Headlines – October 28, 2015

News :

Budget deal gives DOD stability, almost all its money –
A sweeping new two-year budget deal unveiled by the White House and congressional leaders late Oct. 27 would give Pentagon planners the fiscal stability they have been begging for, but falls about $5 billion short of what they hoped to receive in fiscal 2016.


Business :

Defense world reacts to Northrop LRS-B win –
As the Air Force announced Northrop Grumman will produce the service’s next-generation bomber, reactions from industry, Wall Street and the Hill began quickly flowing in.

Political choices shape industry, not mergers –
Americans celebrate competition as the best route to efficiency and innovation, and mega-mergers can threaten the possibility of competition. But the defense industry presents a special challenge not typically addressed by anti-trust: Defense contractors influence their buyer’s decisions not just by offering a variety of products in the marketplace, but also through lobbying.

Northrop Grumman to build Air Force bomber — But don’t expect to see it soon –
After years of internal Pentagon fighting to keep the project alive, the air service reveals a builder, but little else.

Northrop launches LRS-B website hours after bomber contract award –
Northrop Grumman is wasting no time in moving to protect its Long Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) contract win.

Failure to obtain ammo export OK hits Chemring profits
Failure to secure U.S. government approval for a deal to sell 40mm ammunition to the Middle East has triggered new financial problems for British-based defense contractor Chemring.

U.S. denies South Korea T-50 Golden Eagle export permission –
The U.S. has refused to authorize a proposed South Korean export of 12 T-50 Golden Eagle advanced trainers to Uzbekistan, the Korean Times revealed Oct. 26.

Turkish police order six UAVs to boost intel –
The Turkish police have ordered six drones and four ground control stations, with deliveries scheduled for 2016, procurement sources said.

Sikorsky’s CH-53K lifts off after troubled start –
Sikorsky’s CH-53K King Stallion has finally reached “day one” of its 2,000 hour flight test program after a maiden 30min flight this morning at the company’s development flight center in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Boeing lands $89 million contract mod to produce Navy Growler jets –
Boeing has been awarded a potential three-year, $897.5 million contract modification to build 15 EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft and related electronic aerial attack kits for the U.S. Navy.

U.S. Army upgrades precision fires capabilities –
The U.S. Army is conducting a number of parallel efforts designed to modernize the precision fires capabilities of its M270 series Multiple Launch Rocket System/M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System launchers and associated munitions.

Lockheed Martin to upgrade Air Force Sniper pods
Lockheed Martin has been awarded Air Force contracts, valued at $176.1 million, to upgrade Sniper advanced targeting pods.

Protesters plan to enter Maine shipyard during USS Peralta christening –
With an estimated 3,000 people expected to gather at Bath Iron Works on Oct. 31 to watch the built by the shipyard, peace protesters plan to use the event to condemn military spending and send a message to Maine’s political leaders.

KC-390 resumes flight tests as defense unit rebaselines –
Embraer has flown the KC-390 again for the first time in eight months as the company’s Defence and Security business adapts to a devalued Brazilian currency and a slower development schedule for the new tanker-transport.

$178 million Navy contract awarded for sub-seeking sonobuoys –
The U.S. Department of Defense announced in its Oct. 26 digest of contracts that Indiana-based manufacturer Erapsco will be awarded a $178.5 million modification to a Navy contract for the delivery of up to 136,500 of its sonobuoys.


Defense :

Inside Pentagon’s effort to build a killer robot –
The defense program DARPA is working to create an artificial brain-but what will it mean for humanity if it succeeds?

New budget deal puts defense policy bill back on track –
With a two-year budget deal in place, the heads of the House and Senate Armed Services committees see a relatively smooth path ahead for the recently-vetoed 2016 defense authorization bill.

Navy plans to deploy a submarine drone squadron by 2020 –
The highly autonomous underwater vehicles could be sent to scout ahead of attack submarines, or to guard valuable undersea targets.

Air Force tests upgraded anti-radar missile –
The Air Force and Raytheon have successfully completed flight tests for an improved HARM anti-radar missile.

Anti-drone protests spur tension in home of Creech Air Force Base –
While the installation has been in this small town for several decades, its purpose has shifted over the years, from being a practice site of the Thunderbirds precision flight team to being the base of operations for drones used for 24/7 surveillance or strikes overseas.

Marine Corps CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift helicopter finishes first flight –
The CH-53K King Stallion, the Marine Corps’ next-generation heavy-lift helicopter, took its first flight Oct. 27 at Sikorsky’s test facility in West Palm Beach, Fla.


Veterans :

VA massively overpaying vets, schools on post-9/11 GI Bill –
The Department of Veterans Affairs is overpaying hundreds of millions of dollars to schools and veterans under the post-9/11 GI Bill when students drop a class or leave school, letting $416 million go uncollected in fiscal 2014 alone, a newly released report says.


Viewpoint :

Air Force award of LRS bomber contract commits taxpayers to a trillion-dollar burden –
Significantly, the Air Force describes the “Long Range Strategic Bomber” (LRS or LRS-B) as not just for nuclear warfare, but also for conventional missions. But look at the announcement and the prior information. This is a high-tech stealth bomber costing $800 million apiece. Would we have used this in Afghanistan? No. Would we have used this against the insurgency in Iraq? No. Would it be flying now against ISIS? No. It is too expensive: it is built for longer distance than necessary for these wars; and, it is stealthy and high tech, which are not needed for the kinds of wars we have been fighting. Let’s face it, we are buying the LRS-B just in contemplation of the Cold War, part II.

Beyond F-35: Three things Canada should consider for its next fighter –
The immediate bad news accrues to Lockheed Martin, which stands to lose $6 billion in future revenue, and its remaining customers, for whom smaller volumes will mean as much as one percent more per production aircraft. The remaining longer-term question is what this means for Canada.


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