Articles by Colin Clark
UPDATED: HASC Chair Promises Fight as DoD Announces Stop Work Order;
General Electric and Rolls Royce suffered what could be the final blow in the second great engine war today as the Pentagon announced it issued a stop work order for the Joint Strike Fighter’s second engine.
Congress should not require the Pentagon to create a stockpile of rare earth minerals because companies will adjust their behavior to the international marketplace, a group of experts said today. “The sky is not falling. Contrary to what you are reading in some newspapers and articles we are not going to run out of anything any time soon,” said MIT professor Robert Jaffe.
One of China’s top space executives is scheduled to come to the US and speak next month at the National Space Symposium, the nation’s premier…
Lockheed Martin believes there is a good chance the US will recommit to the tri-nation MEADS missile defense program, driven by its smaller manpower requirements, ease of transport and higher reliability. And Germany and Italian officials told a senior Lockheed official that they remain committed to MEADS and other countries may well join the program sometime in the next two years.
The first Arab state has publicly committed to enforcing the no-fly zone over Libya — Qatar — as initial battle damage assessments of yesterday’s air strikes indicate Qaddafi’s air defense have been seriously degraded. On the home front, the first signs of open worry from Capitol Hill surfaced with the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee saying he was, “concerned that the use of military force in the absence of clear political objectives for our country risks entrenching the United States in a humanitarian mission whose scope and duration are not known at this point and cannot be controlled by us.”
Within an hour of the great quake striking Japan, the companies that supply commercial satellite pictures to the intelligence community and the Pentagon had dropped everything and begun providing images of stricken areas. Geoey and DigitialGlobe stopped shooting images for commercial clients and “began emergency collection” of images which were then pumped in almost real time through a computing cloud and on to the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency’s special web portal set up for such purposes,
The folks at Geoeye sent us images of some of the worst hit areas and the Fukushima nuclear complex that were combined using Google Earth. The analysts at the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and with the Japanese government are doubtless poring over similar images.
UPDATED: UN Security Council OKs No Fly Zone
While the Air Force Chief of Staff says it will take a week to set up, the Obama administration has shifted its stance and now supports creation of a no-fly zone in Libya and would support air to ground strikes, apparently fearing a bloody showdown in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.
UPDATED: Air Force Clarifies On Requirements
Air Force Secretary Mike Donley told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he is “absolutely sure competition will be involved” in the the purchase of the Common Vertical Lift Support Platform. But the Air Force budget only contains money to buy a helo, not develop one.
The Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle became the focal point again for congressional unhappiness with the secrecy with which the Gates’ Pentagon does business during a hearing of the House Armed Services seapower and projections forces subcommittee. “It’s a systemic problem,” Rep. Todd Akin, chairman of the committee, told me after the hearing. “It’s an increasingly systemic problem”
The Air Force’s new space acquisition strategy, called Evolutionary Acquisition for Space Strategy, came under fire today from experts who said it would lead to higher costs and a less resilient industrial base.
With the F136 engine likely inserted into the coming House of Representative’s Continuing Resolution, some of the second engine’s strongest supporters used a hearing today…
The United States must consider an alternative approach to buying a highly sophisticated, multi-billion eye in the sky spy satellite, the vice chairman of the House Permanent Select Intelligence Committee said this morning. “I think it’s a major issue,” Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland told reporters this morning. He said he is working with DNI Jim Clapper on the best approach to providing troops and the White House with the best mix of capabilities.
One day before the House Armed Services Committee holds a major hearing on the F-35 program, the Navy and Marines unveiled a memo committing them to buying both the carrier and STOVL versions of the Joint Strike Fighter. The memo “is a demonstration the secretary and chief of naval operations and the commandant are committed to the success of both the F-35 B and C variants,” Thomas Laux, the Navy’s deputy assistant secretary for aviation programs, said this afternoon.”
The Army is trying to figure out how to take advantage of the coming period of retrenchment and restructuring. The presumptive Army Chief of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey started the early stage of the discussion during Unified Quest, the annual Army war games designed to figure out what to do down the road. There was talk of another battalion for each Army brigade and much worrying about just what constitutes a full spectrum force. Inside the Army, discussion about how to organize and what kind of fights to prepare for is picking up steam. We hear from one lieutenant colonel in Afghanistan.
The entire F-35 fleet has been grounded pending an investigation into what caused a dual generator failure and an oil leak during flight tests of AF-4 at Edwards Air Force Base. “The jet returned safely to base. As a routine safety precaution, the Joint Program Office (JPO) has temporarily suspended F-35 flight operations until a team of JPO and LM technical experts determines the root cause of the generator failure and oil leak,” Lockheed Martin F-35 spokesman John Kent said.
The equipment for Son of FCS — most of it recently canceled by the Army — met the service’s requirements but did not meet the much more demanding standard of actually improving how soldiers fought, according to the Pentagon’s top operational tester.
Marine Gen. Hoss Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs, is still on most lists, but he may have been tainted — rightly or wrongly –by the recent IG report which cleared Cartwright but also questioned his judgment. That is the latest from the ever-active Pentagon rumor mill.