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January 17, 2014

Headlines – January 17, 2014

News:

One killed in Army helicopter ‘hard landing’ in Georgia –

A member of an elite Army helicopter unit was killed and two crew members suffered injuries when their aircraft slammed into the ground as they tried to land at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, a military spokesman said Jan. 16.

 

Business:

Lockheed makes progress on next generation anti-ship missile –

Lockheed Martin has demonstrated that its Long Range Anti-Ship Missile can be launched from the Mk-41 vertical launch system with only software modifications.

Executive slams ‘lowest price, technically acceptable’ acquisition regimes –

The president of a major satellite services provider said the U.S. military’s “lowest price, technically acceptable” procurement strategy is stifling innovation and ultimately shortchanging war fighters.

Pentagon’s top space contractor recognizes imperative to change –

Amid a growing wave of sentiment that the U.S. military must adopt new ways of operating in space to cope with new threats and declining budgets, a top executive with Lockheed Martin, the Pentagon’s biggest space hardware contractor, said the company must change as well.

Defense simulation firms turn to commercial sector for inspiration –

Military simulations were once leaps and bounds ahead of the technologies available in the commercial market. Now, as millions of Americans own video game consoles that showcase high fidelity graphics and state-of-the-art hardware and software, that is hardly the case.

Russia’s Rostec revenues, export sales up in 2013 –

Russia’s state-owned defense group Rostec has posted improved results for 2013, said Aleksey Aleshin, first deputy chief executive.

Turmoil in Turkey could alter defense contracts –

Major political turmoil in Turkey that threatens Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s 11-year-long rule could delay or shakeup major procurement contracts, analysts and industry sources say.

 

Defense:

Navy littoral ship reliability in doubt, tester says –

The reliability of the Navy’s first three Littoral Combat Ships “has been degraded by frequent critical system failures” in early operations, the Pentagon’s chief weapons tester said.

DOD finalizing 2015 budget proposal –

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel huddled with his top military and civilian leaders Jan. 16 as the Defense Department puts the finishing touches on its 2015 budget proposal.

DOD expects recruiting to slow down as economy speeds up –

As the U.S. economy gets back on track — unemployment recently fell below 7 percent for the first time in five years — the Pentagon’s recruiting commands are bracing for potential challenges.

Military wrestles with high cost of satellite terminals –

Developing a new military communication satellite system can cost upwards of $1 billion. Putting one into orbit can run anywhere from $55 million to $90 million per launch. But that is nothing compared to buying and integrating the terminals required to link to them back on Earth.

Special Operations wants help to see if propaganda works –

After years of ad hoc reviews of the effectiveness of military propaganda efforts, the Special Operations Command is on the verge of seeking an independent contractor for a coordinated plan to test whether the programs actually work.

Renewable energy boom underway at U.S. military bases –

The number of renewable energy projects at U.S. military bases rose from 454 in 2010 to 700 in 2012, an increase of 43 percent, according to a new study by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

America’s emaciated Army –

The U.S. Army, already reeling from the beginning of a round of cuts that will drop from its peak of 570,000 to about 490,000, was just told that those cuts don’t begin to cut it. Now the Army has begun planning to plan to shrink even more: to a force of about 420,000.

Army considers teaming drones with Chinooks, Black Hawks –

The Army is analyzing whether it would be advantageous to team utility, medical-evacuation and cargo helicopters with unmanned aerial vehicles.

Navy eyes Osprey flights for AFSB fleet –

Navy leaders are in the midst of a series of studies to see whether the MV-22 can be flown off the sea service’s expected fleet of Afloat Forward Staging Base ships.

Air Force creates office to guide Iitegration of Active, Reserve units –

Last year, the U.S. Air Force created the Total Force Task Force, charged with providing guidance on how to bring the active duty, Air National Guard and Reserve components back together after a year of public fights over the service’s missions and budgets.

 

Veterans:

VA hit for waste, lack of oversight on medical implants –

The Veterans Affairs Department wasted more than $3 billion over 10 years on medical implant purchases — and is now losing track of those implants once they’ve been put into patients, potentially putting veterans’ health at risk, according to a new watchdog report that’s drawing attention from members of Congress.

Up to 48,000 Afghan, Iraq vets homeless –

Nearly 50,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans were either homeless or in a federal program aimed at keeping them off the streets during 2013, almost triple the number in 2011, according to numbers released Jan. 16 by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

VA riles veterans with push to change disability claims process –

The Department of Veterans Affairs wants to change the decades-old way in which veterans file for disability claims – and it has veterans advocacy groups outraged.

 

Space:

Strangely ‘silent’ black hole found orbiting fast-spinning star –

Astronomers have found a quiescent black hole orbiting a massive, fast-rotating star, suggesting that these strange binary systems may be common throughout the Milky Way galaxy.

 

Technology:

U.S. military is testing gun that could turn anyone into an ace sniper –

The U.S. military is testing a radical ‘smart rifle’ that can automatically aim itself, it has been revealed. The U.S. Army is believed to have acquired six $27,000 ‘smart rifles’ from Texas firm Tracking Point.

 

People:

HASC Chair McKeon acknowledges Tea Party tactics influenced retirement decision –

U.S. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., made it official Jan. 16, announcing he will not seek a 12th term.

 

International:

Ominous warning: Admiral concedes U.S. losing dominance to China –

The Obama administration’s ballyhooed military “pivot” to Asia is running into some frank talk from the top U.S. commander in the Pacific. Three years after the Pentagon said it was de-emphasizing Europe in favor of the Asia-Pacific region, NavyAdm. Samuel J. Locklear III said this week that U.S. dominance has weakened in the shadow of a more aggressive China.

Taiwan’s anti-sub drill –

The Taiwanese navy this week conducted an anti-submarine warfare drill as part of a recent effort to improve the island’s defenses against a Chinese underwater attack. Conducted Jan. 14 about 10 miles off Taiwan’s southwestern coast, the drill involved surface vessels and helicopters in simulated hunt-and-kill operations against submarines.

British Army Watchkeeper UAV may debut in spring –

British army officials say confidence in the Thales Watchkeeper unmanned aerial system (UAS) is rising and it could be ready to enter service in the spring.

Gates: British cuts limiting military partnership with U.S. –

Britain’s military cuts mean it will no longer be able to be a full partner alongside United States forces, former U.S. defense secretary Robert Gates said Jan. 16.

David Cameron dismisses Robert Gates’ defense cuts warning –

David Cameron has dismissed a warning from ex-U.S. defense secretary Robert Gates that armed forces cuts would diminish the United Kingdom’s military standing.

French Air Force conducts first Reaper flight –

The French Air Force Jan. 16 flew a first flight, lasting 40 minutes, of a U.S.-built Reaper surveillance drone based in Niger, an Air Force spokesman said.




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Air Force photograph by Capt. Tania Bryan

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