February 4, 2019

News Briefs – February 4, 2019

U.S. hopes Turkey buys Patriot, drops Russian missile pledge

A senior U.S. official says Washington hopes Turkey will choose the Patriot air defense system over a Russian system that has raised NATO concerns.
Turkey has pledged to buy the Russian S-400 missile defense system, with deliveries starting in 2019. The American official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they want to offer Turkey “as real, as credible and as urgent alternative as possible.”
In December, the U.S. approved the possible sale of the Patriot system for an estimated $3.5 billion. The official said the U.S. believed the Patriot would be more in Turkey’s and NATO’s interests.
Relations have been tested by Turkey’s insistence on buying the Russian system, which the U.S. says poses a risk to U.S. F-35 fighter jets. AP

U.S. says airstrike kills 24 al-Shabab extremists in Somalia

The United States military says it has killed 24 al-Shabab extremists with an airstrike in Somalia.
The U.S. Africa Command says the airstrike was carried out on Jan. 30 near an extremist camp near Shebeeley in the central Hiran region north of the capital, Mogadishu.
The U.S. carried out nearly 50 such airstrikes last year in Somalia against the al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab.
The extremist group claimed responsibility for the deadly attack on a hotel complex in Kenya’s capital earlier this month. It often targets high-profile areas of Mogadishu with suicide bombings.
The U.S. statement says the airstrikes are meant to support Somali forces as they increase pressure on al-Shabab and its recruiting efforts in the region, especially in southern and central Somalia.
The statement says no civilians were killed or injured. AP

Air Force: $3 billion committed to rebuild Florida base

Air Force officials say $3 billion has been committed to rebuilding a Florida base heavily damaged by Hurricane Michael.
The assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment and energy announced the reconstruction plans for Tyndall Air Force Base on Jan. 31.
In a News Herald report, Assistant Secretary John Henderson said the plans will be submitted to Congress this spring.
Bay County officials said the effort likely will create up between 4,000 and 5,000 jobs.
The air base in Florida’s Panhandle was hammered by the hurricane in October, with roofs torn from airplane hangars and cars tossed around.
The base is home to the nation’s 325th Fighter Wing. More than 3,600 men and women are stationed there.
More damage was caused by an apparent tornado that struck last month. AP

Northrop Grumman: Fourth quarter earnings snapshot

Northrop Grumman on Jan. 31 reported fourth-quarter earnings of $356 million.
On a per-share basis, the Falls Church, Va.,-based company said it had profit of $2.06. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring costs, were $4.93 per share.
The results surpassed Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of eight analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $4.45 per share.
The defense contractor posted revenue of $8.16 billion in the period, also topping Street forecasts. Five analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $8.11 billion.
For the year, the company reported profit of $3.23 billion, or $18.49 per share. Revenue was reported as $30.1 billion.
Northrop Grumman expects full-year earnings in the range of $18.50 to $19 per share, with revenue expected to be $34 billion.
Northrop Grumman shares have climbed 15 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has increased roughly 7 percent. The stock has decreased 17 percent in the last 12 months. AP

Airbus says its data was hacked, no risk to commercial jets

European airplane maker Airbus said Jan. 30 that hackers broke into its information systems but the breach had no impact on commercial activities.
The company said in a statement that the hack was detected in its commercial aircraft information systems. The perpetrators obtained access to data that included the professional contacts and identification details of some Airbus employees in Europe.
Airbus said it is bolstering security, as well as investigating what happened and who was responsible. The company did not elaborate on what kind of hack it was.
Airbus has pushed digitalization in its manufacturing and other work in recent years.
Airbus, which has some 130,000 employees worldwide, and Boeing are the world’s leading airplane makers. Airbus also has military and space programs. AP

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