A Navy F-35C conducts its first-ever arrested landing aboard the carrier USS Nimitz

WASHINGTON: The conference version of the defense policy bill for 2016 puts the Navy on notice in multiple high-priority programs. In three areas — carriers, the UCLASS drone, and LCS — Sen. John McCain‘s tough positions prevailed over the House, albeit with some compromises around the edges. In a fourth — Ticonderoga-class cruisers — it was a House leader,… Keep reading →

Rear Adm. David Johnson

WASHINGTON: When the Navy named its next top sub-builder, Rear Adm. Michael Jabaley, back in July, I wondered where the submariner he was replacing would surface. Now we know: The Pentagon announced late yesterday that Rear Adm. David Johnson will pin  on his third star and become the top uniformed acquisition official in the Navy… Keep reading →

Army photo

AFA CONFERENCE: Time was, the Air Force wanted nothing to do with drones that weren’t built to be shot down. Now, after flying big, armed drones more than 2.4 million hours, the service has decided it wants to buy little ones in swarms – and fly them that way, too. Buying Small Unmanned Aerial Systems… Keep reading →

MDA Photo

HUNTSVILLE, ALA.: Three years after the Missile Defense Agency mothballed its massive Airborne Laser, MDA is planning to reboot the concept for a new era. The old ABL was Boeing 747 with a human crew and tanks of toxic chemicals to generate power. The new idea a high-altitude, long-endurance drone armed with a more compact… Keep reading →

An Army Grey Eagle testing a NERO jammer.

PENTAGON:  The US Army is struggling to fund the increasingly crucial capabilities it fields for electronic warfare, which it largely abandoned after the Soviet Union fell. The Army has over 32,000 short-range defensive jammers to stop roadside bombs, but on current plans, it won’t have an offensive jammer until 2023. “Can that be accelerated? Yes,” said… Keep reading →

Deborah Lee James

WASHINGTON: Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James warned Congress today that its effort to stop the retirement of the A-10 Warthog and other aircraft could hurt the service’s modernization plans. In a speech before the National Aeronautic Association, James noted the service wants “to transfer and divest some older aircraft in order to free up… Keep reading →


WASHINGTON: Two major defense industry players have a suggestion for Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, whose Better Buying Power 3.0 plan includes a new requirement that companies get the Pentagon’s blessing for internal research and development (IRAD) spending. Back off. “I’m not sure there’s a lot of upside to a lot of DoD oversight of where… Keep reading →


PARIS: The Pentagon’s decision to pause as it reconsiders what path to pursue with the drone fighter known as UCLASS prompted Boeing to send a warning note today that the US military had better keep its commitments if it wants companies to invest their own money in new technologies. Pressed by Rep. Randy Forbes and Sen. John McCain… Keep reading →

Lockheed Martin's UCLASS concept.

WASHINGTON: Overstretched as they are, the Navy’s 10 aircraft carriers remain unequalled icons of American might. But the ugly truth is they’re not as mighty as they might be. The maximum range of carrier-borne strike aircraft has eroded over the last quarter century. Even the Navy’s future fighter, the F-35C, will have an unrefueled range of about 600… Keep reading →

Army photo

WASHINGTON: Sometimes small is beautiful. Sometimes small is lethal. While China and Russia are researching stealthy and armed drones, the drunk intelligence analyst who landed a Chinese-made mini-drone on the White House lawn in last month may be the more worrying sign of things to come. Afghan and Iraqi guerrillas kludged together murderous roadside bombs… Keep reading →

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