World

March 28, 2012

News Briefs March 28, 2012

B-2 stealth bombers to get $2 billion upgrade

An officer at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., says B-2 stealth bombers soon will be undergoing the biggest and most complex update in the plane’s history.

The Kansas City Star reports the Pentagon is moving forward with a 10-year, $2 billion effort to modernize the defensive capabilities of the fleet, which is kept at the central Missouri base.

Planned improvements include replacing analog equipment with digital, upgrading antennas and enhancing communications systems and pilot displays.

Keeping the nation’s 20 B-2′s in top shape is a priority at Whiteman, since the bat-winged bombers are expected to be in use until 2058.

Col. Rob Spalding says some improvements already have been made by technicians at the base to keep the planes current with changing technologies. AP

 

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 1,788

As of March 27, 2012, at least 1,788 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count.

The AP count is four less than the Defense Department’s tally.

At least 1,489 military service members have died in Afghanistan as a result of hostile action, according to the military’s numbers.

Outside of Afghanistan, the department reports at least 110 more members of the U.S. military died in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Of those, 13 were the result of hostile action.

The AP count of total OEF casualties outside of Afghanistan is one more than the department’s tally.

The Defense Department also counts three military civilian deaths.

Since the start of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, 15,488 U.S. service members have been wounded in hostile action, according to the Defense Department. AP

 

Robots and masks: Military gadgets displayed in U.K.

Transformable robots and weight-distribution backpacks are among the cutting-edge gadgets on display at a London showcase for defense science and technology.

The government’s Center for Defense Enterprise March 27 unveiled the latest gizmos being developed by small and medium-sized companies for use by Britain’s troops.

They included thin-fabric keyboards for military uniforms and gunshot-detection systems for helmets. The show also featured a weight-distribution backpack fitted with special cooling panels and masks designed to maximize the efficiency of oxygen delivery.

Peter Luff, Minister for Defense Equipment, Support and Technology stressed the need to champion such firms to encourage and drive innovation.

Luff announced an additional 2 million pounds of funding for companies working on defense research. AP




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Northrop Grumman photograph

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NASA photograph by David Olive

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