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March 14, 2014

Headlines – March 14, 2014

News:

Chinese raw materials also found on U.S. B-1 bomber, F-16 jets –

After discovering China-made components in the F-35 fighter jet, a Pentagon investigation has uncovered Chinese materials in other major U.S. weaponry, including Boeing’s B-1B bomber and certain Lockheed Martin F-16 fighters, the U.S. Defense Department said. 

U.S., Israel sign deal to continue financing Iron Dome –

Israel and the US Department of Defense have officially signed an agreement to continue production of the Iron Dome weapon system, the US Embassy announced March 10. 

Top Gun takeover: Stolen F-35 secrets showing up in China’s stealth fighter –

A cyber espionage operation by China seven years ago produced sensitive technology and aircraft secrets that were incorporated into the latest version of China’s new J-20 stealth fighter jet, according to U.S. officials and private defense analysts.

 

Business:

U.S. Air Force, Sikorsky begin to gear up for rescue helicopter –

Supporters of the U.S. Air Force’s Combat Rescue Helicopter program should thank Congress for its late entry into the five-year budget plan, according to the service’s undersecretary. 

Saab to offer Gripen C/D upgrades, pushes exports –

Saab is to continue to offer upgrades to the Gripen C/D combat aircraft to maintain the type’s capability out beyond the introduction into service of the latest-variant Gripen E, a company official disclosed March 10. 

Ukraine poses no threat to Russian rocket engine imports –

The crisis in Ukraine has not jeopardized the longstanding relationship between the U.S. Air Force and the Russian company that builds engines for the rockets used to launch large U.S. government satellites, a U.S. official said March 11.

Argentina eyeing Israeli Kfir C.10 fighters –

The Argentine Air Force is interested in procuring 14 Israel Aircraft Industries Kfir C.10 fighters that have about 40 years of service, but would arrive updated with modern technology and a price between $200-280 million, Ministry of Defence sources told IHS Jane’s.

U.S. to help Japan develop littoral warship –

While the Pentagon rethinks and restructures its Littoral Combat Ship, the U.S. has agreed to help Japan develop its own coastal warship with similar attributes. 

Firms face off in Israel’s mega-artillery contest –

Israel’s Elbit Systems and a consortium of Israeli, German and US firms are facing off in a high-stakes bid to modernize Israel’s Artillery Corps with new self-propelled guns.

U.S. Navy confirms Boeing jets on ‘unfunded’ priority list –

The U.S. Navy’s top admiral on Monday confirmed that the Navy would include Boeing EA-18G electronic attack planes on a list of “unfunded” priorities requested by Congress, saying the Navy might need the jets for future missions.

Rafael trainer hones precision strike ops –

Rafael, Israel’s premier provider of tactical missiles, is expanding its niche in training and simulation with Spike Team Trainer, a system designed to support international users of the firm’s Spike family of precision strike weapons.

Outside the U.S., buyers in hot pursuit of night vision goggles –

Night vision goggle manufacturer Exelis quickly expanded its assembly line in Roanoke, Va., to meet massive Army orders during the buildup to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. U.S. military demand collapsed in recent years, and the company is now relying on foreign customers to keep its plant in operation.

India to seek home-built replacement for air defense guns –

The Indian Army will replace its aging Swedish-built 40mm L/70 air defense guns with weapons from domestic companies, a Defence Ministry source said, after the cancellation of a global tender floated last year that failed to elicit any response from overseas defense companies.

 

Defense:

U.S. Air Force sticks to $550 million target for new bomber –

The U.S. Air Force is “holding tight” to a target of $550 million for each new long-range bomber in a fleet of up to 100 aircraft, excluding research and development costs, a top Air Force official said March 11.

Pentagon’s disposal of $15 billion in items questioned –

The Pentagon discarded almost $15 billion in excess parts and material from warehouses over three years, according to two senators who said the “wasteful spending” can be curbed by ordering less. 

New U.S. Navy counting rules add up to more ships –

You might have missed it, but virtually overnight the US Navy just grew, from 283 battle force ships to 291. A windfall purchase? A fast-track transfer? No, just a new way of counting the ships that carry out the Navy’s missions.

Nearly half of Air Force’s planned F-15C Eagle cuts could come from overseas –

The Air Force wants to retire 51 F-15C Eagles, including 21 overseas, starting in fiscal 2015, according to Air Force officials. 

Golden Hammer: Mess-less base leaves a mess in Afghanistan –

The latest spending mishap in Afghanistan probably left a lot of soldiers hungry. That’s because a $4 million base built for the Afghan National Army (ANA) was constructed without a dining hall.

 

Veterans:

Vets battle VA on post-Vietnam Agent Orange claims –

Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Paul Bailey never fought in Vietnam, Laos or Cambodia, where many U.S. troops were exposed to the toxic defoliant Agent Orange.

 

Space:

China’s Jade Rabbit lunar rover wakes up –

China’s troubled Jade Rabbit moon rover “woke up” again early March 14, though the mechanical troubles that have plagued it remain unfixed, the government said. The rover, called Yutu in Chinese, turns dormant and stops sending signals during the lunar night, two-week periods when the part of the moon’s surface it is on rotates away from the sun and temperatures turn extremely cold.

 

International:

Ukraine, Poland to hold joint air force drills –

Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense has announced plans to hold joint drills of the Ukrainian and Polish air forces. Under the plan, Ukraine’s Mikoyan MiG-29 and Sukhoi Su-27 jet fighters will participate in the military exercises along with Poland’s F-16s and Mikoyan MiG-29s, the ministry said in a statement. 

Indonesia looks to buy European missiles through foreign loans –

Indonesia, a regional power building its military capability through foreign loans, is seeking a loan to pay for four Thales missile batteries worth more than $167 million, a European banker said.

 

Viewpoint:

What would Jimmy Carter do? –

Russia’s invasion of Crimea has led many pundits to compare President Barack Obama’s foreign policies with those of President Jimmy Carter. The similarities are difficult to ignore, up to a point. 

Navy, Marine Power from the sea: The nation’s ‘perfect blend’ –

On Veterans Day in 2011, President Obama attended the first-ever Aircraft Carrier Classic basketball game, pitting the then-number one ranked North Carolina Tar Heels against the Spartans of Michigan State. The contest was held on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70), the same warship that earlier on May 2nd had buried Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden at sea. 

Using cultural guides to bridge the veterans’ employment gap –

Veterans’ employment is a national topic; look no further than the constant media and White House attention it receives. Yet, current efforts are failing; post 9/11 veterans have a 10.1 percent unemployment rate, or nearly 50 percent greater than average Americans. Numerous studies and case studies have shown that hiring veterans is good business, but the unemployment rate remains stubbornly high.

The U.S. needs to get more aggressive on Syria –

Washington’s seeming inability to focus on more than one international crisis at a time has been a boon to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. It also has diverted attention from the bankruptcy of Obama administration policy. 

Russia’s military is the largest in the region, but it isn’t the same force as in Soviet times –

The military forces that Russian President Vladimir Putin has threatened to use “as a last resort” in eastern Ukraine are in the early stages of a major, seven-year modernization program that is not expected to be completed before 2020.




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