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February 24, 2014

Headlines – February 24, 2014

News:

Republicans: New Pentagon budget ‘sacrifices security on altar of entitlements’ –

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel Feb. 24 outlined a five-year Pentagon budget that would shrink Army forces to fewer than before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, while retiring older weapons, including the U-2 spy plane and the A-10 attack aircraft. 

U.S. examines Afghanistan option that would leave behind 3,000 troops –

One of the four options President Obama is considering for a U.S. military presence in Afghanistan beyond this year would leave behind 3,000 troops, based in Kabul and at the American installation at Bagram, U.S. officials said. 

Mighty Dragon’: China’s upgraded stealth jet ready for first flight –

The third prototype for China’s J-20 “Mighty Dragon” stealth fighter jet appears to be prepared to take its maiden flight at any time.

 

Business:

Pentagon moving ahead with new vertical lift aircraft –

The Pentagon is committed to early design work on a new aircraft that will replace thousands of helicopters now used by the U.S. military, its first “clean sheet design” program in years, the Army official heading the effort said Feb. 21. 

Lockheed F-35 for Marines delayed as test exposes cracks –

On-the-ground stress testing for the U.S. Marine Corps version of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 jet may be halted for as long as a year after cracks were found in the aircraft’s bulkheads, Pentagon officials said. 

DOD to lead two new manufacturing institutes –

President Obama will announce Feb. 25 two innovation institutes, led by the Department of Defense, as part of an effort to revitalize U.S. manufacturing. 

New logistics system could help military keep tabs on volatile munitions –

Tracking items in warehouses is a big problem for the military, which cannot use radio frequency identification systems on explosives and munitions. A product jointly created by Lockheed Martin and Visible Assets Inc. could fix that problem by using magnetic tags to identify items. 

Turkey, Sikorsky sign $3.5 billion helicopter deal –

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced Feb. 21 that his government and US helicopter manufacturer Sikorsky Aircraft had signed a long-dormant contract to co-produce an initial batch of 109 utility helicopters. 

Singapore could ultimately decide SABR/RACR showdown in SE Asia –

An industry source who spoke with IHS Jane’s claimed that the reason there would be no appreciable impact on the unit cost for the upgrade offered to Taiwan if the U.S. Air Force ditched CAPES is because “in reality the Taiwanese were always paying for the entire NRE; they just do not know it.” 

Time running out on Europe’s Typhoon orders –

Governments and industry are in discussions over the fate of the final order of Eurofighter Typhoon combat jets for the four partner nations involved in the program amid Germany’s plan to end its purchases early.

 

Defense:

The Pentagon has a massive leak problem. Why can’t it close the floodgates? –

The release of the Pentagon’s massive-yet-smaller budget is just weeks away, but budget decisions like the number of ships the Navy will buy or the size of the National Guard have been dribbling out in the media for months. That has pleased reporters looking for scoops and those defense officials who seek to shape the debate about weapons programs in a budget cycle that has produced much anxiety before it has even begun. But one man is not pleased: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

Quadrennial Review to emphasize Middle East –

The US Defense Department’s latest military strategy review will stress the Pentagon’s commitment to the Middle East, a region that has felt jilted by numerous US actions in recent years.

Fixing Strykers falls to soldiers as Army ends repair contract –

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jason Allen got a tongue-in-cheek warning from fellow Army mechanics when he told them he wanted to work on Stryker infantry vehicles at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Navy develops ‘world’s smallest guided missile’ –

As the military relies more and more on unmanned aerial vehicles to carry out pinpoint strikes, the services need smaller munitions to arm them. 

Sea Dragon helicopter: Troubled past, uncertain future –

The Navy started making plans in the late 1990s to retire the most powerful and crash-prone helicopters in its fleet.

Air Force reluctantly upgrades A-10s after Congress complains –

On Feb. 12, the Air Force’s top civilian official directed the service’s Air Combat Command to continue developing a new software upgrade for the A-10 after a complaint from Sen. Kelly Ayotte, a New Hampshire Republican. 

U.S. Air Force to launch previously classified satellite system this year –

The Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSAP) system will have electro-optical sensors and be based in near-geosynchronous orbit, drifting below and above the geo belt. The US Air Force will be able to control the movement of the constellation, made up of two satellites, in order to position its “neighborhood watch” surveillance. 

Air Force begins massive B-1B overhaul –

The Air Force is in the early phases of a multi-year technological overhaul and upgrade of its B1-B Lancer long-range bomber fleet which will outfit all 62 aircraft with a wide-ranging suite of new displays, computer technology and avionics, service officials said.

 

Veterans:

DOD watchdog: Medication management policy puts wounded warriors at risk for overdose –

A new report from a Department of Defense watchdog concludes that wounded warriors may be at risk for accidental prescription drug over dosage. 

Can’t hear you now! VA leaves vets waiting weeks for hearing aids –

The Veterans Affairs Department is taking weeks to provide or repair hearing aids for its patients, leaving hearing-impaired veterans at risk in the latest failure by the agency charged with caring for America’s war heroes.

Families of MIA soldiers hope for excavation at Vietnam war site –

Potential evidence related to Americans still missing after the final battle of the Vietnam War may lead to extensive excavation efforts on an island off the coast of Cambodia, giving renewed hope to the families of the missing.




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Untitled-2

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