May 23, 2024

Canada Wavering on F-35 Buy

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Canada still has not decided whether to buy any F-35 Joint Strike Fighters or pressure Lockheed to compete for its business, reports The Washington Post.  If Canada doesn’t join the JSF program it may negatively affect the long-term affordability of the F-35 for all participants. The buy would help drive down costs in the $400 billion program. An aerospace analyst commented, “The program is stuck in low production rates and high costs. The production rates are low because costs are high and costs are high because production is low.” Boeing is using the opportunity to push its F/A-18 Super Hornet as a proven, affordable alternative.

The Baltimore Sun believes that the Navy should decide on the terms of an agreement with the developers of the contested Somerset County wind farm. The editorial is a reaction to Senator Barbara Mikulski’s recent effort to include non-binding language in a defense authorization bill aimed at stopping the Navy from entering any memorandum of understanding with the wind farm’s developer until an MIT study is completed.

Lockheed and the Navy are making real life “Iron Man” exoskeleton technology a reality by entering into a contract to evaluate and test such hardware for industrial use, according to Investors.com. The defense giant describes the suit, named Fortis, as “an unpowered, lightweight exoskeleton that increases an operator’s strength and endurance by transferring the weight of heavy loads from the user’s body directly to the ground.”

A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report released Friday says the fiscal 2014 omnibus appropriations bill President Obama signed in December contained enough spending cuts to avoid across-the-board sequestration cuts for the rest of the fiscal year, according to FierceGovernment. The Office of Management and Budget has the final say on whether further sequestration cuts are necessary, but its February report also found that appropriations for 2014 were at or below the budget caps.

The Better Buying Power (BBP) initiative was started four years ago to upgrade the DoD’s acquisition process and features “should-cost analysis” as a key component. Defense News believes the BBP initiative has improved DoD contracting but additional work is needed to firmly embed should-cost analysis into DoD acquisition culture.

Students Veterans of America tried to create a list of schools have been accused of serving vets poorly, with overly aggressive recruiting, poor education quality or other practices, according to the Military Times. However, an immediate backlash highlights the difficulties associated with compiling such a list.

Lockheed recently demonstrated the autonomous deployment of an unmanned ground vehicle by an unmanned aircraft, reports Aviation Week. The test involved the Lockheed/Kaman K-MAX unmanned helicopter airlifting a support vehicle into position to conduct an autonomous resupply and reconnaissance mission.

The Defense Health Agency announced which genetic tests Tricare will cover starting in September, according to the Military Times. A list of 35 laboratory-developed tests covered under a new pilot program was released, from the better-known BRCA1 and BRCA2 tests for breast cancer and in-utero cystic fibrosis to tests for rare inherited disorders.

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