Headlines – April 29, 2016



Marines’ deadly fighter jet to make its first ship-based deployment next year –
The Marine Corps’ version of the joint strike fighter’s maiden deployment is set for late 2017 and its bound for the Western Pacific, the Navy’s top officer in the Pacific said Tuesday.


It’s official: Finmeccanica is now Leonardo –
Finmeccanica’s name change to Leonardo was confirmed April 28 after the Italian group’s shareholders approved the switch.
SpaceX wins U.S. Air Force contract for GPS III launch –
SpaceX has snagged its first U.S. Air Force contract to launch military satellites into space, a huge victory for the aerospace company.
Report: Chinese combat UAVs in demand –
The state-controlled China Daily news outlet published what it says was an exclusive interview with Shi Wen, chief drone designer at the China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics, Beijing, detailing foreign sales of the Cai Hong-series (Rainbow-series) of unmanned aerial vehicles to the Middle East and Africa, including the armed CH-3 and CH-4 medium-altitude, long-endurance UAVs.
Guam defense missiles have ‘undemonstrated capability,’ GAO says –
U.S. deployed Lockheed Martin THAAD missile interceptors to Guam in 2013 before testing their capability to intercept Chinese, N. Korean intermediate-range missiles, U.S. Government Accountability Office says in new report.
Airbus reports A400M engine gearbox problems will cause delays –
Airbus faces a potentially heavy financial hit due to problems on the engine gearbox of the A400M military transport plane, the European aircraft company said in a statement April 28.
Death knell for Raytheon’s ‘runaway’ aerostat –
This week, Congress moved a step closer to killing the program entirely, with the House Armed Services panel adopting legislation that would limit spending on JLENS to $2.2 million as opposed to the $45 million listed in the Army’s fiscal year 2017 budget submission.
Navy awards biometric ID contract to CrossResolve LLC –
CrossResolve LLC has been awarded a $17.2 million contract to biometric ID research.
AeroVironment upgrades Switchblade tactical missile system –
AeroVironment has announced a block upgrade to its Switchblade Tactical Missile system for stable and secure encrypted communications.
Army awards Shadow UAV contract to Textron –
Textron has been awarded a $116.5 million Army contract for Shadow UAV upgrades.
Raytheon beats earnings estimates, boosts 2016 view –
The company’s first-quarter revenues of $5,763 million registered 9 percent year-over-year growth. The reported number surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $5,455 million by 5.6 percent.
Army taps BAE Systems for M88A2 recovery vehicles –
BAE Systems is to convert U.S. Army M88A1 recovery vehicles to the M88A2 configuration under a contract modification worth $109.7 million.
Global Hawk prepped for next decade of service –
The Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk is an aircraft finally coming into its own. Having first flown Feb. 28, 1998, the unmanned aircraft is nothing if not resilient.
Pakistan, China building JF-17B prototype –
Pakistan and China have jointly started production of the first prototype JF-17B combat jet at the Chendu Aerospace Corporation facility in Chendu, China.


McCain blasts senator for blocking Army secretary confirmation –
The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday sharply criticized a colleague’s months-long hold on the nominee to be the next Army secretary, calling it a foolish abuse of power.
House panel advances $610 billion spending plan with bigger pay raise, more end strength –
House Armed Services Committee members advanced a $610 billion defense policy bill early April 28 that supporters say will fully fund the military’s needs and critics blasted as another budgeting gimmick that creates more problems than it solves.
Congress is pressuring the Pentagon to let more troops carry guns on base –
Irritated by the Pentagon’s failure to establish rules authorizing more military personnel to carry personal firearms while on duty, House lawmakers have threatened to withhold funding if the Defense Department doesn’t finalize a plan soon.
HASC passes major DOD policy bill for 2017 –
The House Armed Services Committee early April 28 voted to add billions to a list of Defense Department weapons programs and signed off on a $583 billion Pentagon budget that blurs the lines between wartime funding and base-budget requirements.
GOP defense hawks’ election-year spending spree –
Seeking to boost their election-year bona fides as champions of national defense, House Republicans are proposing to sharply increase spending on Pentagon weapons systems by siphoning money from military operations in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere.
JTACs using live video feeds to target ISIS –
The Air Force’s elite Joint Terminal Attack Controllers are among the battlefield airmen who are helping wage war against the Islamic State militant group.
The vision for the future ground vehicle looks a lot like a dune buggy –
The Army and Marine Corps’ next-generation ground combat vehicle could be designed to avoid threats rather than withstand them.
Steel cut for new U.S. Navy destroyer –
A Huntington Ingalls Industries shipyard has begun construction of a new Arleigh Burke-class (DDG 51) destroyer for the U.S. Navy.
Proteus underwater vehicle completes unmanned endurance test –
A dual-mode undersea vehicle developed by Undersea Solutions Group and Battelle has successfully completed endurance testing.


Large veterans reform bill promises ‘a new VA’ –
Senate leaders unveiled a massive veterans reform package April 28 that includes sweeping new accountability rules for Department of Veterans Affairs employees, a dramatic expansion of the veterans caregiver program, and promises of changing the agency to a more veteran-friendly culture.
Senators unveil Veterans First Act –
Senators took fresh steps this week in the slow effort to reform the beleaguered Veterans Affairs Department and hold it more accountable just as news broke of a new scandal — cockroaches in food at a VA hospital in Chicago.
VA reform bill would make it easier to fire employees –
The long-awaited omnibus VA reform bill made its debut on April 28, proposing stark changes in how the agency disciplines senior executives charged with wrongdoing.