Vanessa Montalbano

Vanessa Montalbano joined Inside Defense as an Air Force reporter in January 2024. She previously reported on climate change and energy politics for The Climate 202 newsletter at The Washington Post.

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Archived Articles
Daily News | March 14, 2024

The KC-46A Pegasus' Remote Vision System 2.0 will "likely" arrive in 2026, slipping past its proposed arrival date of October 2025, Air Force acquisition head Andrew Hunter told lawmakers Tuesday.

Daily News | March 13, 2024

The Air Force is pushing the milestone C decision for the T-7 Red Hawk training jet back by four months, from February to May 2025, according to justification documents attached to the fiscal year 2025 budget request.

Daily News | March 12, 2024

The F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter today received approval to enter milestone C, or full-rate production, marking a final step for what has become one of the Defense Department's most cost-intensive and delayed programs.

Daily News | March 12, 2024

While the fiscal year 2025 budget request includes what Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall called "tough decisions" to balance procurement and research, development, test and evaluation funds, the service's real budgetary challenges will come in future years.

Daily News | March 11, 2024

The Air Force is cutting total procurement of F-15EX Eagle II fighter jets by six, from 104 aircraft to 98, according to the service’s fiscal year 2025 proposed budget.

The Insider | March 8, 2024

Delays in getting the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter reconfigured with Block 4 and Technology Refresh 3 upgrades are inhibiting the Air Force’s ability to “stay competitive,” Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall told reporters yesterday at the annual Washington conference hosted by McAleese and Associates.

Daily News | March 7, 2024

As the Air Force envisions a future fighter fleet, it wants to divest aging Block 20 F-22 Raptor jets to instead fund the modernization of more recent F-22 configurations, top service officials said today.

Daily News | March 7, 2024

The Air Force will reveal this summer how it plans to fill the gap period between the end of production for current KC-46A tankers in 2028 and the planned delivery of the Next Generation Air Refueling System in the late 2030s, a senior service official said today.

Daily News | March 6, 2024

In the coming days, the Air Force will release an installation infrastructure action plan to bolster bases against energy-related vulnerabilities, such as cyberattacks and extreme weather events, a senior service official said today.

Daily News | March 1, 2024

The Air Force Research Laboratory on Wednesday flew General Atomics Aeronautical Systems' XQ-67A autonomous sensing aircraft for the first time, paving the way for "other aircraft 'species' to be rapidly replicated," the service said in a news release.

Daily News | February 29, 2024

The Air Force's plan to retrofit its RQ-4 Global Hawk intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting drones for hypersonic missile testing is on track for initial fielding in 2025, Doug Shaffer, vice president for airborne ISR&T programs at Northrop Grumman, told Inside Defense. (UPDATED)

Daily News | February 28, 2024

The Air Force is hinging a majority of its future readiness and capability development around a recently announced organizational shakeup to better prepare for conflict in the Indo-Pacific. But a large swath of the modernization efforts tied to the new schema could be compromised if Congress puts forward a yearlong continuing resolution, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Allvin said today during a Brookings Institution event.

Daily News | February 26, 2024

DENVER -- The Air Force is changing the way it presents units to the Defense Department's 11 combatant commands as part of a massive structural overhaul announced earlier this month at the Air and Space Forces Association's Warfare Symposium.

Daily News | February 22, 2024

After receiving approval to perform critical cargo missions for the Air Force, autonomous aircraft operator Xwing said their "phones started ringing" from other "partners in the military" interested in working with the company, including Pacific Air Forces.

Daily News | February 22, 2024

DENVER -- The Air Force Research Laboratory is poised to play a major role in the Air Force's massive reorganization plan to outpace China, but a full-year continuing resolution for fiscal year 2024 may derail such efforts, according to service leaders at the Air and Space Forces Association's Warfare Symposium.

Daily News | February 16, 2024

DENVER -- Key to the Air Force's massive reoptimization plan to ensure readiness and prepare for future conflict is conducting large-scale and complicated exercises, senior Air Force officials said throughout the Air and Space Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium here.

The Insider | February 15, 2024

The State Department today approved a $69.3 million foreign military sale of AIM-120C-8 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles and related equipment, according to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

Daily News | February 15, 2024

DENVER -- The Air Force is eager to get its fleet of CV-22 Ospreys back into the air, but Air Force Special Operations Command officials said the tiltrotor will remain grounded until they are confident in its safety.

Daily News | February 15, 2024

DENVER -- Any aircraft procured following the last deliveries of the KC-46A tanker “needs to absolutely have some of the characteristics of what we need in NGAS,” or the Air Force’s highly secretive Next Generation Air-Refueling System, Air Mobility Command’s top commander told Inside Defense in an exclusive interview.

Daily News | February 13, 2024

DENVER -- The Air Force is on track to down select for the first increment of Collaborative Combat Aircraft in the coming months, but budgetary constraints may only allow for two vendors instead of a preferred three, service Secretary Frank Kendall said today.

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