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May 8, 2013

News Briefs May 8, 2013

Air Force says spending cuts hit combat aircraft

Air Force officials say the across-the-board spending cuts have led the service to cease operations for one third of the bomber and jet fighter force.

Air Force Secretary Michael Donley and Chief of Staff Mark Welsh told a Senate committee that nine fighter units and three bomber units have stood down.

They say that when a unit is down for 60 days, it is unable to meet mission requirements and readiness is degraded.

Overall, they say, the Air Force is slashing nearly $10 billion from its budget by Sept. 30 due to the cuts, known as sequestration.

Other effects of sequestration include the planned furlough of more than 170,000 civilian Air Force employees, an eighteen percent reduction in flight training and aircraft maintenance, and the postponement of airfield repairs. AP

Officials: U.S. military sex assault reports are up

Officials say a new Pentagon study reports that the number of sexual assaults reported by members of the U.S. military rose from 3,192 to 3,374 in 2012, while the department estimates that as many as 26,000 service members were assaulted, based on anonymous surveys.

The troubling trends underscore service members’ continued reluctance to come forward and formally report attacks. And the numbers highlight the dismal results that military leaders have had in their efforts to change behavior within the ranks. This comes just days after the arrest on sexual battery of the Air Force officer who was in charge of the branch’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response unit.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the report. AP

New aircraft carrier marks another milestone in Virginia

Another milestone is being marked in the construction of the Navy’s newest aircraft carrier.

Huntington Ingalls Industries says it is placing the final primary hull structure on the USS Gerald R. Ford May 7.

Shipbuilders are set to lift the forward end of a catapult onto the aircraft carrier. Officials say the lift is the last of 162 superlifts and brings more than three years of structural work to a close.

Construction of the Ford began in November 2009 at Newport News Shipbuilding.

The Ford is the lead ship in a new class of carriers. It features a new nuclear power plant, a redesigned island, electromagnetic catapults, improved weapons movement and an enhanced flight deck.

The Ford will replace the USS Enterprise, which was inactivated last year. AP

Ethiopian Air wants compensation for 787 grounding

The chief executive of Ethiopian Airlines said May 7 that his company will seek compensation from Boeing for the grounding of its 787 Dreamliner planes.

Tewolde Gebremariam told The Associated Press that his company will soon start discussions with Boeing over compensation.

A Boeing spokesman, Daniel Mosely, said the company has been in close communication with its customers regarding compensation since January, when Dreamliners around the world were grounded because of overheating lithium batteries. Mosely said details of the conversations are confidential.

Ethiopian Airlines began flying the 787s again last month after the battery problem was fixed. Gebremariam said his company’s focus had been on getting the Dreamliners back into service. Now that they are flying again, the company’s next step is to start compensation discussions with Boeing.

The 50 Dreamliner jets in service worldwide were grounded in mid-January after incidents with smoldering batteries occurred aboard two different planes, leading to hundreds of cancelled flights and revenue losses.

Japan’s two biggest carriers have the most 787s – All Nippon Airways owns 17 of the jets, while Japan Airlines has seven. The U.S. carrier United has six. AP

Triumph Group buying Primus Composites

Aircraft supplier Triumph Group is buying a composites business from Precision Castparts Corp. in part to broaden its global reach and expand its structural composite capabilities.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Triumph’s purchase of Primus Composites includes a manufacturing plant in England and another in Thailand. The facilities will become part of Triumph’s aerostructures group.

Primus supplies composite and metallic propulsion and structural composite components and assemblies. Its operations in Thailand also machine and process metal components. Primus customers include Airbus, Rolls Royce, Aircelle and Bombardier.

Triumph Group Inc. said May 6 that it anticipates Primus adding about $55 million to annual revenue and to immediately add to its earnings. AP




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