News Briefs – June 5, 2019


Boeing warns of potential wing problems in some 737 aircraft

Boeing is telling some airlines flying its 737 model to replace a part on the planes’ wings, a move that could affect more than 100 aircraft.
Boeing said on June 2 that it is working with federal regulators and contacted airlines about potential problems discovered in one batch of “slat tracks” produced by a supplier. The company said it has identified 21 planes most likely to have the parts in question, and it’s advising airlines to check an additional 112 planes. The replacement work should take one to two days after the parts are in hand.
That total does not include the 179 737 Max aircraft that could also have the parts in question. The 737 Max was grounded worldwide following two crashes involving the model. AP

House subcommittee to hold 2nd hearing on Boeing Max safety

A U.S. House subcommittee will hold a second hearing on the safety of Boeing’s 737 Max jets on June 19, according to two people briefed on the matter.
They say the group wants to hear from front-line users of the planes, including pilots and flight attendants. Neither person wanted to be identified because the date hasn’t been formally released.
The Aviation Subcommittee of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure held its first hearing May 15 with Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board officials.
Two of the planes have crashed in the past year in Ethiopia and Indonesia, killing 346 people. The planes have been grounded worldwide as Boeing reworks flight control software that has been implicated as the cause. AP

Judge removes prosecutor from Navy SEAL war crimes case

A military judge has removed the lead prosecutor accused of misconduct from the war crimes case of a decorated Navy SEAL.
Defense attorney Tim Parlatore says Capt. Aaron Rugh made the ruling June 3 after he and other attorneys for Chief Edward Gallagher excoriated prosecutors for tracking their emails without court approval to find the source of news leaks.
Rugh unexpectedly released Gallagher from custody last week as a remedy for interference by prosecutors.
The removal could delay the trial scheduled to start June 10.
Republicans say Gallagher has been mistreated and President Donald Trump has considered dismissing the charges as commander-in-chief.
Gallagher has pleaded not guilty to murder in the death of an injured teenage militant in Iraq in 2017. AP

California turns to military technology to help fight fires

California is improving cooperation with the Pentagon as it tries to avoid another deadly, destructive fire season.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said June 3 that the Defense Department has agreed to provide information from a Cold War-era military satellite to help spot new wildfires.
The defense secretary also gave the California National Guard blanket approval through year’s end to use unmanned drones to map fires, count destroyed houses and spot survivors. The drones can peer through smoke, work at night and stay aloft much longer than manned aircraft.
Previously, state officials had to get separate federal approval each time they wanted to use the unarmed drones.
The agreements are another step in preparing for wildfires like ones that devastated the Northern California city of Paradise last fall. AP

Acting defense chief: Major drills with South Korea still on hold

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan says so far he sees no need to restore large-scale military exercises with South Korea that have been curtailed over the past year as a diplomatic olive branch to North Korea.
But he also says he wants to discuss the issue with his top American commander in South Korea, Army Gen. Robert Abrams, to “make sure that the plan that we put in place is sufficient.”
Shanahan made the comments June 2 as he flew to Seoul to meet with his commanders and South Korean officials.
Shanahan’s visit to Seoul comes as the U.S. and partners in the region weigh how to respond to missile tests conducted last month by North Korea. AP

China vows military action if Taiwan, sea claims opposed

China’s defense minister is warning its military will “resolutely take action” to defend Beijing’s claims over self-ruled Taiwan and disputed South China Sea waters.
Speaking at an annual security conference in Singapore on June 2, Wei Fenghe says: “Should anybody risk crossing the bottom line, the PLA will resolutely take action and defeat all enemies.”
The PLA stands for the People’s Liberation Army.
He defended China’s right to build “limited defense facilities” in the contested South China Sea, where its sweeping claims are challenged by several smaller neighbors.
On June 1, U.S. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told the same gathering that China’s efforts to militarize man-made outposts in the South China Sea are a “toolkit of coercion,” saying activities by Beijing the U.S. perceives as hostile must end. AP