Lockheed Martin Secretly Worked to Block Airbus’ Influence in Washington—While Teaming on Major Pentagon Bid
Under a party tent at an airport in Mobile, Ala., the CEO of Lockheed Martin grinned as he shook hands with the head of Airbus’s defense and space business unit. It was late January, and Lockheed Martin’s Jim Taiclet was welcoming Airbus’ Michael Schoellhorn, who had flown in from Europe to help announce a proposal to jointly build aerial refueling tankers at an Airbus plant in the Port City. The campaign-style rally was meant to stir up political support for their bid against Boeing to make the next batch of U.S. Air Force tankers; it had drawn Alabama’s governor, members of the state’s congressional delegation, and state and local officials, all excited by the prospect of hundreds of new jobs. But back in Washington, Lockheed Martin was quietly trying to block Airbus’ latest application to join the Aerospace Industries Association, an influential trade group that represents hundreds of mostly American companies ranging from multibillion-dollar manufacturers of fighter jets to tiny mom-and-pop suppliers.
Sixty years after the Cuban Missile Crisis brought the world to the brink of nuclear war, one of the U.S. military’s most unique airplanes is still standing guard in case of catastrophe. The E-4B National Airborne Operations Center—also known as “Nightwatch”—is a flying office for the Secretary of defense that uses 42 different communications systems that enable it to connect to anyone in the world.
More than 100 families have filed claims against the government for illnesses and out-of-pocket expenses they say are related to drinking fuel-tainted water in their homes at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. A November fuel spill forced thousands from their homes at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and other military housing neighborhoods near Honolulu. Attorneys announced that 102 families are looking for compensation for health conditions and financial harm caused by the spills at the U.S. Navy's Red Hill fuel storage facility.
The Air Force carried out a first-ever test at the Nevada Test and Training Range in February in which pairs of A-10Cs unleashed armor-piercing incendiary rounds against up-armored surrogate main battle tanks with explosive reactive armor, a kind of protection for modern armored vehicles designed to reduce the damage incoming rounds cause, the Air Force's 53rd Wing said in a statement. In the aftermath of the test, analysts examined videos, photos, and the tanks themselves to determine the damage inflicted by the Warthog, and they determined that the vehicles had been rendered inoperative.
DOD Selects North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University for Applied Hypersonics Research Work
The Department of Defense announced that North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University was selected for a one-year, $500,000 applied research award to advance hypersonics technology. The school will develop a novel methodology for designing an optimized intake to enhance hypersonic flight performance.
Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall, Undersecretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones, and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. hosted a congressional delegation at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., for an update on the base’s Advanced Battle Management System initiatives and an orientation of the E-7 Wedgetail, recently announced by the Air Force as the replacement for the aging E-3 Sentry. The delegation started their visit with an up-close look at a Royal Australian Air Force E-7, followed by a similar orientation in a U.S. Air Force E-3. Both platforms were at the base for training missions in the nearby Nevada Test and Training Range.
Leaders at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., are investigating an incident in which an Airman allegedly told another Airman that he was not being considered for a position because “the Air Force is looking for somebody of white complexion,” according to a text exchange shared on the popular Facebook page Air Force amn/snco/nco. “We won’t be sending your name up for [redacted] at the squadron,” a White technical sergeant allegedly texted a Black senior airman at the 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron. When the senior airman asked for a specific reason why, the technical sergeant said, “We personally do not feel as if you are a good choice for the squadron. You currently have a shaving waiver which isn’t a professional image, and I think the air force is looking for somebody of white complexion and with the image that the air force needs.”
30 Years After Intelsat VI Rescue, Northrop Grumman Aims to Make In-Space Servicing a Permanent Reality
Space Shuttle Endeavour lifted off on its first voyage May 7, 1992, from Pad-B at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Its target: Intelsat VI F-3 (now known as Intelsat 603). The goal: Rendezvous with, repair, and re-release the satellite. In the now-30 years since that mission, on-orbit satellite repair and servicing have largely languished, save for the five Hubble servicing missions Endeavour and the shuttle fleet would conduct after STS-49. Northrop Grumman now aims to change that in 2024 when its new Mission Robotic Vehicle and Mission Extension Pods begin launching to perform on-orbit satellite servicing and repairs.
A Virgin Orbit launch this summer from Cornwall will mark the first time the National Reconnaissance Office has arranged to loft a payload from the United Kingdom—indeed, the first time any satellite has lifted off from U.K. soil.
The U.S. Air Force plans to unveil its latest commercial titled “Own the Sky” in theaters during moviegoers’ long-awaited release of “Top Gun: Maverick.” The heart-pounding, adrenaline-inducing ad gives the audience a sense of what it might feel like to be on the receiving end of the Air Force’s might and accentuates the importance of airpower in America’s security. In the new ad, some of the Air Force’s fifth-generation fighters and their Air Force pilots are seen pulling Gs and doing maneuvers civilians might only see at an air show.