Headlines – February 3, 2021

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Afghanistan troop withdrawal should be tied with peace talk progress, says German foreign minister-
The withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan should be tied to progress in stuttering peace negotiations between the Kabul government and the Taliban, rather than “slavishly” bound to an end-of-April deadline, Germany’s foreign minister said Feb. 2.
 
Russia hints it may return to Open Skies Treaty if U.S. does-
Russia may consider returning to an international pact allowing surveillance flights over military facilities if the United States reverses its exit, the top Russian diplomat said Feb. 2.
 
 

Business

Report card is in for the U.S. defense industry’s health-
The health of America’s defense industrial base ranks a middling “C” due to growing cyber vulnerabilities, a poor ability to surge production in a crisis, and political obstacles for defense budgeting, according to a lead defense trade group’s new study.
 
Boeing’s F-15EX jet makes its first flight-
Boeing’s first F-15EX took to the skies for its inaugural flight on Feb. 2, a milestone that will allow the company to deliver the first two planes to the U.S. Air Force by the end of March.
 
Turkey launches F-16 life-extension program amid lack of replacement aircraft-
Turkey’s procurement and defense authorities have launched a program designed to increase the structural life of the country’s existing fleet of F-16 Block 30 jets from 8,000 flight hours to 12,000, the country’s top procurement official announced.
 
Israeli firm sells Harop, Rotem kamikaze drones to several Asian countries-
Israel Aerospace Industries on Feb. 1 announced more than $100 million in contracts for loitering munitions in three deals that include the Rotem VTOL and the Harop drones. The latter was sold in its land and naval versions.
 
Companies seek end to haggling over FCAS rights with fresh offer this week-
Airbus and Dassault executives hope to finalize their offer for the next phase of the Future Combat Air System by the end of the week, putting to rest a dispute over the handling of intellectual property rights that has been simmering between partner nations Germany, France and Spain.
 
Israel touts upgraded Iron Dome capabilities against land, maritime threats-
An upgraded version of the Iron Dome air defense system has reached a “significant milestone” after contending with advanced threats in a test, Israel’s Ministry of Defense announced Feb. 1.
 
With Deepwave Digital, Northrop Grumman is pushing processing to the edge-
Northrop Grumman says a new investment into small startup Deepwave Digital will allow it to push data processing much closer to the point of collection, decreasing the amount of data that needs to be transported and getting products to war fighters faster.
 
Huntington Ingalls wins $175 million Navy contract for aircraft carrier maintenance work-
Huntington Ingalls Industries will provide maintenance, training and planning support for aircraft carriers over the next five years under a new contract worth up to $175 million.
 
 

Defense

Biden decides to stick with Space Force as branch of U.S. military-
President Joe Biden is looking at all policies put in place by Republican predecessor Donald Trump, with a view toward possibly rolling them back, but not so the U.S. Space Force.
 
Deputy Defense secretary nominee: Transition obstruction created hurdles for Pentagon budget-
President Biden’s nominee to be the Defense Department’s No. 2 civilian suggested Feb. 2 the Trump administration’s obstruction of the presidential transition could delay the Pentagon’s fiscal 2022 budget request.
 
Every soldier a drone fighter: Plan would make counter-UAS training an Army requirement-
The head of the Pentagon’s counter-drone effort wants every soldier — from cooks to riflemen — trained to fight off swarms of enemy unmanned aerial systems, or UAS, capable of inflicting casualties on combat units.
 
Navy postpones USS Minneapolis-St. Paul commissioning after design defect discovered-
The U.S. Navy says the commissioning of the USS Minneapolis-St. Paul in Duluth is on hold after a design defect was discovered.
 
Navy looking at America, Ford class derivatives in new light aircraft carrier studies-
Greater emphasis on unmanned aircraft, including ones that take off and land vertically, could also impact light aircraft carrier proposals.
 
Navy may look to Army’s Future Vertical Lift program for Seahawk replacement-
The Navy is on the hunt for a helicopter to replace its MH-60 Seahawk and MQ-8 Fire Scout — and it’s looking to join the Army’s Future Vertical Lift program to find it.
 
Air Force study on future aerial refueling tanker could start in 2022-
The Air Force could begin to lay out its vision for a future aerial refueling tanker, previously known as KC-Z, as early as next year, the head of Air Mobility Command said Feb. 1.
 
 

Veterans

Senators want to extend grace period for reinstating tens of thousands of retirees’ lost Tricare Select coverage-
Two senators have introduced legislation to extend the reinstatement period for tens of thousands of military retirees who have lost their health care coverage because they didn’t set up their payments for the new enrollment fee.
 
VA has now administered more COVID-19 vaccine shots than 42 US states-
As he rolled up his sleeve to receive his first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, Department of Veterans Affairs Press Secretary Terrence Hayes said he was excited to get a shot that will decrease the likelihood he’ll bring the coronavirus home to his family.
 
 
 

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