Rapid Fire 2012-01-23: Panetta on JSF, Carriers

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* Defense Secretary Panetta removes the F-35B STOVL (Short Take-Off, Vertical Landing) from its 2-year probation, just 1 year in. Rolls Royce is very happy. James Hasik adds some thoughts about the timing. * Panetta also stated the US will keep 11 aircraft carriers. * The US Army responds to complaints that their policy of refusing to arm MEDEVAC helicopters, in a war against illegal combatants, has led to delayed response and extra casualties. * Fresh from its UAV pact with Alenia, EADS signs an agreement with Rheinmetall for a joint venture in the UAV field. Rheinmetall makes the KZO tactical UAV, which has been fielded in Afghanistan alongside Germany’s longer-range, Rheinmetall-operated, leased Heron-1 UAVs. * Looks like Colombia was the country that recently joined Israel and Chile as Hermes 900 MALE UAV customers. The Hermes 900 is a Predator-size UAV, from the firm that makes Britain’s new MK450B Watchkeeper system. * Australia’s Army has temporarily suspended S-70A Black Hawk helicopter flights, due to fractured bolts. The RAN’s S-70B Seahawk naval helicopters are different enough that they remain unaffected. * The Navy thinks a small heli-UAV is just the thing to keep tabs on agricultural data at its Maui (Hawaii) […]

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