18 Feb 10. President Barack Obama’s missile defence plan to counter Iran is facing resistance in Turkey because Ankara is reluctant to host a radar base unless other Nato countries also increase their support for the system. While the US has identified Turkey as the best land-based site to provide coverage of Iranian short and medium-range missiles, Ankara is worried about appearing to sign up to a bilateral compact with Washington against Tehran. Mr Obama’s plans – which replaced proposals by George W Bush to place interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic against longer range Iranian missiles – are a central part of US efforts to counter Tehran’s nuclear and missile programmes and prevent a Middle East arms race. Alexander Vershbow, the Pentagon’s top official on the Middle East and Europe, said in an interview that missile defence was increasingly important in “deterring Iran, trying to deny it potential to threaten and blackmail its neighbours and to protect US forces deployed in the region”. He added: “Turkey is geographically closest to some of the threats that we are concerned about.” A radar base in Turkey would be particularly important to obtain early launch information about Iranian missiles. Amid continued survey results that show the US to be deeply unpopular in the country, Turkish diplomats say strong Nato-wide backing, such as a common funded command and control system, would help establish the new missile defence system as an alliance-wide effort rather than a private deal with Washington. (Source: FT.com)
21 Feb 10. Vector Aerospace Helicopter Services-North America has established a business office in Daleville, Alabama–adjacent to Fort Rucker Army Airfield in a strategic move to enhance support of existing and potential future maintenance, repair and overhaul support for the US Army and Army Fleet Support (AFS).
23 Feb 10. Boeing will cut the production rate of the C-17 by a third in a bid to extend the life of the program beyond 2012 and give extra time for new domestic and international orders to come through. The rate reduction will be phased in by mid-2011 and will lead to job reductions at its Long Beach, Calif., assembly site, which currently operates a three-shift cycle. The 10-per-year rate, enough to sustain a two-shift system, was apparently chosen over other options including a one-per-month rate, following extensive studies over the past few weeks. (Source: Aviation Week)
22 Feb 10. Northrop Grumman Corporation’s Navigation Systems Division has recently broken ground on a facility expansion designed to increase factory output and better serve its commercial, defense and national security customers. Northrop Grumman’s 225,000 square foot Salt Lake City facility, located on West North Temple Road, will be expanded by 50,000 square feet to accommodate growth across multiple programs. The site, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2008, is primarily a production facility for defense and commercial navigation systems that houses approximately 750 engineering, manufacturing and support staff. The Salt Lake City plant builds and tests highly precise navigation systems, gyroscopes and accelerometers for both military and commercial platforms and also features a highly automated circuit card assembly operation.
23 Feb 10. GKN Aerospace creates state of the art pre-production facility. New £14.8m facility will progress next generation fan blade production. The new GKN Aerospace state of the art facility will be at the heart of the next developments in the Environmental Lightweight Fan (ELF) research programme which aims to prove advanced, high-rate production processes for a new all-composite engine fan blade that will improve aircraft engine performance and reduce emissions. The ELF programme is being undertaken by GKN Aerospace and Rolls-Royce and is aimed at bringing new engine fan blade technologies to market readiness to meet approaching