Headlines – December 8, 2017



Enlisted combat pilots? The Air Force is launching a test that could lead to that –
The Air Force is launching a new pilot training program that will include enlisted airmen — and could eventually lead to them flying combat aircraft.
Pentagon now says 7,200 troops are in Iraq, Syria –
The Pentagon on Wednesday released its newly scrubbed tally of how many troops it has serving in Iraq. It’s a number that took months to generate and a figure that the military said represents a downward trend: 5,200.


Poland has sticker shock over ’unacceptable’ price tag for Patriot buy –
Poland has been pushing toward a purchase of a medium-range air-and-missile defense system for many years, settling on an unprecedented configuration of the Patriot system, but was surprised by the high cost presented by the U.S. State Department.
Israel declares F-35s ready for operations –
The Israeli Air Force on Dec. 6 declared its initial squadron of nine F-35 stealth fighters ready for operational use, less than a year after the first two fifth-generation fighters were delivered to the country by the U.S. Air Force.
Bold move backfires as Canada declines Naval Group-Fincantieri frigate offering –
Naval Group and Fincantieri are out of the running to compete in Canada’s program to acquire a fleet of new surface combatants after they failed to submit a bid through the formal process and instead sent a proposal directly to the Canadian government.
Leonardo works on ‘Europe’s first fully digital’ radar –
Italy’s Leonardo is edging closer to producing a fully digital, active electronically scanned array radar — the only one of its kind in Europe according to the firm — with initial components now being manufactured.
Leonardo wants clout in Italo-French naval integration –
As Italy and France edge closer to merging their largest military shipyards, the head of Italian defense group Leonardo has proposed a plan designed to ensure his products are used on future Italo-French warships.
Lockheed Martin wins $92.9 million MUOS contract –
Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $92.9 million Navy contract modification for the Mobile User Objective System narrowband satellite system.
High-tech projects enter limelight at France’s sixth Innovation Forum –
France’s procurement office, the Direction Générale de l’Armement, will opened Dec. 7 its annual Innovation Forum, a two-day trade show for small and medium-sized enterprises to present high-tech projects to prime contractors and the armed services.
Harris contracted by Army for radios for security force assistance brigades –
U.S. Army Security Force Assistance Brigades that train and organize coalition forces are to be equipped with Harris Corporation communications systems.
Boeing’s new KC-46A tanker completes first flight –
The first Boeing KC-46A tanker, expected to be delivered to the U.S. Air Force in 2018, completed its first flight, the company has announced.
Our chips, code are more secure than Silicon Valley’s: Northrop Grumman –
The Pentagon has fallen in love with Silicon Valley — though it’s largely unrequited — but traditional defense firms argue there are some things only they can do. One striking example: this Northrop Grumman factory, where the company makes its own microchips “from sand” with unique security features that are not available from commercial vendors.
Northrop gets second request from U.S. antitrust officials on Orbital deal –
U.S. defense contractor Northrop Grumman said Dec. 6 it received a second request from U.S. antitrust regulators for more information about its deal to buy Orbital ATK Inc.
Newly revealed experiment shows how F-35 could help intercept ICBMs –
In 2014, the sensor-studded plane demonstrated an ability to track missiles, leading to a “tactically significant” improvement in targeting.
Amid regional tensions, Qatar buys French-made fighter jets –
French President Emmanuel Macron sealed multi-billion dollar military and transport contracts in Qatar Dec. 7, including the sale of Rafale fighter jets and hundreds of armoured vehicles, amid mounting tensions in the Middle East.


Pentagon prepares to accept transgender recruits by Jan. 1 –
The Pentagon is preparing to comply with a federal court ruling saying the military must accept new transgender recruits by Jan. 1, even as officials are still weighing how to comply with President Donald Trump’s directive that they not be allowed to serve at all.
Army offers direct commissions to boost cyber force –
The Army is now offering direct commissions to experienced cyber professionals who want to serve as officers and bring in technical skills considered crucial to the service’s growing cyber force.
Aegis Combat System ‘virtual twin’ pilot program could lead to fielding faster upgrades –
The Navy will deploy a “virtual twin” of the Aegis Combat System in February that, if the pilot program proves successful, could one day help the service test new Aegis upgrades or add-ons on a cruiser or destroyer at-sea without interfering with that ship’s actual combat system and ability to operate.
Air Force chief: Budget caps would ‘devastate the Air Force’ –
As the clock ticks down on the government’s current funding stream, Air Force leaders are carefully watching Congress for signs of a budget deal.
DOD spent $7.4 billion on big data, AI, the cloud last year. Is that enough? –
Spurred by a desire to overmatch future foes with modern technology, the Defense Department is boosting investment in core tech areas such as artificial intelligence, big data and cloud computing. While spending in those three areas reached more than $7 billion in 2017 – a 32 percent increase over five years ago – anything short of a technological revolution could threaten the United States, according to a new report.
The solution to more jamming may be another battle management system –
The electromagnetic spectrum has become increasingly important to the Defense Department as adversaries seek to jam friendly signals or seize portions of the spectrum to prohibit its use by others.
SPAWAR: Artificial intelligence should be the next space race –
The push for artificial intelligence is slowing becoming the new buzz in both the commercial-civilian sector as well as the defense industrial complex.


Two sailors honored for bravery 76 years after Pearl Harbor attack –
On the 76th anniversary of the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, the Navy is posthumously honoring two sailors from USS Oklahoma (BB-37) and USS Vestal (AR-4) for bravery.
VA reverses course, won’t alter homeless program funding –
Veterans Affairs officials on Wednesday reversed course on plans to dramatically alter how funding for homeless veterans programs is handled, promising “absolutely no change in the funding” until fiscal 2019.
Number of homeless vets rises for first time in seven years –
The number of homeless veterans across America increased in 2017 for the first time in seven years, when government officials began their nationwide push to help impoverished former service members.
House finalizes bill allowing more VA medical center investigations –
House lawmakers easily finalized legislation Wednesday to let Veterans Affairs officials more easily identify and react to problems with their own health care facilities, as part of a broader effort to encourage accountability among department workers.
Veterans advocates rally at U.S. Capitol for expanded caregiver benefits –
When Coast Guard rescue swimmer Dave Riley lost all four limbs to a rare bacteria in 1997, his wife, Yvonne, gave up her career and freedom to become his full-time caregiver.