Textron Systems Marine & Land Systems, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) business, has a $15,221,528 firm-fixed-price, foreign military sales contract from the U.S. Army Contracting Command, Warren, Mich., to provide 10 COMMANDOTM Select four-wheeled armored vehicles, along with related fielding hardware and technical services, to the Bulgarian National Military Forces. The vehicles initially will be deployed in support of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.
The People Republic of China is both a partner and a growing adversary challenging U.S. naval dominance in Asia Pacific. According to published reports, the PRC’s Navy Chief is Admiral Wu Shengli who is one of the architects of “China’s maritime expansion, sending ships and submarines deep into the Indian and Pacific oceans, launching China’s first aircraft carrier and overseeing operations to assert control of waters claimed by Vietnam, the Philippines and other nations.” The irony is that Admiral Wu is seeking help from the U.S. Navy “on help developing aircraft carrier operations and improving education for his naval officers.”
The British Army's Watchkeeper Unmanned Air System is fully operational in Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defense has confirmed.
NASA announced that “Expedition 43 Soyuz Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineer Mikhail Kornienko of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and NASA Flight Engineer Scott Kelly launched on the Russian Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft on March 28, Kazakh time from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to begin a six-hour journey to the International Space Station. For Kelly and Kornienko, the launch began a one-year mission on the station to conduct extensive research on the effect of long duration space travel on the human body.”
On April 10, 2015, the US Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) announced that it “conducted the Giant Pace 15-1M Simulated Electronic Launch-Minuteman (SELM) test near Malmstrom Air Force Base (AFB), Montana, US. The test represents the second part of a complete weapon's system evaluation, which saw an unarmed Minuteman III missile launched from Vandenberg AFB, California, splashing down in a pre-established test area in the Pacific Ocean near the island of Guam.
The USAF X-37B spacecraft spent nearly two years circling Earth on a classified mission. Like the Space Shuttle it is designed with a cargo bay that can release satellites, capture the satellites of other nations or closely monitor the PRC’s space lab. The X-37B can stay in orbit or change orbits. The concept of the X-37B was first released in 1999 and utilized in several Federal Agencies speculated to be the NRO, NSA, NASA, and now under the Air Force's Rapid Capabilities Office.
On April 9, 2015, BAE Systems celebrated the delivery of the first Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) M109A7 Self-Propelled Howitzer to the U.S. Army during a ceremony at their facility in Elgin, Okla.
The M109A7 will replace the current M109A6 Self-Propelled Howitzer, formerly known as the Paladin Integrated Management (PIM) program, as one of the U.S. Army's most critical combat vehicle modernization programs. This platform will provide the Army Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT) with a highly responsive indirect fire system capable of keeping pace with the Abrams tank and Bradley Fighting Vehicles on the battlefield.
The future battlefield will be the sea as it has always been since the time of the Roman Empire. Naval strength is used by country leaders to respond to territorial disputes, enforce maritime borders, and national borders. In Asia Pacific, the Peoples Republic of China has used its powerful navy to secure its borders beyond two hundred miles. Japan, South Korea, Philippines, and Vietnam have responded with pledges to grow their navies in the region. Ray Mabus, U.S. secretary of the U.S. Navy wrote on March 17, 2015 “The U.S. has the most powerful Navy in the world, but comparing the size of our fleet directly to other nations’ fleets—as pundits and politicians of late have done—is fundamentally flawed.
guided missile destroyers to the Black Sea as “Operation Resolve Expands” on land and sea.
Under the containment policies of the U.S. and NATO, the U.S. Army Europe began training in Romania and Bulgaria on March 24. The 173rd Airborne Brigade jumped into Smardan Training Area, Romania, for a combined, multinational training exercise with Romanian allies.
According to the US NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, “System Exploring a new frontier, the Dawn mission will journey back in time over 4.5 billion years to the beginning of our Solar System. How is this “time travel” possible? Many thousands of small bodies orbit the Sun in the asteroid belt—a large region between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.