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April 4, 2014

Headlines April 4, 2014


House Republicans considering military path to green card –

House Republicans are considering a plan that would allow young people who had been brought to the U.S. illegally as children to join the military and then become legal, permanent residents.

Chairman: U.S. needs Russian choppers –

The top lawmaker on the House Armed Services Committee said the United States needs to continue buying Russian-made helicopters for the Afghan air force despite tensions over the annexation of Crimea.



Airbus drops behind Boeing in first quarter jet orders –

Airbus dropped behind U.S. rival Boeing in the race for new airplane deals in the first quarter after a pair of wide-body order cancellations, while Boeing finalized a major Canadian sale, company data showed April 4. 

Lockheed F-35s operating cost estimate to decline –

The Pentagon will decrease its $1.1 trillion estimate for the cost of supporting Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter jet over a 55-year lifespan, the top U.S. weapons buyer said.

Exelis to spin mission systems unit into independent company named Vectrus –

McLean, Va.,-based defense contractor Exelis April 1 said it had selected a name for the mission systems division it is spinning off into a new, independent and publicly traded company: Vectrus.

Boeing expands Airbus rivalry to tanker market –

Boeing said April 2 it will try to sell its new aerial refueling tanker to South Korea as its long-running battle with Airbus Group NV expands from commercial jets into specialized military aircraft.

Austal, Lockheed warships did well in U.S. war game –

Both the Lockheed Martin and Austal versions of the U.S. Navy’s new coastal warship performed well in a major war game last week and surprised some “enemies” with their capabilities, a top Navy admiral said April 1. 

Three U.K. companies to support Army protected mobility vehicles –

Three British defense companies have secured a deal to support and sustain nearly half of the 2,000 protected mobility vehicles purchased for the war in Afghanistan and now being brought permanently into the Army’s core equipment program.

Facing end of Tomahawk production, Raytheon plays industrial base card –

Raytheon is challenging the Navy’s decision to halt manufacturing of the Tomahawk cruise missile in 2016, and is counting on its congressional allies to help keep the weapon in production for the foreseeable future.

DCNS may join OPV lease bid for Uruguay –

French naval company DCNS is exploring a leasing deal for offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) as a tender held by Uruguay calls for procurement under a lease, a French bank executive said April 2.



Training tops U.S. Army Guard unfunded list –

The US Army National Guard is asking Congress to find an extra $1.5 billion to meet its unfunded requirements in fiscal year 2015, primarily to fund training and operations, according to a copy of the list obtained by Defense News.

Marine Corps $2.5 billion wish list includes millions for new crisis response units –

The Marine Corps has submitted an unfunded priorities list to Congress that includes funding to stand up two new crisis response units, and more than $1 billion to replace aircraft destroyed in an attack on Camp Bastion. 

U.S. Navy unfunded list requests Growlers, Poseidon aircraft –

Although titled an “unfunded priority list,” the U.S. Navy’s document giving Congress options to add to the 2015 budget is neither prioritized, nor a list of unfunded programs.

U.S. Air Force submits $8 billion unfunded list to Congress –

The U.S. Air Force has sent Congress an $8 billion unfunded priorities list, with more than $3.3 billion eyed for new procurement programs, according to a copy of the list obtained by Defense News.

Hagel: U.S. could add Europe brigade to counter Russia –

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said permanently stationing an additional U.S. Army brigade in Europe is among options to beef up security as Russian troops remain massed along Ukraine’s eastern border.

Pentagon mulls building all-American rocket engines, dropping Russian RD-180s –

The Pentagon’s top space officials told Congress today they have launched a study to ascertain if the United States can build its own rocket engines so that expensive and large spy and GPS satellites don’t have to be launched using Russian rocket engines, as they are now. 

The Navy’s newest destroyer is a drone –

When the U.S. Navy christens the first of its newest class of destroyers this month, it will launch the first ship with a brain of its own.

Air Force leaders stand firm on plans to cut A-10, C-130s –

Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh and Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James April 2 defended plans to scrap the A-10 fleet and retire roughly 40 C-130s to skeptical lawmakers who cautioned against making radical force structure changes too quickly.

Unmanned Predator lost power, crashed into Mediterranean –

An MQ-1B Predator flying a 20-hour mission in Africa crashed into the Mediterranean Sea on Sept. 17, the Air Force announced April 3.

Are RPA pilots the new normal? –

Remotely piloted aircraft have spawned a new breed of professional aviator that the Air Force says is here to stay. The next challenge is to cement a viable career path for the young pilots who cut their teeth guiding these vehicles over Afghanistan.



VA: Twenty-two veterans commit suicide daily –

An estimated 22 veterans kill themselves every day, according to a 2012 Department of Veterans Affairs study. 

Hundreds turn out to say farewell to World War II veteran –

A 92-year-old army veteran who served in the Second World War and died without any surviving relatives has been given an emotional send off by hundreds of well-wishers. 

VA pays out $200 million for nearly 1,000 veterans’ wrongful deaths –

In the decade after 9/11, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs paid $200 million to nearly 1,000 families in wrongful death cases. Click on a VA facility to see details of wrongful death payments at that hospital or clinic. The data is presented as obtained by The Center for Investigative Reporting using the Freedom of Information Act.

Lawmakers eye ways to curb preventable deaths at VA hospitals –

Joseph Petit went to the VA hospital for knee pain and depression and came out on a litany of powerful drugs that he said made him hallucinate. 

VA wants widow of WWII survivor to pay back benefits –

The widow of a Pearl Harbor survivor is not only fighting for her life but fighting with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Proposal would make it easier to fire VA officials –

A push from the Speaker of the House and a continued stream of scandals involving Veterans Affairs administrators has pushed legislation to ease the firing of department officials onto the fast track.



NASA cuts ties with Russia over its actions in Ukraine –

NASA has confirmed it is severing ties with Russia – except for the International Space Station – after insisting relations would not be altered due to politics between the two nations.  NASA employees have been told they cannot travel to Russia or host visitors until further notice.

Saturn moon has hidden salty ocean that could support life –

Astronomers have been searching for planets that might be able to support life for years. And now scientists have confirmed that a watery ocean that could support life lies deep under the icy surface of Saturn’s moon Enceladus.



U.S. military one step closer to having invisibility cloaks –

Researchers are one step closer to creating shields that could render parked tanks and aircraft virtually invisible.



Japan eases restrictions on military exports in Abe defense push –

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet passed new guidelines loosening Japan’s more than four-decade-old restrictions on foreign weapons sales as part of the premier’s push to bolster the country’s military.

Finns may turn to Russia for tactical missile system –

The likelihood of Finland acquiring a new surface-to-surface missile system from Russia has increased following a preliminary decision by the Finance Ministry to opt for a more up-to-date and cost-efficient launcher-fired tactical missile.

Israeli Air Force adapts tactics to deal with increased UAV threat –

The Israeli Air Force is having to adapt its aerial intercept tactics to contend with a marked rise in unmanned aerial vehicle incursions over recent years, a senior service official told IHS Jane’s on 2 April. 

Russian air activity in Baltics worries Lithuania –

What NATO considers normal Russian military activity over the Baltic airspace has heightened the security concerns of the Baltic states in the wake of Moscow’s recent annexation of the Crimean peninsula in Ukraine. 

Outgunned Ukraine strives for military overhaul –

Tanks headed north into Ukraine this week from Russian-controlled Crimea. Not at the head of an invading army, but on a trainload of military equipment in such poor shape that Moscow had no use for it. 

Russia moves heavy armor into Crimea –

A Russian army armoured battalion has arrived in Crimea equipped with the first main battle tanks (MBT) to be deployed by Russia on the contested peninsula since the start of the stand-off between Moscow and Kiev last month.

U.S. to skip China fleet review after Japan shunned –

The United States is scrapping plans for a Navy ship to join a fleet review in China after key ally, Japan, was not invited, U.S. officials said April 3, in a move that came just ahead of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s trip to Japan and China.



Post-traumatic stress is a concern for veterans, but it’s not the whole story –

There is a military proverb that first reports from the battlefield are always wrong. Today’s reporting from Fort Hood should be taken with that caveat, especially to the extent that we blame the shooter’s short Iraq tour for his violent rampage. We know far too little about the shooter, victims, and situation to conclude that military service or combat stress caused the carnage at Fort Hood. 

Female combat soldiers would strengthen the military –

Since 1944, West Point has required cadets to pass its indoor obstacle course, a test of agility, stamina and strength that is designed to build a warrior ethos and determine whether these future soldiers can meet the physical demands of combat. When freshman Cadet Madaline Kenyon completed the course in 2 minutes 26 seconds in October, she scored the equivalent of an A-plus on the men’s scale and set a new female record. It was a stunning achievement.

NATO expansion will put Russia in its place –

It is time to regain the upper hand with Russia by setting key regional partners in Eastern Europe on the path to membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization alliance.

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Headlines August 28, 2015

Business: Rafale, Mistral on agenda for Le Drian in Malaysia, India – French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian is due to visit Malaysia Aug. 30, with talks expected to cover the Rafale fighter jet and Mistral helicopter carrier, website La Tribune reported. U.S. Army to choose new landing craft next year – In line with the Pentagon’s...

News Briefs August 28, 2015

Boeing plans to lay off some Southern California workers Boeing has announced that it plans to lay off employees at its Southern California-based satellite division. The Los Angeles Times reports that the aerospace giant said Aug. 25 that it will lay off as many as several hundred employees at the El Segundo factory. Boeing says...

Special tactics Airmen killed in hostile incident

Two special tactics airmen, who were deployed in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, were killed near Camp Antonik, Afghanistan, Aug. 26. Capt. Matthew D. Roland, 27, and SSgt. Forrest B. Sibley, 31, were at a vehicle checkpoint when two individuals wearing Afghan National Defense and Security Forces uniforms opened fire on them. NATO service members...


Hurricane Hunters to fly Tropical Storm Erika

The Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters are operating out of Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla., flying their state-of-the-art WC-130J Super Hercules into Tropical Storm Erika in support of the National Hurricane Center in Miami. The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron flew four missions into the tropical storm from their deployed location at St. Croix in the...

U.S. Navy, Lockheed Martin ready to launch MUOS-4 Aug. 31

The U.S. Navy and Lockheed Martin are ready to launch the fourth Mobile User Objective System secure communications satellite, MUOS-4, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., Aug. 31 aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V...

Pentagon probing alleged distorting of war intelligence

The Pentagon’s inspector general is investigating an allegation that the military command overseeing the anti-Islamic State campaign distorted or altered intelligence assessments to exaggerate progress against the militant group, a defense official said Aug. 26. The official was not authorized to discuss the probe publicly and so spoke on condition of anonymity. The investigation was...


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