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June 21, 2013

Headlines June 21, 2013

Business

Boeing told to refund overcharges to Pentagon

The Pentagon’s purchasing agency said Boeing must refund $13.7 million in excessive charges on spare parts, including a $10 device for which the defense contractor charged $2,286 apiece.

Raytheon contests U.S. backing Lockheed anti-ship missile

Raytheon, the world’s largest missile maker, is challenging a Pentagon plan to use a Lockheed Martin anti-ship weapon and is asking for a chance to offer an alternative.

EADS says window closed for new BAE Systems merger attempt

European aerospace group EADS said June 19 the window for a merger with BAE Systems was “closed.”

Airbus weights purchase of Spirit plant in France to protect A350

Airbus SAS is exploring the purchase of a factory owned by U.S. supplier Spirit Aerosystems Holdings Inc. to limit production risks on its A350 wide-body, the head of the aircraft program said.

B/E Aerospace, Airbus win dismissal of suit by Leki Aviation

B/E Aerospace, a maker of cabin interiors for commercial and business aircraft and Airbus SAS won dismissal of a lawsuit brought by Leki Aviation over a contract for distribution of oxygen-systems products.

Rolls-Royce jet engine head reviews operations ahead of ramp-up

Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc is undertaking a review of its civil aerospace engine operations under a new unit head to prepare for an unprecedented production increase in a booming wide-body market.

Aluminium makers fight plastic planes with new alloys

Metal is staging a comeback, at least in the aerospace world, where aluminium has been challenged by newfangled carbon-composites in the industry’s perpetual war on weight.

Plane makers squeeze supplies as sales soar

It should be a bonanza for suppliers: $135 billion in new orders booked by Boeing and Airbus at the Paris Air Show this week. Yet companies that make everything from overhead bins to cockpit controls are under mounting pressure to cut prices.

Flush with orders, aerospace industry retools

As airplane makers gathered outside Paris to show off their newest high-tech jetliners, a less-heralded technology story was unfolding back home on the factory floors of the world’s leading aerospace companies.

Cobham seeks aviation services deals amid communications growth

Combham Plc, the world’s largest maker of airborne refueling kids, said it’s seeking acquisitions in aviation services and communications to reduce its reliance on defense sales.

United Technologies warns of possible impact from US court order to pay $473 million on fraud charges

A federal court order that United Technologies Corp. pay $473 million plus interest to compensate for alleged fraud in its sale of fighter jet engines could cut into revenue and profit, the aerospace giant said in a regulatory filing.

Trial opens against former Finmeccanica CEO in corruption case involving helicopter deal

The former head of the Italian aerospace and defense giant Finmeccanica goes on trial in a case involving alleged bribes to win a 560 million euro ($670 million) helicopter contract in India.

 

Defense

F-35 test productive as challenges with software persist

The Pentagon’s ground and flight testing of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 jets has been productive in the past year even as software poses continuing challenges, according to the military’s top testing official.

Theft of F-35 design data is helping U.S. adversaries

The theft of sensitive design data by hackers targeting programs like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter takes away a big U.S. advantage by allowing rivals to speed up development of their own stealth aircraft, a top Pentagon official said June 19.

Scrapping equipment key to Afghan drawdown

Facing a tight withdrawal deadline and tough terrain, the U.S. military has destroyed more than 170 million pounds worth of vehicles and other military equipment as it rushes to wind down its role in the Afghanistan war by the end of 2014.

 

Veterans

Senators to VA: Ramp up outreach on burn pit registry

The Senate Appropriations Committee is turning up the heat on the Veterans Affairs Department to establish a registry for troops exposed to potentially toxic fumes from open-air burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan.

VA clears 97 percent of claims two years and older

More than 65,000 veterans’ disability compensation claims have been eliminated during a two-month push to process the oldest claims first, Veterans Affairs Department officials announced June 20.

Astonishing Vietnam War photos reveal the moment U.S. troops unleashed hell on Viet Cong sniper in hills above an Army camp

A Vietnam War veteran has released incredible night-time photographs he took of American troops opening fire on a Viet Cong sniper who had been firing on a U.S. Army camp. For more than four decades, photographer James Speed Hensinger kept these incredible photographs to himself, not releasing them to the public until now.

 

Technology

Stalking world’s biggest planes makes for photos that say ‘wow’

The big stuff moves us. And for many folks who appreciate the world’s biggest airplanes – that statement is true both figuratively and literally.

 

International

United Kingdom: Britain prepared to develop ‘killer robots,’ minister says

Alistair Burt, a Conservative foreign minister, said that the technology represents a “step on” from drones used in Afghanistan because the robots are capable of automatically selecting and killing target.

United Kingdom: MoD hands out £700,000 bonuses for pen-pushers ‘good performance’ – as nearly 4,500 soldiers are sacked

Top Ministry of Defence bureaucrats are pocketing bonuses as high as £60,000 while thousands of frontline troops are being sacked, it has emerged. About 70 mandarins have shared almost £700,000 for ‘good performance’, while 4,480 soldiers received redundancy letters June 18.

United Kingdom: Families of British soldiers killed in Iraq win right to bring damages claims against government

Families started legal action as a result of the deaths of a number of British soldiers following the American-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Relatives want to sue for negligence and to make claims for compensation under human rights legislation. The Supreme Court justices announced June 19 that they can do both.

Qatar interested in Eurofighter, Rafale jets

Qatar is likely to launch an international tender to renew its fleet of ageing fighter jets soon and is interested in France’s Rafale, a French official said, while sources said it was looking at the BAE Systems-backed Eurofighter Typhoon.

South Korea to buy European missiles

South Korea will buy European bunker-busting missiles as the United States refused to sell the same kind of weapons to the country, the state procurement agency said June 19.

 

Special

UFO files: ‘The end of the UFO files’

After five years of a rolling disclosure program the contents of Britain’s ‘UFO files’ are no longer a secret. In total 209 files and approximately 52,000 pages of information on unidentified things in the sky, collected by the Ministry of Defence, has been made available to the public by the National Archives.

UFO files: Rendlesham Forest incident remains Britain’s most tantalizing sighting

Newly released UFO files from the National Archives show that the UK’s most enduringly fascinating sighting remains the Rendlesham Forest incident, in 1980, when US servicemen reported encounters with aliens in Suffolk woodland.

UFO files: highlights of some of the most unusual MoD reports

Previously confidential documents released by the National Archive contain hundreds of reports of UFO sightings from the public recorded by the Ministry of Defence’s “UFO desk”. Here is a selection of some of the most unusual.

UFO files: Britain’s X Files unit defeated … by Chinese lanterns

For more than half a century, the government unit responsible for keeping Britain’s own “X Files” meticulously monitored Britain’s skies to record all reports of flying saucers.

UFO files: read the files in full

For more than half a century, the government unit responsible for keeping Britain’s own “X Files” meticulously monitored Britain’s skies to record all reports of flying saucers. Read and search the full documents released today by the National Archives with the tool below.

 

Viewpoint

America sidelined, barely relevant

By Charles Krauthammer

The war in Syria, started by locals, is now a regional conflict, the meeting ground of two warring blocs. On one side, the radical Shiite bloc led by Iran, which overflies Iraq to supply Bashar al-Assad and sends Hezbollah to fight for him. Behind them lies Russia, which has stationed ships offshore, provided the regime with tons of weaponry and essentially claimed Syria as a Russian protectorate.




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