February 14, 2018

Headlines – February 14, 2018


Syrian downing of F-16I begs question: Why didn’t Israel deploy F-35s? –
As the Israeli Air Force continues to investigate the Feb. 10 loss of an F-16I to Syrian anti-aircraft fire, experts here are privately questioning why, given the operational circumstances that denied Israel the element of strategic surprise, it did not opt to deploy its newest front-line fighter: the stealthy F-35I.


Philippines formally cancels helicopter contract with Canada –
The Philippines Department of National Defense has formally cancelled its contract with the Canadian government to procure 16 new Bell Helicopters 412EPI medium-lift helicopters for the Philippine Air Force.
General Atomics to partner with Boeing on MQ-25 Stingray –
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. is to team with Boeing on its MQ-25 Stingray offering to the U.S. Navy, the company announce Feb. 12.
Singapore confirms it’s using Apache helicopters in air defense role –
Singapore has confirmed it is using the Boeing AH-64D Apache attack helicopter in an air defense role, as part of the Southeast Asian island nation’s multilayered, networked air defense system.
Ever heard of Texelis? The French firm thinks you will –
Texelis expects a large export boost for its vehicle chassis business after being awarded a contract with partner Nexter for troop carriers for the French Army, the company’s business development director, Jean Vandel, has told Defense News.
Thales to provide rockets for Spanish, German helicopters –
Thales, a French-owned defense company, was awarded contracts by Spain and Germany for rockets in support of their Tiger Helicopter fleets.
Head of Ukrainian defense firm Ukroboronprom steps down –
The head of Ukrainian state-run defense firm Ukroboronprom has announced his resignation. Roman Romanov served as the director general of the company for the last three and a half years.


Trump said he cut $1 billion from Air Force One’s price. His new budget says he hasn’t –
The Pentagon’s budget request sent to Congress on Feb. 12 still projects two new Air Force One jetliners costing $4 billion.
U.S. Army could get laser for short-range air defense in under 5 years –
The U.S. Army is going to assess the possibility of putting a 50-kilowatt laser onto its short-range air defense, or SHORAD, objective solution in less than five years, according to the service’s fiscal 2019 budget justification documents released Feb. 12.
261 M1 tanks getting Trophy anti-missile system as Army reorients to major wars –
The five-year budget plan is in flux because Army modernization is in the midst of a major upheaval.
U.S. Army kills off Network Integration Evaluations in 2019 budget request –
The Army has killed off its means for testing acquisition programs particularly focused on tactical mission command networks — the Network Integration Evaluation held at Fort Bliss, Texas — in favor of Joint Warfighting Assessments designed to evaluate more emerging capabilities.
U.S. Navy is now funding four different laser weapons –
The U.S. Navy is seeking nearly $300 million for research into a family of laser weapons for the fleet.
Air Force 2019 budget will grow pilot training pipeline as service fights severe shortage –
The Air Force’s proposed budget for fiscal 2019 will allow it to increase the number of new pilots it trains from 1,200 each year to 1,400, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said Feb. 13.
Big changes coming to the Marine Corps’ rifle squads and scout sniper platoons –
For many years, the 13-man rifle squad has been the lynchpin of how combat power is built and organized within a ground combat element or Marine infantry unit.


Controversies mount as VA officials work to stay focused on health care reforms –
Amid the turmoil of a new administration, officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs managed to get through 2017 with relatively little distraction and political drama.
VA employees wanted a gender-neutral mission statement. The agency refused –
What began as a rallying cry among post-9/11 military veterans has revealed deep divisions within the Department of Veterans Affairs headquarters, where, in an apparent act of rebellion, staffers amended the agency’s 59-year-old motto on a newly released strategic document because the words exclude mention of women’s service and sacrifice.

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Headlines – February 15, 2019

News Former Air Force tech sergeant who defected to Iran charged with spying – A former Air Force counterintelligence specialist, a technical sergeant, who defected to Iran about five years after leaving the Air Force, has been charged with revealing classified information as well as research about her former colleagues to representatives of the Tehran...

News Briefs – February 15, 2019

Pentagon official assures Iraqis of limited U.S. military role The top Pentagon official assured Iraqi leaders Feb. 12 that the U.S. will stick to its limited military role in Iraq, a message aimed at recent talk by some Iraqi politicians of forcing a U.S. troop withdrawal. Pat Shanahan, the acting secretary of defense, said that...
Courtesy photograph

High Desert Hangar Stories: Tony LeVier and the wall

Courtesy photograph Tony LeVier and ground crew with the XF-90. With all due respect to the rock group Pink Floyd, back in 1950 there were very few “bricks in the wall” known as the sound barrier. Today, a multitude of pilo...