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January 29, 2014

Headlines – January 29, 2014


A three-horse race emerges for HASC gavel –

The race for the House Armed Services Committee gavel is underway, and sources see the panel’s vice chairman as the odds-on favorite despite an expected challenge from an up-and-coming rival.

Group tries to tie HASC members, Republican hawks to Tea Party –

A left-leaning political organization has concluded several House defense hawks voted with the far-right Tea Party on nearly 50 bills most of the time. Behold, “the Tea Party Scorecard.”



Pentagon F-35 program says “laser-focused” on software issues –

The Pentagon’s F-35 program office on Friday said it was “laser-focused” on finishing development of the software needed for the U.S. Marine Corps to start using its Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jets from mid-2015.

Tactical trainer would teach F-35 pilots decision-making skills –

A new tactical trainer for fifth-generation aircraft would allow F-35 pilots to practice how to react in deadly situations that would be impossible to recreate in live exercises. 

Raytheon to keep next-generation jammer contract -U.S. Navy –

The U.S. Navy said Jan. 27 it was sticking with Raytheon as prime contractor for next-generation radar-jamming technology seen valued at billions of dollars in coming years, despite a November ruling by the U.S. Government Accountability Office that upheld a protest against the award. 

Raytheon secures Oman as new customer for NASAMS –

Oman has signed a $1.28 billion deal with Raytheon to purchase the US contractor’s National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System.

New system to test firing air-to-surface missiles from ground –

Moog Inc. is scheduled in March to test whether its new system will allow users to launch Hellfire missiles from combat vehicles and boats in addition to being fired by helicopters and airplanes. That capability has been on the Army’s wish list for years, company officials said. 

Pentagon holds back contractor funds on business systems –

The Defense Department is withholding funds from some of its largest contractors – led by Northrop Grumman, Boeing and BAE Systems – until they correct inadequate business systems. 

Pentagon notifies Congress of possible F-16 upgrades for UAE –

The Pentagon has notified Congress of a possible sale of weapons and other equipment valued at $270 million that would be part of a larger, multibillion-dollar deal for 30 more F-16s that is still under discussion by Lockheed Martin Corp and the United Arab Emirates. 

UTC weighs Sikorsky’s future –

United Technologies Corp. is considering the future of America’s leading helicopter maker, Sikorsky, and whether to sell, spinoff or forge a strategic merger for the manufacturer of the Black Hawk, one of the world’s most popular military helicopters, sources said. 

Report: Software issues may delay F-35 for U.S. Marine Corps –

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is often touted as the most advanced fighter in the world, whose complex systems are held together by millions of lines of code. So when the Pentagon’s top weapons tester declares the current software “unacceptable,” it tends to make waves in the defense world. 

Lockheed F-35 develops cracks in test, Pentagon tester says –

Lockheed Martin’s F-35 jet developed cracks in testing of the fighter’s durability and wasn’t sufficiently reliable in training flights last year, the Pentagon’s chief tester found. 

A-12 settlement won’t extend Boeing’s F/A-18 production line –

A settlement of a dispute over the canceled A-12 aircraft calls for Boeing to build three more EA-18G electronic attack planes for the U.S. Navy, but those jets will not extend the F/A-18 production line in St. Louis, Mo., according to Navy officials and company executives.



Air Force’s mysterious X-37B space plane passes 400 days in orbit –

The U.S. Air Force’s unmanned X-37B space plane has now circled Earth for more than 400 days on a hush-hush mission that is creeping closer and closer to the vehicle’s orbital longevity record. 

Pentagon to outline how it would spend an additional $26 billion –

The Pentagon’s budget plan for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1 will outline how it would spend an additional $26 billion if Congress could find the money, according to U.S. officials. 

Report: U.S. should consider re-design of missile defense system –

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency should consider redesigning a key part of its ground-based missile defense system after a series of test failures in recent years, the Pentagon’s chief arms tester said in a new report due to be released Jan. 29. 

Pentagon to conduct thorough review of all war medals –

The Pentagon is reportedly reviewing all medals and awards to America’s war heroes, including those from the growing ranks of drone pilots and cyber soldiers. 

Military brass, behaving badly: Files detail a spate of misconduct dogging armed forces –

Brig. Gen. Bryan T. Roberts publicly warned his troops at Fort Jackson, S.C., last spring that he and the Army had “zero tolerance for sexual harassment and sexual assault.” Here’s what the Army didn’t tell the soldiers: At the time, Roberts himself was under investigation by the military over allegations that he physically assaulted one of his mistresses on multiple occasions. 

Carrier cut could be back on table –

The reality of finalizing the fiscal 2015 budget submission is driving top U.S. defense officials and the White House to quickly make major decisions, and indications are growing that the elimination of one carrier and one carrier air wing could be among the defense request’s key features. 

Global Hawk win 2015 request, sources say –

The Global Hawk UAV looks to be a big winner in the U.S. Air Force’s fiscal 2015 budget submission, an impressive turn of events for a program the service has spent years attempting to kill. 

F-16 upgrade dropped from U.S. budget proposal, sources say –

A major F-16 upgrade program is likely to be left out of the president’s fiscal 2015 budget request, according to multiple sources. 

Ayotte: Air Force violating law with A-10 retirement prep –

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., says the Air Force may be violating the law by preparing to retire A-10 aircraft. 

U.S. Air Force commission readies report to Congress –

The National Commission on the Structure of the Air Force will deliver its recommendations to Congress Jan .30, putting an end-note on one of the most tumultuous periods in U.S. Air Force history.



Are U.S. veterans selfish? –

It’s an impudent question, but one that naturally surfaces given the outrage rolling in from assorted veterans’ groups as Congress and the Pentagon seek ways to trim government spending that sometimes affect those who have volunteered to fight America’s wars. 

Vets exposed to cadaver parts from contaminated lab –

The Department of Veterans Affairs ordered $241 million of cadaver tissue and other material derived from human and animal bodies in the last three years, some of it from vendors warned by federal regulators about contamination in their supply chain. 

World War II vet exposed to radiation in Hiroshima wins VA fight –

John Brenan rolled his Jeep into freshly bombed Hiroshima in 1945 on a reconnaissance mission to see if there was any enemy left to fight. The only enemy the Army sergeant found in the miles of rubble pulverized by America’s atomic attack was the one he couldn’t see – radiation.

Budget cuts sending wrong message to veterans –

Troops, veterans, and military families are used to being roughed up – by deployments, frequent moves, visible and invisible injuries, combat deaths, and so on. They’ve been at war for more than a decade while the civil-military divide has grown wider. But the continued use and abuse of the military and veteran community by politicians in Washington is an indignity that needs to end.



Turkey likely to OK indigenous fighter program –

Turkey’s government, procurement and industry officials widely expect Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to approve an ambitious program to build the country’s first indigenous fighter aircraft, amid doubts that Ankara could afford to buy it alongside the F-35 joint strike fighter. 

Training of Libyan recruits may spur procurement deals –

More than 300 Libyan Army recruits have arrived in Italy for basic training, part of a program that seeks to provide the struggling Libyan government with a viable military force, but may also kick-start Tripoli’s stalled defense procurement program. 

U.S. coming under fire from Mideast allies, who see retrenchment –

Five years after President Obama vowed to expand U.S. relations with the Arab world and the broader Middle East, his administration is under fire from allies worried that the United States is scaling back its historic role as a power broker and peacemaker despite growing turmoil across the region. 

Israelis rally against U.S. plan for strategic Jordan Valley –

As U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry finalizes proposals for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, rifts remain as vast as this strategic valley west of the Jordan River that much of the international community wants Israel to give up.

Experts wary over news of China’s second carrier –

Experts on China’s Navy are sounding cautionary tones after news surfaced last week that China is reportedly constructing a second aircraft carrier. 

Both sides optimistic ahead of French-U.K. summit –

An upcoming Anglo-French summit could breathe fresh life into a bilateral defense relationship seen as faded, with industry waiting to hear if there is progress on an anti-ship missile and a future combat drone for the two nations. 

India close to buying Japan-made military aircraft –

India is set to become the first country since World War II to buy a military aircraft from Japan, helping Prime Minister Shinzo Abe dismantle a ban on weapons exports that has kept his country’s defence contractors out of foreign markets. 

South Korea to finalize F-35 jet fighter deal this year –

South Korea plans to finalize the purchase of 40 next-generation F-35 jet fighters from US aerospace giant Lockheed Martin later this year, Seoul’s military procurement agency said. 

Report: German military has reached its operational limits –

The German military is stretched to its limits, and the goals of the ongoing restructuring program might not be reached, the parliamentary commissioner for the armed forces said. 

Finland purchasing secondhand equipment to protect core budget –

Higher demands being placed on the Finnish military’s cost-reduction programs are driving the Armed Forces Command to emphasize the acquisition of secondhand equipment.



Ten good reasons to save the A-10 –

As the fiscal year 2015 defense budget is finalized and the fiscal pressure of sequestration endures, there has been informed speculation that the Air Force will seek to retire its A-10 Warthog fleet. Congress has already prevented such a move in the National Defense Authorization Act, but yet the fight continues. Last week, RCD featured a proposal to transfer the A-10 to the Army. This week, J. Furman Daniel, III offers 10 good reasons to save the beloved A-10.   

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