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January 8, 2014

Headlines – January 8, 2014

News:

Did bird strike cause fatal Black Hawk helicopter crash? -

A U.S. military helicopter that crashed on a coastal nature reserve in north Norfolk killing all four crew could have been brought down by a bird strike, it emerged Jan. 8. Investigators are considering whether the HH-60G Pave Hawk may have lost power suddenly after one or more geese were sucked into its engines.

 

Business:

U.S. acts to block Turkish firm from sending GE engines to Iran -

The U.S. Commerce Department Jan. 6 issued a rare emergency order aimed at blocking the illegal re-export of two large, used U.S.-built commercial jet engines to Iran by a company based in Turkey.

Kuwait to receive Patriot Missiles -

Lockheed Martin will soon deliver 14 four-pack Patriot missiles and seven launcher modifications kits to Kuwait, the Pentagon announced Dec. 31.

DOD clashes with suppliers over data rights  -

Tensions are brewing in the defense contracting business over government efforts to secure rights to manufacturers’ intellectual property. The clash pits military buyers who want to break up suppliers’ monopolies against companies whose livelihood depends on keeping tight control over their designs.

Markets seen shrinking for big-ticket jet fighters -

High-definition warplanes face a shrinking market as procurement agencies draw lessons from Brazil’s decision to choose outsider Gripen NG over more complex but costlier contenders from Boeing, Dassault Aviation and other manufacturers, analysts said.

 

Defense:

Ground the Air Force: Revising the future of flight -

The United States needs air power, but it does not need an air force. In fact, it never really did. The U.S. Air Force, founded in 1947, was the product of a decades-long campaign by aviation enthusiasts inside the U.S. Army. 

Pentagon Officially Extends Benefits to Same-Sex Spouses -

The Defense Department on Monday formally adapted its definitions of “marriage” and “spouse” to include legally married same-sex couples, finalizing a plan it announced in August. 

Here’s what was left on the NDAA cutting room floor -

Choosing to do something is an action. But, sometimes, so is choosing to not do something. That’s generally true with Congress. Which is why it’s always instructive to consider what lawmakers opt to exclude from legislation.

UCLASS program needs bigger aircraft -

To paraphrase a famous line from “Jaws,” the Navy’s gonna need a bigger jet. The Navy’s unmanned carrier-launched airborne surveillance and strike program (UCLASS) “has evolved to call for a jet that is much larger and much more capable than what was envisioned just six months ago,” according to a report in USNI News. 

Wind gusts, failed turbocharger brought down Predator -

Wind gusts and a turbocharger failure brought down an MQ-1B Predator as it attempted to land in June at Jalalabad Air Base, Afghanistan. 

Coast Guard to take control of last U.S. Air Force C-27Js -

The US Coast Guard will take control of the last of the US Air Force C-27J cargo planes, putting an end of a years-long saga deciding a long-term home for the platforms. 

U.S. navy to get drone with the wingspan of a Boeing 757 -

A giant drone with the wingspan of a Boeing 757 commercial airliner is set to give the U.S. Navy the edge when it comes to spying. The Triton drone has completed its ninth flight trial to prove its ability to operate at a range of altitudes, speeds and weights.

 

Veterans:

99 open grave sites kept under wraps -

For more than two decades, word was that the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl was at capacity for in-ground burials.

 

Space:

Perfect orbit: SpaceX launches second commercial satellite -

SpaceX has deployed a commercial Thai satellite in its second successful launch in weeks. The private U.S. firm’s two-stage Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., Jan. 6 – carrying with it the Thaicom 6 telecommunications satellite. 

Forget the ‘Goldilocks Zone’ -

Scientists may not have found extra-terrestrial life yet, but they now claim there are far more aliens out there than first believed. Researchers in Scotland believe that Earth-sized planets can support life at least ten times further away from stars than previously thought.

Supernova revealed in stunning detail -

Our galaxy can be a very dusty place, and supernovae are thought to be a main source of that dust – especially in the early universe. But up until now, there has been very little direct evidence of a supernova’s dust making capabilities. The little evidence astronomers did have could not account for the massive amount of dust detected in young, distant galaxies.

‘Blueberries’ on Mars! -

The discovery of Martian clusters, known as ‘blueberries’, a decade ago provided some of the first evidence of liquid water on the red planet. This incredible close up, taken by the Mars Rover Opportunity, reveals these spheres embedded in Martian rock like blueberries in a muffin.

 

Technology:

Scientists recreate the red planet in Utah desert -

Life on Mars doesn’t seem so alien now that a team of scientists have set up a Martian camp in a U.S. desert. A team of experts have recreated life on the red planet by dressing up in space suits and living in isolation on a rocky desert in Utah.

 

International:

‘Britain must scale back ambitions without more defense money’ -

Britain will have to scale back its strategic ambitions unless defense budgets rise next year, MPs have warned. The Armed Forces could also see a “disproportionate decline” in fighting power if there are any more cuts in defense funding they said. 

India, Japan discuss joint development of amphibious aircraft -

India and Japan are negotiating joint development of an amphibious search-and-rescue aircraft called the US-2. Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, who is visiting New Delhi Jan. 5-8, discussed the matter with Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony, said Indian Ministry of Defence sources. 

U.S. speeds up drone, missile deliveries to aid Iraq -

The United States will speed up delivery of missiles and surveillance drones to Iraq as the Baghdad government battles a resurgence of al Qaeda linked militants, a Pentagon spokesman said Dec. 6. 

Taiwan’s sub-launched Harpoons pose new challenge to China’s invasion plans -

Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense has acknowledged the Navy took delivery last year of long-awaited submarine-launched Harpoon Block II anti-ship cruise missiles, a new complication to any Chinese invasion plans.

 

Viewpoint:

Time to abolish Air Force -

The Pentagon was built to wage wars abroad, but much of its war-making has been inside the building. Inter-service rivalry is a hackneyed phrase that fails to convey either the brutality of the bureaucratic in-fighting over budgets and resources that has always defined the place, or the actual cost in blood, treasure, and a succession of shaming military defeats that have resulted from the Pentagon’s endemic in-house competitiveness. 

Envisioning the Army’s air, missile defense -

After working for more than 30 years as an Army Air and Missile Defense officer, I’ve watched with great concern the “downsizing” and related financial strain on defense. Preparing for the future is difficult in even the best of times, but now the services must focus resources on prudent, low risk investments that deliver critical capabilities.

The battle of Futenma isn’t over yet -

Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima’s decision to grant the permit to build a U.S. Marine Corps airbase on an offshore landfill near the village of Henoko village is being hailed as an important breakthrough in U.S.-Japanese relations.




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