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Feb 26, 2015

U.S. Navy opens door to more orders of Boeing jets

WASHINGTON, Feb 26 (Reuters) – The U.S. Navy on Thursday
opened the door to further purchases of Boeing Co F/A-18
fighter jets and EA-18G fighter jets, saying it may ask
lawmakers to finance the planes as part of a list of “unfunded
priorities” to be sent to Congress.

More orders would help Boeing extend its St. Louis F/A-18
production line beyond 2017, but congressional aides and defense
officials said it remained unclear if Congress would ultimately
fund more jets at a time when it has yet to reach agreement
about removing budget caps that are due to resume in 2016.

Feb 26, 2015

Bid for more US defense funds gets chilly House reception

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. military officials seeking a big boost in defense spending received little encouragement on Thursday from a House panel reviewing their bid for more funds, with one lawmaker saying the extra money would have to be cut “with you or … without you.”

Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee in the House of Representatives, chided President Barack Obama for proposing a $534 billion Pentagon base budget that “ignores the law” by exceeding federal spending caps by nearly $35 billion.

Feb 25, 2015

Air Force seeks rethink of 2019 deadline for new U.S. rocket engine

WASHINGTON, Feb 25 (Reuters) – The U.S. Air Force on
Wednesday said it will release plans within months for replacing
the Russian-built RD-180 motors that now power some rockets used
to launch military satellites into space, but said it would
likely miss a 2019 congressional deadline to start using a new
U.S. engine.

Air Force Secretary Deborah James told the Senate
Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee that failure to
extend the 2019 deadline could lead to swapping one monopoly
provider of rocket launches for military satellites for another.

Feb 25, 2015

Army secretary optimistic on relief from budget caps

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Army Secretary John McHugh on Wednesday said he was optimistic lawmakers would agree to some form of relief from congressional budget caps for fiscal 2016, given widespread recognition the resulting spending cuts would undermine military readiness.

McHugh said that if the budget caps, known as sequestration, remained in place, U.S. lawmakers would have to make tough decisions about which missions it wanted to Army to abandon.

Feb 25, 2015

Senior admiral reiterates U.S. Navy commitment to F-35 warplane

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Navy remains committed to its plans to buy the carrier-based variant of Lockheed Martin Corp’s F-35 fighter jet and declare it ready for initial combat use by 2018, Vice Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Michelle Howard said on Tuesday.

Howard said there was no doubt the Navy would need tactical and strike aircraft based on aircraft carriers, and it was counting on the F-35 Lightning II to carry out that mission.

Feb 24, 2015

Lockheed F-35 heads for the ski jump in next key round of tests

WASHINGTON, Feb 24 (Reuters) – Lockheed Martin Corp’s
F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will start “ski-jump testing”
at a Maryland air base this week, while another B-model jet
wraps up six months of tests at temperatures as low as minus 40
degrees Fahrenheit (minus 40 Celsius) to as high as 120 F (49

Two UK pilots will test the ability of the new warplane to
take off from upward-sloping ski-jump ramps used on aircraft
carriers like those operated by Britain and Italy. The ramps
launch the jets forward and upward, reducing the thrust needed.

Feb 21, 2015

Lockheed-Boeing venture steps up to competitive challenge

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of the top two U.S. arms makers, on Friday said it will slash costs and hunt out new customers to ensure continued growth despite the rise of a new rival, privately-held Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX.

Tory Bruno, who took over as chief executive of the 50-50 venture of Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co in August, told Reuters he was confident the company would survive increased competition and even prosper in the coming age of heightened activity and exploitation of space.

Feb 20, 2015

Exclusive: Orbital explosion probe said to find debris in engine: sources

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Last October’s explosion of Orbital ATK Inc’s Antares rocket may have been triggered when debris inadvertently left in a fuel tank traveled into the booster’s main engine, two people familiar with investigations into the accident told Reuters.

The sources said the preliminary findings suggest that a simple assembly mistake by Orbital ATK could have caused the explosion, which destroyed a cargo ship bound for the International Space Station.

Feb 19, 2015

US approves export of new Raytheon sensor for Patriot missiles

WASHINGTON, Feb 19 (Reuters) – The U.S. government has
approved Raytheon Co to export a new Active
Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) sensor based on gallium
nitride semiconductor technology to countries that have Patriot
missile defense systems, the company said Thursday.

Raytheon has invested more than $150 million over the past
15 years in gallium nitride, or GaN, and it is part of a new Air
and Missile Defense Radar that Raytheon is building for the U.S.
Navy, as well as several Air Force programs.

Feb 19, 2015

Lockheed sees no capacity issue if it won U.S. Air Force bomber deal

WASHINGTON, Feb 18 (Reuters) – Lockheed Martin Corp
executives said on Wednesday they were confident the company
would not face capacity constraints working on both the F-35
program and a new bomber if the U.S. Air Force chose its joint
bomber bid with Boeing Co.

“Our aeronautics business has the capacity to execute the
scope of work that we have on the bomber program,” Orlando
Carvalho, who heads Lockheed’s aeronautics division, told
Reuters in an interview during the company’s annual media day.