Fighter jet’s sonic booms rattle California’s Central Coast
Officials at Edwards Air Force Base have confirmed that an F-22 fighter jet conducting a test flight was behind a series of sonic booms heard along California’s central coast.
Authorities in Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties say they received several calls Thursday from residents who reported sudden shaking of windows and doors that felt like an earthquake.
Steve Walter, a seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, told KEYT-TV that he received calls from as far north as Santa Maria.
Edwards Air Force Base said in a statement that the jet was on a routine, authorized test flight 50 miles offshore, but Thursday’s atmospheric conditions allowed the boom to be heard and felt along the coast. AP
United Technologies to divest UTC Power unit
United Technologies Corp. announced Dec. 22 it has reached agreement to divest its UTC Power fuel cells unit to ClearEdge Power, based in Hillsboro, Ore. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
As previously announced, divesting UTC Power is another step forward in UTC’s ongoing portfolio transformation to focus on its core of aerospace and building systems. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions. Closing is expected early in 2013.
United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn., is a diversified company providing high technology products and services to the building and aerospace industries.
World War II dog tags found in France returned to California
The World War II dog tags of an American army private have been returned to relatives in the United States after mysteriously being discovered in a French attic.
Vandenberg Air Force Base officials say the tags were handed Dec. 20 to airman SSgt. Jason Riggs, whose great uncle survived combat and returned to the U.S. after WWII.
It’s unclear how or why the dog tags belonging to Army Private first class James F. Courtney were lost.
Courtney served as a light truck driver during the Allied advance into German-occupied France following D-Day, on June 6, 1944.
A French bed and breakfast owner sent the tags to an American friend two years ago, and it took that much time to find Courtney’s closest living relatives. AP
Boeing cuts about 100 Colorado jobs
Boeing is cutting about 100 jobs in Colorado after losing a major contract.
The company told employees the week of Dec. 21 week that their jobs will be eliminated Jan. 31. Boeing lost a contract to maintain software used by the Air Force Space Command to control the Global Positioning System satellite network.
According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, the company is telling employees they can apply for other openings in the company.
Boeing still has more than 2,000 employees statewide, working on contracts that include software and engineering for a system designed to intercept incoming warheads in space. AP
NATO: Syria using Scud-type rockets again
NATO’s top official says the Syrian military has continued to fire Scud-type missiles against anti-government forces, describing the move as the “acts of a desperate regime approaching collapse.”
Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Dec. 21 that the use of the medium-range rockets showed that NATO was justified in deciding to deploy several batteries of Patriot anti-missile systems in neighboring Turkey.
A week ago, U.S. and NATO officials said the Syrians had used the ground-to-ground rockets for the first time in the nearly two-year conflict. Damascus immediately denied the claims.
Syria is reported to have an array of artillery rockets, as well as medium-range missiles – some capable of carrying chemical warheads. These include Soviet-built SS-21 Scarabs and Scud-B missiles, originally designed to deliver nuclear warheads. AP
Russia: Syrian chemical weapons under control
Russia’s foreign minister says the Syrian government has consolidated its chemical weapons in one or two locations amid a rebel onslaught.
Sergey Lavrov says Russia, which has military advisers training Syria’s military, has kept close watch over its chemical arsenal. He says the Syrian government has moved them from many arsenals to just “one or two centers” to properly safeguard them.
U.S. intelligence says the regime may be readying chemical weapons and could be desperate enough to use them. Both Israel and the U.S. have also expressed concerns they could fall into militant hands if the regime crumbles.
Lavrov also told reporters on a flight from an EU summit late Dec. 21 that countries in the region had asked Russia to convey an offer of safe passage to President Bashar Assad. AP
Boeing wants to buy more land in South Carolina
Boeing wants to buy more than 1,000 acres near its plant in North Charleston, S.C.
The Charleston County Aviation Authority voted Dec.20 to begin the process of selling 320 acres to Boeing. The price has not been set.
The authority voted to give Boeing first rights of refusal on nearly 500 more acres, as well as an option to buy another 265 acres.
Boeing has not announced any plans for the land. But Boeing South Carolina chief counsel Mark Fava says the company doesn’t “bank” land it doesn’t plan to use.
Fava says the company brought up the idea of buying more land from the aviation authority months ago.
Charleston Mayor Joe Riley says the purchase plans are good news for the area.
Boeing makes 787-passenger jets in North Charleston. AP