July 31, 2008
Excuse us if we chortle at federal legislation that aims to lower highway speed limits. Here in Southern California, we're still trying to figure out how to get above 30 mph on the freeways most mornings. After speed limits were capped nationwide at 55 mph in 1974 in an attempt to reduce gasoline consumption, it took more than two decades to repeal the federal law and legally feel the wind in our hair again. "Legally," because most drivers had ignored the speed limit whenever they could.
November 26, 2010 |
Hundreds of Southern California defense contractors may have to cut jobs or go out of business if Congress approves a moratorium on federal earmarks, industry executives warned. More than $3 billion in earmarks ? or money directed to specific projects ? flowed into California this year for defense work, much of it funneled to Southland aerospace companies. But with the federal government staring at a staggering $1.4-trillion deficit, the so-called pork-barrel spending has drawn fire from critics who see earmarks as a symbol of pay-to-play politics and wasteful government spending.
February 27, 2003 |
Former Northrop Grumman Corp. engineer Roy Wubker Jr. believes he's developed an unmanned spy plane that can be the Pentagon's equivalent of a disposable camera. While his former employer sells state-of-the-art, $30-million jet-powered surveillance drones to the Defense Department, Wubker's tiny Systems Research & Development Corp. in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., is selling a $40,000, unmanned propeller-driven plane he calls Archangel.
July 1, 2012 |
Despite concerns about U.S.-made drones ending up in enemy hands, American military contractors are lobbying the government to loosen export restrictions and open up foreign markets to the unmanned aircraft that have reshaped modern warfare. Companies such as Northrop Grumman Corp.and other arms makers are eager to tap a growing foreign appetite for high-tech - and relatively cheap - drones, already being sold on the world market by countries such as Israel and China. "Export restrictions are hurting this industry in America without making us any safer," Wesley G. Bush, Northrop's chief executive, said at a defense conference this year.
December 6, 2011 |
The radar-evading drone that crash-landed over the weekend in Iran was on a mission for the CIA, according to a senior U.S. official, raising fears that the aircraft's sophisticated technology could be exploited by Tehran or shared with other American rivals. It was unclear whether the drone's mission took it over Iran or whether it strayed there accidentally because of technical malfunctions, the official said. Though the drone flight was a CIA operation, U.S. military personnel were involved in flying the aircraft, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the secrecy involved.
September 9, 2011 |
It wasn't long after the World Trade Center twin towers fell that U.S. Army special forces units were dispatched to the desolate outcroppings of Afghanistan to stalk and eradicate the Taliban. The commandos were outfitted with radios, night vision goggles and automatic rifles. But a select few carried a new high-tech tool to hunt down the enemy. It was a tiny robotic spy plane, so small it would fit in a backpack. Soldiers would throw the drone into the sky, where it would fly up to 400 feet, shoot video of what's ahead and transmit those images back to the soldiers.
November 4, 2008 |
Election day may signal bad news ahead for Southern California's biggest private employers -- aerospace giants Boeing Co. and Northrop Grumman Corp. -- no matter who wins today. With a financial crisis pinching federal coffers and deep cuts in federal spending looming, multibillion-dollar weapons purchases could take a serious hit.
April 1, 2003 |
Defense contractors are working behind the scenes to figure out how their weapons are performing in Iraq, knowing that future Pentagon contracts will flow to the companies with the best military hardware. The stakes are huge for defense firms in Southern California, the nation's center for new weapons development. After the war, the Pentagon is sure to redefine which technologies are likely to get more funding and which may fall by the wayside. If the high-tech weapons don't match expectations or aren't as decisive in battle as foot soldiers and tanks, funding priorities could shift.
August 7, 2004 |
With its plank-like wings and a leisurely cruising speed of 84 mph, the propeller-driven Predator spy plane looked pokey compared with the fighter jets zooming across the desert sky. But when the Predator made a picture-perfect landing, 600 people encircled it. The crowd appeared eager to hoist the pilot to their shoulders -- except the plane doesn't have a pilot or a cockpit or any windows. The Predator was "piloted" by a computer operator working a joystick in a nearby trailer.
December 2, 1995 |
With 20,000 U.S. troops poised to enter Bosnia on a potentially bloody peacekeeping mission, the CIA and the Pentagon had hoped to rely to an unprecedented degree on unmanned spy aircraft to provide GIs with vital intelligence as they slog across the steep hills and cloud-covered valleys of the Balkans.