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Dave "Doc" Nelson 1 st flight in AA1

F-35 JOINT PROGRAM OFFICE: When Sen. Kelly Ayotte and her supporters blocked retirement of the A-10 fleet it’s not likely they knew the F-35 program might suffer. But that’s exactly what Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, head of the huge F-35 program, told reporters this afternoon that will happen unless something changes. In the conference room where the F-35… Keep reading →

The Navy's UCAS demonstrator made history as the first drone to take off and land from an aircraft carrier. Its proposed successor is called UCLASS.

FALLS CHURCH: “I’m going to frame this discussion around the ‘three nots,’” assistant secretary of Defense Katrina McFarland said this morning. “Technological superiority is not assured, R&D is not a variable cost, and time is not recoverable.” “Sequestration for us is horrendous,” she told TechAmerica’s annual conference here. “Funding for the accounts that exercise our… Keep reading →

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WASHINGTON: It’s finally official. After months of senior program and Pentagon officials saying they were really close to a deal, Lockheed Martin and the Joint Program Office just announced they’ve got agreement in principle for the Defense Department to buy another 29 Joint Strike Fighters. The eighth Low Rate Initial Production contract includes 19 F-35As, six F-35Bs… Keep reading →

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Imagine you’re a sniper. Imagine the bad guys are coming — but you can’t see them yet. Imagine your spotter can see them — but only because he’s miles away from where you are, with a better view. Now imagine that when you put your eye to your gunsights, you see the view through his.… Keep reading →

An Ohio-class nuclear missile submarine (SSBN).

FAIRFAX, VA: “No one should be sleeping comfortably at night,” Rear Adm. Dave Johnson warned Navy submariners and contractors today. For the fleet’s top priority program, the replacement for the aging Ohio-class nuclear missile submarine, fiscal 2015 “is a crucial year,” the Program Executive Officer for all submarine programs said this morning. “If we in this… Keep reading →

The Virginia-class attack submarine USS North Dakota.

FALLS CHURCH, VA: Sure, everyone’s sick of the word “cybersecurity” and endless discussion of “attacks,” Vice Adm. William Hilarides said today, making prominent air quotes with his fingers. Navy submariners in particular, safe beneath the waves, tend to think of cyber as someone else’s problem — but “not so fast,” he told the annual Naval… Keep reading →

Navy E-2D Advanced Hawkeye

NORFOLK: The famed “eyes of the fleet” are getting sharper. The Navy has declared the latest variant, the E-2D radar plane, ready for real-world operations just in time for the 50th anniversary of the original E-2 Hawkeye. The first five-plane squadron will deploy on the USS Theodore Roosevelt next year. Meanwhile, the current E-2C models are… Keep reading →

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[UPDATED with Congressional comment] Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel reassured the Army today that its role is not “eroding” or “diminishing,” despite shrinking budgets, the rebalance to the watery Pacific theater, and the Obama administration’s commitment to “no boots on the ground” against self-proclaimed Islamic State. Instead, echoing comments by the Army’s own leaders, Hagel said… Keep reading →

An Air Force test of anti-small-boat weapon.

WASHINGTON: China has an arsenal of long-range ship-killing missiles, based on land but able to hit US warships hundreds of miles offshore. Now the chairman of the House seapower subcommittee suggests we give them a taste of their own “anti-access/area denial” medicine. Why shouldn’t the US Army develop its own land-based anti-ship missile force? Rep.… Keep reading →

A Navy electronic warfare technician.

WASHINGTON: The Navy is crafting a battle plan to retake control of the electromagnetic spectrum, which the Pentagon’s chief of research says we’ve lost. First of all, if adversaries can exploit rapid advances in commercial electronics to run circles around America’s multi-billion dollar arsenal, our slow-moving procurement process needs to be more open to civilian innovation.… Keep reading →

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