The War Report Vol. 13, June 12, 2017

Welcome to The War Report, your weekly roundup of articles by James Drew, Defense Editor at Aviation Week & Space Technology.

Send your questions, comments, corrections or news tips to james.drew@aviationweek.com. For an immediate response, call +1 (202) 704-8852 or +1 (267) 475-5072. For personal correspondence, email james.drew.media@gmail.com.

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USAF To Keep AR-1 Work Going Amid BE-4 Setback

The U.S. Air Force says it will continue investing in the Aerojet Rocketdyne AR-1 engine as a potential replacement for the Russian-made RD-180 as the Blue Origin BE-4 experiences setbacks during developmental testing. The decision comes at a critical juncture, with the service shifting gears from co-investment in rocket engines to alternative investment in up to full-scale boosters to succeed the RD-180-powered Atlas V for military launch services…

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Luke AFB Pauses F-35A Flying After Reports Of Hypoxia

Lockheed Martin F-35A flying operations at Luke AFB, Arizona, have been suspended at least until Monday, June 12, after five student and instructor pilots reported hypoxia-like symptoms in the past month. The temporary suspension of flying operations at the primary multinational F-35 training base comes less than two weeks before two F-35A aircraft from Hill AFB, Utah, are due to appear at Le Bourget Airport for the Paris air show…

Avenger Lasers

General Atomics Pursues UAV-borne Kill, Comms Laser Demos

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems plans to demonstrate an ultra-high-speed laser satellite communications terminal for the MQ-9 Reaper and is separately proposing a high-power “kill laser” demonstration using the jet-powered Avenger UAV and Hellads weapon. In an interview, company heads Neal and Linden Blue revealed plans to begin incorporating optical laser communications technology into its mainstay product, the Predator family of remotely piloted aircraft…

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German Heron TP Deal Clears Court, Moves To Parliament

The battle in Germany between Israel Aerospace Industries’ Heron TP and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems’ MQ-9B SkyGuardian appears to have been won by the Heron TP, but California-based General Atomics is not conceding defeat just yet. On May 31, the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf rejected an appeal by General Atomics against the government’s selection of an Airbus-led leasing arrangement for the IAI Heron TP…

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Canada Seeks Fighters, Tankers, Sub-Hunters, Drones

Canada’s long-awaited national defense policy calls for the replacement of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s outdated fighter, tanker/transport, maritime patrol and light utility fleets as well as investment in new remotely piloted and special operations aircraft for surveillance and strike. The 20-year policy statement rolled out on June 7 by Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan would increase military spending by 73% over the next decade to $32.7 billion by 2026-27…

Raytheon

Trump’s Tweets Could Put U.S. Base, Arms Deals At Risk

U.S. President Donald Trump’s bulldozer-style diplomacy regarding Qatar’s alleged financing of terror groups has left the fate of a military base, security ties and billions of dollars in weapons sales in doubt. By seeming to side with the Saudi Arabia-led group of nations blockading Qatar, in a series of tweets this week, the White House has waded deeper into a messy regional dispute that threatens to further divide the Arab world and dash long-held hopes of a NATO-like security alliance among local states…

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Northrop’s SABR Chosen For U.S. Air National Guard F-16s

Northrop Grumman is getting to work on its fourth and potentially most important contract for the APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR), after securing a $244 million award from the U.S. Air Force to retrofit 72 Lockheed Martin F-16s. The company has three international contracts for SABR and was selected to meet the Air Force’s urgent need to install active electronically scanned array radars on aircraft belonging to the Air National Guard for homeland defense missions. It replaces the Northrop APG-68, a mechanically steered radar…

BQM-167i on Launch Pad

CEO Says ‘Kratos Killing It’ In Key Arenas

For a man who owns not one but two Hummers, it is peculiar to hear Kratos President and CEO Eric DeMarco say size doesn’t matter. His publicly traded company headquartered in San Diego is on the upswing, headed toward becoming an $800 million company by 2018, market forecasters say. But for DeMarco, annual revenue is not what counts. Kratos’s goal is to dominate in a handful of well-defined arenas and to be more profitable in those business segments…

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SpaceX Falcon 9 To Launch Next X-37B Mission

The U.S. Air Force’s X-37B experimental spaceplane will return to space aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket for the first time, the service reports. The Boeing-built reusable spacecraft has launched four times since 2010 aboard United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V. Its fifth mission will begin later this year, carrying the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Advanced Structurally Embedded Thermal Spreader (ASETS-11) experimental payload…

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USAF Secretary Downplays Talk Of 300-Aircraft OA-X Buy

The secretary of the U.S. Air Force has stressed that the OA-X light attack initiative “is not a procurement, it’s an experiment” as participants such as Sierra Nevada Corp. and Textron wish for a return on investment. Speaking on June 5, Heather Wilson said although the experiment could inform future acquisition plans and decisions, there is no guarantee the service will end up buying a light attack fleet…


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