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A-10 ThunderboltThe Senator leading the fight to keep the A-10 Thunderbolt in the active Air Force fleet said she wants a permanent solution that ends what has become an annual fight with the Air Force over the fate of the close-air-support aircraft.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-New Hampshire, compared the fight to a classic Bill Murray film about a man who finds himself reliving a single day over and over.

“It’s ‘Groundhog Day’, and it doesn’t help our men and women in uniform to have to go through this exercise every year when there isn’t a replacement [for the A-10]. And there isn’t going to be a replacement next year,” Ayotte said. [Continue reading…]

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The U.S. subsidiary of British defense giant BAE Systems Plc is developing a new headset that merges night vision and thermal imaging.

Soldiers typically wear night-vision goggles to see their surroundings in the dark, but use thermal sights mounted on their rifles to engage targets. Soon, they’ll be able to use one device for both tasks, the company announced in a release on Monday. [Continue reading…]

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The rocket launched this week by Amazon​.com founder Jeff Bezos’ private space company may help break the U.S. military’s reliance on Russian engines.

Bezos’ company, Blue Origin LLC, on Wednesday successfully lifted off its New Shepard spacecraft from a range in West Texas. The unmanned vehicle, powered by a liquid hydrogen-liquid oxygen engine called BE-3, hit Mach 3 and climbed 307,000 feet into space before beginning a controlled descent back to Earth.

The firm has teamed with United Launch Alliance LLC, a joint venture between Lockheed Martin Corp. and Boeing Co., to develop an updated version of the engine that could eventually serve as a replacement to a Russian design used on U.S. military rockets. [Continue reading…]

B-52 successfully tests alternative jet engine fuelA Florida lawmaker’s bid to push the Air Force to develop new electronic weapons failed on Tuesday when the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said the effort was technically flawed.

Rep. Richard Nugent, R-Florida, said the Air Force “has been dragging its feet” on preparing the weapon for deployment and instead redirecting $10 million the service received in 2015.

“The Air Force has really been skating around this congressional intent a lot lately, and almost everyone has experienced frustration [with their] tactics,” Nugent said, citing the service’s determination to retire the A-10 Thunderbolt over the will of Congress. [Continue reading…]

Tomahawk missileThe House Armed Services Committee added money to the 2016 defense bill to keep the Tomahawk Block IV missile production line open even after the Navy had chosen to close it.

Committee leaders included funding to order 198 Tomahawk Block IV missiles despite plans by the Navy to pursue a next-generation land attack weapon – a move which could wind up leading the service to develop an upgraded, next-generation Tomahawk.

Last year, the House made the same move increasing the order for Tomahawk missiles from 100 to 196 missiles.  The fiscal year 2015 budget proposal had called for 100 Tomahawk missiles to be produced in 2015 before stopping production in 2016 until re-certification in 2019.

Tomahawk missiles weigh 3,500 pounds with a booster and can travel at subsonic speeds up to 550 miles per hour at ranges greater than 900 nautical miles. The missiles built by Raytheon are just over 18-feet long and have an 8-foot, 9-inch wingspan. [Continue reading…]