News Briefs – April 24, 2019

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Boeing prepares plant for likely Air Force F-15 orders

Boeing is preparing to build F-15 fighter planes for the U.S. Air Force at its St. Louis County plant even though the military branch hasn’t bought the jet in over a decade.
The Chicago-based company began ramping up its F-15 production line in St. Louis after the Air Force submitted a nearly $8 billion budget request that included eight F-15s next year and 72 in following years. The request was a surprise since the U.S. military has moved toward stealth fighters in recent years.
Boeing International Vice President Prat Kumar tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the company is investing before Congress approves the budget request so it can respond quickly should the Air Force seek rapid field deployment.
Foreign orders have kept the manufacturing line running in recent years. AP
 

Air Force spends $125M cleaning up New Mexico jet fuel spill

The Air Force says it has spent $125 million so far cleaning up thousands of tons of soil and millions of gallons of water contaminated by jet fuel at a base bordering New Mexico’s largest city.
Air Force Deputy Assistant Secretary Mark Correll briefed Albuquerque water utility managers on the project at Kirtland Air Force Base during a meeting last week.
The Albuquerque Journal reports Correll also reiterated the Air Force’s commitment to the clean-up. He said drinking water wells are tested monthly and no contamination has been found.
The fuel leak — believed to have been seeping into the ground for decades — was detected in 1999.
While state and military officials say drinking wells are protected, community watchdogs are pushing for an independent review of the cleanup. AP
 

Iranian parliament labels entire U.S. military as terrorist

Iranian media say the parliament has approved a bill that labels all U.S. military forces as terrorist.
The legislation is a step further after Iranian lawmakers last week approved a bill labelling U.S. troops in the Mideast as terrorist, a day after the U.S. terrorism designation for Iran’s Revolutionary Guard came into effect.
The report by the semi-official ISNA news agency says 173 out of 215 lawmakers at the session voted for the bill on Tuesday.
The bill also demands the Iranian government take unspecified action against other governments that formally back the U.S. designation. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Israel have all supported the Trump administration’s designation.
The U.S. on April 22 said it will no longer exempt any countries from U.S. sanctions if they continue to buy Iranian oil. AP
 

Lockheed: First quarter earnings snapshot

Lockheed Martin, on April 23, reported first-quarter profit of $1.7 billion.
On a per-share basis, the Bethesda, Md.,-based company said it had profit of $5.99.
The results topped Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of six analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $4.29 per share.
The aerospace and defense company posted revenue of $14.34 billion in the period, also topping Street forecasts. Four analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $12.65 billion.
Lockheed expects full-year earnings to be $20.05 to $20.35 per share, with revenue in the range of $56.75 billion to $58.25 billion.
Lockheed shares have risen 20 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has risen 16 percent. The stock has dropped 11 percent in the last 12 months. AP