PARIS: Our first video from the 2013 Paris Air Show. To loyal readers, we hope you celebrated our second anniversary yesterday. Our web site went live on June 15, 2011 at the last Paris Air Show. Since arriving in Paris on Friday, I’ve interviewed or taken part in media roundtables with more than a dozen… Keep reading →
GILLIAM COUNTY, OREGON: This isolated test site in rural Oregon is where Boeing subsidiary Insitu takes its drones “to torture them,” said site manager Jerry McWithey. Temperates soar to 110 degrees in summer and plummet to 10 degrees — with 50-knot winds — in winter. The hot-and-cold ordeal the drones go through is a microcosm of the problems facing the company as a whole as the defense spending boom goes bust.
The era of exponential growth is over. When Insitu was founded back in 1998, it had just four people and a plan to build small numbers of small unmanned air vehicles for weather research. Shortly after 9/11, in February 2002, the start-up partnered with aerospace behemoth Boeing to develop military recon UAVs, and its ScanEagle drone (click here for video) first saw action over Fallujah in 2004. Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: Just when United Technologies’s Pratt & Whitney subsidiary seemed to have put the troubles with its F135 engine for the Joint Strike fighter behind it, there comes news that the company violated the so-called Tianamen sanctions and illegally sold engine control software to China for use in an attack helicopter.
Perhaps worse than the sales themselves, the company “made false and belated disclosures to the U.S. government about these illegal exports,” the Justice Department said in its press release announcing a plea agreement reached between UTC and the government. Keep reading →
As America’s Space Shuttle program comes to an end, commentators often link that event to the view that the United States is abrogating leadership in space to the Chinese. The Shuttle, however, is one part of a much larger US space program, and replacing it will be part of a new US approach to space, one relevant to the globalized world, recognizing economic realities, and the dual use nature of most space technology which makes military considerations an imperative part of US considerations.
The Chinese are moving forward to replicate human and lunar space feats accomplished by the United States more than 40 years ago. The Chinese are also expanding their military space capabilities. How do Chinese plans impact the United States? The 2010 National Space Policy (NSP) provided new direction for the United States in space. As the United States contemplates implementation of the NSS, the time is right for sorting through what space activities the Chinese are doing that the United States should be concerned with, and what has been a distraction.’ Keep reading →
Paris: Any time one American defense company buys another it can trigger government review for a host of reasons, from antitrust to security concerns.
When an American company financed by a foreign entity tries to buy another American company it triggers review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). It is an obscure but powerful body charged with monitoring the national security implications of the purchase by foreigners of any American company. For example, purchase of a phone company might well trigger a review even though they are not directly involved in military matters. Keep reading →