Headlines – November 20, 2015

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News

SecDef pulls back on personnel reforms, leaves out big changes –
Defense Secretary Ash Carter Nov. 18 vowed to push forward on an array of changes to the military personnel system, but omitted many of the ambitious proposals that top-level Pentagon officials talked about earlier this year.
 
ULA pulls out of DOD’s space launch competition –
United Launch Alliance has pulled out of the Pentagon’s competition to send satellites into space, a stunning move that leaves Elon Musk’s SpaceX the sole bidder.
 
 

Business

Air Force acquisition chief to re-join MITRE –
Air Force acquisition chief William LaPlante will leave his position for a job at the MITRE Corporation, the service announced Nov. 18.
 
Navantia invests in Spanish naval research center to support F-110 frigate –
Navantia has begun work at a joint research unit in the Spanish city of Ferrol, where it will collaborate with the University of A Coruña on a project aimed at enhancing the company’s production efficiency and bringing down its costs.
 
Army, Air Force acquisition chiefs to step down –
The departures of William LaPlante and Heidi Shyu will likely leave the Air Force and Army without permanent procurement leaders until 2017.
 
Airbus Helicopters launches new Romanian factory for H215 –
Airbus Helicopters has announced that it is rebranding the AS 332 C1e and L1e Super Puma family of helicopters to the H215, with production of the type set to take place at a new facility in Brasov, Romania.
 
Industry embraces ‘blended’ training for pilots, maintainers –
The U.S. Army will be closely watching a new cadre of Gray Eagle unmanned aircraft maintenance technicians coming out of training school at Fort Huachuca, Ariz.
 
Joining the fight club –
Foreign defense firms want a cut of U.S. business.
 
H&K granted $74.6 million million to reduce debt –
German small arms manufacturer Heckler and Koch has been granted $74.6 million by H&K Group’s majority shareholder and Advisory Board Chairman Andreas Heeschen, with the goal of allowing the company to reduce its debt levels.
 
MQ-1C, AH-64 team for first time in South Korea –
A General Atomics Aeronautical Systems MQ-1C Gray Eagle UAS has been used to demonstrate teaming between manned and unmanned aircraft in South Korea.
 
 

Defense

Strain on sailors, fleet reaches tipping point –
After years of surging deployments, the fleet is facing a looming threat: burnt-out warships and the ship crews needed to man them.
 
LRASM begins Super Hornet flight testing –
The U.S. Navy has begun airworthiness testing of Lockheed Martin’s Long Range Anti-Ship Missile on the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet carrier-borne strike fighter.
 
Navy finalizing Virginia payload module design, will begin prototyping to reduce risk –
The Virginia-class submarine program is finalizing the Virginia Payload Module design and will start prototyping soon to reduce risk and cost as much as possible ahead of the 2019 construction start, according to a Navy report to Congress.
 
Bombers, tankers could rotate to Australia –
The U.S. is in discussions with Australia to rotate bombers and tankers through Royal Australian Air Force Tindal, the head of Pacific Air Forces told reporters Nov. 18.
 
Advocates call for 200 next-generation bombers –
Lawmakers and analysts renewed calls Nov. 18 for the Pentagon to build significantly more next-generation bombers than currently planned, arguing that the Air Force needs a fleet of 200 advanced bombers to project power in a more dangerous world.
 
 

Veterans

New VA Choice program proposed to improve vets’ access to private care –
Acknowledging that the Veterans Affairs Department’s private health care referral system is “too complicated” and “saddled with a confusing array of authorizations and mechanisms,” VA officials pressed lawmakers Wednesday to consider streamlining several programs into a single initiative designed to improve veterans access to medical services.
 
VA secretary defends paying out $142 million in bonuses –
The secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is defending doling out more than $142 million in bonuses to officials last year, despite the scandal in 2014 involving the deaths of veterans waiting for care at agency clinics.
 
One of last original Tuskegee Airmen instructors dies at 96 –
Milton Pitts Crenchaw, a flight instructor who trained hundreds of the U.S. military’s revered Tuskegee Airmen, has died in Georgia. He was 96.
 
 

Space

Planting flowers in space –
Following on from the success of growing lettuce on board the International Space Station, the green-fingered astronauts are now turning their attention to growing flowers.