Headlines – November 18, 2015


Beyond U.S. budget deal, defense faces uncertainty –
Beyond 2016, the budget is expected to experience pressure related to modernization and procurement, absent a “grand bargain.”

Airbus to compensate Germany for late A400M deliveries –
European aircraft manufacturer Airbus will have to pay substantial compensation to the German Ministry of Defense due to the late delivery of its A400M transport aircraft and a capability level that falls short of the contracted agreement.

Testing for autonomous helicopter moving forward –
Sikorsky will demonstrate the first flight of an autonomous UH-60A Black Hawk helicopter by the fourth quarter of 2016, said company executives.

Boeing’s KC-46 tanker completes key flight tests –
Boeing’s KC-46 Tanker recently completed aerial refueling initial airworthiness, the latest step on the road to full air refueling capability.

Milestones close for Denmark, Belgium fighter contests –
Denmark’s government is expected to recommend the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in December as the replacement for the F-16, according to industry executives attending the Defense IQ International Fighter Conference.

FAA approves Lockheed airship certification plan –
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has approved a certification plan developed by Lockheed Martin to facilitate the introduction of hybrid airships into routine cargo-carrying operations.

Augmented reality could help solve Ford-class carrier cost woes –
When working on complex projects such as building aircraft carriers, shipyard workers have to endure a painstaking process over the course of several years, adhering to stringent military requirements on quality, safety and accuracy.

Airbus launching two industrialization programs in the United Kingdom –
Airbus Helicopters is setting up two separate programs in the United Kingdom supported by the Department for Business Innovations and Skills, the company announced Nov. 17.

F-35 program ramps up training for pilots, technicians –
The F-35 joint strike fighter program is transitioning to a day when its pilots will come fresh out of flight school and the new jet fighter will be their first assignment.


Congress to tackle military health reform next year –
With the 2016 defense authorization bill close to becoming law, Senate and House lawmakers are looking ahead to fiscal 2017, with a focus on transforming the $48 billion military health care system, congressional aides say.

The U.S. military is developing brain implants to boost memory, heal PTSD –
One of DARPA’s many brain-improvement projects centers on implantable, wireless devices intended to aid troops’ cognitive abilities both during and after wars.

Army may slow down procurement of new light reconnaissance vehicle –
The Army is looking to procure a new scout vehicle for infantry units. But funding constraints and other priorities could hold the project back as the service pushes forward with its modernization plans.

Ghostrider gunship scrapped after inverted flight scare –
The U.S. Air Force had to scrap one of its brand-new Lockheed Martin AC-130J Ghostrider gunships following a training mishap earlier this year, the service has revealed.

Marines pushing for faster F-35B spares acquisition to support new squadrons –
The Marine Corps aviation community is keeping busy preparing to send its first F-35B Joint Strike Fighters to Japan in January 2017, ensuring the training and logistics pipelines are ready for global deployment of the new plane, the deputy commandant for aviation told USNI News.


VA IG nominee promises to focus on accountability –
The nominee to take over the long-vacant inspector general post at the Veterans Affairs Department promised that if confirmed, he would make management accountability and whistleblower protection his top priorities.

Lynch dodges questions about VA scandal –
Attorney General Loretta Lynch refused to answer questions Nov. 17 about how many employees at the Department of Veterans Affairs have been investigated for manipulating wait times at VA hospitals.

IG report sheds light on VA home services wait list issues –
At least one veteran in the D.C. area died while on a VA wait list for home health care, and he wasn’t the only one waiting for promised home services, according to a report from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs Office of Inspector General.


Will this be the first humanoid on Mars? –
A “superhero” robot is being designed by NASA to help astronauts on a mission to Mars.

Violent ‘super flares’ are destroying Kepler-438b’s atmosphere –
The shortlist of alternative planets that could support life may have just lost its most promising contender.


World’s biggest aircraft ‘takes off’ for first time –
The world’s biggest aircraft has lifted off from the ground in Britain for the first time – but will not be ready to leave the hangar where it is being developed until next year.

‘Son of Concorde’ gets the go ahead –
The world’s first private supersonic jet could take off in as little as six years.

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