WASHINGTON, Feb 6 (Reuters) – A $1.6 billion ground control
system being developed by Raytheon Co for Global
Positioning System (GPS)satellites passed a Pentagon review, but
will be monitored to ensure it stays on track, a senior Air
Force official said on Friday.
Major General Roger Teague, director of space programs for
the Air Force acquisition chief, told reporters Thursday’s
review by chief arms buyer Frank Kendall went well, but program
officials and the contractor got “tough marching orders” to
stick to schedule and cost targets.
By Andrea Shalal and Subrat Patnaik
(Reuters) – Harris Corp (HRS.N: Quote, Profile, Research) will buy Exelis Inc (XLS.N: Quote, Profile, Research) in a deal valued at about $4.75 billion, combining two big suppliers to the U.S. military at a time when the government is squeezing spending on defense.
Shares of Exelis soared as much as 37.4 percent to a record $24.34 on Friday, topping the $23.75 per share cash-and-stock offer from Harris.
WASHINGTON, Feb 6 (Reuters) – Northrop Grumman Corp
said on Friday it is designing and already building a new
aircraft for the upcoming U.S. Air Force T-X competition to
build 350 new training planes, an $11 billion program that
analysts say could double in value in coming years.
Northrop, which built the B-2 stealth bomber and makes the
center fuselage of the F-35 fighter jet, said it planned to fly
a prototype of the new trainer for the first time this year.
WASHINGTON, Feb 5 (Reuters) – The Pentagon’s plans to fund
50 percent more F-35 fighter jets in fiscal 2016 will help drive
down the price of the new plane and its engine, a top official
at engine maker Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies
Corp, said on Thursday.
Bennett Croswell, president of Pratt’s military engines
division, said the company had submitted a proposal for the
ninth and tenth batches of engines to the F-35 program office,
and he hoped to sign those agreements by the end of 2015.
WASHINGTON, Feb 5 (Reuters) – Sikorsky Aircraft, a unit of
United Technologies Corp, is seeing a big spike in
demand for its UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters from Eastern Europe,
a top company executive said on Thursday.
Several Eastern European countries have already submitted a
formal request for the aircraft to the U.S. government, Samir
Mehta, president of Sikorsky Defense Systems & Services, told
reporters at the company’s Washington office.
WASHINGTON, Feb 4 (Reuters) – Ashton Carter, President
Barack Obama’s nominee to lead the Pentagon, on Wednesday
underscored his determination to boost the U.S. defense budget,
drive down the cost of new weapons and make sure new
technologies are delivered to troops more quickly.
Carter, who served as the Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer and
the No. 2 official before leaving for a stint in the private
sector, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that there was
no “silver bullet” to fix the way the Pentagon buys weapons.
WASHINGTON, Feb 4 (Reuters) – The U.S. government on
Wednesday announced a two-year project aimed at making it easier
for NATO and member countries to share costs and buy weapons as
a group as they struggle to stretch scarce defense budgets.
Under the initiative, the U.S. Defense Department and State
Departments will consider on a case-by-case basis requests to
buy U.S. equipment from a “lead nation” or international
organization on behalf of others.
WASHINGTON, Feb 4 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s
nominee for defense secretary on Wednesday vowed to cut through
“red tape” slowing U.S. arms deliveries to Jordan, which plans
to step up its fight against Islamic State after the killing of
a captured Jordanian pilot.
Ashton Carter, a former No. 2 Pentagon official, told the
Senate Armed Services Committee it was important for Jordan to
be able to acquire the weapons it needed, and he would work to
address concerns raised by King Abdullah during a meeting with
committee members on Tuesday.
WASHINGTON, Feb 4 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s pick
to become U.S. defense secretary told Congress on Wednesday he
was leaning in favor of providing arms to Ukraine, in what would
be a departure from U.S. policy that opponents say could fan the
flames of war.
Ashton Carter, a former Pentagon No. 2, said he would “very
much incline” in supplying defensive arms to Ukraine, adding the
United States needed to support the country’s efforts to defend
itself against Russian-backed separatists. U.S. officials have
acknowledged taking a fresh look at the issue.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Air Force’s fiscal 2016 budget plan earmarks $7.1 billion for space programs, including a 10th Global Positioning System III satellite by Lockheed Martin Corp, and sets the stage for future competition for such satellites.
Lockheed won the contract to build GPS-III satellites in 2008, beating out Boeing Co, which had built earlier GPS satellites. The program has since run into delays due to technical challenges with a key sensor built by Exelis Inc.