Army National Guard AH-64 Apaches.

ARLINGTON: As it hustles towards a February 1st deadline, the National Commission on the Future of the Army remains pretty tight-lipped on what it’ll say in its report to Congress. Even our usually savvy sources are mostly shrugging their shoulders. However, the commissioners have dropped enough hints for us to make two educated guesses. First, the… Keep reading →

Adaptive Landing Gear helicopter

There’s been some breathless coverage of a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency experiment with what look like mechanical insect legs to replace the usual wheels or skids helicopters land on. One article called the Adaptive Landing Gear nothing short of  “incredible.” The video DARPA publicized is certainly fun to watch (see above), but  there’s a lot less utility… Keep reading →

Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. photo

AUSA: If Congress can’t pass proper spending bills for 2016, it will hurt more than 400 Army programs and damage combat readiness, two senior officials said here today. “I have a binder yea-thick of impacts,” Heidi Shyu, the Army’s senior acquisition official, told reporters today, holding her fingers several inches apart. “Over 400 programs are impacted if… Keep reading →

Helicopter lands in brownout - Army photo

AUSA: The Army is groping for solutions to the worst threat helicopter pilots face in Afghanistan,  Iraq and other sandy places – brownout and other forms of Degraded Visual Environment (DVE), which from 2002 to 2015 caused nearly 400 aircraft losses in combat operations at a cost of 152 lives and roughly $1 billion. “Of… Keep reading →


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 →

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