February 21, 2018

News Briefs – February 21, 2018

Failed missile test off of Kauai costs the U.S. $130 million

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency says the total cost of a failed missile test off of Kauai was $130 million.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Feb. 17 that a missile failed to intercept an air-dropped intermediate-range target missile during a Jan. 31 demonstration off of Kauai.

The missile is meant to be deployed to Navy ships, Japan, Romania and Poland to protect against North Korean and Iranian threats.

According to the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, the cost of the Raytheon SM-3 Block IIA missile that was still in development was $36 million.

The cost of the intermediate-range target missile was about $40 million.

The agency says it also spent money on Pacific Missile Range Facility use, several radars and sensors and about 350 personnel. AP

Israel successfully tests advanced missile defense system

Israel says it has successfully tested the country’s advanced missile defense system capable of defending against ballistic missile threats outside the atmosphere.

The Defense Ministry says the Feb. 19 successful mission test of the Arrow-3 interceptor is “a major milestone” in Israel’s ability to defend itself “against current and future threats in the region.” Two previous tests of the system were recently called off.

Arrow-3 is part of the multi-layered system Israel is developing to defend against both short- and mid-range rockets fired from the Gaza Strip and Lebanon, as well as Iran’s long-range missiles. It includes Iron Dome, David’s Sling, and the Arrow-2 systems.

It was developed by Israel Aerospace Industries and U.S. aviation giant Boeing, and became operational in January 2017.

Israel has already deployed Arrow to counter Syrian missiles. AP

Airbus’ improved earnings clouded by plane troubles

European plane maker Airbus said Feb. 15 that its earnings improved last year but it was hindered by further problems, both to its long-troubled military aircraft program as well as more recent engine issues on its single-aisle models.

The company said that it surged to a profit of 1 billion euros ($1.25 billion) in the fourth quarter, from a loss of 816 million euros a year earlier, while revenue was stable around 23.8 billion euros. For the full year, net income almost tripled to 2.9 billion euros.

Airbus, which is based in Toulouse, France, took another charge of 1.3 billion euros on its A400 military plane, which has had cost overruns for years. And it acknowledged more struggles with engines supplied by Pratt & Whitney for the A320neo plane. The supplier had had problems with the engines last year, which it fixed, but reported a new issue more recently that could affect 2018 deliveries, Airbus said.

Another of Airbus’ troubled plane models, the A380 superjumbo jet, now has a more stable outlook after the company reached a deal with Emirates airline that will cover the cost of production for years.

The various problems with these production programs have overshadowed what was otherwise a strong year for Airbus in terms of earnings, as global demand for commercial aircraft grows. Airbus raised its dividend by 11 percent and said it expects one of its key earnings metrics — earnings before interest and tax — to rise 20 percent in 2018.

CEO Tom Enders credited “very good operational performance, especially in the last quarter.” AP

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