Boeing Co. is selling its Rocketdyne business to United Technologies Corp. of Hartford, Conn., for approximately $700 million in cash. Rocketdyne builds booster engines for the Space Shuttle and Delta rockets, as well as propulsion systems for missile defense systems. Boeing IDS President and CEO Jim Albaugh said that Boeing would continue to build some launch systems, but that the sale also reinforces Boeing IDS’ strategic business aim to be “horizontally – not vertically – integrated.” Boeing Co.: News Release.
As the demand for armored scout units in Iraq soars, the U.S. Marine Corps is reviewing its entire array of combat vehicle programs and is considering revising procurement plans. Commanders in Iraq have kept light armored forces busier than planned, which has led to requests for additional battalions. According to preliminary estimates, the Marine Corps would be looking to add 5 light-armored reconnaissance (LAR) companies. Each company would be assigned to a Marine light armored reconnaissance battalion. The Corps has not yet decided, however, how it will come up with additional light armored vehicles, or LAVs, for the new companies. Among the options being contemplated are to purchase new vehicles or to bring ashore existing LAVs that are stocked aboard sea-based floating warehouses and saved for emergencies. National Defense also reports that the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle procurement plans remain on track, as are LAV upgrades and additional variants. The MEFFV program is reportedly being “revisited,” however, and the Army’s Future Combat Vehicle program will not be a joint program with the USMC. National Defense: Marine Corps Ponder Options to Expand Armor Forces in Iraq
Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc., was awarded a $165,422,738 cost-plus-award-fee contract for the development of Integrated Avionics Suite (IAS) software upgrades in support of the H-1 helicopter upgrade program. In addition, this contract provides for incorporation of the software upgrades into existing AH-1W Cobra attack helicopters and UH-1N transport helicopters, to convert them to AH-1Zs and UH-1Ys, respectively. Work will be performed in Woodland Hills, Calif. (70 percent); Hurst, Texas (25 percent), and China Lake, Calif. (5 percent), and is expected to be completed in February 2010. [DoD]
The Army News Service reports that the tiny Raven drone’s aerial reconnaissance value has quickly earned the respect of battalion commanders in Iraq, filling a niche at the battalion level when larger UAVs are unavailable. Weighing in at 4.5 pounds, with a 3-foot body and a 5-foot wingspan, the Raven UAV is so small that it’s launched by hand.
The U.S. Defense Department’s fiscal year 2006 research and development (R&D) budget request cuts off funding for congressional earmarks, which totaled $1 billion in FY ’05. DOD is requesting more than $70 billion for R&D in FY ’06, with $5.5 billion going to basic and applied research, according to White House science advisor John Marburger. Rather than funding earmarks, the FY ’06 budget increases “programs of priority to military leaders,” Marburger said in his written testimony. “Earmarks are not consistent with using funds most efficiently to target military priorities or to support the best research for military purposes.” Aerospace Daily & Defense Report: Defense R&D Budget Cutting Off Funding For FY ’05 Earmarks