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Nov 7, 2014

U.S. Aegis system zaps cruise, ballistic missile targets in test

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Aegis missile defense system on Thursday destroyed two cruise missile targets and one ballistic missile target nearly simultaneously in a test conducted by a U.S. Navy destroyer off the coast of Hawaii, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency said.

The test, which took place just after noon Hawaii time, validated a new upgrade of the Aegis missile defense system built by Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), and two different missiles built by Raytheon Co (RTN.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the agency said.

Nov 6, 2014

U.S. Air Force studying ways to keep F-35 target date on track

WASHINGTON, Nov 6 (Reuters) – The U.S. Air Force is studying
ways to meet its August 2016 target for declaring the new
Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jet ready for use in
combat, despite an unexpected shortage of mechanics, a top Air
Force general said on Thursday.

Lieutenant General Stephen Hoog, assistant vice chief of
staff of the Air Force, confirmed that the timeline was in
jeopardy because congressional moves to block the retirement of
the A-10 aircraft meant the Air Force would be unable to shift
the required number of expert mechanics to the F-35 program.

Nov 5, 2014

South Korea cancels F-16 upgrade deal with BAE Systems: Pentagon

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government on Wednesday said it had canceled, at the request of South Korea, a preliminary contract with the U.S. unit of Britain’s BAE Systems (BAES.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) to upgrade 134 F-16 fighter jets, ending a major arms deal initially valued at $1.7 billion.

The unusual move, announced by the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency, paves the way for South Korea to pursue a similar upgrade deal with Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the warplanes’ original manufacturer.

Nov 5, 2014

McCain could shake up U.S. defense in powerful new Senate role

WASHINGTON, Nov 5 (Reuters) – Senator John McCain’s voice
just got a whole lot louder.

One of President Barack Obama’s noisiest detractors, McCain
is expected to take the helm of the powerful Armed Services
Committee in the new Republican-controlled U.S. Senate when the
U.S. Congress convenes in January.

Nov 3, 2014

Lockheed F-35 fighter jet lands on U.S. aircraft carrier: spokesman

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The first of two Lockheed Martin Corp F-35C fighter jets landed successfully on the USS Nimitz off the coast of San Diego on Monday, marking the new warplane’s first landing on an aircraft carrier using its tailhook system, the Pentagon said.

Joe DellaVedova, spokesman for the Pentagon’s F-35 joint program office, said the landing was part of a two-week sea-based test that runs through Nov. 17.

Oct 31, 2014

Lack of mechanics threatens U.S. Air Force target date for F-35

WASHINGTON, Oct 30 (Reuters) – The U.S. Air Force may miss
its target of August 2016 to start using the Lockheed Martin
Corp F-35 fighter jet in combat if Congress blocks the
service’s plan to retire its A-10 tank-killer aircraft, a top
U.S. general said Thursday.

Air Force Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan, the Pentagon’s
F-35 program chief, told reporters the Air Force was counting on
training experienced A-10 mechanics to help reach the total
1,100 mechanics needed to declare that the F-35 had reached
“initial operational capability” or IOC.

Oct 31, 2014

Boeing exec says NASA crash underscores need for new U.S. engine

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The crash of an unmanned Orbital Sciences Antares rocket is a “wake-up call” to the U.S. space community about the need to develop a new U.S. rocket engine, the head of Boeing Co’s defense division said on Thursday.

Chris Chadwick, chief executive of Boeing Defense, Space and Security, said the failure of the rocket on Tuesday was a “sad and tragic” reminder that the space business was complex and difficult, but he did not expect a lasting setback to the overall industry.

Oct 30, 2014

Pratt wins $1.05 bln U.S. deal for 48 more F-35 engines

WASHINGTON, Oct 30 (Reuters) – Engine maker Pratt & Whitney
on Thursday said it had won a contract to build an eighth batch
of 48 engines for the F-35 fighter jet built by Lockheed Martin
Corp, bringing the total value of the deal to $1.05

Pratt, a unit of United Technologies Corp, said the
new contract was for $793 million, on top of $259 million in
preliminary funds awarded and would lower the average cost of
the engines between 3.5 percent and 4.5 percent.

Oct 30, 2014

NASA explosion fuels concerns about Russian engines, oversight

WASHINGTON, Oct 29 (Reuters) – The explosion of an Orbital
Science Corp supply rocket over Virginia could
accelerate U.S. efforts to replace aging Russian space
technology with a pricey homegrown rocket engine.

Even before the crash on Tuesday, Orbital had planned to
switch to another engine for future launches, given the age of
Soviet-era motors now in use as well as uncertainty about future

Oct 29, 2014

Exclusive: BAE Systems says U.S. halted its work on F-16 upgrades for South Korea

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. unit of Britain’s BAE Systems Plc on Tuesday said the U.S. Air Force has halted some of the company’s initial work on a project to upgrade South Korea’s F-16 fighter jets amid ongoing talks about the second phase of the project.

“We remain concerned about the lack of progress in the negotiations between the Republic of Korea and the U.S. Air Force on the KF-16 upgrade program that has now resulted in a partial stop work order,” said BAE spokesman Brian Roehrkasse.