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February 21, 2014

Headlines – February 21, 2014

News:

Troops left to fend for themselves after Army was warned of flaws in rifle -

Army Senior Warrant Officer Russton B. Kramer, a 20-year Green Beret, has learned that if you want to improve your chances to survive, it’s best to personally make modifications to the Army’s primary rifle — the M4 carbine. 

Lawsuit brings to light secrecy statements required by KBR -

One of the nation’s largest government contractors requires employees seeking to report fraud to sign internal confidentiality statements barring them from speaking to anyone about their allegations, including government investigators and prosecutors, according to a complaint filed Wednesday and corporate documents obtained by The Washington Post.  

McCain vows new fight over control of U.S. armed drone program -

A senior U.S. lawmaker intends to renew his fight to require the Obama administration to fully shift its armed drone program from the CIA to the Defense Department. 

McCain as Armed Services chairman? -

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Feb. 18 said if Republicans win control of the Senate this year, he would want to be chairman of the Armed Services Committee.

 

Business:

AUSA: Army, industry still defining infantry carrier of future -

Despite being canceled in 2009 by then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, bits and pieces of the U.S. Army’s $20 billion Future Combat Systems program keep hanging around. 

Following SAIC split, John Jumper to depart -

John P. Jumper became chief executive of SAIC in early 2012, taking over a storied contractor that was facing a host of problems, from declining sales to a scandal surrounding a New York City contract that resulted in the removal of three company executives. 

Germany cuts order for Eurofighter jets -

Germany’s defense ministry is planning to reduce its order for Eurofighter jets from 180 to 143, according to media reports Feb. 20. 

BAE: U.S. business down, Saudi deals strengthen outlook -

BAE Systems is forecasting a significant near-term decline in its U.S. defense and security businesses but has been able to point to sizable deals with Saudi Arabia to help underpin its international order book in 2013, according to results released Feb. 20. 

U.S. defense trade with India evolves -

In the international race to court export weapons to India, the U.S. lags compared with longtime trading partners Russia and Israel. 

CAE USA joins General Dynamics T-X offering -

General Dynamics has lined up the US arm of Canadian simulation giant CAE to provide training solutions for its offering for the US Air Force’s next-generation trainer. 

Army acquisition executive silent on ground combat vehicle, scout helicopter -

As the Army’s top acquisition executive highlighted the service’s modernization and acquisition priorities in a speech at the Association of the U.S. Army Winter Symposium and Exposition Feb. 19, two troubled programs went conspicuously unmentioned: the ground combat vehicle and armed aerial scout helicopter. 

Lockheed tech lets U.S. Apache helicopter pilots aim in color -

The U.S. Army has unveiled new technology that will for the first time allow AH-64 Apache helicopter pilots to see targeting and surveillance data in full, high-resolution color, instead of the fuzzy black and white images they get now. 

Analyst: It’s the End of an Era for Military Aviation Industry -

In a few years, Lockheed Martin might be the sole U.S. manufacturer of military fighter aircraft. Lockheed’s current rival, Boeing, would limit its offerings to jetliner derivatives such as refueling tankers and surveillance planes. 

BrahMos prepares reduced-weight missile for export -

BrahMos Aerospace sees a big future for its projects, both in terms of sales to India and in exports—including the reduced-weight supersonic missile that is still in development. 

Airbus to begin flight trials of Tanan Block 2 UAS -

Airbus Defence and Space (formerly Cassidian) is performing ground tests on the Tanan Block 2 vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) unmanned aircraft system (UAS), with first flight expected to take place in next couple of months, a company spokesperson told IHS Jane’s in mid-February.

 

Defense:

Battle over wireless spectrum pits military needs against economic interests -

The U.S. military has spent decades and billions of dollars modernizing its information systems in preparation for a “network centric” age of warfare. But the Pentagon now faces an acute shortage of wireless spectrum, and will either have to curtail its appetite for data or will have to increasingly share portions of the electromagnetic spectrum with civilian users.

Wage hike’s impact on DOD far from clear -

Military officials and industry representatives will know more in the coming months about how the Feb. 12 executive order signed by President Obama will affect installations, troops and families. 

U.S. Army cancels vehicle programs, moving to buy ships -

The U.S. Army is planning to buy new transport ships to replace dozens of its decades-old fleet of watercraft. 

Army may expand network integration evaluation exercises -

In order to get the technologies it will need by 2025, the Army needs a bigger exercise with broader troop participation than the current Network Integration Evaluation, said the commander in charge of forming doctrine for the service. 

Air Force defends need for new long-range bomber -

The Air Force needs its new long-range strike bomber, even if it can’t give details. 

KC-46A tanker gets new name: Pegasus -

The Air Force’s next-generation tanker has a new name, the service’s chief of staff announced Feb. 20. 

Aide: Congress will fight to fund combat rescue helo -

There’s still two weeks to go before the Pentagon’s 2015 budget proposal becomes public, but Congress already may be gearing up for a fight over the future of the Air Force’s Combat Rescue Helicopter program.

Military can close bases without Congress’s OK -

Buried in Title 10, the chapter of the US Code that governs the Defense Department, is Section 2687. “It does give the services authority to do closures, and it only requires notification to Congress,” said House Armed Services staffer Vickie Plunkett this morning at the AUSA conference.

 

Veterans:

The last Medal of Honor recipient to have stormed Omaha Beach on D-Day dies -

The last of the living Medal of Honor recipients that stormed Omaha Beach on D-Day in the battle immortalized in ‘Saving Private Ryan’ has died. SSgt. Walter Ehlers, 92, of Buena Park, Calif., earned the nation’s highest honor and multiple other medals for his heroic actions during the taking of the small sliver of French beach from German soldiers. 

Bipartisan legislative group wants to change VA funding -

A quiet backdrop to Washington’s government shutdown last October was the anxiety rippling through 3.9 million disabled veterans who rely on government compensation for wounds and injuries, their advocates say.

 

Space:

Relic of the space race hidden in the Everglades -

Sitting deep in a 150-foot deep hole in the ground in the swampy Florida Everglades lies the largest solid rocket booster ever built – a relic of the American space race. Standing 10 stories tall and about 20-feet wide, the rocket was originally intended to carry men to the moon. 

European Space Agency picks Plato planet-hunting mission -

A telescope to find rocky worlds around other stars has been selected for launch by the European Space Agency’s Science Policy Committee. Known as Plato, the mission should launch on a Soyuz rocket in 2024.

 

International:

Afghanistan will revert to being a terrorist haven -

Afghanistan could become a future terrorist haven when the U.S. withdraws unless a larger and more expensive Afghan security force is planned, a study has warned. The report sketched a scenario in which the Taliban would seek to capitalize on the absence of foreign combat forces and press its campaign to regain political power in Kabul. 

Russia to establish Arctic military command -

Russia will establish a new strategic military command in the Arctic by the end of the year, according to local news reports. 

France wasted EUR200 million on Anglo-French carrier studies -

The French Court of Auditors (Cour des Comptes) has revealed that France spent EUR214 million ($274 million) on its studies for a potential common Anglo-French aircraft carrier program, which was eventually abandoned.

Russian defense ministry unveils $9 billion UAV program -

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has announced a program to spend about 320 billion rubles (US $9 billion) by 2020 on military UAVs, according to local news agency ITAR-TASS. 

Benelux nations look towards integrated air force -

The three ‘Benelux’ countries of Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg aim to push their military air forces far closer together, with the commander of the Royal Netherlands Air Force calling for a “fully integrated” Benelux air component within a decade.




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Headlines January 23, 2015

News: Two Marines identified in deadly California helo crash - Two Marine Corps officers killed when their helicopter crashed during a training exercise in the Southern California desert were remembered Jan. 25 as talented pilots. Greek F-16 crashes in Spain during NATO exercise - Ten people died Jan. 26 after a Greek air force F-16 jet crashed...
 
 

News Briefs January 26, 2015

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Air National Guard photograph by SSgt. Annie Edwards

ANG conducts air refueling training with NATO allies in Germany

Air National Guard photograph by SSgt. Annie Edwards A NATO E-3A AWACS aircraft approaches a Utah Air National Guard KC-135R Stratotanker for air refueling during a training flight over Germany on Jan. 13, 2015. Nearly 30 airme...
 

 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Armando A. Schwier-Morales

Ramstein Airmen train with French air force

Air Force photograph by SrA. Armando A. Schwier-Morales Two U.S. Air Force pilots and a French air force navigator discuss the route to the drop zone during a simulated low-level drop Jan. 21, 2015, at Orleans – Bricy Air...
 
 

Marines receive first F-35C Lightning II carrier variant

The first F-35C Lightning II, carrier variant, for the U.S. Marine Corps touched-down on the flight line at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., Jan. 13, from the Lockheed Martin plant in Fort Worth, Texas, to begin training in support of carrier-based operations. U.S. Marine Lt. Col. J.T. Ryan, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 501 detachment commander...
 
 

VA announces single regional framework under MyVA initiative

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced Jan. 26 that it is taking the first steps under the MyVA initiative to realign its many organizational maps into one map with five regions to better serve Veterans. The new regions under the MyVA alignment will allow VA to begin the process of integrating disparate organizational boundaries into...
 




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