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Sep 24, 2014

U.S. Navy sees possible decision on carrier drone in October

, Sept 23 (Reuters) -
T he Pentagon’s review of intelligence and surveillance programs
should be completed by mid-October, which will help clarify the
future of the Navy’s proposed carrier-based unmanned spy plane,
a senior Navy official said on Tuesday.

Rear Admiral Mat Winter, the Navy’s top official in charge
of unmanned aviation and strike weapons, said recommendations
made by the Defense Department focus group studying the issue
would determine if the Navy could issue a delayed request for
proposals for the new program, or needed to provide more data.

Sep 23, 2014

Navy says may trim Northrop drone order due to better reliability

(Adds details)

By Andrea Shalal

NAVAL AIR STATION PATUXENT RIVER, Maryland, Sept 23
(Reuters) – I mproved reliability of Northrop Grumman Corp’s
unmanned MQ-4C Triton spy plane means the U.S. Navy may
buy fewer of the drones than the 68 it now has on order, a
senior navy official said on Tuesday, a move which may result in
lower revenues for the planemaker.

The Navy’s goal is to have 20 of the huge drones available
at any given time to use for five continuous “orbits” of
maritime surveillance. It takes four planes to make up one
orbit.

Sep 23, 2014

Exclusive: Courting Vietnam, U.S. prepares to ease arms embargo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Nearly 40 years after the United States helicoptered its last soldiers out of Vietnam in an ignominious retreat, Washington is moving closer to lifting an arms embargo on its former enemy, with initial sales likely to help Hanoi deal with growing naval challenges from China.

    Senior U.S. officials with knowledge of the initiative said Washington wants to support Vietnam by strengthening its ability to monitor and defend its coastline, and said unarmed P-3 surveillance planes could be one of the first sales.

Sep 23, 2014

Alliant says can replace Russian launch engine for U.S. satellites

WASHINGTON, Sept 23 (Reuters) – Alliant Techsystems Inc
(ATK) said on Tuesday it has submitted a proposal to
build a commercial solid-fuel rocket motor to replace the RD-180
Russian-made engine now used to launch key U.S. military and spy
satellites.

The U.S. Air Force this summer asked weapons makers to
submit ideas on ways to end U.S. reliance on the Russian-built
engines amid growing U.S.-Russian tensions and concerns that
Moscow could halt engine shipments. Responses were due Friday,
and Air Force officials will meet with companies on Wednesday.

Sep 21, 2014

No quick fix in U.S. bid to end reliance on Russian rocket engines

WASHINGTON, Sept 21 (Reuters) – The U.S. drive to end its
reliance on Russian rocket motors got a boost this week when
Amazon.com Inc founder Jeff Bezos unveiled a new engine
project, but officials and industry insiders say it will take
years and hundreds of millions of dollars to develop a locally
built alternative.

Other companies, including privately held Space Exploration
Technologies, led by another technology billionaire, Elon Musk,
and Aerojet Rocketdyne, a unit of GenCorp Inc, have been
energized by the Pentagon’s growing determination to find
alternatives to the Russian-built RD-180 engine now used to
launch some of the biggest U.S. military and spy satellites.

Sep 18, 2014

Lockheed eyes 2-4 percent cost reduction in next F-35 contract

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) is close to signing a roughly $4 billion deal with the U.S. Defense Department for 43 more F-35 fighter jets that will lower the cost of the jet’s airframe by 2 to 4 percent, sources familiar with the program said.

The reduction is part of a drive by the company and other key F-35 suppliers to slash the projected $400 billion cost of developing and building 2,457 U.S. jets in coming years – and the $1 trillion in additional costs to operate and maintain them over 50 years.

Sep 18, 2014

U.S. military implores Congress to repeal mandatory budget cuts

WASHINGTON, Sept 17 (Reuters) – U.S. military leaders this
week seized on escalating Islamic extremism and increased
spending by China and Russia, imploring Congress to scrap
mandatory budget cuts that they say are leaving U.S. forces
vulnerable and less ready to fight.

Frank Kendall, the Pentagon’s chief arms buyer, told the
annual Air Force Association conference that continuation of $1
trillion in forced spending cuts would further erode the
readiness of the U.S. Air Force, which was forced to ground 13
squadrons last year and sharply curtail flying hours.

Sep 17, 2014

Boeing-Lockheed venture picks Bezos engine for future rockets

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – United Launch Alliance (ULA), a Boeing Co and Lockheed Martin Corp joint venture, said on Wednesday it would invest heavily in a new rocket engine being developed by Amazon.com Inc founder Jeff Bezos and his company Blue Origin.

The new engine, called the BE-4, could be ready for use in four years, and would cost substantially less than the Russian-built RD-180 engine now used to power ULA’s heavy-lift Atlas 5 rockets, officials from both companies told reporters.

Sep 17, 2014

Boeing-Lockheed picks Bezos engine for future rockets

WASHINGTON, Sept 17 (Reuters) – United Launch Alliance
(ULA), a joint venture of Boeing Co and Lockheed Martin
Corp, said on Wednesday it would invest heavily in a new
rocket engine being developed by Amazon.com Inc founder
Jeff Bezos and his company Blue Origin.

The new engine, called the BE-4, could be ready for use in
four years, and would offer substantial cost savings over the
Russian-built RD-180 engine now used to power ULA’s heavy-lift
Atlas 5 rockets, officials from both companies told reporters.

Sep 17, 2014

Boeing, SpaceX win contracts to build ‘space taxis’ for NASA

CAPE CANAVERAL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – NASA will partner with Boeing and SpaceX to build commercially owned and operated “space taxis” to fly astronauts to the International Space Station, ending U.S. dependence on Russia for rides, officials said on Tuesday.

The U.S. space agency also considered a bid by privately owned Sierra Nevada Corp, but opted to award long-time aerospace contractor Boeing and California’s SpaceX with contracts valued at a combined $6.8 billion to develop, certify and fly their seven-person capsules.