WASHINGTON: The Defense Department has told its big industry partners for most of the last 15 years that there’s no need for consolidation at the top. Lockheed Martin, Boeing, BAE Systems, Raytheon, General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman are big enough, they said. Mergers of prime contractors would limit competition, Ash Carter, Frank Kendall and other… Keep reading →

t700_2 GE Aviation photo

After more than seven years of designing and testing how to make new, more powerful, and incredibly fuel efficient engines for its AH-64 Apache attack helicopters and UH-60 Black Hawk utility birds, the Army has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP). The Army’s “top aviation priority” thus takes a baby step closer to becoming a… Keep reading →

Flanker drone. For Sunday PostScript story on drones.

Most of what was learned at this year’s Black Dart counter-drone exercise will remain classified, but it proved that one of the oldest and deadliest weapons in the U.S. arsenal works against the 21st Century threat of drones, too. “The Marine sniper shot from a UH-1Y Huey,” Lt. Cdr. Ryan Leary, a Black Dart project… Keep reading →

Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.

CAPITOL HILL: UPDATE BEGINS The administration’s nominee for Marine Corps Commandant, Lt. Gen. Bob Neller, set off a firestorm from Sen. John McCain this morning. After two hours of an otherwise congenial confirmation hearing, the Senate Armed Services Committee chairman erupted over Neller’s description of the current administration strategy against the Islamic State. That strategy relies on airpower and advisors… Keep reading →

Sikorsky-Boeing SB>1 Joint Multi-Role demonstrator

WASHINGTON: The military’s Future Vertical Lift initiative aims to replace a range of aging helicopters from all four services. No, wonder, then, that FVL is evolving, not into a single acquisition program, but into (at least) five different programs. With an eye on the problems such a broad effort can generate, the head of the industry group… Keep reading →

Black Hawk helicopters in formation

WASHINGTON: Lockheed Martin’s planned purchase of Sikorsky Aircraft, the biggest U.S. helicopter manufacturer, is a natural fit that will mean a lot more to buyer Lockheed and seller United Technologies Corp. than it will for the military rotorcraft industry, present or future. Here’s why. First, the two companies have worked together on military helicopter programs for decades.… Keep reading →

Bell V-280 Valor Joint Multi-Role Demonstrator

Somebody’s finally doing something tangible about the future of Army aviation. Bell Helicopter subcontractor Spirit AeroSystems of Wichita, Kan., has started assembling the composite fuselage for the first prototype V-280 Valor, Bell’s new military tiltrotor. The Valor is sleeker, smaller, and, by design, more Army-friendly than the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey, which was built to fit… Keep reading →

Combat Proven sticker Paris Show 2015

PARIS AIR SHOW: Crowds thronged around the French Defense Ministry pavilion today, chatting with Rafale fighter pilots and the engineers who helped build the planes. It was a most unusual sight, all those civilians — with a fairly high percentage of women — listening intently to and then chatting with the pilots, who also stood in… Keep reading →

Paris Air Show overall

WASHINGTON: At least the US military is attending the Paris Air Show in some force this year, but right now none of the American aircraft pictured below are scheduled to fly at the show. Some 90 US military personnel will be on hand to maintain the aircraft and safeguard them. Here’s the list of military aircraft that… Keep reading →

Kai Boyce makes a repair in the APU compartment on the aft right side of an F/A-18 hornet at Cecil Commerce Center.

CAPITOL HILL: Marines pride themselves on being ready for anything. But as of today, 19 percent of their air fleet is out of action “long-term” awaiting repairs and spares, the deputy commandant for aviation said today. “It’s 158 — actually, today, 159 aircraft — that the taxpayer paid $8.4 billion dollars for,” said Lt. Gen.… Keep reading →

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