EELV

Falcon 9 launch SpaceX

WASHINGTON: The Pentagon’s push to open the EELV to greater competition may be counterproductive to the best management of the program. The Government Accountability Office says this approach “could limit program oversight and scheduling flexibility” for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle. Why? It’s simple really: “The Air Force plans to develop an acquisition strategy for… Keep reading →

Elon Musk

WASHINGTON: While few doubted it would happen, the news that Elon Musk’s scrappy, pushy and — yes — disruptive launch company SpaceX won certification from Space and Missile Systems Center carries enormous import for the international launch industry, for the Pentagon, the Air Force and the Intelligence Community. It’s not that Musk’s SpaceX is going… Keep reading →

Gen. John Hyten

WASHINGTON: The US Army has the most disruptive space technology right now. So says the head of Air Force Space Command, Gen. John Hyten. Hyten was asked about the technology in the space domain at breakfast this morning by my colleague Mark Thompson of Time magazine. Now in the good old days, the head of Space… Keep reading →

f-35airforceversion

  PENTAGON: For the third year in a row, Air Force weapon programs have busted their schedules, taking longer to field, this time adding another 112 months to the 29 major weapons programs that the service monitors. It’s a pattern. In 2012, schedule performance “continues to remain problematic and shows no signs of improvement.” In 2013,… Keep reading →

Senate side of the capitol

WASHINGTON: The hearing season is roaring ahead at full tilt, with senior officials at five defense hearings on Wednesday. Here’s our preview of some of the likely topics and issues. The most interesting to Breaking Defense readers probably will be the unique pairing of the four Army and Air Force leaders before the full Senate… Keep reading →

Senate Armed Services Holds Hearing On F-35 Joint Strike Program

WASHINGTON: Nomination hearings are never just about the nominee. But today’s Senate lovefest for Ash Carter was remarkably dominated by two men who weren’t in the room: President Obama — in whose defense Carter was actually pretty tepid — and King Abdullah II of Jordan. The Obama White House has simultaneously “micromanag[ed]” the military and… Keep reading →

SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets in production.

WASHINGTON: SpaceX appears to have succeeded in cracking open the EELV program a bit in return for dropping its suit in the Court of Federal Claims against the Air Force. The agreement was announced by the Air Force and SpaceX after the stock market closed this afternoon. “The Air Force and SpaceX have reached agreement on a path forward… Keep reading →

Russian-made RD-180 engines propel an Atlas V rocket heavenward.

WASHINGTON: When the Air Force issued a Request for Information about an engine to replace the RD-180 it began to look as if they were serious about committing to build the first new rocket engine in decades. But we also received two new RD-180 engines from Russia the same day as the RFI went out, the United… Keep reading →

SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets in production.

[UPDATED with SpaceX comment] WASHINGTON: For the first time in a decade, the Air Force has opened its primary space launch program to competition. That’s something startup rocket company SpaceX and Congress have pushed for vigorously. It’s also a long-anticipated blow for the United Space Alliance — formed by Boeing and Lockheed Martin – which has… Keep reading →

Reaping the Benefits of a Global Defense Industry

Steve Grundman

After three years of the “age of austerity” in Western military spending, investors’ imperatives and corporate strategies show one indication of how the defense-industrial base will evolve over the next decade. Investors want public companies that demonstrate an attractive risk-adjusted total return, not just M&A-fueled arbitrage plays. In response, companies are husbanding or harvesting their financial… Keep reading →

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