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Headlines – December 30, 2015

News

Iran conducts live fire exercise near USS Harry S. Truman –
In what the U.S. Navy called an “unnecessarily provocative” move, the Iranian military reportedly sent a ship less than a mile from a U.S. aircraft carrier and began conducting live-fire exercises using unguided rockets.
 
Top U.S. general may seek more troops for Afghanistan –
Afghanistan’s security situation is so tenuous that the top U.S. commander there wants to keep as many U.S. troops there as possible through 2016 to boost beleaguered Afghan soldiers and may seek additional American forces to assist them.
 
 

Business

DARPA, Northrop move to develop VTOL aircraft –
Known as TERN, for Tactically Exploited Reconnaissance Node, the project is a joint program between the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the US Navy’s Office of Naval Research.
 
U.S. MDA orders more THAAD interceptors from Lockheed Martin –
The U.S. Missile Defense Agency announced Dec. 28 it awarded Lockheed Martin a USD528 million contract for production of lot 7 and 8 interceptors, one-shot devices, and associated production support efforts for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system.
 
More JDAMs headed for Middle East –
Lockheed Martin has been given an additional external link order to provide an undisclosed number of production lots 7 and 8 Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptors, one-shot weapons and related support services to the Missile Defense Agency.
 
Rostec to aid HAL with indigenous KA-226T production –
Russian state firm Rostec will work with Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) to build 200 or more Kamov KA-226T “Sergei” light utility helicopters.
 
Bangladesh Coast Guard orders more harbor patrol boats –
Having delivered two harbor patrol boats to the Bangladesh Coast Guard in March 2015, the Bangladesh Navy-owned Dockyard and Engineering Works Limited in Narayanganj, has commenced construction of another pair of harbour patrol boats for the service.
 
Poland to cut Caracal order, reconsider Black Hawk, AW149 –
Poland’s Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz has announced plans to decrease the amount of the Caracal EC725 helicopters the country is to acquire from Airbus Helicopters. This would allow the ministry to also purchase Black Hawk and AW149 helos from Sikorsky and AgustaWestland, respectively.
 
Black Sea Fleet, Corvette plans highlight Russian industry issues –
Russian shipyards have received their share of unfavorable publicity over the last several years, owing to failures in executing commercial and military contracts.
 
Indonesia approves purchase of KH-31, AIM-120 missiles –
An Indonesian parliamentary committee that oversees the country’s defense procurement budget has approved a request by the Indonesian Air Force (Tentara Nasional Indonesia — Angkatan Udara, or TNI-AU) to acquire air-launched missiles worth $38 million.
 
Top stories 2015: Foreign defense acquisition –
USNI News polled its writers, naval analysts and service members on what they consider the most important military and maritime stories in 2015.
 
Four accused of vandalizing defense contractor’s building –
Bail has been set for four people accused of vandalism at a U.S. defense contractor’s building in Bellevue, not far from Offutt Air Force Base, Nev.
 
 

Defense

Marines shelve Google’s $42 million robot because of noise –
U.S. Marines will not be using robotic mules called “AlphaDogs” any time soon because they were deemed too noisy to be useful in combat.
 
Defense officials propose biggest UCMJ changes in decades –
After a two-year review, the Defense Department is asking Congress to change dozens of articles governing how troops are tried and punished for misconduct. If approved, it would mark the most far-reaching changes to the UCMJ since its inception in 1950.
 
 

Veterans

VA: Claims backlog is better, but is never going away –
The Veterans Affairs Department’s backlog of disability claims will finish 2015 near its lowest level in six years, but still will not come close to the publicly promised goal of zero.
 
Vets who accept separation pay can’t receive VA compensation –
Under federal law, until veterans pay back their involuntary separation pay, they can have their VA disability compensation withheld.

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