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June 11, 2014

Headlines June 11, 2014

News:

House appropriators easily kill measure to save A-10 fleet -

U.S. House appropriators June 10 killed an amendment that would have kept alive the Air Force’s A-10 fleet, becoming the first defense panel to endorse the service’s cost-cutting plan. 

Friendly fire’ deaths in Afghanistan: Relatively rare, they draw attention -

Friendly-fire incidents are responsible for only a small percentage of the more than 3,400 international coalition deaths (of which more than 2,175 have been Americans) in the Afghanistan war, but such deaths have often received added attention. 

 

Business:

SpaceX’s Musk slams U.S. Air Force certification process -

If SpaceX CEO Elon Musk had his way, the US Air Force would certify his company for national security launches this minute – and he made his frustrations clear with the service’s long process of certifying his Falcon 9 rocket.  

Elon Musk on Russian assassins, Lockheed Martin and going to Mars -

The founder and CEO of launch company SpaceX, previously known for his roles in the creation of PayPal and electric car company Tesla, doesn’t have much of a filter. He also doesn’t seem to have a fear of a press scrum. Combine those two with a dash of controversy and you get something like the wide-ranging, 20-minute long impromptu Q and A session he held June 10 in Washington, D.C.  

Exclusive: European, U.S. helicopter makers bid for $2-billion Japan deal – sources -

Japan is in early talks with top global helicopter makers and their Japanese partners about a deal worth around $2 billion to build transport aircraft for its military that would also be sold overseas, sources with knowledge of the discussions said.  

Airbus Defence to test-fly upgraded A330 tanker in 2016 -

The military aircraft arm of Airbus Defence and Security will start test-flying an enhanced version of the A330 MRTT tanker transport in the second half of 2016 and intends to adopt the new standard with the delivery of the first platform to Singapore, its latest customer.  

Lockheed says it can ‘easily’ improve LCS -

In the race to replace the Navy’s controversial Littoral Combat Ship, the leading contender seems to be … a better Littoral Combat Ship. That’s the clear implication of what we’ve been hearing from Navy leadership, and it’s clear from press briefings today that LCS contractor Lockheed Martin feels pretty confident it can do the job. (Lockheed builds the Freedom-class LCS; the Independence variant is by Austal and General Dynamics).

Lockheed, Raytheon working on integrating next generation radar with Aegis -

Lockheed Martin is in discussions with Raytheon on how best to integrate the Air and Missile Defense Radar into the Aegis combat system for the Flight III Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers (DDG-51). 

In lean market, Lockheed Martin eager for combat vehicle contracts -

Opportunities to sell combat vehicles to the military are thin on the ground, but Lockheed Martin continues to push its offerings for two remaining programs: the Army and Marine Corps’ joint light tactical vehicle and the newly revived amphibious combat vehicle, also to be operated by the Marines.  

Global Hawk needs $1.9 billion in upgrades before U-2 can retire -

The Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned surveillance aircraft still needs nearly USD2 billion in upgrades so that it can complete all the missions done by the manned Lockheed U-2, which the U.S. Air Force wants to retire to save money, a top service official said on 9 June. 

SAIC sees revenue drop but profits rise -

Sales at the new Science Applications International Corp. declined in the first quarter but profits rose as a drop in defense business was offset by the absence of restructuring costs this year, the company said June 10. 

All four AEHF countries now connected -

The United Kingdom has officially connected with the advanced extremely high frequency protected satellite communications network, becoming the last partner nation on the program to go operational.  

Lockheed sees U.S. Navy revamping naval proposal for Saudis -

The U.S. government is revamping proposals for a multibillion-dollar modernization of Saudi Arabia’s navy after leadership changes in the kingdom, but no decisions are expected in the near-term, industry and government officials said this week.  

First AgustaWestland attack helos join Turkish army -

The first batch of three T-129 attack helicopters coproduced by the Italian-British AgustaWestland and Turkish Aerospace Industries joined the Turkish Army’s inventory at a high level ceremony June 10. 

Rostvertol appoints managing director -

Russian helicopter maker Rosvertol has appointed Pyotr Motrenko as managing director in a move to streamline the company’s management, Russian Helicopters announced June 10. 

Philippines extends deadline for ASW helicopter bidding -

First stage bidding for the Philippine Department of National Defense’s U.S. $123 million acquisition of two anti-submarine warfare helicopters has been reset to June 24, DND undersecretary Natalio Ecarma has said.  

Lockheed plans to boost RandD spending -

Lockheed Martin plans to boost its internal research-and-development (RandD) spending by more than $30 million over the course of the year, Marillyn Hewson, the firm’s chairman, CEO and president, said June 9.  

Lockheed sees next U.S. F-35 fighter contract early this summer -

Lockheed Martin expects to sign a contract with the U.S. government early this summer for an eighth batch of F-35 fighter jets, but the deal is unlikely to match price reductions seen on the last few contracts, the company’s top financial officer said June 9.  

U.S. shifts on allowing defense data in cloud -

The U.S. is loosening its policy on how companies may store sensitive defense data, allowing use of cloud services like Google Inc.’s Gmail, provided adequate security steps are taken, according to U.S. State Department officials. 

Learn from Google, Airbus chief warns aerospace industry -

The aerospace industry must embrace competition from technology companies such as Google and SpaceX which are already having a revolutionary impact on the sector, the head of the Airbus Group told AFP in an interview.  

Senate bill spells second chance for Eclipse on T-1A replacement -

Language in the recently approved Senate Armed Services Committee markup of the fiscal 2015 defense spending bill is giving new hope to nascent business jet manufacturer Eclipse Aerospace in its bid to replace the Air Force’s Raytheon T-1A Jayhawk trainer with new or leased Eclipse 550s very light jets  

CACI takes Army Guardrail/Common Sensor support contract -

CACI has won a $41 million contract to support the U.S. Army Guardrail/Common Sensor signals intelligence (SIGINT) system.  

Japan prepares for defense exports as China looms -

Following an April decision to rewrite its export laws to allow broader sales of defense products, Japan is preparing for a new wave of deals as it tries to strengthen security bonds in the face of rapid Chinese military growth and continued regional tensions.  

AgustaWestland, Havelsan to collaborate on helicopter simulators -

Anglo-Italian helicopter maker AgustaWestland and Turkey’s Havelsan have signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate and jointly market and sell their complementary training products and capabilities, AgustaWestland announced June 9.  

With Saab contract, Sweden sets sights on recapturing sub-building expertise -

The Swedish government’s stated aim of re-building an indigenous submarine design and production capacity has come one step closer following the awarding of initial $70 million in construction and production plan orders to Saab covering the next generation A26 submarines and mid-life updates to the Royal Swedish Navy’s Gotland-class submarines.

Switzerland choses Hermes UAV to upgrade fleet -

Switzerland has chosen Elbit’s Hermes 900 HFE as its new UAV. It will replace the ADS 95 Ranger, which the Swiss have operated since 2001. The contract is valued at 250 million Swiss francs (U.S. $279 million).  

Eurofighter jet crashes in southern Spain -

A Eurofighter jet crashed June 10 while landing at the Moron air base in southwestern Spain near Seville, a defence ministry spokeswoman said.  

Eurofighter studying missiles to give Typhoon maritime attack capability -

Eurofighter is looking at giving the Typhoon a maritime attack capability and is investigating at least three missiles to meet potential requirements for export, according to the executive leading Airbus Defence and Space combat aircraft sales effort.  

MiG revenues up 68 percent in 2013 -

Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG had revenues of RUB30.3 billion (USD880 million) and profits of RUB4.5 billion in 2013, according to figures issued by Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation June 9. 

Pratt and Whitney inaugurates Turkish engine plant -

U.S. Engine maker Pratt and Whitney inaugurated its Turkish partnership with local aviation company Kale to produce critical engine parts for the F-35 fighter.  

Ecuador increases C295 fleet by three aircraft -

Ecuador has added three C295 transports to its fleet of Airbus Defence and Space military aircraft. The European aerospace company announced June 9 that it had already delivered the first aircraft from its factory. 

 

Defense:

Where will CENTCOM’s post-war funding -

U.S. Central Command is responsible for some of the most volatile places in the world, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan, Iran, Yemen and Egypt, so not surprisingly its budget has increased greatly since 2001. Most of the command’s funding has come from the Pentagon’s Overseas Contingency Operations budget, a separate pot of money set aside to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade. 

Navy: Human error led to submarine collision -

The primary reason a submarine and a guided-missile cruiser collided off the coast of Florida during a 2012 training exercise was human error and poor teamwork by the submarine’s watch team, according to a Navy investigation released June 10.  

Navy sub returns from rare ‘surge’ deployment -

A Navy submarine has returned to its Connecticut base from a rare spur-of-the-moment deployment, completing a secret 11-week mission that sent it to European waters.  

Airmen participate in joint exercises in Poland, Baltic nations -

Airmen are participating in four joint combat training exercises underway in Poland and the Baltic states – one week after President Obama called for Congress to approve a $1 billion plan to boost a U.S. troops’ rotational presence and further reassure Eastern European partners of “America’s unshakeable commitment” to its NATO allies.  

Air Force launching fixes to nuke missiles corps -

The Air Force is launching an ambitious campaign to repair flaws in its nuclear missile corps, after recent training failures, security missteps, leadership lapses, morale problems and stunning breakdowns in discipline prompted Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to demand action to restore public confidence in the nuclear force. 

Air shows’ link to military recruitment iffy -

A Tribune-Review analysis of Defense spending on the Blue Angels and the Air Force’s Thunderbirds puts combined annual expenses at $70 million to $140 million, depending on how the budgets are calculated. The budget for the Army’s Golden Knights is $303,000 this year without personnel costs, down 25 percent since 2012. 

The U.S. Navy’s secret counter-stealth weapon could be hiding in plain sight -

The Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye maybe the U.S. Navy’s secret weapon against the emerging threat of enemy fifth-generation stealth fighters and cruise missiles. 

 

Veterans:

House passes VA overhaul bill … twice -

The House June 10 twice passed legislation to allow veterans to seek medical care outside the Department of Veterans Affairs if wait times are too long.  

House votes to ban bonuses for all VA employees through 2016 -

The House June 10 unanimously approved a measure that would ban bonuses for all Veterans Affairs Department employees for the next three years.  

Five questions: Cutting benefits for military retirees -

Retired Army Lt. Col. Tom Slear has touched the third rail of military and veterans’ issues with an opinion piece arguing that a “very small decrease in pay” for military retirees would be reasonable, considering the need for the U.S. government to cut spending.  

Navy opposes USS Oklahoma exhumations to identify remains -

The Navy has notified family members of sailors who died aboard the USS Oklahoma during the attack on Pearl Harbor that it opposes any further testing to identify the remains. 

 

Viewpoint:

Why we need the advanced hypersonic weapon -

While $71 million may not seem like much in Washington, a recent approval of this tidy sum by Congress continues the Army’s rapid development of the cutting-edge boost-glide Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW) missile program. 




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Headlines September 2, 2014

News: Debris yields clues that pilot never ejected - When investigators were finally able to safely enter the crash site of an F-15C “Eagle” fighter jet on the afternoon of Aug. 27, they made a grim discovery that concluded more than 30 hours of searching – the pilot never managed to eject from the aircraft.  ...
 
 

News Briefs September 2, 2014

Pentagon: Iraq operations cost $560 million so far U.S. military operations in Iraq, including airstrikes and surveillance flights, have cost about $560 million since mid-June, the Pentagon said Aug. 29. Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said the average daily cost has been $7.5 million. He said it began at a much lower...
 
 

Unmanned aircraft partnership reaches major milestone

A team of research students and staff from Warsaw University of Technology have successfully demonstrated the first phase of flight test and integration of unmanned aircraft platforms with an autonomous mission control system. The demonstration marks a significant milestone in a partnership between the university and Lockheed Martin that began earlier this year. This is...
 

 

Raytheon delivers first Block 2 Rolling Airframe Missiles to US Navy

Raytheon delivered the first Block 2 variant of its Rolling Airframe Missile system to the U.S. Navy as part of the company’s 2012 Low Rate Initial Production contract. RAM Block 2 is a significant performance upgrade featuring enhanced kinematics, an evolved radio frequency receiver, and an improved control system. “As today’s threats continue to evolve,...
 
 
Courtesy photograph

Two Vietnam War Soldiers, one from Civil War to receive Medal of Honor

U.S. Army graphic Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie G. Adkins and former Spc. 4 Donald P. Sloat will receive the Medal of Honor for actions in Vietnam. The White House announced Aug. 26 that Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie G. A...
 
 

Sparks fly as NASA pushes limits of 3-D printing technology

NASA has successfully tested the most complex rocket engine parts ever designed by the agency and printed with additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing, on a test stand at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. NASA engineers pushed the limits of technology by designing a rocket engine injector – a highly complex part that...
 




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