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July 3, 2014

Headlines July 3, 2014


Air Force sued over F-35 basing decision –

The U.S. Air Force is being sued by a coalition of residents in Vermont who say the decision to base new F-35 fighters out of a local airport will be a nuisance and a potential safety risk.



NASA finalizes contract to build the most powerful rocket ever –

NASA has reached a milestone in its development of the Space Launch System, or SLS, which is set to be the most powerful rocket ever and may one day take astronauts to Mars.  

State Department approves sale of Harpoon missiles to India, Tomahawks to U.K. –

The State Department has approved the possible Foreign Military Sale to India of UGM-84L Harpoon missiles and to the United Kingdom of Tomahawk Block IV Torpedo Launched Land-Attack missiles, along with associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support, for an estimated cost of $200 million and $140 million, respectively. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of these sales on July 1, the agency said in separate releases.

U.S., UK officials prepare inspection order for all F-35s –

U.S. and British military officials are working on a joint directive to require mandatory inspections of engines on all Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets, after an Air Force F-35A caught fire at a Florida air base last week, said sources familiar with the situation.  

Italy’s Pinotti says U.S. deal within reach on F-35 maintenance –

Italy is closing in on a deal with the U.S. to become the top maintenance provider for Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter jets in Europe through a unit of state-controlled Finmeccanica SpA, Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti said.  

Top U.S. officials return to Farnborough as F-35 debuts –

If you want to know how important the F-35 program is to American strategy and to American business note that Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James and Frank Kendall, the czar of Pentagon acquisition, top the list of senior American officials going to the Farnborough Air Show this year, making this the largest and highest-ranking contingent to attend a major air show in several years.  

Google finally proves it won’t pursue military contacts, pulls leading robot from DARPA competition –

When it comes to fully functional humanoid robots with versatile real-world dexterity, there are basically only two big games in town: ATLAS, a stompy kill-bot created by Boston Dynamics, and SCHAFT, a more abstract but well-balanced man-bot created by a Japanese company of the same name.  

L-3 awarded $151 million contract to maintain Navy T-45 aircraft –

Naval Air Systems Command has awarded an indefinite-delivery contract to L-3 Communications’ Vertex Aerospace LLC to maintain the Navy’s fleet of Boeing-built T-45 Goshawk training jets.  

Kongsberg to complete JSM development –

Kongsberg has signed a deal with the Norwegian Defence Logistics Organisation to complete development of its Joint Strike Missile and prepare the weapon for integration on Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning 11 aircraft. 

Admiralty Shipyards launches second Improved Kilo for Russian Navy –

Admiralty Shipyards launched the second Improved Kilo-class (Project 636) diesel-electric submarine, Rostov-na-Donu , for the Russian Navy June 26.  

AgustaWestland to upgrade Brazilian helos –

The Brazilian Navy is to update eight AgustaWestland Lynx Mk21A helicopters in a deal worth $160 million, the company announced July 2.  

U.K. promises competition for future maritime UAS capability –

Boeing Defence UK’s contract to provide its ScanEagle unmanned air system for deployment onboard Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships is to be extended for two years.  

Boissier to leave DCNS post early; Guillou to be proposed as successor –

Patrick Boissier, chairman and CEO of DCNS, has informed its main shareholders, the French state and Thales that he intends to ask the board of directors to cut short his term five months before the end of his tenure, to provide clarity on the designation of his successor, according to a Thales statement.  

Northrop Grumman Awarded $3.64 billion E-2D Advanced Hawkeye Contract –

The U.S. Navy has awarded Northrop Grumman a $3.64 billion contract to build 25 E-2D Advanced Hawkeye airborne early warning aircraft. The five-year contract, which was awarded June 30, will save the U.S. government about $369 million, according to the Navy.  

Nexter, KMW announce joint venture with ‘intended unification’ –

Nexter and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann said July 1 their owners have agreed to set up an alliance with the creation of a 50:50 joint venture to house the French-German defense technology group, marking a major move in European cross-border consolidation in land armaments.  

Boeing awarded to $1.94 billion contract for F/A-18 Super Hornets, EA-18G Growlers –

The Navy has awarded to Boeing a production contract for 44 F/A-18E Super Hornet strike fighters and EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft in what may be the last run for the Super Hornet.  

British F-35B not yet ready for transatlantic crossing –

The transatlantic crossing of the F-35B for its international air show debut is on hold, as one of the four Lockheed Martin fighters due to make the trip remains on the ground at Eglin AFB, Fla.  

Fincantieri to appear on Milan stock exchange –

Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri is due to debut on the Milan stock exchange in Italy after an IPO failed to spark the interest expected from institutional investors.  

Rotorcraft’s next great step may start next month –

By early August, the Army-run Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator program is to choose which of four industry competitors will be given money to build a proof-of-concept aircraft incorporating new or exotic means of making rotorcraft fly faster and farther 

Guarguaglini under house arrest in kickback probe –

Pierfrancesco Guarguaglini, the former CEO of Italy’s Finmeccanica, has been placed under house arrest as part of a probe by magistrates into suspected kickbacks at the firm. 

Canada receives full complement of CH-147F Chinook helos –

The Royal Canadian Air Force has received into service the last of 15 Boeing CH-47F (CH-147F in Canadian service) Chinook medium/heavy-lift transport helicopters, the company announced June 30.  

Russian Navy to acquire new minesweepers, boost military presence in Arctic –

The Russian Ministry of Defense is planning to acquire four new naval minesweepers with delivery of the first ship scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2015 and the remaining three from 2016 to 2018, the ministry said in a statement.  

Putin says U.S blackmailed France over warship with BNP fine –

President Vladimir Putin accused the U.S. of seeking to blackmail France into scrapping a contract to sell Mistral warships to Russia by offering to cut a record $8.97 billion fine against BNP Paribas SA.

France’s DCI buys out Vigie Aviation –

French defense services company DCI has acquired a 95 percent stake in Vigie Aviation, a company that provides maritime surveillance services to the French state.  

GPS IIF completes on-orbit checkout –

The sixth GPS IIF satellite has successfully completed its on-orbit checkout.  

India moves to deregulate defense industry licencing –

India’s federal government has moved to deregulate the production of some defence equipment, a move that aims to increase private participation in the local military-industrial sector and boost indigenous capabilities. 

Harfang UAV launches from African base –

France’s Harfang medium-range UAV has been launched from an African base while being controlled by a ground station in France. 



Pentagon spends more per patient than Medicare, Medicaid –

The Department of Defense spends more per unit for prescription drugs than Medicare or Medicaid, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

Decommissioning plan pulls all frigates from fleet by end of fiscal 2015 –

By October 2015, the fleet will be devoid of frigates for the first time in more than 70 years, according to the Navy’s latest decommissioning plan.  

GPS, autopilot failures cited in Reaper crash –

An MQ-9 Reaper that crashed into Lake Ontario during a November training flight was brought down by a series of navigational problems, the Air Force announced July 1.  

U.S. Air Force declares Gorgon Stare follow-on operationally deployable –

The U.S. Air Force has declared initial operational capability of the latest version of its Gorgon Stare persistent wide-area airborne surveillance system developed by Sierra Nevada Corporation.  

Pentagon refutes senators’ charges of wasted ammo –

The Pentagon is disputing the contention made by the chairman and ranking member of a Senate oversight committee that it could be wasting billions of dollars through inadequate accounting of its bullets and missiles. 



War through a lens –

A rare set of original prints has cast light on soldiers’ everyday life in the First World War 100 years after fighting began. 

Vets struggle to register on VA burn-pit site –

Veterans Affairs officials this week took down then relaunched a balky new website for veterans who may have been exposed to waste burn pits, but some veterans say they still can’t sign up.  

Obama’s VA nominee gains key endorsement –

The Veterans of Foreign Wars July 1 endorsed President Obama’s choice of former Proctor and Gamble CEO Robert McDonald to lead the embattled Department of Veterans Affairs.  

WWII Memorial prayer inscription approved over secularist, ACLU objections –

The World War II Memorial in Washington may soon have a new prayer inscription added, disappointing secularists and rights groups who had opposed the measure based on opposition to religion displayed in public spaces.  

At least 10 C-123 veterans have died after VA denied their Agent Orange claims, groups say –

At least 10 veterans exposed to Agent Orange while serving aboard aircraft contaminated by the Vietnam-era defoliant have died after being denied care by the Department of Veterans Affairs, two veterans groups charged June 29. 



Titan’s salty secret unveiled –

A massive underground ocean on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, is as salty as the Earth’s Dead Sea, it has been revealed. 

On the brink of finding ET? –

To date, astronomers have made numerous attempts to find life in the universe, but all to no avail. 

ISS worker reveals what you need to take the next giant leap for mankind –

So much has happened since Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon in 1969. Today we have the International Space Station, plans to send manned missions to Mars, telescopes that can see beyond our solar system and agencies across the world aiming to put men and women into space. 

Scientists have no idea how planets form –

A few decades ago, astronomers were pretty confident they knew how planets formed. Based on our own solar system they thought small, rocky planets formed near their host star and larger, gaseous or icy planets formed further out.



Young, active war wounded pushing medical science –

The blood is not the most jarring part of the photograph taken shortly after the bomb blew off Marine Gunnery Sgt. Brian Meyer’s leg and hand.



Iraq’s latest Su-25s come from Iran –

The latest delivery of Russian-made Su-25 Frogfoot aircraft to the Iraqi Air Force originated from Iran, according to a research analyst.  

Saudi Arabia deploys 30,000 soldiers to border with Iraq – al-Arabiya TV –

Saudi Arabia has deployed 30,000 soldiers to its border with Iraq after Iraqi soldiers withdrew from the area, Saudi-owned al-Arabiya television said July 3. 

No Russian pilots to participate in military operations in Iraq – Russian ambassador –

Despite the fact that the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant recently declared the creation of the Islamic Caliphate, Russia’s ambassador to Iraq Ilya Morgunov told remains convinced that the Islamic militants won’t be able to take Baghdad and that they pose no significant threat the Russian companies in Iraq.  

Iraq receives first Mi-28NE attack helos alongside additional Mi-35Ms –

Iraq has taken delivery of its first batch of Mil Mi-28NE ‘Havoc’ (Night Hunter) attack helicopters, as well as additional Mil Mi-35M ‘Hind’ assault helicopters, Russian state media announced July 2. 

Iraq to get another King Air –

Iraq is to get another Hawker Beechcraft King Air 350ER aircraft under a $7.85 million contract announced by the U.S. Department of Defense June 30. The contract is expected to be completed by March 30, 2015. 

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