07 Apr 17. China Tech Investment Flying Under the Radar, Pentagon WarnsChina is investing in Silicon Valley start-ups with military applications at such a rapid rate that the United States government needs tougher controls to stem the transfer of some of America’s most promising technologies, a Pentagon report says. There are few restrictions on investing in American start-ups that focus on artificial intelligence, self-driving vehicles and robotics, the report contends, and China has taken advantage. Beijing, the report says, is encouraging its companies to invest for the purpose of pushing the country ahead in its strategic competition with the United States. In some instances, Chinese companies have made under-the-radar investments intended to dodge the oversight of a government agency, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, known as Cfius. (Source: glstrade.com/New York Times.com)
07 Apr 17. USAF explores next-generation ejection seat. The US Air Force is conducting market research for a next-generation ejection seat for fighters and bombers, according to a 5 April notice posted on the Federal Business Opportunities web site.
The service plans to release a draft request for proposals in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2017 and a final RFP in the second quarter of FY18, programme schedule slides state. The air force will select two qualified sources and award contracts at the beginning of FY19. A production decision would come in the middle of FY20.
The contract could also open the door for production of a domestic ejection seat, namely United Technologies Aerospace Systems (UTAS)’ Advanced Concept Ejection Seat (ACES) 5 ejection seat, and line up a potential competitor to the UK-based Martin-Baker. In a recent interview, Brig Gen Scott Pleus, director of the F-35 Integration office, told FlightGlobal it would be premature to halt the ACES 5 source qualification until the USAF receives the results from a study on Martin-Baker’s seat for the F-35.
The planned seat would integrate with the USAF’s existing fighter jets and bombers. Today, UTAS employs its ACES II ejection seat on the USAF’s F-22, F-16, F-15, A-10 and B-1 aircraft. In September, the air force awarded AMI Industries Inc, a United Technology Corporation company, a $14.4m contract to upgrade the B-2 with the ACES II. The seat features a detachable seatback that would not require the removal of the bomber’s escape hatches for maintenance.
In 2014, Martin-Baker completed installation of new US16T ejection seats on the USAF’s fleet of Northrop T-38 trainer aircraft. Martin-Baker is also fielding its US16E (MK16) ejection seat on the air force’s fleet of F-35As. The escape system has faced criticism over its weight restriction, limiting flights by pilots weighing less than 61.7kg (136lb). The USAF believes the weight restriction on the F-35A’s Mk16 seat could be removed this spring. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Flightglobal)
06 Apr 17. Boeing’s Block III Super Hornet ‘High End’ Complement To F-35: Stackley. Boeing’s proposed Block III upgrade to the Super Hornet would be a “fairly high-end” complement to the F-35C Joint Strike Fighter, acting Navy Secretary Sean Stackley believes. Instead of seeing Super Hornets as a potential replacement for the F-35 — as President Trump proposed — Stackley and other naval leaders at the Sea-Air-Space conference here repeatedly emphasized the two are not competitors, but are complementary. In fact, the Navy sees a role for both in high-intensity, high-tech, high-end warfare against the thick anti-aircraft defenses known as Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD).
It’s not a “high/low mix,” Stackley told reporters yesterday. “That’s too Air Force.” (The term “high/low mix” originally referred to the Air Force’s combination of twin-engine F-15s and single-engine F-16s). In particular, he said, “we’re looking at a Block III F-18. It’s fairly high-end. It doesn’t have all the stealth characteristics of a fifth