Articles by John Reed

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Donley: Don’t hollow out the force

Air Force Secretary Michael Donley yesterday went on the offensive to protect his service from future budget cuts, saying that they would create a less potent and hollowed out Air Force.


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F-22s for the Marine Corps?

Could the Marine Corps end up flying what’s arguably the best (and recently un-grounded) operational air superiority fighter in the skies today; the Air Force’s soon-to-be out of production F-22 Raptor? One Marine is suggesting the Marines do exactly that if the Corps ends up losing its beleaguered F-35B Joint Strike Fighters to budget cuts


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China’s ability to make quality jet engines

A new report by Naval War College professor Andrew Erickson claims that Western companies may be giving China “a 100 piece puzzle with 90 of the pieces already assembled” when it comes to developing jet engines for large aircraft — something that could greatly aid the PRC’s quest to modernize its military.


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Boeing: Retire E-8s ASAP and buy P-8s

Boeing is proposing that the Air Force should start retiring its fleet of 707-based E-8 Joint STARS radar planes in 2013 and use money saved from that move to buy the P-8 Air to Ground Sensor plane that is based on the Navy’s P-8 subhunter.



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U.S., China set to discuss space security

Pentagon officials and their Chinese counterparts will discuss how everyone can get along in the increasingly crowded world of civil and military space.


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Tie Future Budgets to Strategy

With more rounds of defense spending cuts looming, the Pentagon must choose which roles and missions are a top priority and which ones aren’t important as it drafts future budgets; a move that will no doubt entail risk and the usual round of ‘painful choices,’ a pair of think tankers advised lawmakers and their staff today on Capitol Hill.



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New V-22 Multiyear Could be Near

The Navy hopes to hear back from Bell-Boeing on a proposal for a second multi-year contract for 122 V-22 Ospreys on May 26, such a deal would round out the Air Force and Marine Corps buy of 50 and 360 aircraft, respectively.


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F-35B Deliveries in 2011 and a 10 Year Cash Crunch

Yup, from F-35B deliveries in 2011 to predictions of a 10 year budget crunch, here’s a roundup of some ideas on the future of naval aviation as presented by senior Navy and Marine Corps aviation officials to an audience at the Navy League’s 2011, Sea, Air, Space conference just outside of Washington DC, today.


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Navy Setting Up Contract Fraud Investigation Unit

The Navy has put together a special investigative unit to look into contracting fraud in the wake of indictments being filed against several defense contractors who attempted to bride Navy procurement officials, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said today.


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Welding Flaw Led To Crack in LCS-1 Hull

A manufacturing issue, not a design flaw, led to a six-inch crack along a weld seam on the hull of the Littoral Combat Ship, USS Freedom, during heavy weather trials in February, Navy officials said today. “We’re still reviewing the design for weld improvements, as far as the analysis of [what led to the crack] we’ve completed the analysis and are in the process of working through the release of that information,” said Capt. Jeff Riedel, the Navy’s LCS program manager during a briefing at the Navy League’s annual Sea, Air Space conference held just outside of Washington DC.


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USAF Getting More Penetrating Power

Here’s a little gem that was tucked in the Pentagon’s contract announcement email last night: The Air Force just gave Boeing a $28 million cost-plus contract modification to deliver eight Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) bombs, “16 separation nuts, eight MOP loading adapters, and an aft closure redesign.”



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A Little More Info on the Raptor and Libya

Air Force Secretary Michael Donley this week shed a tiny bit more light on the whole mystery surrounding the lack of an appearance by the F-22 Raptor in the skies above Libya during Operation Odyssey Dawn, saying the plane would have been used if it was needed.


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Cost of Trident Rocket Motors Jumps by 85 Percent

The cancellation of NASA’s Constellation rocket program last year and the retirement of the Space Shuttle fleet has contributed to significant cost spikes for the solid fuel rocket motors the Navy uses on its Trident sea launched ballistic missiles which are the only solid rockets in use today.


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Minuteman III Follow-On Being Eyed, Nukes for JSF Delayed

The Air Force has begun the very first steps in identifying its next generation of nuclear ballistic missiles, the commander of the service’s nuclear forces told lawmakers today. Meanwhile, the integration of the B61 tactical nuclear bomb onto the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter may be delayed as the overall JSF program slips in schedule.


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Ground Vehicle Cash At Risk With Flattening Budgets

One of the Army’s top budget officers today warned of coming friction between Army personnel costs and procurement programs such as the Ground Combat Vehicle and Joint Light Tactical Vehicle as defense budget cuts are unveiled in the coming years.



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USAF Still Deciding What it Wants in New Choppers

Air Force officials are still making up their minds as to whether the service will move to buy an existing chopper or a new one to replace the service’s ageing UH-1 Huey and HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters.