The War Report: January 16, 2018

(Distributed via TinyLetter on Jan. 16, subscribe here)

Welcome to The War Report, a weekly roundup of news articles by James Drew, Aviation Week defense editor. You can see my latest stories as they’re published at, or follow me @JamesDrewNews. Send notes and news tips to

Note: From Feb. 2-9, I’ll be attending the 2018 Singapore Airshow, writing for Aviation Week’s show daily. If you’d like to arrange an interview, meet up, or have news to share associated with the show, please send me an email. It’ll be a great chance to catch up.

  1. Thrush Considering ‘Optionally Piloted’ Model 510 Waterbomber: Thrush Aircraft and Drone America are exploring an “optionally piloted” version of the Thrush 510 ag aircraft for aerial surveillance and fighting fires.
  2. AFwerX Innovation Hub Launches In Las Vegas: U.S. Vice President Mike Pence was in Las Vegas Jan. 11 for the grand opening of the U.S. Air Force’s AFwerX center.
  3. Next Sbirs Missile Warning Satellite Set To Launch: The fourth satellite of the U.S. Air Force’s new missile warning constellation is on track to launch next week aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.
  4. MDA To Extend Boeing’s GMD Contract By Five Years: In a major reversal of fortune for Boeing, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency says it will extend company’s multibillion-dollar Ground-based Midcourse Defense prime contract by another five years.
  5. Raytheon Warns Of 10-Year Tomahawk Production Void: Raytheon has expressed concern about the looming Tomahawk land cruise missile production gap that could emerge if it doesn’t secure more orders from the U.S. Navy and potential foreign military sales customers.
  6. Russia Raises Warning On Spread Of Armed UAVs: Russia has called for international cooperation to prevent armed drones from getting into the hands of terrorists, after its bases in Syria were targeted.
  7. Washington Budget Paralysis Kills Dobbins Air Show: Budget paralysis in Washington has claimed perhaps its first victim of 2018, the Wings Over Atlanta Air and Space Exposition. The event had been scheduled for March 24-25 at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, home to the 94th Airlift Wing and its C-130H3s.
  8. Kratos Expands Target Drone Business With Army BQM-167 Buy: The great power rivalry among China, Russia and the U.S. has spurred somewhat of a renaissance in the Western aerial target drone business, which is slowly becoming dominated by Kratos.
  9. BAE Systems Promotes Electronic Blaster For U.S. Navy Ships: By swapping Bushmasters for e-blasters, BAE Systems wants to bring its high-power microwave energy technology to the high seas.
  10. Rocket Companies Vying For U.S. Air Force Investment: This could be the year that reshapes America’s space launch industry as the U.S. Air Force, for the first time in two decades, invests in next-generation rocket prototypes that could replace United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V and Delta IV-series launch vehicles.
  11. U.S. Missiles Could Arm Mexico’s New Combat Ship: The Mexican Navy’s new long-range patrol vessel could be armed with some of the U.S.’s best naval missiles and torpedoes, despite tense relations with Washington over President Donald Trump’s trade wars and proposed border wall.

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