Headlines – March 2, 2016



DOD clears Osprey pilots in 2000 Marana crash –
U.S. Marine Corps pilots Maj. Brooks Gruber and Lt. Col. John Brow were incorrectly blamed as the primary cause of a V-22 Osprey crash that took their lives and killed 17 other Marines in April 2000, the Pentagon said March 1 in an unusual reversal clearing the pilots’ names.


Honeywell no longer pursuing United Technologies –
Honeywell has abandoned its efforts to acquire United Technology Corp., the company announced March 1.
General Dynamics C4 Systems wins $25.4 million DARPA network contract –
General Dynamics C4 Systems has been awarded a $25.4 million DARPA contract for classified network support services.
Finmeccanica to offer AW139 and AW119 for U.S. military missions –
Finmeccanica intends to compete for two substantial helicopter requirements for the U.S. military, offering the 15-seat AW139 as a replacement for the U.S. Air Force’s 62 Bell UH-1Ns, and the AW119 Koala for the U.S. Navy’s helicopter training program, potentially replacing up to 117 Bell 206-based TH-57 Sea Rangers.
Army awards $12.7 million contract for Manpack radios –
Harris Corp., Rockwell Collins and General Dynamics C4 System have been awarded a $12.7 million Army Manpack radio contract.
Aerojet Rocketdyne eyes Pentagon rocket-engine deal –
Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings Inc. wants its own rocket engine to oust one being developed by Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin LLC as the first choice for launching Pentagon satellites, the company’s chief executive said March 1.
NAVSEA confirms new Archerfish order –
The U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command has awarded BAE Systems a $22.17 million contract for the production of additional Archerfish mine destructor vehicles and fiber-optic spools for the U.S. Navy’s AN/ASQ-235 Airborne Mine Neutralization System.
New Il-76 military transport carries out maiden flight –
A more modern variant of the Ilyushin Il-76 military transport has carried out its first test flight from Zhukovsky in Russia, according to the manufacturer.
Bell Helicopter, Indonesia’s PT Dirgantara expand collaboration on Bell 412 –
Bell Helicopter and Indonesia’s state-owned aerospace manufacturer PT Dirgantara have signed an agreement to expand their helicopter business activities in Indonesia.
Airbus slashes H225 output, anticipates military rebound –
Airbus Helicopters is to dramatically slash output on its H225 over the next two years as it tries to deal with lower demand from the oil and gas market.
Airbus Helicopters launches HForce Generic Weapon System –
Airbus Helicopters has launched a new modular weapons system that offers operators the ability to quickly and easily transform their civilian platforms into armed military ones by means of a single common mission computer.
Airbus Helicopters targets United States for re-launched H215 –
Airbus Helicopters is touting its recently relaunched H215 twin-engined transport and utility platform to the United States as a training solution for the U.S. Army and operating solution for the Department of State.
Airbus Helicopters touts H160 as fleet replacement to French MoD –
Airbus Helicopters is pitching its developmental H160 platform to the French Ministry of Defence as a potential replacement for most of its current rotary-winged inventory, said a company official.
Maritime ViDAR tested on Australian ScanEagle UAV –
Australia has tested Sentient Vision’s Kestrel maritime video detection and ranging on a Royal Australian Navy ScanEagle UAV.


Inside the U.S. Navy’s Iran fiasco –
Mechanical problems, communication breakdowns, and a lack of navigation training or preparation all played a role in the blunder, Foreign Policy has learned, based on interviews with officials and others familiar with the case.
Lawmakers: Give Navy more F/A-18s –
The U.S. Navy is planning to request 12 more F/A-18 Super Hornets than the two it was allocated in the president’s 2017 defense budget, according to a House lawmaker.
U.S. may need to ‘puncture’ Russian defenses, EUCOM commander says –
The U.S. military should prepare to “puncture” Russia’s regional defenses and “rapidly reinforce” troops moving eastward in the event of a conflict, the top military commander in Europe told lawmakers March 1.
More bad news for JLENS –
Last fall, the Defense Department’s aerostat-mounted surveillance system designed to scan a 340-mile radius for airborne threats broke loose from its tether. It made the national news — not in a good way. Now, the program is facing more criticism from a report from the Pentagon’s testing office.
A glimpse into the cockpit of the HH-101A “Caesar” Special Operations Helicopter –
On Feb. 25, the Italian Air Force took delivery of its first AgustaWestland (now a division of Finmeccanica Group) HH-101A “Caesar” medium-lift helicopter during an official ceremony held at Cervia airbase, Italy.
U.S. Air Force B-21 development phase was cost-plus as risk buffer –
The U.S. Air Force says it used cost-plus type contract for $23.5 billion development phase because “we recognize significant integration work still lies ahead,” Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch tells House armed services panel.
Hypersonics could help Air Force thwart enemy anti-air defenses –
Hypersonic missiles that travel five times the speed of sound could help the Air Force penetrate advanced anti-air systems that are being fielded by potential adversaries, a group of congressmen and experts said March 1.
U.S. Army seeks new Stryker capability beyond bigger gun –
The Army is looking beyond carrying out an urgent request to equip Stryker units in Europe with a medium-caliber cannon by scouring the industry for capability upgrades, the Stryker Brigade Combat Team program manager said.
Army’s $7.5 billion unfunded wish list –
The Army $7.5 billion wish list for Congress, obtained by Breaking Defense, of needs that didn’t fit in its 2017 budget includes $1.64 billion for new weapons and $1.2 billion to implement the recommendations of the National Commission on the Future of the Army to retain four National Guard attack helicopter battalions and an active duty Combat Aviation Brigade.
Army’s new radio strategy is unrelenting competition –
The Army has radically changed how it buys radios in recent years so that what the “winning” companies have actually won, in essence, is the right to compete for the right to compete — with the possibility of more competitors coming in in the future.
Ray Mabus, longest-serving Navy secretary since World War I, to retire –
The secretary of the Navy will retire within the next year after nearly eight years in office, he confirmed March 1 to a congressional panel.
Repairs made to new destroyer Zumwalt –
The technologically-advanced destroyer Zumwalt underwent propulsion repair work in mid-January, the US Navy confirmed March 1.
U.S. Navy shifts course on remote minehunting system –
The U.S. Navy has taken the decision to halt procurement of a second batch of low-rate initial production minehunting vehicles, officials confirmed to IHS Jane’s, and it will re-evaluate unmanned systems in the running to fulfill the navy’s mine search and reconnaissance mission needs.


Counsel for whistleblowers blasts IG reports on VA wait time scandal –
The VA Office of Inspector General has started publishing its findings of investigations launched two years ago into charges that VA medical facilities adjusted patient appointment schedules to meet department standards.
Action demanded after top VA official involved in misconduct is allowed to retire with benefits –
Action is being demanded after a top Department of Veterans Affairs official involved in misconduct was allowed to retire with benefits intact.
At minimum it will take nearly a year to fire drunk VA nurse –
The Department of Veterans Affairs has commenced disciplinary action against a drunk nurse who operated on a veteran, but what officials didn’t say is that it will take almost an entire year of administrative procedure to actually punish the nurse.
Sharon Helman, ex-Phoenix VA hospital director, pleads guilty –
Sharon Helman, the former Phoenix VA Health Care System director who was fired in 2014 amid a scandal over patient care, pleaded guilty Tuesday to filing a false financial disclosure that failed to list more than $50,000 in gifts she had received from a lobbyist.


Soyuz spacecraft touches down in Kazakhstan –
NASA astronaut Scott Kelly has landed back on Earth after spending nearly a year on the International Space Station.