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March 1, 2013

News Briefs March 1, 2013

Written by: timchisham
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Remains of Korean War soldier arrive in Calif.

A soldier who went missing during the Korean War more than 60 years ago is finally coming home.

A flag-draped coffin containing the remains of Army Pfc. Roosevelt Clark arrived Wednesday morning at Los Angeles International Airport from Hawaii.

Members of Clark’s family were on hand as a military honor guard carried the coffin to a hearse. The Bakersfield man will be taken to Kern County for burial.

Clark was just 18 when he was reported missing in action in 1950. His remains were among those recovered from North Korea in the 1990s and were recently identified through DNA and other tests. AP

Talks on lease of jets for Czech in trouble

Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas says he wants to negotiate a new deal to extend a lease on 14 JAS-39 Gripen fighter jets directly with the Swedish government.

Necas says he will request that because his government is not satisfied with the latest Swedish offer.

The lease of the planes for the Czech air force began in 2005 and will expire in 2015.

Necas said Feb. 27 if no deal is reached, the Czechs have more options to get planes.

The Czech government originally agreed to buy 24 military jets made by Sweden’s Saab and Britain’s BAE Systems in 2002, but canceled that after devastating floods left the country with a staggering cleanup bill.

The nation later decided to lease 14 of the same jets in a $1 billion deal. AP

Lawmakers, vet groups panning Pentagon’s new medal

Veterans groups and lawmakers are saying the military’s new medal for cyber warriors should get a demotion so it doesn’t outrank such revered honors as the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.

The Distinguished Warfare Medal was announced two weeks ago. It’s a sign of the changing nature of war, and the increasingly important role played by attacks conducted remotely.

The Veterans of Foreign War and others say ranking the medal ahead of the Bronze Star and Purple Heart is an injustice to those who served on the front-lines.

Five veterans in the House have introduced a bill that would prohibit the Defense Department from rating the medal equal to or higher than the Purple Heart.

The Pentagon is giving no indication it is rethinking the award or its ranking. AP

Sierra Nevada beats Beechcraft for LAS contract

The U.S. Air Force has awarded Sierra Nevada Corp. a contract worth more than $427 million, dealing a major blow to Wichita, Kansas,-based Beechcraft as it emerges from bankruptcy protection.

The announcement Feb. 27 means Sierra Nevada will build at least 20 light air support planes in Jacksonville, Fla., for use in Afghanistan. The contract could ultimately be worth nearly $1 billion, depending on future orders.

The planes would give the Afghan National Army Air Corps a fixed-wing strike capability.

Beechcraft, formerly Hawker Beechcraft, had proposed the AT-6 attack aircraft, a version of its T-6 trainer. Sierra Nevada Corp. partnered with Brazil-based Embraer to offer its Super Tucano.

The competition for the award has taken nearly three years and has been plagued by delays and legal challenges. AP

Boeing reports 787 battery fix to Japan regulators

Boeing CEO Ray Conner has met with Japan’s transport minister and other officials in Tokyo to explain his company’s proposal for resolving problems with the 787 Dreamliner’s lithium-ion batteries that have kept the aircraft grounded for over a month.

Boeing said Conner met Feb. 28 with Akihiro Ota, who heads the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, and with the director general of the Civil Aviation Bureau, to explain the proposed solution to the problem of the batteries overheating.

Connor was also due to meet with All Nippon Airways, Boeing’s launch customer with 17 of the 787s, and with Japan Airlines, which has seven.

Boeing’s plan, presented to U.S. regulators last week, calls for revamping the batteries to prevent potential short-circuiting from spreading from any one battery cell to others. AP




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