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July 30, 2014

Headlines July 30, 2014

News:

Software to power F-35 running as much as 14 months late -

Software needed to operate Lockheed Martin’s F-35 jet, the Pentagon’s costliest weapons system, may be as much as 14 months late for required flight testing, according to a Pentagon review.

 

Business:

Lockheed will turn on JLTV production line In August; 6-D truck design -

“We’re in a really tough competition … a knife fight in [a] phone booth,” said Tom Kelly, who runs Lockheed Martin’s government relations for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program.

U.S. cluster munition replacement heads towards final testing -

The US military’s cluster munition replacement, the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System Alternative Warhead, is set to begin its Initial Operational Test and Evaluation later this year.

Competition works for Pentagon, taxpayers – sometimes -

As the Defense Department’s budget goes down, the number of contracts awarded without competitive bids is going up. The share of contracts awarded without competition has risen from 39 percent in 2009 to 42 percent in 2012, according to a report I co-authored with Jesse Ellman and Rhys McCormick on DOD Contracting Trends.

Finmeccanica kickback probe dropped amid executives’ corruption trial -

In a statement released July 29, Finmeccanica said investigators shelved a probe into the company over alleged kickbacks paid to secure the 2010 sale of 12 AW101 helicopters to India.

Hackers plundered Israeli defense firms that built ‘Iron Dome’ missile defense system -

Three Israeli defense contractors responsible for building the “Iron Dome” missile shield currently protecting Israel from a barrage of rocket attacks were compromised by hackers and robbed of huge quantities of sensitive documents pertaining to the shield technology, KrebsOnSecurity has learned.

IAI denies cyber attack claims -

Israel Aerospace Industries released a statement July 29 refuting a report claiming that the company lost sensitive information in a 2012 cyber attack.

CACI releases portable RF detector -

CACI has released a portable radio frequency detection device.

GKN reports earnings rise -

U.K. engineering group GKN has reported pre-tax profits of £224 million ($380 million) for the first half of 2014, a 76 percent increase over the same period in 2013.

Argentina to develop new UAVs -

The Argentine government, through its Ministry of Defense, has confirmed its intention to develop a new line of unmanned aerial vehicles for surveillance of the national sea and territory.

 

Defense:

A-10 Warthog no longer suitable for Middle East combat, Air Force leader says -

The possibility of sequestration returning in 2016 leaves the Air Force with hard decisions to make on budget cuts and how to maintain fighting capability, Gen. Michael Hostage, Air Combat Command commander, said July 29.

Some F-35 flight restrictions lifted -

The Pentagon has lifted some flight restrictions on F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, while inspections will continue for the foreseeable future, according to a Defense Department official.

DARPA’s wireless defense project moves ahead -

DARPA is seeking companies to continue the next phases of its Wireless Network Defense project.

On third anniversary of Budget Control Act, fallout still unclear -

No sooner had President Obama signed the Budget Control Act than Washington began speculating on when Congress would repeal it.

 

Veterans:

McDonald confirmed as new VA secretary -

It’s been a quick courtship for Bob McDonald – and there will be no honeymoon.

VA manipulated vets’ appointment data, audit finds -

Internal VA documents show the depth of fraudulent scheduling, manipulation of data and in some cases intimidation of staff to hide delays in medical care to veterans in the 6-million patient national system.

Veterans Health Care Overhaul -

Military Times congressional reporter Leo Shane talked by phone about the bicameral $15 billion deal to overhaul health care services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs. He also discussed Robert McDonald’s confirmation to be the new Veterans Affairs Department secretary.

Last surviving Enola Gay crewman dies in Stone Mountain -

Theodore “Dutch” Van Kirk, 93, was the navigator on the Aug. 6, 1945 flight that dropped the “Little Boy” atomic bomb.

VA seeks to improve services, care for female vets -

The rising ranks of servicewomen returning from Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade has changed the nature of care needed at the Veterans Affairs Department – but the system has yet to fully adapt, advocates say.

VA bill makes firing execs easier -

The House and Senate have agreed on legislation that would make it easier to fire senior executives at the Veterans Affairs Department, according an announcement by lawmakers July 28.

 

Space:

Moon mystery: Why our Earth’s satellite is lemon-shaped -

Scientists have worked out the reasons for the distorted shape of our Moon. A U.S. team calculated the effect on the shape of the Moon of tidal and rotational forces.

Astronomers weigh up Milky Way -

The Milky Way is lighter than astronomers previously thought, researchers have concluded.

 

International:

Pentagon: Defense system supplied to Ukraine similar to one that downed airliner -

The Pentagon said July 29 that Russia was supplying Ukraine air defense systems similar to the one that brought down Malaysian Airlines Flight 17.

Reapers to join U.K.’s core equipment program -

The British Ministry of Defence has confirmed it is to take the Royal Air Force’s fleet of 10 MQ-9 Reapers into its core equipment program following the end of combat operations in Afghanistan.

Belarus to host Ukraine-Russia talks -

Belarus says it will host talks between Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE on the crisis in eastern Ukraine.

U.K. sending troops, vehicles to Polish exercise -

Britain is committing nearly 1,500 troops to a major exercise in Poland later this year as part of wider measures to reassure nations in Eastern Europe and the Baltic of NATO’s commitment to the region in the face of Russian aggression in the Ukraine.




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Headlines September 15, 2014

News: Navy identifies pilot presumed dead in crash - A Navy fighter pilot presumed dead after two fighter jets crashed in the far western Pacific Ocean has been identified.   Business: Boeing eyes 737-700 solution for new JSTARS - Boeing is officially planning a variant of its 737-700 commercial jetliner as a competitor for the Air Force’s...
 
 

News Briefs September 15, 2014

Australia contributing planes for anti-IS campaign Australia is preparing to contribute 600 troops and up to 10 military aircraft to the increasingly aggressive campaign against the Islamic State extremists in Syria and Iraq, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Sept. 14. Abbott said Australia was responding to a formal request from the United States for specific...
 
 

Headlines September 11, 2014

News: Obama ready to strike at Islamic State militants in Syria, he tells policy experts - President Obama is prepared to use U.S. military airstrikes in Syria as part of an expanded campaign to defeat the Islamic State and does not believe he needs formal congressional approval to take that action, according to people who have...
 

 

News Briefs September 11, 2014

U.S. airstrikes in Iraq hit Islamic State vehicles The U.S. military says it launched five more airstrikes in support of Iraqi government troops and Sunni tribesmen protecting the Haditha Dam against fighters of the Islamic State group that controls parts of northern and western Iraq. Central Command says that a combination of U.S. attack, fighter...
 
 

Headlines September 9, 2014

News: NATO unable to finalize troop numbers for Afghanistan - NATO leaders did not agree on the size of a training and assistance force expected to be based in Afghanistan from 2015 to 2017, as the alliance still waits for Kabul to approve an operating arrangement. F-35 head: Delays coming if test planes grounded through September -...
 
 

News Briefs September 9, 2014

California contractor gets prison in tax case A Southern California military contractor who failed to report millions earned from providing services in Iraq has been sentenced to four years in federal prison. Prosecutors say Nadim Saifan Jr. of Huntington Beach, Calif., was sentenced Sept. 5. He pleaded guilty in May to attempted tax evasion. Authorities...
 




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