Headlines – January 25, 2017



Federal hiring freeze could cause problems for managers, veterans –
President Donald Trump’s new federal hiring freeze could cause major problems for not only managers at the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense but also thousands of former service members hoping to land government posts.


Lockheed CEO: F-35A price to drop below $100 million in next contract –
A deal for the 10th lot of F-35s will put the Air Force’s A model under $100 million per plane for the first time, and Lockheed Martin is on track to bring unit costs for an F-35A to $85 million in 2019, the company’s CEO said Jan. 24.
U.S. Army Aerostat-based PTDS provide IED warning –
Another FMS cleared by the State Department external link external link is the provision of ten 74K Persistent Threat Detection System (PTDS external link external link) Aerostats and related equipment, support, and training to the government of Saudi Arabia. Estimated in the region of $525 million, the sale also includes: 14 Ground Moving Target Indicator (GMTI) Radars; 26 MX-20 Electro-Optic Infrared Cameras; and 10 Communications Intelligence Sensors.
AGM-158 JASSM: Lockheed’s family of stealthy cruise missiles –
Saudi news outlet Al Arabiya has reported that Ukrainian authorities have seized a plane external link external link allegedly transporting Russian-made anti-tank guided missiles to Iran. A search of the plane’s hold at Kiev’s Zhulyany Airport was conducted when 17 containers onboard were not registered in the flight’s cargo manifesto. Three containers were filled with 9K111 Fagot ATGMs.
First JASSMs delivered to Poland –
Poland has received its first batch of AGM-158A Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles, Polish deputy defense minister Bartosz Kownacki announced.
Spain’s first S 80 submarine to lack AIP –
Spain’s first S 80-class submarine will not be fitted out with an air independent propulsion system, as development of the system will not be ready in time, according to the admiral in charge of Maritime Action (Almart).
Indian Army orders 158,000 ballistic helmets –
India’s Ministry of Defence has ordered 158,000 ballistic helmets for the Indian Army from a local manufacturer to make up long-pending shortages.
MMEA to bolster surveillance capabilities with three new OPVs, ex-Ojika-class boat from Japan –
The Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency’s patrol and surveillance capabilities will soon be boosted with the delivery of three new offshore patrol vessels supplied by a local company, and an ex-Ojika-class ship from the Japan Coast Guard.
Kenya to field Air Tractor light attack turboprops –
Kenya is set to receive 12 Air Tractor AT-802L intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance and light attack turboprops and two AT-504 trainer turboprops from the United States, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency disclosed Jan. 23.
Taiwan’s F-16 fighter jets are getting an upgrade –
Taiwan’s state-owned Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation has confirmed earlier local media reports that it started upgrading Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon jets for the country’s Air Force.
Political rift kills Turkey-Austria engine deal –
Growing political tensions between Ankara and Vienna in recent months have resulted in the termination of an otherwise prospective deal between a Turkish and an Austrian company, both engine specialists.
State clears $1.8 billion Obama-era foreign weapons sales –
Surveillance systems for Saudi Arabia, light attack aircraft for Kenya and missiles for Kuwait headline a group of foreign weapon sales cleared by the State Department late Jan. 23.
British Army works to secure Oshkosh JLTV –
The British Army is preparing to buy the Oshkosh-built Joint Light Tactical Vehicle but must first seek approval from the U.S. government to move the deal forward.
Turkey launches bid to build its own frigates –
Defying concerns in the industry that the program may be put off indefinitely, the Turkish government has officially launched an ambitious mission to build the country’s first indigenous frigate.
Vencore supporting DARPA with jam-resistant networks –
Vencore has been awarded a DARPA prime contract to develop jam-resistant networks.
Trump’s first arms sales, holdovers from the Obama era, are business as usual –
The State Department announced the first arms sales of the Trump administration Jan. 23, saying it approved sending various munitions and equipment to four countries, including Saudi Arabia. Approval of the transfers has to be finalized by Congress. The $1.85 billion in sales is a fraction of the $40 billion in transfers the Obama administration agreed to as recently as 2015, but the decision signals continuity in foreign arms sales under President Trump.


McCain blasts congressional ‘cowardice’ in avoiding base closings –
The head of the Senate Armed Services Committee said he will consider starting another military base closing round in the near future, calling Congress’ handling of the issue “cowardice” and a threat to military readiness.
Trump’s Air Force nominee could bring strong voice to Capitol Hill –
President Donald Trump’s pick of a former congresswoman to run the Air Force could give the service a larger voice in the behind the scenes budget battles on Capitol Hill, service advocates say.
McCain: Trump budget pick not serious about supporting military –
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said Jan. 24 that President Trump’s pick to lead the White House budget office was an “impediment” to supporting the United States military and didn’t take the issue seriously.
Budget nominee Mulvaney will recommend Trump end war-account abuse –
President Trump’s nominee to become the nation’s budget director, Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., said he will press the president to stop skirting budget caps by using the war budget.
Military wants lawsuit over Mariana Islands proposal tossed –
The U.S. military is seeking to have a federal lawsuit challenging its plans to expand operations on the Mariana Islands dismissed.
NATO, Pentagon chiefs discuss military budgets, terrorism –
NATO’s chief and new U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis have discussed military spending and combating terrorism, the source of criticism of the alliance by President Donald Trump.
Pentagon confirms first drone strikes under President Trump –
Following press reports over the weekend, the Department of Defense has confirmed to C4ISRNET that it was responsible for three drone strikes in Yemen targeting and killing members of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula – thought to be the terror group’s most potent affiliate by many. These mark the first lethal drone strikes of the Trump administration.
Trump’s defense chief eyes debut trip to Japan, South Korea next week –
U.S. President Donald Trump’s defense secretary plans to visit Japan and South Korea next week, choosing the two close U.S. allies for his debut trip abroad as Pentagon chief, a U.S. official said Jan. 24, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Fix the fleet! U.S. Navy makes maintenance top priority –
With no fiscal 2017 defense budget in sight and little chance of an agreement before April – if then – the military services are submitting second and possibly third rounds of unfunded requirements lists to Congress. The lists include items left out of the original budget requests, ranked in order of priority should Congress find a way to fund them.
Hill Air Force Base’s F-35 jets deploy in first large combat training exercise –
Thirteen of Hill Air Force Base’s 17 F-35s have left the installation for a massive air-to-air combat training exercise at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.
U.S. adds extra aircraft to Marine force in Australia –
The United States will send extra military aircraft to Australia’s tropical north this year, a U.S. Marine Corps spokesman said Jan. 25, bolstering its military presence close to the disputed South China Sea.


Senators hint at easy confirmation for VA secretary nominee –
Senate leaders have scheduled a confirmation hearing for VA secretary nominee David Shulkin next week and signaled a likely easy path to the post after meeting with him Jan. 25.