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Showtime at Farnborough: T-100, UCAVs, F-35

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

The Farnborough International Air Show continues to dazzle, Including Raytheon’s presentation for the replacement of the T-38 trainer, the T-100. Breaking Defense reports the company is likely to make the decision by fall about locating the 70 percent of the program to be built in the United States. Where the work gets done is a crucial political and technical issue since the Italian company Leonardo, formerly known as Finmeccanica, currently builds the aircraft.

As the F-35 makes its debut in the UK, an Italian think tank claims if Italy had used the fighter in its 2011 air campaign against Libya it would have saved €100 million (US $110 million), Defense News reports. In a report issued on the eve of the Farnborough air show, the Rome-based ICSA think tank issued a report analyzing the cost benefits of the F-35 for the Italian Air Force, which is due to order 90 of the jets. The Italian Air Force participated in the international operation using Tornado aircraft, which deployed the Storm Shadow missile for the first time, and AMX aircraft, also for bombing runs.

A high level of assurance in on-board processing and decision making will be key to the success of future unmanned combat air vehicles, according to BAE Systems’ Martin Rowe-Willcocks, Jane’s IHS 360 reports. Mr. Rowe-Willcocks, speaking at Farnborough, explained that while the company’s concept of operations for the likes of the Anglo-French Future Combat Air System program will maintain a man-in-the-loop for important decisions, the nature of the missions it will fly and the environments it will operate in necessitates that a platform will be required to operate “quietly,” if not completely independent of supervision and control for certain aspects of its mission profile.

The Pentagon’s notoriously pricey F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is on track to cost just $85 million a copy by 2019, say officials with the military and manufacturer Lockheed Martin. DoD top weapons buyer Frank Kendall announced the Pentagon was extending its Blueprint for Affordability for Production program an additional two years to encourage industry to continue to find cost savings, DoD Buzz reports.

The British government announced two much-anticipated purchases of Boeing military aircraft on the first day of the Farnborough air show, just weeks after Brexit threw markets into tumult, DoD Buzz says, confirming the purchase of nine P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft for the Royal Air Force and 50 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters.

Farnborough fanatics: Here’s a 3:30 video of the big toys in the skies over Farnborough.

The Defense Department, which has been looking for ways to streamline its acquisition processes, named seven companies to a $142 million contract to modernize its mechanization of contract administration services, known as MOCAS, along with related systems and DOD e-commerce programs, Defense Systems reports. They are Net-Centric Enterprise Solutions, Booz Allen Hamilton, IBM, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Services, Solutions by Design II, Ventech Solutions, and CSG Government Solutions. Designed to manage complex contracts, the system handles some 334,000 of them valued at about $1.2 trillion, via 50 different interfaces to other DoD financial and contract writing systems.

Without changes to current law, the United States’ debt could rise to 141 percent of the size of the economy by 2046, up from 75 percent today, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The historical peak of 106 percent following World War II could be exceeded by 2036 — or even sooner, CNN reports. The reason is not mysterious: Lawmakers have focused on making cuts to the smallest part of the budget, and not the parts that are actually driving the debt higher, and they’ve expanded the menu of permanent tax breaks.

An international tribunal in The Hague ruled in favor of the Philippines in a maritime dispute Tuesday, concluding China has no legal basis to claim historic rights to the bulk of the South China Sea, CNN reports. Chinese President Xi Jinping rejected the decision by the Permanent Court of Arbitration. The landmark case, brought by the Philippines, was seen as an important crossroads in China’s rise as a global power and in its rivalry with the US, and it could force Beijing to reconsider its assertive tactics in the region or risk being labeled an international outlaw, The New York Times reports. It was the first time the Chinese government had been summoned before the international justice system.

German defense ministry’s White Paper, to be released Wednesday, outlines a bigger defense role for that nation within the frameworks of NATO and the European Union, reports Agence France Presse. It marks a shift for Germany which, burdened by Nazi terror and the Holocaust, for decades stepped softly on the world stage and long refrained from sending troops abroad. The paper, the first of its kind issued in a decade, envisions a future defense union of European states — reviving a 1950s-era idea that was rejected by France at the time — as Europe is nervously eyeing Russia and digesting the shock of the Brexit vote.

Congressional Republicans are pushing to limit the discretion federal agencies hold in interpreting laws, with the goal of reining in the power of unelected civil servants, Government Executive reports. The House on Monday began consideration of a measure to undo a more than 3-decades-old court precedent that gives agencies leeway in carrying out the finer points of laws Congress left open ended.

Eight months after buying Sikorsky in an “excess capacity” market, Lockheed Martin is signing partnerships with non-US companies, Defense One reports. Lockheed says its hoping international helicopter sales will make up for slow commercial business at its newly acquired Sikorsky division.

Bird? Plane? It’s possibly the stealthy RQ-170 Sentinel drone made by Lockheed Martin flying at dusk in Nevada, caught on amateur video, Defense Tech reports. The UAV, nicknamed “The Beast of Kandahar” after it was spotted in Afghanistan, is flown by the Air Force and operated in conjunction with the Central Intelligence Agency.

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