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January 22, 2014

Headlines – January 22, 2014

News:

Virgin Galactic goes supersonic -

Not content with breaking its own previous altitude records, an incredible video of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo reveals the latest test flight also managed to smash through the sound barrier. The video, taken by cameras placed on carrier plane WhiteKnightTwo, show SpaceShipTwo reaching its maximum velocity of Mach 1.4, approximately 767mph at sea level. Any speeds faster than Mach 1 are considered supersonic.

 

Business:

Funding tight for Black Hawk, Apache engine program -

Without money to carry two vendors through separate programs to develop more powerful Boeing Apache and Sikorsky Black Hawk helicopter engines, U.S. Army officials are simply hoping now to be able to carry both through the technology development phase of the Improved Turbine Engine Program.

Defense industry ponders where it goes from here -

The Pentagon was declared the big winner of the massive federal budget bill that Congress passed for fiscal year 2014. The spending bill approves $497 billion for the Defense Department, or about the same as in 2013. The Pentagon gets an additional $85.2 billion for war expenses — about $5 billion more than it requested. 

BlackBerry surges on continued Pentagon dominance -

BlackBerry Ltd. surged the most in a month after the U.S. Department of Defense said the company’s smartphones will account for 98 percent of devices in one of its new networks.

U.K. firms land vehicle support contracts -

A trio of British defense companies is in line for a deal to provide support and sustainment services for nearly half of the 2,000 protected mobility vehicles being brought permanently into the Army’s core equipment program, which had been purchased for the war in Afghanistan.

 

Defense:

Pilot error caused Okinawa helicopter crash that killed airman, Air Force says – 

Pilot error led to a Pave Hawk helicopter crash last year on Okinawa that killed a crew member and stoked Japanese concerns over military aircraft safety, according to investigative findings released Jan. 21 by the Air Force on two recent air mishaps.

U.S. Army studying replacing thousands of grunts with robots -

The postwar, sequestration-era US Army is working on becoming “a smaller, more lethal, deployable and agile force,” according to Gen. Robert Cone, head of the service’s Training and Doctrine Command. 

Hard decisions await new House Defense Appropriations chair -

The man at the center of the new defense spending bill never intended to be there. But the death of an iconic congressman left open a coveted spot in the Capitol Hill hierarchy. 

F-35 pilots will begin flying improved ‘Gen 3’ helmet -

F-35 test pilots will begin flying this year with a third-generation helmet mounted display system that incorporates modifications to the earlier-generation display system, which the Pentagon has identified as an F-35 program risk. The fixes the fighter program developed for the “Gen 3” helmet system persuaded the Pentagon’s F-35 Joint Program Office to stop funding an alternate helmet-mounted display.

 

Space:

Comet-chasing Rosetta sends first signal to Earth -

Anxiously waiting for a phone call home is a scenario that any parent will understand. This evening that call was coming from 500 million miles, after a decade away and two and half years without contact. And it was late.

Mystery deepens over ‘jelly doughnut’ Mars rock -

The mystery over a mysterious Martian rock that appeared in front of the Opportunity rover deepened Jan. 20. Last week researchers saw a rock mysteriously appear over the course of a few days in front of the rover.

 

International:

Testing of India’s Agni IV missile advances -

India’s flight test of its indigenous nuclear-capable Agni IV missile today could pave the way for user trials, according to the Ministry of Defence.

China begins naval drills in South China Sea -

Chinese naval vessels including an island landing ship began drills Jan. 20 in the South China Sea, where China and several other nations are locked in territorial disputes.

 

Viewpoint:

Pentagon has no defense against lawmakers when it comes to appropriations -

Congress is still playing games with the Defense Department budget, which at $605.7 billion is more than half the $1.1 trillion in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 that was passed last week.




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Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez

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