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Mar 19, 2015

U.S. missile defense agency warns of “jeopardy” from budget cuts

WASHINGTON, March 19 (Reuters) – Further budget cuts would
put the U.S. military’s ability to protect the United States in
“serious jeopardy” at a time when Iran and North Korea are
advancing their own missile programs, the head of the U.S.
Missile Defense Agency said on Thursday.

Vice Admiral James Syring told U.S. lawmakers that failure
to lift budget caps in fiscal 2016 would force him to delay
urgently needed steps aimed at improving the reliability of a
system that top military leaders have already called
“unsustainable” given growing threats and budget pressures.

Mar 19, 2015

Pentagon report sees drop in cost of Lockheed F-35, other weapons

WASHINGTON, March 19 (Reuters) – The Pentagon on Thursday
lowered the projected procurement cost of Lockheed Martin Corp’s
F-35 fighter jet by almost two percent and officials
vowed to keep trimming the cost of the largest U.S. arms

The U.S. Defense Department’s annual report on weapons
programs forecast it would cost $391.1 billion to buy 2,457 F-35
jets. That represents a drop of $7.5 billion, or 1.9 percent,
from last year’s estimate, due to lower labor and estimated
inflation rates, and a cut in the number of spares needed.

Mar 18, 2015

U.S. eyes Iran, N.Korea missile threats, boosts testing tempo

WASHINGTON, March 18 (Reuters) – The U.S. Missile Defense
Agency, citing growing missile threats from North Korea and
Iran, said on Wednesday the United States was carrying out
increasingly realistic tests of its missile defenses while also
beefing up cybersecurity.

MDA Director Navy Vice Admiral James Syring said North Korea
has fielded hundreds of missiles that could reach U.S. forces
based in South Korea and Japan, while Iran was stepping up work
on more sophisticated missiles.

Mar 18, 2015

Pentagon plans hard look at missile defense programs

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Defense Department has launched a major review of missile defense programs and capabilities, after military commanders called the current strategy “unsustainable” given tough budget pressures and rising threats around the world.

Former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel described the review in a Feb. 4 memo to top officers in the U.S. Army and Navy, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters.

Mar 18, 2015

U.S. moving ahead on bid to end reliance on Russian rocket engines

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Air Force plans to release a draft request for proposals next month in its bid to end U.S. reliance on Russian rocket engines, and could award initial study contracts by the end of the 2015 fiscal year, Air Force officials said Tuesday.

They told U.S. lawmakers the Air Force planned to focus the closely watched competition on launch services rather than development of a new American engine, since any engine must be closely integrated with the rocket it fuels.

Mar 17, 2015

Pentagon sets up panel to study electronic warfare requirements

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Defense Department has set up a new panel to study electronic warfare needs across the U.S. military and make recommendations to ensure the United States retains its competitive edge, a top Pentagon official said on Tuesday.

Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall and Admiral James Winnefeld, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will chair the panel, Deputy Secretary Robert Work told a conference hosted by McAleese & Associates and Credit Suisse.

Mar 17, 2015

Pentagon worries that arms wish lists push out needed programs

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Pentagon is concerned that congressional funding for lists of “unfunded priorities” submitted by the U.S. military services will drain money out of other higher-priority programs, a top official said on Tuesday.

Congress uses the unfunded lists as it shapes the yearly budget plan submitted by the Pentagon, often using them to promote specific programs. Big arms makers count on the lists to help underpin their lobbying efforts.

Mar 17, 2015

SpaceX says boosting output, on track for 13 rocket launches this year

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, is rapidly increasing production of the engines that power its Falcon 9 rocket and expects to meet its target of 13 launches and two test flights this year, President Gwynne Shotwell told Reuters.

SpaceX, the technology upstart founded by entrepreneur Elon Musk, is stepping up hiring of engineers and other workers to help boost production, including many from other sectors such as the automotive industry and the military, company officials said.

Mar 17, 2015

Senators blast slow Pentagon work to replace Russian rocket motor

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two U.S. senators are asking Defense Secretary Ash Carter to jumpstart a Pentagon initiative to develop a new U.S. rocket engine that could replace the Russian-built RD-180 motor, which powers a key rocket used to lift satellites into space.

Senators James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican, and Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat, both members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said they were concerned that the Defense Department and the Air Force were not complying with a law that seeks development of a U.S. alternate engine by 2019.

Mar 17, 2015

Boeing eyes satellite deal with tech giant this year

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Boeing Co (BA.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) on Monday said it could clinch a deal this year to build a high-throughput communications satellite for top technology companies such as Google Inc (GOOGL.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), Inc (AMZN.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), Facebook Inc (FB.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) or Apple Inc (AAPL.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz).

Jim Simpson, vice president of business development and chief strategist for Boeing Network and Space Systems, told Reuters the big technology firms were keen to expand Internet access around the world to help them grow.