Headlines – January 4, 2019



Chinese spacecraft becomes first ever to touch down on dark side of the moon –
A Chinese spacecraft has made the first-ever landing on the far side of the moon as it transmitted a never-before-seen image of the unexplored surface. Lunar explorer Chang’e-4 touched down at 10.26am local time, state media reported, and took the ‘close range’ photograph in a global first.
Hypersonic superweapon capable of striking targets 125 miles away is spotted on Chinese warship –
What appears to be the world’s first naval rail gun – a hypersonic weapon capable of firing projectiles at five times the speed of sound – has been pictured on a Chinese naval warship at sea.
Top U.S. commander in Afghanistan sees peace opportunity in 2019 –
Top U.S general in Afghanistan tells NATO troops to prepare themselves for “positive processes or negative consequences” as peace talks between the U.S. and the Taliban to end the 17-year war gain momentum.


Top executive quits Lockheed Martin’s UK space business –
One of Britain’s top space industry executives has quit Lockheed Martin UK and is departing the sector to take up a new post with a company best known for modification and support of military airlifters.
Army’s decision on huge helicopter engine program will impact GE, Honeywell, United Technologies –
Sometime in the very near future, probably this month, the U.S. Army will announce the winner of a competition to develop a new engine for most of the service’s helicopters.


Remember ‘China, China, China’: acting U.S. defense chief –
Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told civilian leaders of the U.S. military on Jan. 2 to focus on “China, China, China,” even as America fights militants in Syria and Afghanistan, a U.S. defense official said.
Pentagon comptroller to serve as acting deputy defense secretary –
With Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan now serving as the acting secretary of defense, the Pentagon’s top financial official will take over as the acting deputy.
From tanks to Strykers, some major brigade combat team conversions will be coming this year –
Just as the Army shifted from a division-level focus to “modular” brigade combats teams early in the Iraq war for post-9/11 combat, the service has begun changes to the existing BCTs to pivot back to the near-peer fight.
Army, Marines will test-fire next-gen weapon prototypes this summer –
The long-awaited replacement to the standard M16/M4 service weapon and the squad level light machine gun are expected to be on the firing line in summer 2019.
Army, Marines will put four robotic gear mules to the test in rugged, austere conditions –
Finding new ways to incorporate robots and autonomous or semi-autonomous vehicles into warfighting has captured the attention of researchers, programs and top commanders in recent years. But nothing as basic and practical as the gear mule concept has come so close to reality.
U.S. Navy’s carriers have a gaping hole in their defenses against a growing threat, and drones may soon fill it –
The return of great-power competition has the U.S. military refocusing on the potential for a conflict with a sophisticated adversary whose submarines can sink the U.S.’s supercarriers.
U.S. Navy to buy two Ford-class aircraft carriers –
The U.S. Navy has announced its intention to block-buy two Ford-class aircraft carriers, U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee member Tim Kaine has confirmed.
U.S. Air Force’s ‘base in a box’ plan hampered by lack of management –
Due to poor planning and a lack of centralized management, it will take more time than originally expected for the U.S. Air Force to procure “base in a box” kits and forward deploy them in Europe, the Defense Department’s inspector general found in an investigation.
Growing the force — the road to 386 squadrons –
U.S. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson has laid out an ambitious plan for growing the Air Force’s operational squadrons by 24 percent. Now service leaders must convince Congress of the need.


Advocates hope to reignite debate over long-term effects of burn pits –
Toxic exposure from combat burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan isn’t a new topic, but veterans advocates hope it will get new attention in 2019.
VA’s health care rules will be completely rewritten this year –
President Donald Trump has been promising expanded health care choices for veterans dating back to his election campaign in 2015.