July 27, 2018

News Briefs – July 27, 2018

Proposal would shift F-16 unit to Air Guard base in Tucson

The U.S. Air Force wants to move an F-16 fighter squadron that trains Taiwanese pilots from one base in Arizona to another.
The Air Force said it is proposing that the 21st Fighter squadron with its 14 jets and 191 personnel be moved from Luke Air Force Base in Glendale, a Phoenix suburb, to the Arizona Air National Guard facility at Tucson International Airport by Dec. 31, 2019.
A draft finding of no significant impact said the planned relocation is prompted by a need to move F-16 operations from Luke to provide space for new F-35 fighters.
Other installations considered for the relocation included Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo, N.M.; Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, and Albuquerque Air National Guard Base in New Mexico. AP

SpaceX launches 10 more Iridium Communications satellites

Ten more satellites for Iridium Communications have been successfully launched into orbit.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., at 4:39 a.m., PDT, July 25 and released the satellites about an hour later.
It was the seventh launch in Iridium’s $3 billion campaign to replace its entire fleet of globe-circling satellites and brought the number in orbit to 65. One more launch will increase the number to 75, including 66 operational satellites and nine spares.
SpaceX says that despite challenging weather and sea conditions, the Falcon’s first stage successfully returned to Earth and landed on a “droneship” stationed in the Pacific Ocean south of Vandenberg. AP

Boeing second quarter profit and revenue top estimates

The strong air-travel business continues to give a lift to Boeing, as the aircraft maker reported July 25 that second-quarter profit rose 26 percent to $2.2 billion.
Boeing raised its forecast for full-year revenue but left its profit outlook unchanged, reflecting continuing hitches in its program to build a new refueling tanker for the U.S. Air Force.
The shares fell $7.58, or 2.1 percent, to $350.69 in midday trading, helping put the Dow Jones industrial average in the red.
Chicago-based Boeing delivered 194 airline jets in the quarter, 11 more than a year earlier, and booked 239 new orders including 91 higher-priced widebody aircraft.
CEO Dennis Muilenburg said the market is putting pressure on Boeing to further increase production of some planes. Boeing executives said the company can meet promised aircraft deliveries despite problems in getting key components including fuselages and engines from suppliers.
“We are as optimistic about our future and the future of our industry as we have ever been,” Muilenburg declared on a conference call with analysts and reporters.
Boeing’s defense business, however, was less profitable than a year ago partly because of $426 million in unexpected higher costs related to the KC-46 refueling tanker. Boeing expects to deliver the first of the tankers to the Air Force in October, and executives said it will eventually begin contributing to cash flow, but not this year.
Boeing reported that its “core” profit excluding charges for the tanker and other items would have been $3.33 per share. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had expected $3.25 per share on average.
Revenue rose 5 percent, to $24.26 billion, also higher than the $24.04 billion that analysts polled by FactSet had expected.
Boeing raised its forecast of full-year revenue by $1 billion to a range between $97 billion and $99 billion, but it did not increase its expectation for earnings and lowered its forecast of profit margin in the defense business.
CFRA Research analyst Jim Corridore lowered his estimate of full-year earnings by about 2 percent but remained upbeat on the company. He said aircraft demand remains strong, Boeing has gained market share from European rival Airbus, and its backlog of orders grew in the quarter.
Boeing shares were up 21 percent for the year at the beginning of trading Wednesday, continuing a long rally that began around the time that President Donald Trump was elected in November 2016. The shares have dipped about 4 percent in the past six weeks, however, as Boeing was increasingly seen as a potential target of retaliation against Trump’s tariffs and trade policies toward China, Europe, Canada and Mexico. AP

U.S. decides to release suspended military aid to Egypt

The State Department says the United States has decided to release $195 million in military aid to Egypt after withholding the assistance last year over human rights concerns.
The department says Egypt has taken steps in response to specific U.S. concerns, although there are still areas of concern on human rights and governance.
The U.S. suspended the aid in August 2017. The secretary of state at that time, Rex Tillerson, said he wasn’t able to certify that Egypt had met the human rights criteria set by Congress in order to receive the American assistance.
Egypt responded angrily and called that decision a “misjudgment of the nature of the strategic relations that have bound the two countries for decades.” AP

Northrop Grumman: Second quarter Earnings Snapshot

Northrop Grumman on July 25 reported second-quarter net income of $689 million.
On a per-share basis, the Falls Church, Va.,-based company said it had net income of $3.93.
The results exceeded Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $3.83 per share.
The defense contractor posted revenue of $7.12 billion in the period, which also beat Street forecasts. Five analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $7 billion.
Northrop Grumman expects full-year earnings to be $16.60 to $16.85 per share, with revenue expected to be $30 billion.
Northrop Grumman shares have climbed 3 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has climbed 5.5 percent. The stock has increased 19 percent in the last 12 months. AP

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