Edited by John M. Doyle

Edited by John M. Doyle
Articles
Ex-Senator Warns Of Climate Change Threat To U.S. Security 

During his long Senate career, former Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) fought for the F-35 alternate engine program and famously changed Washington’s thinking about the war in Iraq when, returning from a fact-finding trip, he said strategy there appeared to be going “sideways.” Now the retired lawmaker is sounding a warning about the national security threat posed by global warming.

Pentagon Now Shoots for Mid-September KC-X Draft RFP 

The Pentagon has notified prospective bidders that the long-awaited draft request for proposals for the Air Force’s KC-135 replacement competition is now planned for release in mid-September—with a formal draft likely to follow in October. If this schedule holds, selection of the winning replacement refueling tanker design could occur in mid-2010. That is roughly a six-month slip from earlier plans for the program. A previous Air Force attempt at a KC-X competition included a purchase of 179 tankers worth an estimated $35 billion.

Senate’s F-22 Vote Is Questioned 

The Senate vote terminating funding for the F-22 Raptor “doesn’t change a thing” about the tactical advantages offered by the stealth fighter’s advanced systems, a senior Air Force intelligence officer tells Aviation Week, adding: “I think history will bear out the F-22 advocates’ position when all the dust settles.” The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter “is not an F-22 by a long shot,” he says.

Senate Votes to Block JSF’s Alternative Engine 

The Senate debate over developing a second engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter took a twist when lawmakers adopted language to keep the General Electric/Rolls-Royce F136 out of the Fiscal 2010 defense budget. Congress has frequently added money for the F136 over Pentagon objections, but on July 23, the Senate adopted an amendment to halt the program. The amendment’s author, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), a fierce advocate for Connecticut employer Pratt & Whitney’s F135 engine, says the Defense Dept. “neither wants nor intends to use” any engine but the F135.

Naval Aviation Expert Says Developing Combat UAVs Takes Time 

At a discussion on the potential fighter gap faced by the Navy and Marine Corps in the next decade, Vice Adm. (ret.) Robert Dunn, president of the Assn. of Naval Aviation, was asked about the future of unmanned aircraft on aircraft carriers. Dunn said he and fellow carrier pilots in the mid-1950s looked at their Grumman F-9F Cougars and speculated they would be the last manned aircraft the Navy would fly.

NTSB Vacancies Mount as Rosenker, Higgins Resign 

It seems opportunities in the private sector have been knocking at the NTSB’s door since President Barack Obama took office—leaving two vacancies on its five-member board. On July 22, acting Chairman Mark V. Rosenker submitted his letter of resignation. He became chairman in 2006 and was nominated for a second term in 2007. Kathryn (Kitty) Higgins, who joined the NTSB in 2006, says she is stepping down as of Aug. 3. Both plan to pursue “opportunities in the private sector.” Steven R. Chealander, a member since January 2007, left on Feb.

U.S. Air Force To Outline Unmanned Vision 

U.S. Air Force and Defense Dept. personnel, as well as industry representatives, will be briefed on the Air Force’s long-term unmanned aircraft systems road map, the UAS Flight Plan, on July 28-30. Approved by Air Force leadership last month, the Flight Plan outlines a vision to 2047 for integration of unmanned aircraft across all the service’s operations, identifying unmanned alternatives for some manned missions.

House Panel Pushes for More KEI Funding 

The House defense appropriations subcommittee has kept most of Defense Secretary Robert Gates’s planned cuts in missile defense—except for the Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI). Gates terminated the $8.7-billion program to develop the high-speed interceptor in his Fiscal 2010 budget request. But Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), the subcommittee chairman, is including $80 million for KEI in the Fiscal 2010 defense spending bill. The idea is to keep the program going until a review of KEI is completed to see if any of its technology might be useful elsewhere. But Army Lt. Gen.

Weiler Says Cost Growth Still Could Kill Next Mars Lander 

NASA could still kill its Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover if cost growth in the troubled program continues, science chief Ed Weiler tells the NASA Advisory Committee. Weiler will run his own “personal” milestone review in September, he tells the committee, focusing on actuators and avionics with a small group that will include the directors of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Goddard Space Flight Center. An agency review of the project is scheduled for November.

House Panel Pushes for More KEI Funding 

The House defense appropriations subcommittee has kept most of Defense Secretary Robert Gates’s planned cuts in missile defense—except for the Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI). Gates terminated the $8.7-billion program to develop the high-speed interceptor in his Fiscal 2010 budget request. But Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), the subcommittee chairman, is including $80 million for KEI in the Fiscal 2010 defense spending bill. The idea is to keep the program going until a review of KEI is completed to see if any of its technology might be useful elsewhere. But Army Lt. Gen.

White House Seeks Support for Nuke Sustainment 

While President Barack Obama won plaudits for his campaign to reduce nuclear weaponry worldwide, the White House is now trying to defend its Fiscal 2010 request for maintaining a major legacy nuclear bomb. A July 14 White House statement warns that the House Appropriations Committee’s rejection of a $65-million request for a B61 refurbishment study next year would essentially end efforts to provide critical components.

White House Seeks Support for Nuke Sustainment 

While President Barack Obama won plaudits for his campaign to reduce nuclear weaponry worldwide, the White House is now trying to defend its Fiscal 2010 request for maintaining a major legacy nuclear bomb. A July 14 White House statement warns that the House Appropriations Committee’s rejection of a $65-million request for a B61 refurbishment study next year would essentially end efforts to provide critical components.

State Dept. Launching Its Own QDR 

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the State Dept. plans to take a page from the Defense Dept.’s playbook by conducting its own Quadrennial Defense Review, dubbed the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR). Clinton tells an audience of State Dept.

U.S. Air Force To Outline Unmanned Vision 

U.S. Air Force and Defense Dept. personnel, as well as industry representatives, will be briefed on the Air Force’s long-term unmanned aircraft systems road map, the UAS Flight Plan, on July 28-30. Approved by Air Force leadership last month, the Flight Plan outlines a vision to 2047 for integration of unmanned aircraft across all the service’s operations, identifying unmanned alternatives for some manned missions.

Weiler Says Cost Growth Still Could Kill Next Mars Lander 

NASA could still kill its Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover if cost growth in the troubled program continues, science chief Ed Weiler tells the NASA Advisory Committee. Weiler will run his own “personal” milestone review in September, he tells the committee, focusing on actuators and avionics with a small group that will include the directors of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Goddard Space Flight Center. An agency review of the project is scheduled for November.

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