In the news...

March 24, 2014

Headlines March 21, 2014


U.S. considers sanctions against Russian defense sector –

President Barack Obama threatened sanctions against Moscows defense sector March 20 upon announcing the American government would punish 16 individuals in Russian President Vladimir Putins inner circle in response to the countrys invasion of Ukraine.

Pentagon proposes cuts to Ukraine military aid –

The Obama administration proposed a 28 percent spending cut for a Pentagon program that supports modernizing the military of Ukraine and other former Soviet Union republics, Pentagon budget records show. The move could endanger efforts to boost Ukraine’s armed forces as they face threats from Russia.


AH-64E looking increasingly likely for U.K. –

The United Kingdom looks increasingly likely to procure the Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopter, following comments made by a senior government minister March 17.

Finmeccanica back in the black even as revenue dips –

Italys Finmeccanica saw a return to profit in 2013, with new orders rising, even as revenue fell due to flat defense spending in the EU and U.S.

India to buy more Pilatus PC-7 Mk. 2s –

The Indian air force has decided to ìurgently buy 106 PC-7 Mk. 2 Basic Trainer Aircraft from Pilatus, pulling the plug yet again on state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, which is also making an aircraft for training junior pilots.

Pentagon holds back $231 million from Lockheed for F-35 fixes –

The Pentagon is withholding as much as $231 million from Lockheed Martin until it completes modifications to F-35 aircraft already delivered, including improved protection against lightning strikes.

Italian lawmakers back cuts to JSF purchase –

Italys planned purchase of 90 Joint Strike Fighters was thrown further into doubt on March 19 as members of the Italian parliament signed off a report calling for significant cuts to the program and senior government officials ordered a new defense white paper to reassess Italy’s military strategy by year end.

Boeing, Karem named as latest VTOL X-plane contenders

Boeing and Karem have been officially added to the list of companies awarded contracts under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency vertical take-off and landing X-Plane program, the agency announced on 18 March.

French DM: Cancellation of carrier sale to Russia an ‘extreme measure’ –

France views its two advanced helicopter carriers sold to Russia as unarmed civilian ships, and it is too early to say whether the 1.2 billion-euro deal ( US $1.7 billion) would be canceled in view of the Ukraine crisis, Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said March 19.

Israel’s Elbit Systems Q4 profit, revenue drop –

Israeli defence electronics firm Elbit Systems reported lower quarterly profit and sales that missed analysts’ estimates, reflecting an especially strong year-ago quarter, the company said March 19.

Rheinmetall reports earnings drop, expects rebound –

Rheinmetall Group has reported that operating results (earnings before interest and taxes) dropped to 213 million euros ($296.5 million) in 2013, down 55 million euros from the previous year. While the Automotive sector grew, the Defence sector dropped to 60 million euros compared with 85 million euros in 2012.

US, Taiwan save F-16 upgrade deal after budget cut –

U.S. officials have found a formula to upgrade Taiwans aging F-16 fighter jets despite a Pentagon budget cut, helping the island to defend itself as its large neighbor, China, increases military spending.

China confident in export potential of targeting pod

China is confident enough with its fighter jet targeting pods to start pushing them for export at defense trade shows.

Philippines to acquire two new ASW helicopters for PHP5.4 billion

The Philippine Department of National Defence announced March 17 that it has allocated PHP5.4 billion ($120 million) to fund the acquisition of two new anti-submarine warfare helicopters for the Philippine Navy.

India to appeal Italian court’s decision on bank guarantees over canceled helo contract

An Italian court has rejected a bid by the Indian government to obtain 278 million euros ($386 million) held as bank guarantees for Finmeccanicas canceled sale of AW101 helicopters to India. India plans to appeal the ruling.

Lockheed buys German commercial airport services firm –

Lockheed Martin, the No. 1 U.S. arms maker, March 18 said it had acquired BEONTRA AG, a small German company that provides forecasting services for big commercial airports around the world, including Dubai, London and Frankfurt.

Anglo-French missile contract expected soon, CEO says –

European missile maker MBDA expects to sign a long-awaited contract for an Anglo-French anti-ship missile ìin the next few days, according to CEO Antoine Bouvier, in a program seen by the company as a model for consolidation of the European defense industry.

Gripen sensors claim counter-stealth performance –

New sensors being developed for the JAS 39E and close to starting flight tests on the JAS 39-7 Gripen Demo testbed will be able to detect low-radar-cross-section targets, and will provide the pilots in a Gripen formation with a new level of situational awareness, according to Bob Mason, Selex-ES marketing director for advanced sensors.

First Typhoon flight with AESA could open door to exports –

A Eurofighter Typhoon combat jet is due to fly for the first time with an active electronically scanned array radar later this year, marking a crucial milestone in the drawn-out development of the fighters new sensor.


Pentagon goes hypersonic with long-range rapid attack weapon –

An experimental scramjet-powered, ultrahigh speed strike vehicle is emerging as the Pentagons main choice for a new long-range, rapid attack weapon, a senior Pentagon official says.

Pentagon asks Air Force about Russia rocket engine –

Pentagon officials have asked the Air Force to review whether the use of Russian engines on rockets from a Lockheed Martin-Boeing team creates a national security risk.

Pentagons gamble on getting more money questioned –

The Pentagon is betting that Congress will roll back $35 billion in automatic defense cuts scheduled to begin in fiscal 2016.

In defense budget Hunger Games, what’s on Congress’s wish list? –

Members of Congress can finally feel the political pain the hundreds of billions of defense budget cuts they signed into law will bring to their districts. And they want to escape it.

B-1B, F-16s could be next if Congress blocks Air Force plan to retire A-10 –

The Air Force would be forced to make heavy cuts to its fighters and bombers if Congress rejects plans to retire the A-10 without providing additional funding, a top budget official said March 18.


Post-9/11 veterans employment improves but still lags civilian rate –

Employment for the latest generation of veterans improved in 2013 but still lags well behind that of civilians, according to a new government report.

Tuskegee Airman recalls his career and an aviation pioneer honored on a new stamp –

The U.S. Postal Service has released a stamp in honor of C. Alfred Chief Anderson, a black aviation pioneer who taught hundreds of Tuskegee Airmen as chief flight instructor at the historic Tuskegee Institute.

VA-DOD common records system may still be possible –

After being jilted again and again by the Pentagon in pursuit of a common digital health records system, the Veterans Affairs Department is hoping a new makeover will finally get its own system noticed ó and perhaps get defense officials to commit to a long-term relationship after all.


Comet-chaser Rosetta’s instruments come alive –

The Rosetta probe has started turning on its instruments. After coming out of a near three-year, deep-space hibernation in January, the satellite now has sufficient power to check out its science payload.

‘Shrapnel’ risk to future Moon surface missions –

The “shrapnel” generated by small space rocks that periodically hit the Moon may pose a larger risk to lunar missions than was previously believed. A number of countries and private consortia have stated their plans to send robotic and crewed missions to the lunar surface in the coming decades.

International Space Station mission seeks name –

The European Space Agency is asking people to choose a name for British astronaut Tim Peake’s next mission. Citizens and residents of all the agency’s member nations are eligible to enter the competition.


Poland speeds up missile defense plan amid Ukraine crisis –

Poland has decided to speed up its tender for a missile defense system, a defense ministry spokesman said March 20, in a sign of Warsaw’s disquiet over the tension between neighboring Ukraine and Russia.

Germany halts combat simulator export to Russia –

German government officials on Wednesday halted the planned export of a high-end battle simulation facility to Russia amid the unfolding crisis on the Crimean Peninsula in Ukraine.

Croatian MiG overhaul unaffected by Crimean crisis –

The overhaul and procurement of 12 Croatian Air Force MiG-21 ‘Fishbed’ fighters in Crimea is continuing “without problems”, a spokesperson for the Croatian Ministry of Defence told IHS Jane’s Feb. 13.

Report: Sudden plunge of new UK A330 caused by wedged camera –

An incident last month that grounded the British Royal Air Forces new fleet of A330 tanker transport aircraft was caused when a camera became wedged between the side stick control and the pilots armrest, according to a report released by the Military Aviation Authority.


Drone warfare is why we cant find Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 –

The long and frustrating hunt for missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 might be a sign of whats to come, thanks to our growing obsession with drone imagery at the expense of the quaint technology of satellite radar data.

America needs more ships: Scrap LCS, double Virginia sub buy, move design back to Navy –

The U.S. Navy needs more ships. The United States cannot protect the worlds sealanes, let alone pivot to the Pacific, if we further downsize our military. Especially given other nations’ growing anxiety about whether the US will still shoulder the leadership role of protecting them, the Navy must grow, not become smaller.

Commentary: Rethinking the QDR –

Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Rep. Buck McKeon recently rejected the Pentagons latest defense strategy within hours of its release, saying the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review failed to meet statutory requirements. While McKeon intends to introduce legislation requiring another report, the secretary of defense is unlikely to comply.

Learning to live with a Cold Peace –

Senior U.S. officials are deeply troubled by Russia’s annexation of Crimea, but self-interest may drive both sides to freeze this crisis before it gets too hot.

How Western bureaucrats stirred Putins petulance into a Cold War crisis –

In recent days Russia has revealed the gambit that opened with a $15 billion bailout for a client in Kiev and morphed into the seizure and annexation of Crimea, all part of Vladimir Putins risky defense of what he sees as Moscows privileged sphere of influence.

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