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Dec 14, 2013

Lockheed aims to deliver all 36 F-35 jets in 2013, sees progress on program

FORT WORTH, Texas, Dec 13 (Reuters) – Lockheed Martin Corp
still expects to deliver the final seven of 36 F-35
fighter jets to the U.S. government from its Fort Worth, Texas
facility, before year-end despite a five-day halt in test
flights due to bad weather over the past week, the company’s
F-35 program manager said on Friday.

Lorraine Martin, executive vice president and F-35 general
manager, said 2013 has been a transformative year for the $392
billion program, marking the beginning of pilot and maintainer
training, reductions in production costs, and progress on
software, weapons testing and other technical issues.

Dec 12, 2013

Exelis spinoff not preparation for possible sale -CEO

WASHINGTON, Dec 12 (Reuters) – David Melcher, chief
executive of Exelis Inc, said a spinoff of the company’s
services business was not aimed at preparing either entity for a
possible takeover and there had been no “pre-existing” talks
about any such deals.

“That is not the intent,” Melcher told Reuters after Exelis
announced its plan to spin off its Mission Systems business by
the summer of 2014. “The intent is to continue to operate both
of these companies in the marketplace.”

Dec 11, 2013

U.S. arms maker Exelis to spin off services business

WASHINGTON, Dec 11 (Reuters) – Exelis Inc, which was
spun off from ITT Corp in late 2011, on Wednesday
announced it would now spin off its military and government
services business, creating a new independent firm with revenues
of about $1.5 billion, and focusing the remaining portfolio on
higher margin sectors.

In a statement, the company said the transaction would be
tax-free to Exelis and its shareholders, and should be completed
by the summer of 2014.

Dec 10, 2013

U.S. defense bill boosts funding for missile defense to $9.5 billion

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A compromise defense bill proposed on Monday by U.S. lawmakers would boost spending on missile defense by $358 million to $9.5 billion, mandating an additional homeland defense radar and increasing funding for U.S.-Israeli cooperative efforts.

Leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives Armed Services committees released details of a slimmed-down defense authorization bill for fiscal 2014 late on Monday, calling for a final vote on the measure before Congress leaves for the year.

Dec 9, 2013

Boeing must decide on F/A-18 production in March 2014: executive

NAVAL AIR STATION PATUXENT RIVER, Maryland (Reuters) – Boeing Co (BA.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) must decide in March 2014 whether to invest tens of millions of dollars to continue production of the F/A-18 fighter jet, a senior Boeing executive said on Monday, underscoring his confidence that sufficient orders would emerge to keep the plane in production until beyond 2020.

“I know where my money is betting,” said Mike Gibbons, vice president of F/A-18 Super Hornet and EA-18 Growler programs at Boeing, told reporters after a U.S. Navy ceremony celebrating the 35th anniversary of the first flight of the original F/A-18 Hornet at the headquarters of the Navy’s aviation command.

Dec 7, 2013

Pentagon sees ‘significant interest’ in F-35 from Gulf

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Strong demand from Gulf countries for Lockheed Martin Corp’s F-35 fighter jet has prompted Washington to grapple with the thorny question about releasing the jet to the region sooner than expected, a senior U.S. defense official said.

Washington has already approved sales of the new stealth fighter to a range of allies, including Turkey, South Korea, Japan and Israel, but sales to the Gulf require a deeper review given U.S. policy guidelines that call for Israel to maintain a qualitative military edge in the Middle East.

Dec 6, 2013

U.S. lawmaker urges continuation of Boeing F/A-18 fighter line

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Randy Forbes, a key member of the House Armed Services Committee, on Thursday urged Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to rethink the U.S. Navy’s current plan to allow Boeing Co’s F/A-18 fighter jet production to close in 2016.

Forbes released a December 4 letter to Hagel in which he raised concerns about the fighter industrial base and warned about relying solely on the next-generation F-35C fighter jet being developed by Lockheed Martin Corp since it will not be ready for operational use on an aircraft carrier until 2019.

Dec 5, 2013

Pentagon focused on weapons, data fusion as F-35 nears combat use

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Lockheed Martin Corp’s F-35 fighter jet is making good progress as it nears initial combat use by the U.S. Marine Corps in July 2015, but the company must still finalize the software needed to deliver weapons and fuse data from its many sensors, the Pentagon’s F-35 program chief told Reuters on Wednesday.

“Getting to 2015 there’s a whole lot of things that have to be put in place, not the least of which is the software on the program,” Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan, the Air Force three-star general who took over the helm of the $392 billion F-35 program around one year ago, said in an interview.

Dec 4, 2013

Air Force says R&D funding may face cuts with sequestration

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Air Force may have to cut funding for research and development unless Congress reverses a law requiring across the board spending cuts, the No. 2 Air Force acquisition official said.

Lieutenant General Charles Davis, military deputy to the Air Force’s top weapons buyer, said Pentagon leaders were determined to protect funding in new technologies, but the Air Force would have to cut funding in that area somewhat to ensure the readiness of its forces if sequestration stayed in effect.

Dec 4, 2013

Video wades into Lockheed-Boeing battle over Canadian jet orders

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A new video is circulating on the Internet that pokes fun at Lockheed Martin Corp’s (LMT.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) F-35 fighter jet while lauding the F/A-18 built by rival Boeing Co (BA.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the latest salvo in an increasingly pitched battle over Canadian fighter orders.

In the video, two little boys compare what they were able to buy with the $10 they each got from their grandfather. One shows off his stealthy new F-35 fighter, while the other proudly reports that he was able to buy three F/A-18 plus 10 years’ worth of logistics support for the same amount.