Headlines – May 4, 2016



U.S. weighs more troops, hi-tech weapons in Europe to counter Russia –
Seeking to stare down any future Russian aggression, the United States is looking to deploy more troops and sophisticated weapons to Europe, the U.S. military’s top officer told Foreign Policy.


Lockheed Martin gets $1.3 billion for F-35 plus-ups –
The Pentagon has awarded Lockheed Martin a $1.3 billion contract for advance work on 13 F-35s added to an 11th batch of joint strike fighters during budget negotiations last year, according to the program office.
Lockheed still supporting portable nuclear generator –
Lockheed Martin continues to invest in its portable nuclear fusion generator, with that investment recently entering a more advanced stage, according to the head of the company’s Skunk Works division.
Boeing KC-46 Tanker $3 billion production decision slips to June –
The decision to approve Low-Rate Initial Production contracts for 19 tankers has been delayed again, by one month, as Boeing verifies fix to refueling system glitches needed to transfer fuel to heavy aircraft.
Researchers looking to extend howitzer’s range to more than 40 miles –
While the U.S. military was fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, some potential adversaries were beefing up their weapons systems.
New BMP-1 upgrade developed in Ukraine –
Ukrainian industry has developed to the prototype stage a major upgrade package for the Russian BMP-1 tracked infantry fighting vehicle.
Scorpion readied for another starring role at Farnborough –
A production version of the Textron AirLand Scorpion jet with a modified wing and landing gear is coming together in the same Wichita facility where the demonstrator was secretly constructed over an 18-month period three years ago.
India begins sea trials of first Scorpene submarine –
The first of six Kalvari (Scorpene)-class diesel-electric attack submarines (SSKs) on order for the Indian Navy has begun its maiden sea trials, the Indian Ministry of Defence announced May 1.
Textron demonstrates VTOL Aerosonde as it snags U.S. Army Shadow contract –
Textron Systems says it has successfully demonstrated a vertical takeoff and landing with its Aerosonde unmanned air vehicle using the hybrid quadcopter technology that it is pursuing along with Latitude Engineering and Cloud Cap Technology.
Leonardo unveils lightweight Osprey AESA radar –
Europe’s newly-renamed Leonardo Airborne & Space Systems has expanded its product portfolio, announcing a new lightweight active electronically scanned array radar has been selected by a trio of customers.
Harris wins Middle East radio contracts –
Harris Corp. has been awarded $20 million in Army contracts to modernize communications for several Middle Eastern and North African nations.
SAGEM Paseo enters production –
SAGEM is producing its Paseo modular advanced stabilized sighting system for an undisclosed export customer.
Lockheed Martin gets $1.2 billion contract mod for 13 F-35s –
Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $1.2 billion contract for the production of 13 F-35 Lightning II aircraft.


Thornberry fires back att SecDef over OCO spending –
HASC Chairman Rep. Mac Thornberry, responding to comments by Defense Secretary Ash Carter which we reported May 3, rejected criticisms about a spending gimmick the House Armed Services Committee chairman hopes to use to improve readiness for the U.S. military.
U.S. Air Force to seek smaller UAS –
The United States Air Force plans to soon seek smaller unmanned aerial systems after 20 years of operating only larger aircraft such as the General Atomics-Aeronautical Systems MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper.
U.S. Air Force not expecting ‘MQ-X’, but may seek auto landing tech –
The U.S. Air Force is not currently considering a next-generation replacement for its MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper, dubbed MQ-X by some, as too many other major programs make this unfeasible in the near term, but may soon pursue auto take-off and landing technology.
Army kept $35 million of obsolete, excess Gray Eagle parts on books –
The Army is ineffectively managing spare parts for General Atomics Gray Eagle reconnaissance drone, a new Pentagon Inspector General audit says.
Delayed maintenance threatens Navy’s ability to meet missions –
After years of long and repeated deployments to the Middle East, the Navy’s fleet of warships is behind on maintenance, possibly threatening the service’s ability to meet future missions overseas.
U.S. Army would like ‘more expeditionary’ UAS –
The U.S. Army hopes industry can help develop unmanned aerial systems technology better suited for expeditionary operations and maneuver warfare.
LCS gets improved Fire Scout software –
The Navy’s Littoral Combat Ships are upgrading their capabilities to control their MQ-8 Fire Scout unmanned helicopters.
Marines explore Expeditionary Robo-Pallet for cargo –
The U.S. Marine Corps hopes to potentially ease the burden on marines loading and unloading aircraft during resupply missions in austere or dangerous areas by deploying an autonomous cargo system.


Senate caves to all of union’s demands on Veterans Affairs Firing Bill –
All of a federal employee union’s objections were removed from a Senate bill designed to help the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) discipline bad employees, making it politically easier for the bill to pass, but indicating it may not be doing the very thing it’s supposed to.
The story of the SEAD Black Buck missions flown by Royal Air Force Vulcan bombers during the Falklands War –
The RAF Avro Vulcan was initially planned to be retired in early 1982 but the outbreak of the Falklands War, in April that year, postponed the withdrawal of the most distinctive among the bombers that (along with Vickers Valiant and Handley Page Victor) formed the Britain’s nuclear deterrent V-force.


The most complete map of Pluto’s frozen landscape –
The latest images woven into the map were sent back to Earth as recently as April 25, and the team will continue to add photos as the spacecraft transmits the rest of its stored Pluto encounter data.
Alien-hunting ExoMars mission is delayed two years –
The second stage of a joint European-Russian mission, sending a rover to search for signs of life on Mars, will be delayed from 2018 to 2020 because of problems with industrial contractors.