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April 11, 2014

Headlines April 11, 2014


Lawmakers readying legislation to block A-10 cuts –

Lawmakers in both the House and Senate are planning legislation to block the Air Force’s plans to retire the A-10.



Navy may delay decision on replacing carrier supply planes –

The U.S. Navy is looking for an inexpensive way to replace its aging fleet of 35 C-2 planes that ferry passengers and spare parts to aircraft carriers, but may be able to put off a procurement decision for one to two years, a Navy official said. 

U.S. Air Force tanker price tag projection drops $1.8 million per aircraft –

The projected price tag for the new Boeing KC-46 tanker has fallen $1.8 million per aircraft, according to a new Government Accountability Office report. 

General Atomics shows off company’s UCLASS option –

General Atomics showed off images and a model of what appears to be a slightly modified version of its Sea Avenger unmanned concept aircraft at the Navy League Sea Air and Space exposition.

U.S. Navy aims to smooth impact of fiscal 2015 cut to ship orders –

The U.S. Navy hopes to smooth out the impact on Lockheed Martin and Australia’s Austal of a budget-driven decision to order three Littoral Combat Ships instead of four in fiscal year 2015, the Navy’s top weapons buyer said April 10.

NAVAIR to select presidential helicopter by end of May –

The U.S. Navy hopes to select a contractor for the VXX Presidential helicopter program — known as Marine One when the president is aboard — sometime in May. 

BAE Systems, Lockheed confirm bids for Australian trainer –

BAE Systems Australia has confirmed a teaming arrangement with Beechcraft and CAE for Australia’s future pilot training tender in a statement released April 10. 

Marillyn Hewson seeks to diversify Lockheed –

As the wars draw down and defense money tightens, company CEO Marillyn Hewson has her sights set on everything from cybersecurity to alternative energy, hedging the company’s bets against the politics of austerity and the uncertainty of the congressional budgeting process. 

Navy axes Griffin missile in favor of Longbow Hellfire for LCS –

The Navy has traded Raytheon’s Griffin IIB missile for Lockheed Martin’s Longbow Hellfire AGM-114L for the surface-to-surface missile for early increments and testing for the surface warfare (SuW) mission package for the Littoral Combat Ship, the outgoing program manager for LCS Mission Modules (PMS 420), Rear Adm. John Ailes told reporters April 10.

AM General lawsuit against SOCOM rejected; GD starts work on special ops vehicle –

On April 7, the US Federal Claims Court rejected military vehicle maker AM General’s lawsuit against the US Special Operations Command over its decision to award a $562 contract to General Dynamics for the Ground Mobility Vehicle 1.1 (GMV) program, Defense News has learned.

Exclusive: Meet the first companies working on military’s ‘Iron Man’ supersuit –

The system is commonly known as the “Iron Man” suit, a nod toward the futuristic technology worn by the wise-cracking comic book hero popularized in a series of hit movies starring Robert Downey Jr. With no public notice, the military’s Special Operations Command just unveiled a list of collaborators on the project that includes traditional defense contractor titans like Lockheed Martin, athletic apparel companies like Under Armour and Adidas, and a bevy of smaller firms whose specialties range from developing robotics to producing underwater breathing equipment for divers.

U.S. Navy move to ‘break’ multiyear deal worries industry-Sikorsky –

Sikorsky Aircraft said April 9 the U.S. Navy’s plan to skip orders for 29 MH-60 helicopters in the final year of a five-year contract could undermine the industry’s willingness to sign such cost-saving agreements in the future. 

K-MAX to get new software –

Neya Systems and Lockheed Martin are developing mission planning software for Kaman Aircraft’s K-MAX helicopters.

Bell pitches 407GX for Navy trainer helicopter program –

Bell Helicopter is pitching its single-engine 407GX for the US Navy training helicopter replacement program, a company official said.

Boeing’s Phantom Badger vehicle cleared for V-22 carriage –

Boeing’s Phantom Badger tactical ground vehicle has been certified for internal carriage aboard the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey tiltrotor, the company announced April 8.

Lockheed revives old idea for new carrier cargo plane –

The Northrop Grumman C-2A has been a familiar sight aboard US aircraft carriers for decades, shuttling people and cargo from ship to shore in the carrier-on-board-delivery role. But the venerable aircraft are wearing out, and an unusually intense competition between Northrop Grumman and Bell Boeing already has garnered attention, even though the program to buy 35 replacement aircraft is not expected to officially begin until next year at the earliest.



Top SASC Republican blasts proposed U.S. Air Force cuts –

The U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee’s top Republican April 10 slammed the Air Force’s 2015 spending plan, saying it “increases risk to unacceptable levels.”

40 lawmakers seek to halt closure of military fast food outlets –

Forty lawmakers have signed a letter asking the Labor Department to exempt some military morale, welfare and recreation and exchange operations — such as fast food concessions — from wage regulations affecting federal contractors on military bases.

McCain blasts U.S. Navy’s LCS ship plan; urges cut to 24 vessels –

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., April 9 blasted the U.S. Navy’s new Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program as a “shameful” and dangerous waste of taxpayer money, and he urged the Pentagon to cut its planned purchases back by another eight ships to 24 ships. 

Generals: Two-war strategy in jeopardy under sequester –

The U.S. military’s goal of being able to fight two wars at the same time is in jeopardy due to the continued specter of sequestration, top commanders from all four Defense Department branches said April 10. 

Navy makes plans for new destroyer for 2030s –

The U.S. Navy is in the very early stages of developing a new destroyer – called the Future Surface Combatant – which will replace the existing Arleigh Burke-class destroyers and enter service by the early 2030s, Navy leaders told 

Mysterious rumbling along L.A. coast tied to supersonic Navy flight –

The mystery over rumbling along the Los Angeles and Orange County coast that many believed was an earthquake appears to have actually been caused by a supersonic Navy flight.

Senators float study to avert Guard cuts –

Members of the Senate Armed Services Committee April 8 indicated support for delaying a plan that would shift resources and cut National Guard personnel, over the clear objections of senior Army officials.

F-35 forcing Navy to develop new hearing protection for flight deck crews –

The Navy is developing new hearing protection for flight deck crews to block out the roar of new and noisy jets.

Classified UCLASS draft RFP due at end of April –

The U.S. Navy expects to release a classified draft request for proposals (RFP) for its Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike aircraft before the end of April, according to the service. 

All F-22s to have backup oxygen systems within 12 months –

Full installation of automatic backup oxygen systems on the F-22 fleet is expected to be complete by this time next year, a top Air Force acquisition officer said April 8. Raptors in Alaska have already begun using the system.

U.S. Air Force begins fielding JASSM-ER –

The U.S. Air Force has received into operational service the Lockheed Martin AGM-158B Joint Air-To-Surface Standoff Missile – Extended Range (JASSM-ER), the Air Force announced April 8.



Tears, angry accusations mark hearing on delayed VA care, deaths –

A bi-partisan group of lawmakers lashed out at officials from the Veterans Affairs Department April 10, accusing the agency of allowing veterans to die from delayed or absent medical care at its facilities and stonewalling a follow-up congressional inquiry. 

VA iPad pilot empowers veterans, caregivers –

Last May, the Veterans Affairs Department began rolling out hundreds of Apple iPads to caregivers of seriously injured post-9/11 vets.

VA’s response to congressional inquiries about patient deaths called ‘ridiculous’ –

A House of Representatives committee blasted the Department of Veterans Affairs April 9 over a lack of progress and accountability in the aftermath of at least 23 preventable veteran deaths that were the result of delays in treatment at VA medical centers across the country.



Airbus to build critical European weather satellites –

The competition to build Europe’s next generation of polar-orbiting weather satellites has been won by Airbus. The big aerospace concern was declared the winner of the latest meeting of the European Space Agency’s Industrial Policy Committee.

NASA to test ‘game changing’ Mars technology this summer –

Mars is inching closer and closer to Earth this month – really close. In fact, the Red Planet and Earth will be the closest they’ll be until 2016 as their separate, elliptical orbits around the sun drawn near to each other.



U.S. House approves frigate sale to Taiwan –

The U.S. House of Representatives April 7 authorized the sale to Taiwan of four Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided missile frigates.



China’s aircraft carrier is nothing to fear –

Chinese officials gave U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel a tour of an aircraft carrier this week. The Liaoning is their only such vessel — but not for long. China plans to build three more by 2020 as part of its new “blue-water navy,” a prospect that sounds alarming but isn’t. The cause for concern lies elsewhere.

China might actually seize Japan’s southern islands –

Beijing’s position on the islands is clear. But are the Senkakus dessert, or are they an appetizer? If Chinese troops were to seize the Senkakus, might they also wrest the nearby Ryukyu Islands from Japan? It’s not so far-fetched: Japanese strategists fret about how to forestall a doomsday scenario in the Ryukyus, the southwestern island chain that arcs from Japan’s home islands southwest toward Taiwan.

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