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July 7, 2014

News Briefs July 7, 2014

Work for refueling tanker cheering contractors

Preparations at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, for the arrival of the new KC-46A air refueling tankers are expected to boost contracting opportunities for businesses.

A recent groundbreaking ceremony marked the start of the first $197 million in new construction projects. Congress has allotted a total of $219 million for the tanker work at the Wichita base.

The Wichita Eagle reports that while most of those new contracted opportunities are construction related, officials say there are other contracting possibilities at the base.

The Small Business Administration says federal contract opportunities in Kansas average between $1.5 billion and $2 billion annually. About 23 percent are open to bid by small businesses.

SBA usually refers businesses starting out in contracting to the Kansas Procurement Technical Assistance Center at Wichita State University. AP

Shipyard: Contract certainty reduces sub costs

Company officials at Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia say the Navy will be getting 10 submarines for the price of nine under their latest contract order.

Newport News Shipbuilding and its Groton, Conn.,-based partner General Dynamics Electric Boat were awarded the largest single contract in Navy history this spring.

The companies received a $17.6 billion contract to build 10 Virginia-class submarines. The companies are already building two submarines a year, but officials say having the certainty that comes with ordering 10 submarines at once allows them to drive down costs. That’s accomplished by placing bulk orders from their suppliers at reduced costs and speeding up construction, which cuts labor costs. AP

Iraqi PM retires two top-ranking security officers

Iraq’s military spokesman says the prime minister has removed the chief of the army’s ground forces and the head of the federal police from their posts.

Lt. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi says Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki signed the papers July 5 to retire Lt. Gen. Ali Ghaidan, commander of the army’s ground forces, and Lt. Gen. Mohsen al-Kaabi, the federal police chief.

Al-Moussawi says both men leave their jobs with their pensions. No replacements have been named.

The dismissals are part of al-Maliki’s shakeup of the security forces after their near collapse in the face of a sweeping militant offensive led by the Islamic State extremist group.

Last month, al-Maliki retired three generals who had been deployed in the north and ordered legal proceedings against them. AP

Queen christens huge new U.K. aircraft carrier

It’s a huge aircraft carrier that is still missing one notable element: planes.

But the slight omission failed to dampen spirits July 4 as Queen Elizabeth II gave the largest ever warship built for the Royal Navy her name during a celebration in Scotland.

In a departure from the traditional shattering of a champagne bottle against the hull, the queen pressed a button to release a bottle of malt whisky.

The HMS Queen Elizabeth is far from being complete, but was named as it is to be placed in the water. When complete, it will be equipped with the F-35B Lightning II aircraft, a multirole fighter.

At 56 meters (183 feet), the flagship is taller than Niagra Falls and has a flight deck the size of 60 tennis courts. AP

Ex-Navy officer pleads guilty in sweeping fraud

A retired Navy officer has pleaded guilty to conspiracy for his role in a worldwide scheme to bilk the Navy out of millions of dollars for port services.

Federal prosecutors say Edmond Aruffo entered the plea July 3 in San Diego. He faces up to five years in prison.

Aruffo retired from the Navy as a lieutenant commander in 2007. He became manager of Japan operations for Glenn Defense Marine Asia, a Singapore-based company that serviced Navy ships and submarines in the Pacific.

Authorities say the company bribed Navy officials to win inflated contracts that cost the Navy more than $20 million.

Authorities say Aruffo and others overcharged the Navy by as much as $2.5 million for Japanese port service.

He’s the fourth person to plead guilty. Three others await trial. AP

U.S. military grounds F-35 jets during fire probe

U.S. military officials have grounded all F-35 fighter jets while continuing to investigate a runway fire involving one of them at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

In a statement issued July 3, the Pentagon’s press secretary said Air Force and Navy officials ordered the F-35 fleet grounded after initial findings in the June 23 incident.

Officials said at the time that the jet caught fire during takeoff. No one was hurt, and the cause remains under investigation.

The Pentagon says that additional inspections of F-35 engines have been ordered, and that the return to flight of the F-35 fleet will be determined based on inspection results and analysis of engineering data. AP

Boeing said it delivered 181 planes in second quarter

Boeing said July 3 that it delivered 181 commercial planes during the second quarter, a 7.1 percent increase from the same period a year ago.

The deliveries included 124 next generation 737s, 30 787s, 24 777s, two 747s and one 767. It said it has delivered a total of 342 commercial planes so far this year.

The Chicago company said its defense, space and security unit also saw gains. It delivered 45 planes or helicopters and two satellites. That’s up from the 31 planes and helicopters it delivered in the second quarter last year. AP




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