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April 21, 2014

Headlines April 21, 2014

News:

Former Ranger breaks silence on Pat Tillman death: I may have killed him -

Almost 10 years after the friendly fire death of former NFL star turned Army Ranger Pat Tillman, a fellow ranger admits that he may have been the one who fired the fatal shot.

 

Business:

Ship study should favor existing designs -

With an eye to the international market, shipbuilders Lockheed Martin, Austal USA and Huntington Ingalls have worked to develop more heavily armed versions of ships already in production for domestic customers. Now, ironically, the proposals might have their best chance yet — as the choice to succeed the LCS as the US Navy’s next small surface combatant. 

F-35 program manager: More buyers needed to help lower production costs -

The officer who oversees the F-35, Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher C. Bogdan, downplayed the significance of the report as a bellwether for the program. Aircraft procurement cost is up, Bogdan said, not because program expenses are out of control but because Pentagon budgets are down and the military services are buying fewer airplanes.

Hunt for airliner shows limits of satellite imagery -

The big question on the minds of industry executives and others attending the Defense Services Asia (DSA) exhibition in the Malaysian capital last week was what effect would the crash of flight MH370 have on defense spending priorities here. 

Sweden’s goals fuel Saab’s acquisitions -

The Swedish government’s drive to rebuild core national defense capacities is pivotal to Saab’s ambitions to develop a competitive submarine branch and become a major global player in this segment, government and company insiders say.

F-35 engine cost up, sustainment down -

The price tag for the Lockheed Martin F-35 joint strike fighter, the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons program, increased $7.4 billion in 2013, according to a new  Defense Department report.

Two U.S. arms programs face live-or-die reviews after costs jump -

An unmanned U.S. Navy helicopter built by Northrop Grumman and a precision ship-landing system built by Raytheon face mandatory reviews that could lead to their cancellation after quantity reductions drove unit costs sharply higher in 2013, the Pentagon announced April 17. 

Navy issues restricted UCLASS draft request for proposal -

The U.S. Navy released a long-awaited draft request for proposal (RFP) for the Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) aircraft April 17. 

Foreign firms chase African deals with new facilities -

In just the past three months, five global defense companies have announced plans to open factories, maintenance facilities and marketing offices in four southern and east African countries. 

An-70 passes Ukraine state tests -

The Ukrainian-designed Antonov An-70 propfan tactical transport plane has passed state acceptance trials and is finally ready to enter series production, Antonov said April 11.

Thai navy may build second patrol boat under BAE license -

Thailand may build a second offshore patrol vessel under a license granted by BAE Systems and is also starting to think about exporting the ship to other navies in the region, according to a senior executive at the British-based defense contractor.

German P-3C Orion upgrade approved by U.S. State Department -

The U.S. State Department has approved a $250 million upgrade package for Germany’s eight Lockheed Martin P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced April 11.

Foreign delegations invited to Eurosatory conference on helos -

The French Army Air Corps has invited some 20 foreign delegations to attend a three-day visit, with a focus on combat helicopters, at the Eurosatory trade show, an Army officer said April 17.

 

Defense:

Drones from the deep: Pentagon develops ocean-floor attack robots -

The Pentagon has come up with a new way to place paranoia in the minds of future enemies: attack drones that can patiently wait on the ocean floor for years. 

Ramping up in Europe -

The map of the U.S. military footprint in Europe is shifting as post-Cold-War-era calm seems to be ending, with new threats originating from the Middle East and Africa. In addition, the deepening crisis in Ukraine is making NATO’s newest members nervous and prompting U.S. European Command to push east to new locations; while a few long-standing bases in southern Europe are assuming new strategic importance.

Training for an uncertain military future in the California desert -

In the middle of the Mojave Desert, between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, there is a place that looks just like Afghanistan.

DOD reshapes R&D, betting on future technology -

Defense budgets had been in decline for a decade when soon-to-be-president George W. Bush laid out his vision for the U.S. military. In a 1999 speech, Bush argued that it was time for military research and development efforts to pursue big leaps, not incremental improvements.

RDT&E: New starts -

Facing declining defense budgets, the Pentagon is maintaining funding for basic research (to generate tomorrow’s tech) and late-stage testing (to finish up work on almost-ready weapons and gear). Instead, mid-stage prototyping is taking a hit. Includes a user-sortable table of the 62 new RDTE lines added for the 2015 budget. 

Study: U.S. combat aviation stuck in the industrial age -

U.S. combat air forces are ill equipped to fight a technologically empowered enemy, and it could be years or decades before the Pentagon deploys more advanced weapons. Such is the grim picture painted in a new study by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. The authors, retired Air Force Lt. Gen. David Deptula and CSBA analyst Mark Gunzinger, make the case that aviation forces are not up to the challenges of 21st century warfare and the Pentagon has only itself to blame. 

 

Veterans:

Building a D.C. memorial for an endless war bumps into regulations -

Veterans of the war on terrorism say they deserve a monument in downtown Washington, D.C., to recognize their sacrifices, but they are hindered by a rule that says a conflict must be long finished in order to build a memorial, leading some to wonder how to commemorate a “never ending war.” 

Pentagon agrees to review burial of 22 unknown WWII sailors -

The Pentagon has agreed to conduct a review of the accounting for the bodies of 22 unknown men who died on the USS Oklahoma battleship during the World War II attack on Pearl Harbor.

 

International:

Tactical advantage: Russian military shows off impressive new gear -

Elite Russian troops are displaying a new arsenal of body armor, individual weapons, armor-piercing ammunition and collar radios – a menu of essential gear that gives them a big tactical advantage against a lesser equipped Ukrainian army.




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Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez

Army to launch cruise missile-detecting aerostat at Aberdeen Proving Ground

Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez The Army plans to launch an aerostat, part of the “Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor,” in late December 2014. The JLENS aerostat will be tethered to the...
 
 

News Briefs December 19, 2014

Trial set for ex-Navy engineer in military secrets case A former Navy civilian engineer is scheduled to stand trial next summer on charges of trying to steal aircraft carrier schematics. Media outlets report that 35-year-old Mostafa Awwad of Yorktown, Va., pleaded not guilty Dec. 17 to two counts of attempted exportation of defense articles and...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Jordan Castelan

AF delivers Iraqi F-16s for training in US

Air Force photograph by SrA. Jordan Castelan Iraqi air force captain Hama conducts preflight inspections while inside a new to service Iraqi F-16 Fighting Falcon Dec. 17, 2014, located at the nearby Tucson International Airport...
 

 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Derek VanHorn

Short-notice: A new way to exercise

Air Force photograph by SSgt. Derek VanHorn Airmen from Kadena Air Base, Japan, prepare for an aeromedical evacuation exercise on a KC-135 Stratotanker Dec. 5, 2014, at Misawa Air Base, Japan. The operation was executed in supp...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph by Andy Wolfe

Japan, Australia to provide F-35 maintenance sites in Pacific region

Lockheed Martin photograph by Andy Wolfe An F-35C Lightning II joint strike fighter carrier variant prepares to launch from the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in the Pacific Ocean, Nov. 6, 2014. Japan and Australia will be sharing...
 
 
Image courtesy of NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/T Pyle

NASA’s Kepler reborn, makes first exoplanet find of new mission

Image courtesy of NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/T Pyle The artistic concept shows NASA’s planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft operating in a new mission profile called K2. Using publicly available data, astronomers have confirmed K2&...
 




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