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August 22, 2014

Headlines August 22, 2014


GAO: Pentagon violated law with Bergdahl swap –

Congressional investigators say the Pentagon violated the law when it swapped five Taliban leaders for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was held prisoner in Afghanistan for five years.



U.S. Air Force issues RFI for new rocket engine –

The US Air Force is officially looking into a replacement for the Russian-made RD-180 rocket engine.

Exclusive: Lockheed, suppliers brainstorm how to lower F-35 operating costs –

Lockheed Martin met with 90 key suppliers last week to brainstorm ways to lower the long-term cost of operating and maintaining the F-35 fighter jets from the Pentagon’s current forecast of $1.02 trillion through 2065.

U.S. Navy’s CANES network picks suppliers –

The US Navy’s effort to develop and install a new shipboard tactical electronic network took a major leap forward Aug. 20 with the selection of five commercial teams to fill the fleet’s needs for the next eight years.

Boeing says completed key design review for space taxi –

Boeing has completed a key review of its design for a new commercial venture to fly astronauts to the International Space Station, making it the only one of four rival bidders to finish the NASA work on time, company officials said Aug. 21.

DISA weighs contract consolidation as sequester solution –

The Defense Information Systems Agency is considering consolidating contracts as means to increase efficiencies and save money, particularly with the possibility of another round of sequestration bearing down on them for fiscal 2016.

Lockheed: F-16V passes radar integration milestone –

Lockheed Martin has moved forward with a major milestone on its F-16V upgrade, the company announced this week.

Harris takes DISA contract for Crisis Management System –

Harris Corp. has been awarded a $450 million contract by the Defense Information Systems Agency.

CACI reports revenue down, contract awards up for fourth quarter –

Services contractor CACI reported its fourth quarter revenue was down 1 percent compared with the same quarter in 2013, although contract awards were up 24 percent.

Navy EOD robots due for upgrade –

Northrop Grumman has won an $8.8 million U.S. Navy contract to repair and upgrade explosive ordnance disposal robots.

ULA receives RD-180 engines despite Russia-Ukraine crisis –

The United Launch Alliance received a pair of RD-180 rocket engines this week, the first delivery since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine kicked off a national debate about the use of the Russian-made engines for national security launches.

Taiwan’s force modernization: The American side –

Deliveries are a bit delayed. Taiwan is set to take delivery of 6 more AH-64E Apache attack helicopters in late August, which would bring their fleet to 23.

Indonesia, U.S. to sign Apache MoU –

Indonesia and the United States are expected to sign an agreement soon to facilitate the Indonesian Army’s enhanced operation of on-order Boeing AH-64E Apache attack helicopters.

Turkish fighter project faces uncertain future –

Design work on a new jet fighter called the TF-X (X standing for experimental) as part of Turkey’s ambitious strategy of indigenizing arms procurement has now been completed, but the project may not receive a green light to progress any further.

Hungary signs air defense system upgrade deal with MBDA –

The Hungarian Ministry of Defense has signed a deal with European missile producer MBDA to upgrade the Mistral 2 short-range surface-to-air missile systems operated by the country’s armed forces.

Hagel urges U.S.-India collaboration on Big Data –

The United States and India could work together on projects involving Big Data, cognitive sciences and other defense technologies, according to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

Two Russian rocket engines arrive in U.S. as planned –

Two Russian-built rocket engines arrived in the United States Aug. 20 aboard a giant Antonov cargo plane despite fears that tensions between the United States and Russia could disrupt the supply of engines needed to launch U.S. satellites into space.

Raytheon to develop anti-UAV laser –

Raytheon is developing a laser that could be used to shoot down some unmanned vehicles.

Northrop unveils XS-1 spaceplane design for DARPA –

Northrop Grumman has unveiled its vertical-launch, horizontal-landing reusable booster design for the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency’s XS-1 experimental space plane program.

U.S. Navy leaning on CANES to integrate shipboard networks –

U.S. SPAWAR in San Diego, Calif., issues 5 multiple-award contracts for CANES’ production phase, allowing the winners to compete for up to $2.53 billion in awards over an 8-year ordering period.

Lockheed Martin growing its cyber, big data business –

Rapid innovations in information technology and changes in the geopolitical environment – including events such as the conflict in the Gaza Strip and the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – all point to the military’s need for large amounts of quickly digestible data.

Data Link Solutions, ViSat win contracts for tactical network targeting technology –

The Navy has awarded contracts to two companies to mature the technology associated with tactical network targeting.

Microsoft licensing agreement pioneers new concept –

When the Defense Department wanted to make Microsoft products available to multiple organizations, it settled on a joint enterprise license agreement to do it.

Saudi Black Hawk contract awarded –

The Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation has been awarded a $30.4 million contract modification to produce 12 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters for the Saudi Arabia National Guard by the end of August 2017, the US Department of Defense announced Aug. 19.

Northrop Grumman sees European interest in Hawk surveillance drone –

U.S. defense company Northrop Grumman is in talks about selling its high-altitude surveillance drones in Europe, with Britain, Germany and Norway seen as the likeliest customers, a top executive said Aug. 20.

Rheinmetall wins Greek Leopard ammunition contract –

Germany’s Rheinmetall announced Aug. 15 that it had been awarded a contract to supply the Hellenic Armed Forces with 120 mm ammunition for its Leopard 2 tanks.

Indian firms tool up for defense orders on Modi’s ‘buy India’ pledge –

Some of India’s biggest companies are pouring billions of dollars into manufacturing guns, ships and tanks for the country’s military, buoyed by the new government’s commitment to upgrade its armed forces using domestic factories.

Thales Australia developing new rifle ammunition –

Thales Australia has disclosed it is developing a new family of high-lethality small arms ammunition, including a 5.56 mm round that the company says outperforms 7.62 mm ammunition at all ranges.



F-35 software testing slowed by flight restrictions –

Flight restrictions on Lockheed Martin’s F-35 are hampering the Pentagon’s ability to conduct the software tests the plane must pass before it can be declared combat-ready by next July, according to the Pentagon’s weapons-testing office.

Pentagon tells international partners to inspect F-16B fleet for cracks –

As the Pentagon works to analyze and repair widespread cracks in its F-16D fleet, it is recommending that partner nations closely inspect their F-16B and D models.

Black Hawk modernization tops Army Guard priorities –

The US Army has been saying for a decade that once the last American soldier leaves Afghanistan, the service will need at least two to three years of additional supplemental funding to reset and modernize.



Project hopes to connect Korean War veterans with photos –

For years, Korean War veteran Betty Perkins-Carpenter kept old wartime photos in envelopes in a file cabinet, but now those pictures are part of a project which aims to connect veterans and their families with snapshots taken during the conflict.

New VA policy on same-sex marriage benefits triggers lawsuit –

Advocacy groups filed a lawsuit here this week challenging the Department of Veterans Affairs on its new policy denying benefits to same-sex spouses who live in states that do not recognize gay marriage.



Take a scenic tour of Neptune’s moon –

In the summer of 1989 NASA’s Voyager 2 became the first, and to date only, spacecraft to visit the planet Neptune. During the brief flyby of the planet on Aug. 25 the probe returned images of its natural satellite Triton, a giant moon bigger even than the dwarf planet Pluto.

Europe launches new Galileo satellites –

Europe has launched the next two satellites in the Galileo network – its version of the American Global Positioning System. The spacecraft – model numbers five and six – went up on a Soyuz rocket from French Guiana.

Curiosity Mars rovers’ drill test cut short –

NASA’s Curiosity rover on Mars has had its drill out again. The robot turned the tool in a flat slab of rock dubbed ‘Bonanza King,” but it looks as though the operation failed to complete as planned.

Hints of elusive early stars found –

Astronomers may have discovered the signature of one of the universe’s earliest stars. Theoretical models predict that some of the very first stars were hundreds of times larger than the sun.



Aircraft to be given ‘human-like’ skin to sense damage –

A system that allows the exterior of aircraft to “feel” damage or injury in a way similar to human skin is in development by BAE Systems.



China secretly conducts second test of new hypersonic missile –

China recently conducted the second flight test of a new, ultra-high-speed missile that is part of what analysts say is Beijing’s global system of attack weapons capable of striking the United States with nuclear warheads.



UCLASS: Unmanned or Just Unmanageable? –

Although the Department of Defense has established high hurdles for initiating new weapons programs, every once in a while an effort slips through the process that seems doomed to failure from the start. The Navy’s Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike system is such a program.

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