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NEWS IN BRIEF – USA

21 Mar 14. The Pentagon’s share of the White House’s $56bn Opportunity,
Growth and Security Initiative requests more than double the procurement money previously disclosed in budget documents earlier this month. The bill, which is separate from the US Defense Department’s $496bn 2015 base budget request, includes $26bn for Pentagon projects. More than one-third, $8.7bn, is eyed for procurement of new cargo aircraft, fighter jets, spy planes, helicopters and missiles. The procurement request also covers upgrades to existing aircraft, tanks, other ground vehicles and unmanned aircraft. The White House has proposed this money in addition to DoD’s base budget to make up for spending cuts caused by sequestration in 2013. The money, defense officials say, would help improve military readiness. Budget overview documents released earlier this month, when DoD sent its 2015 budget request to Congress, showed about $4bn aligned for procurement projects. The request included Boeing AH-64 Apaches, Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawks, Boeing Chinooks, Boeing P-8 Poseidon spy planes, Lockheed Martin F-35 joint strike fighters, General Atomics Reapers and Lockheed C-130J transport aircraft. More detailed documents released this week show the Air Force’s request for 10 C-130Js is split evenly between rescue and special operations versions of the aircraft. The Navy request also includes money for the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey, Northrop Grumman’s E-2D Advanced Hawkeye and Boeing C-40 transport. The procurement request includes nearly $1bn for communications and electronics equipment, with about half of that money eyed for Army projects. Also included in the $26bn request is nearly $2bn for research-and-development projects. More than $10bn is eyed for operations and maintenance. In addition, the White House request includes nearly $3bn for more than 100 military construction projects at dozens of bases across the US. (Source: Defense News)

21 Mar 14. Congressional auditors have joined the
Pentagon’s chief arms tester in raising concerns about the pace of development of software on Lockheed Martin Corp’s new F-35 fighter jet and recommended the military’s F-35 program office assess the plane’s ability to integrate specific weapons by July. A report by the Government Accountability Office, a congressional watchdog agency, said delays in software testing could increase development costs and might mean that the Marine Corps and other military services might not have all the weapons capablities on their F-35 planes when they want to start using them in combat, according to sources briefed on the report. Air Force Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan, who runs the F-35 for the Pentagon, acknowledged that software remained the No. 1 technical risk on the $392bn weapons program. He said his office had adopted disciplined processes to deal with the complexity of writing, integrating and testing the millions of lines of software code being written for the new warplane. Bogdan said the F-35 program agreed with the GAO’s call for an assessment of the specific weapons capabilities that the F-35 would have when the Marine Corps and other military services want to start using it in combat, and already carefully monitored a series of software metrics. The GAO report was the latest in a series that focused on software risks facing the Pentagon’s biggest arms program. The program is nearly 70 percent over budget and years behind schedule, but U.S. officials say it is making steady progress. The Pentagon’s chief arms buyer, Frank Kendall, is also working on a report about software risks on the program. Lockheed is developing three models of the new warplane for the United States and eight countries that funded its design: Britain, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Italy, Turkey and the Netherlands. Israel and Japan have also ordered jets. Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon’s director of operational testing and evaluation, warned in a January report that ongoing software, mai

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