSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and The South Sandwich IslandsSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwan, Province of ChinaTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-lesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUnited States Minor Outlying IslandsUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuelaViet NamVirgin Islands, BritishVirgin Islands, U.S.Wallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabwe Subscribe × By giving us your email, you are opting in to the Early Bird Brief. Train for nuclear war and develop legs like a Clydesdale? No wonder McCarthy was so concerned. So, head on over to @communistbops to peruse some of yesteryear’s most phenomenal dance moves set to some of today’s greatest hits.

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Paid parental leave is on the horizon, but feds still have questions

The availability of paid parental leave for federal employees kicks off in just over two weeks, but employees and their representative organizations have informed the Office of Personnel Management that policies surrounding the use of that leave are still unclear or overly restrictive. The leave becomes available for employees that give birth to, have a…

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Paid parental leave is on the horizon, but feds still have questions

The availability of paid parental leave for federal employees kicks off in just over two weeks, but employees and their representative organizations have informed the Office of Personnel Management that policies surrounding the use of that leave are still unclear or overly restrictive. The leave becomes available for employees that give birth to, have a partner give birth to or adopt children on or after Oct. 1, a policy that received the most criticism and confusion in responses to the rule. Many commenters noted that, especially for those expecting the birth of a child, a due date is not a definite estimation, and federal employees that expected to be able to take paid leave may be denied it if they or their partner end up giving birth earlier than the planned due date. The OPM rule is firm on how a birth or placement for adoption must fall in relation to the official start date: “Paid parental leave is available to covered employees only in connection with the birth or placement of a son or daughter that occurs on or after October 1, 2020. Since paid parental leave may not be used prior to the birth or placement involved, paid parental leave may not be used for any period of time prior to October 1, 2020.” But as the Office of Employee Advocacy for the House of Representatives noted in its comments, the rule and its definition of the term “birth” is restrictive in its description of a “living” child, as a child may be born without a heartbeat, but be resuscitated by doctors, or the parents may plan to have a living baby, only to later have complications that result in that child’s death. According to the Office of Employee Advocacy comments, the language should be updated to ensure that employees experiencing such situations still have access to paid parental leave. Those comments also called for alterations to clarify that an employee may use annual or sick leave in addition to the 12 weeks of paid parental leave. Sign up for the Daily Brief Get the top federal headlines each morning (please select a country)United StatesUnited KingdomAfghanistanAlbaniaAlgeriaAmerican SamoaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBoliviaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of TheCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’ivoireCroatiaCubaCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuamGuatemalaGuineaGuinea-bissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMarshall IslandsMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMicronesia, Federated States ofMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNetherlands AntillesNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorthern Mariana IslandsNorwayOmanPakistanPalauPalestinian Territory, OccupiedPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalPuerto RicoQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRwandaSaint HelenaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and The GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbia and MontenegroSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and The South Sandwich IslandsSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwan, Province of ChinaTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-lesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUnited States Minor Outlying IslandsUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuelaViet NamVirgin Islands, BritishVirgin Islands, U.S.Wallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabwe Subscribe × By giving us your email, you are opting in to the Daily Brief. Commenters also questioned how such leave would apply to an employee that experienced the birth or placement of a child twice within the same 12-month period, and the Office of Employee Advocacy noted that “if there are two triggering events that generate their own 12-month period, it entitles the employee to 12 weeks of paid parental leave for each of those 12-month periods.” In its comments, the National Treasury Employees Union noted that some of OPM’s requirements for eligibility of paid parental leave were too restrictive and “are in tension with Congress’s intent in providing this significant and necessary benefit to federal employees.” Those comments note that the requirement for employees to “affirmatively elect to use paid leave and execute an agreement providing that the employee will work for the agency for twelve weeks following the paid leave,” unless the employee is physically or mentally incapable of making such an election — at which point they would be eligible for retroactive election to use the leave — puts an unfair burden on employees. “OPM’s standard, moreover, fails to account for the non-birthing parent of a child who is born earlier than expected. The employee may need to leave work, immediately, to care for his or her family. This departure might occur before the employee elects paid parental leave and executes a work obligation agreement,” NTEU wrote. “But, under Section 630.1706(a)’s strict language, the employee would not be able to retroactively opt for paid parental leave because he or she would have been physically and mentally capable of timely making the election.” NTEU also took issue with the interim rule’s allowance that, if an employee provides medical evidence that they cannot return to work after the 12 weeks due to a serious condition, the agency may demand additional examinations and certifications from other health-care providers. “First, the Act does not authorize an agency to demand additional certifications from ‘other’ healthcare providers affirming the employee’s serious health condition. Once the employee provides a medical certification supporting to the serious health condition that prevents a return to work, that should be the end of the matter,” NTEU wrote. “An agency has no statutory authority to order the employee to solicit additional certifications from ‘other health care providers,’ which would necessarily entail additional medical examinations from those providers.” Both NTEU and the Office of Employee Advocacy raised concerns that agencies’ authority to require certification or documentation of a child’s birth or placement gives too much discretion to the agency to revoke such leave, especially since OPM itself determined that “the risk of fraud is low” and a simple statement from the employee has in the past been sufficient proof.

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Military plays ‘never have I ever’ on Twitter

There are certain inevitabilities that come with joining the military. From being screamed at by drill instructors to bad housing assignments and learning how to sleep anywhere, some experiences are universally shared by anyone who has worn the uniform. Twitter user @scmorrison, however, recently noted that while certain ordeals are shared, there are other commonplace…

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Military plays ‘never have I ever’ on Twitter

There are certain inevitabilities that come with joining the military. From being screamed at by drill instructors to bad housing assignments and learning how to sleep anywhere, some experiences are universally shared by anyone who has worn the uniform. Twitter user @scmorrison, however, recently noted that while certain ordeals are shared, there are other commonplace endeavors that some have managed to avoid for the entirety of their service. I have 14 years of service and have NEVER thrown a hand grenade. Is there something common in the military that you’ve never done? @SDDCCSM @TradocDCG?— Steve (@scmorrison) September 13, 2020 The notion attracted the attention of Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command and Army Training and Doctrine, both highly active accounts on the platform, which kicked off a friendly game of “never have I ever, military edition,” yielding surprising and amusing results from those in all branches. (Don’t forget to put a finger down if you’ve undertaken any of these endeavors.) Riffing on the original Tweet, Maj. Gen. Tammy Smith noted that while she has had the pleasure of throwing a grenade, there’s a distinct piece of flair she’s missing: The Army Achievement Medal. 34 years of service and never earned an AAM- but I have thrown a hand grenade.— MG Tammy Smith (@MG_SmithT) September 13, 2020 Smith’s remark hurts, considering she’s dedicated more than three decades to the Army. Other responses, however, stung less but revealed plenty about military culture. Sign up for the Early Bird Brief Get the military’s most comprehensive news and information every morning (please select a country)United StatesUnited KingdomAfghanistanAlbaniaAlgeriaAmerican SamoaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBoliviaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of TheCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’ivoireCroatiaCubaCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuamGuatemalaGuineaGuinea-bissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMarshall IslandsMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMicronesia, Federated States ofMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNetherlands AntillesNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorthern Mariana IslandsNorwayOmanPakistanPalauPalestinian Territory, OccupiedPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalPuerto RicoQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRwandaSaint HelenaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and The GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbia and MontenegroSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and The South Sandwich IslandsSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwan, Province of ChinaTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-lesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUnited States Minor Outlying IslandsUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuelaViet NamVirgin Islands, BritishVirgin Islands, U.S.Wallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabwe Subscribe × By giving us your email, you are opting in to the Early Bird Brief. Chain smoked.— Blondes Over Baghdad (@BlondsOvrBaghd) September 13, 2020 A surprising response, given the soaring number of smoking personnel. “About 30 percent of veterans self-reported current use of cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, roll-your-own, and/or pipe tobacco, with the majority of the users (21.6 percent) reporting current cigarette smoking,” the FDA reports. Good on BoB for not succumbing to peer pressure. Though, it appears she’s not the only one to avoid the bandwagon substance use that keeps most service members sane — like energy drinks. 13.5 years. 5 deployments, 2 Navy and 3 Marine Corps. Never used tobacco, Red Bull, or NO-Xplode.— MechE Devil Doc (@MathNerdJeremy) September 13, 2020 Scientists should study how @MathNerdJeremy managed to stay awake for those 13 years without assistance. And then there’s this downright impressive sailor with a two-decade-long streak of fortunate duty stations. Almost 23 years in the Navy and I’ve never been stationed in Norfolk or DC. I win the Navy.— Erik Naley (@battlechop719) September 13, 2020 Still, the most shocking revelation, perhaps, belongs to user @DavidChetlain, a submariner. Never ate an MRE.— David Chetlain (@DavidChetlain) September 13, 2020 How anyone makes it through a career in the military and never happens upon a brown packet of chili-mac, we’ll never know. Perhaps things are just different under the sea.

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