News Briefs – May 27, 2016


Navy: Two fighter jets collide off NC coast

RALEIGH, N.C.–Two Navy jet fighters collided off the coast of North Carolina during a routine training mission May 26, sending four people to the hospital, officials said.
The F/A-18 Super Hornet jet fighters, based in Virginia Beach, Va., collided about 10:40 a.m. off the coast of Cape Hatteras, said Navy spokesman Ensign Mark Rockwellpate. Four crew members were taken to a hospital in Norfolk, but Rockwellpate said he didn’t have information about the extent of their injuries.
A safety investigation will be carried out to determine the cause of the accident, he said.
The four survivors were plucked off a commercial fishing ship that pulled them out of the Atlantic Ocean and flown by Coast Guard helicopter to a hospital in Norfolk, Virginia, said Coast Guard spokesman Petty Officer 3rd Class Joshua Canup.
The helicopter was dispatched from the Coast Guard’s air station in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. The station’s helicopters perform ocean search-and-rescue operations off North Carolina and Virginia as far east as Bermuda. AP

U.S. worries about declining precision weapons stocks for wars

The commander of U.S. Air Forces in the Middle East says he’s concerned about running low on precision-guided weapons needed for the war against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.
Air Force Lt. Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. is commander of U.S. Air Forces Central Command. Brown says the U.S. has been going through more weapons than officials forecast. He says the U.S. is reviewing whether to take stocks from other regions around the world to meet the war needs, and how soon that should be done.
Brown oversees U.S. air operations in the Middle East. He says the Air Force is taking steps to buy more weapons.
The U.S. is spending about $2.7 million a day on munitions for the war. AP

Feds blame death of Yuma Marine on pilot, service mistakes

Federal investigators are blaming the Marine Corps, the Air Force and the pilot and operator of a privately-owned military jet for the death of a Marine killed last year when the jet crashed into his truck while taking off from a base in Arizona.
A National Transportation Safety Board report says the pilot of the BAE Systems Hawk jet lifted off from the Marine Corps Air Station Yuma runway before achieving adequate airspeed on March 11, 2015.
The British-built jet flying on a mission for the Air Force stalled, veered off the left side of the runway and eventually hit Lance Cpl. Anthony T. DuBeau’s pickup. The 23-year-old from Kenosha, Wisc., was providing safety oversight for a construction crew working alongside the runway.
The NTSB report released last month blamed the pilot for taking off too early. It also blamed aircraft operator Air USA, Inc. for adopting a takeoff setting that made the plane more likely to lift off early. The agency says the Air Force failed to properly oversee Air USA’s operations and the Marine Corps should not have allowed construction activity along an active runway. AP

U.S. Army to test driverless vehicle technology in Michigan

A convoy of U.S. Army vehicles will cruise along a stretch of Interstate 69 in Michigan as part of an initial testing of driverless military vehicle equipment on public roadways.
Representatives from the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center and the Michigan Department of Transportation held public information sessions on the testing May 23 in eastern Michigan.
In late June, the vehicles will test a piece of technology that’s critical in the development and testing of driverless and connected vehicles, the Times Herald of Port Huron reported. Someone will be behind the wheel of each vehicle, which is equipped with features from the driverless vehicle systems, including adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist, The Flint Journal reported.
Six radio transmitters will be set up along Interstate 69 to allow for groups of five vehicles to broadcast speed, distance, and traffic issues as directed over the frequency, said Alex Kade, chief system architect in ground vehicle robotics for the Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center.
If the testing is successful, the technology could save the lives of soldiers serving overseas, according to officials.
Kade said the advancement of driverless vehicles could help cut down on accidents and dangerous combat situations for soldiers, especially in places where bombs and improvised explosive devices could be hidden.
The stretch of I-69 in St. Clair and Lapeer counties in Michigan was chosen for the testing because of its proximity to and international border crossing and to the Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center’s headquarters at the U.S. Army Detroit Arsenal in Warren, said Doug Halleaux, the center’s public affairs officer.
Interstate 69 will remain open to traffic during the testing period. AP