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Where all the JSF money went

I admit: there’s something about mysterious overcharging admissions by defense contractors that awake my inner-conspiracy theorist. Of course, it’s entirely plausible that Lockheed Martin’s admission yesterday — about mistakenly overbilling the US government by $265 million on Joint Strike Fighter development — is one of those innocent goofs — the accountant’s equivalent of a Bill […]

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A tale of two tankers

Nothing says “class” like riding to Seattle on a Boeing Business Jet to cover a KC-767 rally (see photo below), with the movie “Talledega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” on both widescreens. Yet, the movie’s paean to jingoistic-hick car racing culture meant more to me than mere slapstick; indeed, it was allegory, emulating the […]

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The X-45N is dead; Long live the X-45!

Lots of angst has been spilled this week on the pages of the trade and mainstream press over the sad fate of the Boeing X-45N. This navalized variant certainly suffered a blow by losing the US Navy’s UCAS-D contract to its longtime rival — the Northrop Grumman X-47B. But don’t fret. Multi-billion dollar military technology […]

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Spotted: missile of the future

Remember this solicitation in about five years, when the technology it advertises becomes a key part of a new missile that seeks to be all things to all targets. Think AMRAAM, HARM and boost-phase interceptor, all in one. And remember you saw it here first.

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Real jocks fly props

Former special operations and joint staff officer Ed “Otto” Pernotto has just launched a blog with special ambitions. Most immediately, he wants to recruit other bloggers to help him persuade the US Air Force to buy a turboprop (egad!) fighter to support the counter-insurgency mission. His long-term goal is even more interesting, and that is […]

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2007: Year of Boeing?

I’m going to go out on the limb and say that I believe in five months the US military aircraft industry will have to look back on 2007 as the “Year of Boeing”. I’m betting that Boeing is on the verge of scoring an incredible string of contract victories, while solidifying its current product line-up […]

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Newsflash: JSF magically gets cheaper!

Try to follow the logic: 1: The Department of Defense submits a budget request in February, requesting to buy 12 JSFs — 6 CTOL and 6 STOVL — for $2.65 billion. (See page 26 here.) 2: The House Appropriations Committee passes its version of the defense budget on July 25. The lawmakers approve the Pentagon’s […]

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New fad: fishing for counter-insurgency aircraft partners

Why is Northrop Grumman a prime contractor for a fishing boat company (see here)? The answer is: because they’re not stupid. “Need some air cover?” (Source: DOD) Irregular warfare is a growth market, and converting fishing boats into riverine patrol veseels could soon be a booming business with the US Navy, which is standing up […]

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Newsflash: Boeing wins contract; nobody protests

Once upon a time (read: 2006), defense contractors didn’t file legal challenges against their biggest customer on contract decisions even if they KNEW there was wrongdoing involved. (Lockheed Martin’s loss of the original Small Diameter Bomb competition in 2003 comes to mind.) But all that changed after GAO upheld the first CSAR-X protest last January. […]

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Spotted: Raytheon’s Anti-Northrop Grumman Radar (RANGR)

A nice person from Raytheon handed me a brochure this morning on the company’s AESA fighter radars. I usually file such documents straight into the wastebasket, but this one got my attention. You can look it up here. On page 2, you’ll find a silhouette of an F-16 with a radar pictured in the nose […]

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