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Jan 30, 2014

U.S. Air Force, Boeing confident tanker program still on schedule

WASHINGTON, Jan 29 (Reuters) – U.S. Air Force and Boeing Co
officials on Wednesday expressed confidence that a $52
billion air refueling program would deliver its first 18 planes
by August 2017 as scheduled, despite a Pentagon report warning
that testing of the new aircraft could be delayed by at least
six to 12 months.

The tanker project known as KC-46, one of the Pentagon’s
biggest arms programs, calls for Boeing to build 179 new planes
for the Air Force to replace the current fleet of 50-year-old
KC-135 tankers. The planes are used to refuel fighter jets and
other warplanes during flight.

Jan 29, 2014

U.S. should consider re-design of missile defense system: report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Missile Defense Agency should consider redesigning a key part of its ground-based missile defense system after a series of test failures in recent years, the Pentagon’s chief arms tester said in a new report due to be released Wednesday.

“The flight test failures that have occurred during the past three years raise questions regarding the robustness of the Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV),” said the report, referring to the Raytheon Co-built part of the rocket used to hit enemy missiles and destroy them on impact.

Jan 29, 2014

12 settlement won’t extend Boeing’s F/A-18 production line

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A settlement of a dispute over the canceled A-12 aircraft calls for Boeing Co to build three more EA-18G electronic attack planes for the U.S. Navy, but those jets will not extend the F/A-18 production line in St. Louis, according to Navy officials and company executives.

A new report by the Pentagon’s top arms tester, meanwhile, criticized the Navy for failing to address longstanding deficiencies with the radar used on the F/A-18E/F model of the plane. It said the jet could not be effectively used in certain “threat environments,” although details were classified.

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.