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February 14, 2014

Headlines – February 14, 2014


Two U.S. troops killed, 4 wounded in Afghan attack -

Two U.S. soldiers were killed and four wounded in an attack Feb. 12 by gunmen wearing Afghan security force uniforms in eastern Afghanistan, U.S. defense officials said. 

Hagel to preview Pentagon’s budget for 2015 on Feb. 24 -

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is expected to preview the Pentagon’s fiscal 2015 budget request on February 24, a week before the White House sends its formal budget plan to Congress, according to sources familiar with the matter. 

Navy moves carrier amid talks on Iran -

The U.S. Navy has reduced its carrier presence in the Persian Gulf as the Obama administration seeks to complete a nuclear deal with Iran.



Boeing looks to U.S. Congress to fund fighters after Navy skips orders -

Boeing is mounting a last-ditch campaign to convince U.S. lawmakers to buy more fighter jets and stave off a shutdown of a St. Louis production line after the U.S. Navy failed to fund the jets. 

BAE takes aim at F-15, F/A-18 upgrade work -

With a substantial contract under its belt to upgrade South Korea’s fleet of Lockheed Martin F-16s, BAE Systems is now looking to extend its activities in the market for modifying other nations’ aircraft by looking at Boeing’s F-15 and F/A-18 jets, said executives from the US arm of the British-based company. 

Curbs shut US drone makers out of export markets -

Military brass shopping at Asia’s biggest defense expo this week have drones high on their to-buy list. But for U.S. manufacturers including General Atomics, which makes the Predator hunter-killer, there’s one problem: they can only sell to a few countries because of tight export restrictions. 

Singapore Airshow 2014: AFSOC explores gunship-variant Osprey, marines show interest -

The US Air Force Special Operational Command is to develop a gunship variant of the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey tiltrotor that also has the U.S. Marine Corps interested, a senior service official revealed Feb. 13. 

Alenia Aermacchi sets sights on Thai trainer contest -

Thailand is the next regional target for the M-346 jet trainer maker Alenia Aermacchi, according to Giovanni Timossi, the company’s vice president of sales in Asia. 

AgustaWestland signs helicopter support agreement with Singapore Technologies -

AgustaWestland has signed an agreement with a subsidiary of Singapore Technologies Engineering (ST Engineering) that will lead to Singapore becoming a maintenance and repair center for AgustaWestland helicopters in operation in the Asia-Pacific. 

In Singapore, Alenia, Airbus trade barbs over transport capability -

Alenia Aermacchi took a swing at Airbus Defence and Space’s C295 tactical transport at the Singapore Airshow Feb. 12, claiming the performance of its C-27J Spartan pretty much outmatched anything its European rival could achieve. 

Singapore Airshow 2014: Boeing expects Indian helo contracts before end of 2014 -

Boeing expects to sign contracts with India for the CH-47F Chinook transport and AH-64E Apache attack helicopter before the end of the year, a company official said Feb. 11. 

Korea pushing helos, mini-F-16, Devil Killer at Singapore Airshow -

Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) revealed new details at the Singapore Airshow about export plans for the Surion helicopter, D/K tactical combat unmanned aerial vehicle, and the T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic aircraft. 

Update: Singapore Airshow 2014: Northrop Grumman hopeful of South Korean Global Hawk deal soon -

Manufacturer Northrop Grumman expects South Korea and the United States to sign a letter of acceptance for four RQ-4 Block 30 Global Hawk High-Altitude Long-Endurance (HALE) unmanned aerial vehicles soon, a company official said at the Singapore Airshow Feb. 11. 

Tata officials forecast big boost in 2014 defense sales -

India’s $97 billion Tata Group has projected a 40 percent jump in defense sales in 2014 on the back of outsourcing of work related to the Indian Air Force’s purchase of six C-130J Hercules transport aircraft from Lockheed Martin and sales of helicopter spares for US firm Sirkosky Aircraft, officials with the privately held company said ahead of Defexpo, held Feb. 6-9. 

Alestis to emerge from bankruptcy protection -

Spanish aircraft components manufacturer Alestis Aerospace has emerged from bankruptcy protection proceedings following an agreement with a Seville court to pay off about EUR284 million (US $387 million) in debt. 

Rolls-Royce announces reduction of fuel use by C-130s -

Rolls-Royce, manufacturer of the AE2100D3 turboprop engine that powers the C-130 cargo plane, announced that its fuel management study, carried out in conjunction with the Royal Australian Air Force, has demonstrated a 15 percent fuel savings.



Defense officials step up rhetoric against cuts -

Military leaders are launching preemptive strikes as a new round of budget battles heats up in Washington over defense spending beyond 2015. 

Navy’s UCLASS could be air-to-air fighter -

Could the U.S. Navy’s future Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike aircraft have an air-to-air role? The service’s director of air warfare Rear Adm. Mike Manazir posed that it could during a Dec. 20 interview with USNI News. 

Security forces hardest hit as Air Force plans to cut 23,263 this year -

The Air Force is planning to cut 23,263 airmen this year alone through its massive force management programs, and on the chopping block is 15 percent of security forces airmen.

Autopilot problems caused July QRF-4 drone crash -

Incorrect inputs to the autopilot brought down an unmanned targeting drone on July 13 in Florida, the Air Force announced Feb. 12.



Broad veterans’ bill faces uncertain fate in Senate -

The repeal of planned reductions in military retirement pay by Congress has left the Senate’s wide-ranging veterans’ legislative package in limbo.

Senate bill would provide clean service records for discharged gay, lesbian troops -

A bill that would upgrade the service records of gay, lesbian and bisexual troops discharged due to sexual orientation and open the door to veterans’ benefits has been introduced in the Senate and referred to the Armed Services Committee for review, officials said.



The ‘Transformer’ drones set to hit the front lines -

A series of transformers-style drones that can be used to carry cargo or even evacuate troops were unveiled by the Defense Department. The new concept images revealed Feb. 11 show that the modular flying drones could adapt depending on the particular mission.



Israel says it is close to developing ‘Star Wars’ laser missile shield -

An Israeli arms company has revealed details of a laser defense system with ‘Star Wars’ style technology which can shoot missiles from the sky with a pulse of energy. State-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems said the futuristic military hardware called Iron Beam was almost ready for deployment.  

Britain’s biggest defense projects are 25 years late -

Britain’s biggest defense projects are running a total of 25 years late between them and it is unclear the Government can keep costs on target, the Whitehall spending watchdog has warned.



Bipartisan caving on military pension cut -

Those who complain about the absence of bipartisanship in the nation’s capital are sorely mistaken. When it comes to caving to a powerful constituency and bestowing benefits, bipartisanship is flourishing. 

Here’s Why Cutting 20 Percent of Hagel’s Staff Is a Bad Idea -

Secretary of Defense Hagel has implemented an across-the-board 20 percent budget cut at all military staff headquarters commands. But the Defense Department’s one-size-fits-all budget cut appears to draw on erroneous assumptions to resourcing that have plagued the military for several years. 

Goodbye and Good Riddance -

The Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship, or LCS, program was dealt a death blow last month when the Pentagon advised the Navy to purchase only 32 of the small, fast and much maligned ships that were originally designed to combat three distinct threats — submarines, mines and groups of small boats. 

Why the U.S. should use British missiles on Reaper drones -

During the Second World War, the U.S. gave Britain some aging destroyers in exchange for the use of British bases overseas. When the first American ships arrived, Winston Churchill went to inspect them, along with Franklin Roosevelt’s right-hand man, Harry Hopkins. When he saw the ships, Churchill muttered under his breath: “Cheap and nasty.”

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