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Jan 25, 2014

Pentagon F-35 program says “laser-focused” on software issues

WASHINGTON, Jan 24 (Reuters) – The Pentagon’s F-35 program
office on Friday said it was “laser-focused” on finishing
development of the software needed for the U.S. Marine Corps to
start using its Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jets
from mid-2015.

The Pentagon’s chief weapons tester warned in a report
obtained by Reuters and published on Thursday that a possible
13-month delay in F-35 software development, coupled with
maintenance and reliability problems, could delay the Marine
Corps’ plans.

Jan 24, 2014

Raytheon to keep next-generation jammer contract -U.S. Navy

WASHINGTON, Jan 24 (Reuters) – The U.S. Navy on Friday said
it was sticking with Raytheon Co as prime contractor for
next-generation radar-jamming technology seen valued at billions
of dollars in coming years, despite a November ruling by the
U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) that upheld a
protest against the award.

Raytheon in July beat out BAE Systems and a team
comprised of Northrop Grumman Corp and Exelis Inc
to win the Navy contract for the jamming system.
The GAO in November backed a BAE challenge of
the contract, which was initially valued at $279 million but
could be worth many multiples of that over coming decades,
according to analysts

Jan 24, 2014

Boeing, General Dynamics reach $400 million A-12 settlement with U.S. Navy

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Boeing Co (BA.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and General Dynamics Corp (GD.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) on Thursday each agreed to give the U.S. Navy $200 million in aircraft and services to settle an epic, 23-year legal dispute over cancellation of the $4.8 billion A-12 stealth aircraft in 1991.

The agreement resolves the last of series of legal cases spawned in 1991 when then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney canceled the A-12 Avenger II program after it ran into major schedule delays and cost overruns in the 1980s.

Jan 23, 2014

Exclusive: Pentagon report faults F-35 on software, reliability

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A new U.S. Defense Department report warns that ongoing software, maintenance and reliability problems with Lockheed Martin Corp’s F-35 stealth fighter could delay the Marine Corps’ plans to start using its F-35 jets by mid-2015.

The latest report by the Pentagon’s chief weapons tester, Michael Gilmore, provides a detailed critique of the F-35′s technical challenges, and focuses heavily on what it calls the “unacceptable” performance of the plane’s software, according to a 25-page draft obtained by Reuters.

Jan 23, 2014

Lockheed sees relief for defense spending after 2014 ‘trough’

WASHINGTON, Jan 23 (Reuters) – Lockheed Martin Corp,
maker of F-35 fighter jets, satellites and warships, on Thursday
forecast higher earnings in 2014 after charges linked to U.S.
defense budget cuts and workforce reductions depressed earnings
in the fourth quarter.

Lockheed Chief Financial Officer Bruce Tanner told reporters
2014 would likely mark a “trough” in U.S. military spending,
with recent budget agreements paving the way for a more stable
outlook going forward.

Jan 23, 2014

Britain may order 14 F-35 jets as early as next week: sources

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain may announce an order for 14 Lockheed Martin-built F-35 super-stealth jets as early as next week, three sources familiar with the talks told Reuters.

The so called ‘Main Gate 4′ order, for the F-35 B vertical take-off variant of the Joint Strike Fighter, would mark the Britain’s first firm F-35 purchase since it committed to buying 48 planes in 2012.

Jan 22, 2014

General Dynamics shares rise on buyback pledge

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – General Dynamics Corp (GD.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) shares rose more than 5 percent on Wednesday after the maker of Gulfstream business jets and Navy ships posted higher-than-expected quarterly results, and pledged to buy back 11.4 million shares in the first quarter.

Chief Executive Phebe Novakovic, marking her first year on the job, forecast lower earnings and revenues in 2014 but said there was more upside than downside on revenues and that the company would likely adjust its earnings guidance upward in the second quarter after the share repurchase.

Jan 22, 2014

U.S. firms eye $2.43 billion Singapore F-16 order

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Defense Department has notified Congress that it had approved the sale to Singapore of upgrades for 60 F-16 fighter jets, setting off a potential competition for an order valued at $2.43 billion.

The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency, or DSCA, said Singapore had requested an upgrade of 60 aging F-16 jets built by Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) to improve their reliability and effectiveness in combat.

Jan 22, 2014

Lockheed overstates F-35 jobs: think tank

WASHINGTON, Jan 22 (Reuters) – Lockheed Martin Corp’s
estimate that its F-35 fighter plane program supports
125,000 jobs in the United States is “greatly exaggerated” and
the real amount may be half that number, according to a new
think tank report issued Wednesday.

William Hartung, a longtime critic of the $392 billion F-35
program, argues in the report issued by the nonprofit Center for
International Policy that Lockheed is overstating the number of
F-35-related jobs to shore up support for the program.

Jan 12, 2014

Exclusive: U.S. investigating Honeywell over export, import controls

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department is investigating export and import procedures at Honeywell International Inc after the firm included Chinese parts in equipment it built for the F-35 fighter jet, three sources familiar with the matter said.

Reuters last week reported that the Pentagon twice waived laws banning Chinese-built components in U.S. weapons in 2012 and 2013 for parts supplied by Honeywell for the $392 billion Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 program.