« Archive »

SMDR for Mon., June 5, Vol. 17, Issue 12

Air Force’s Unfunded Priorities Include More F-35s, Special Ops Planes

The U.S. Air Force’s new unfunded priorities list includes billions of dollars to buy more aircraft in fiscal year 2018, including F-35A fighter jets, MC-130J special operations transports and KC-46A tankers.The Air Force would spend $1.8 billion to buy 14 more Lockheed Martin [LMT] F-35A Lightning IIs, boosting its total FY 2018 purchase to 60 jets, the…

Air Force Budget Boosts B-21 Bomber, Long Range Standoff Weapon

The Air Force’s fiscal year 2018 budget request contains billions of dollars to ramp up development work on several major new aviation and missile programs, including the B-21 bomber and the Long Range Standoff Weapon (LRSO).The B-21 Raider, which will replace aging bombers, would receive $2 billion in FY 2018, up from $1.3 billion in 2017, according…

South Korean President Orders Review Of Additional THAAD Interceptors

New South Korean President, Moon Jae-in, ordered a “probe” after learning the Defence Ministry did not inform him that four additional THAAD launchers were brought into the country, a spokesman said on May 30.The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery was originally deployed by the U.S. military in March with two of its maximum…

Air Force Officials Defend LRSO Funding Spike

Top U.S. Air Force officials are standing behind a significant increase in funding the service is proposing for its controversial Long Range Stand-Off (LRSO) nuclear cruise missile for fiscal 2018.There seems to be “broad bipartisan support for LRSO,” Gen. Stephen Wilson, Air Force vice chief of staff, said on May 25 at a Mitchell Institute…

Rocket Lab Completes First Test Launch Of Electron Rocket

Rocket Lab, a new entrant to the space-access market, conducted the first flight test of its ground-launched Electron rocket May 25.During the test, the two-stage, 17-meter-high rocket lifted off from the company's launch site on the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand at 4:20 p.m. local time. Minutes later, the Electron reached space. Although the rocket…

DARPA Taps Boeing To Build Experimental Spaceplane

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has picked Boeing [BA] over two other companies to design, build and test an unmanned, reusable spaceplane that could deploy small satellites, DARPA and Boeing announced May 24.Boeing edged out competitors Masten Space Systems and Northrop Grumman [NOC] to become the prime contractor for the Experimental Spaceplane (XS-1) program.Boeing’s Phantom Express will be…

U.S. Conducts First FONOPS Of Administration, China Objects

The United States should put a missile-tracking radar in Hawaii and consider placing interceptor missiles there as well to better protect the island state against North Korean ballistic missiles, according to the head of U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM).The U.S. Navy conducted its first freedom of navigation operations (FONOPS) islands claimed by China in the South…

Stratolaunch Unveils Massive LEO Aircraft Carrier

Microsoft [MSFT] co-founder Paul G. Allen’s Stratolaunch Systems brought out its massive low Earth orbit (LEO) air-launch platform from its hangar for the first time on May 31 and announced it is ready for ground and flightline testing.Stratolaunch, founded in 2011, rolled out the aircraft, with its 385-foot wingspan and six Boeing [BA] 747 engines, and which aims to provide…