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Morning Coffee: Satellites Improve Arctic Communication

Morning Coffee is a robust blend of links to news around the internet concerning the Naval Air Station Patuxent River economic community. The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the Leader’s owners or staff.Morning Coffee logo

The U.S. Navy’s Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellites may be able to significantly improve communication in the Arctic, reports the Wall Street Journal. Recent testing by Lockheed Martin showed that MUOS voice and data signals almost reached the North Pole, much further north than previously thought possible. More secure and reliable communications could become available to people spread out over thousands of square miles, and demand for voice and data service is increasing as more shipping, tourism and commercial operations move northward. Lockheed Director Paul Scearce said, “As the Arctic becomes more accessible, the U.S. and its allies need reliable communications to maintain a safe and secure presence.”

A Pentagon plan to reduce its aircraft carrier fleet by one flattop has met resistance from the White House who requested DoD to look for cost savings in other components of the military budget, reports USNI News. The administration directive reflects the opinion of House members who sent a letter to SecDef Chuck Hagel urging him to leave the carrier fleet intact. The letter states, “There is no doubt that there is enduring bipartisan support for a robust Navy supporting a capital fleet of 11 nuclear aircraft carriers.”

A free airfield driving safety course is being offered to Naval Air Station Patuxent River personnel, military or civilian, who drive vehicles on the airfield, reports Course instructor Aviation Boatswains Mate Handler 2nd Class Robert Magee said, “There are people driving out there every single day. They might be maintaining the arresting gear, fueling aircraft, doing electrical work, towing aircraft, unloading cargo or driving a forklift. Whatever they do, if they’re on or near the airfield, they need a license.” For more information on the airfield driving safety class, send a request to [email protected] or [email protected] or call  301-342-3570.

A plan for drones to deliver beer to Minnesota ice fisherman has been quashed by the FAA, according to ABC News. The Lakemaid Beer Company posted a video on YouTube of beer drone test flights across mid-size lakes which immediately caught the eye of federal regulators. This is “barley news,” FAA spokesman Les Dorr cracked. “The media just hops on it. I hope things finally have come to a head.” In a more serious vein Mr. Dorr said, “The FAA’s prime directive is safety and while we are evaluating a lot of different potential uses of unmanned aircraft as we’re moving toward safely integrating them into the national airspace, commercial operations of unmanned aircraft is not allowed.”

Tanks are no longer essential to modern warfare, which emphasizes quick deployment and the ability to “project power over great distances,” reports the Washington Post. Speedy and adaptable weapons such as drones meet the tactical requirements of modern warfare. The Army has 5,000 idle tanks and is no longer issuing orders for them, resulting in contractors such as BAE Systems to close tank facilities and lay off associated workers.

The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America says suicide prevention should be a legislative priority for 2014, reports the Military Times. Paul Rieckhoff, the 150,000 member group’s founder and CEO, said “The suicide rate is out of control. We’re losing roughly 22 veterans per day to suicide.” The group supports the efforts of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), who is scheduling a hearing this winter on the possible link between military sexual assaults and suicides. Sen. Gillibrand believes that military prosecutors, not commanders, should make decisions on whether to prosecute military sexual assault cases.

Lockheed Martin has been awarded the 2014 Catalyst Award, which honors the defense contractor’s efforts to create and expand opportunities for women, according to Your Industry News. Lockheed’s Women Accelerating Tomorrow program provides a variety of “programs, processes and tools to support women’s advancement as part of a broad strategic effort to attract, develop and retain diverse talent in a highly technical and engineering-focused industry.”

Britain and France have agreed to work together on a two-year £120 million feasibility study for an unmanned combat air system, reports the Telegraph. The UK’s BAE Systems and France’s defense contractor, Dassault, will cooperate to produce possible strategies for armed drone design and production.



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