June 26, 2012 |
The nation's military contractors say they are preparing to shut facilities, tear up supplier contracts and issue pink slips to thousands of aerospace employees to deal with proposed federal budget cuts threatening to hit Pentagon spending. After a decade of heady growth amid the military buildup following Sept. 11, 2001, contractors had already braced themselves for $487 billion in cuts over the next decade. But an additional $500 billion in cuts are now being discussed in Washington.
May 13, 2012 |
The gig: Alton D. Romig Jr., 58, is "chief skunk" at Lockheed Martin Corp.'s famed Skunk Works secretive weapons development facility in Palmdale. It's one of the most coveted jobs in aerospace. For more than 70 years, workers at the shadowy site have designed and built the world's most innovative military aircraft, including the U-2 spy plane, SR-71 Blackbird and F-117 stealth fighter. About 2,000 people work on 600 programs at Skunk Works, which got its nickname in 1943 at its original Burbank headquarters that was located next to a manufacturing plant that produced a strong odor.
January 10, 2012 |
For the first time, the U.S. military is using a drone to deliver food and supplies to troops in Afghanistan. On Dec. 17, in a 90-minute flight, the Marine Corps deployed a cargo-lifting K-MAX helicopter drone to carry 3,500 pounds of food and supplies to U.S. Marines at Combat Outpost Payne. "We delivered cargo ... that was supposed to be delivered by convoy. Now that convoy has three pallets that it does not have to carry," Maj. Kyle O'Connor, the officer in charge of the squadron's cargo resupply, said in a statement.
November 22, 2011 |
The Pentagon announced that it awarded a contract worth as much as $7.4 billion to aerospace giant Lockheed Martin Corp. to upgrade the Air Force's problem-plagued fleet of F-22 Raptor fighter jets. The announcement said that the Bethesda, Md., company would "add new capabilities and enhance the performance of the aircraft. " Lockheed referred all questions about the contract to the Air Force, which said it could not provide details about the upgrade announced Friday. The F-22, which costs an estimated $412 million each, is the military's most expensive fighter jet and known to be its most advanced.
October 6, 2011 |
The Marine Corps will deploy its first-ever cargo-lifting drone into a war zone when it sends the K-Max helicopter to Afghanistan next month. The heavy-lift drone chopper, made by Lockheed Martin Corp. and Kaman Aerospace Corp., recently wrapped up a five-day evaluation study in Arizona to prove its cargo-carrying capability in conditions similar to those it would be expected to encounter in Afghanistan. K-Max exceeded the Navy and Marines' requirement to deliver 6,000 pounds of cargo a day. "K-Max has the capability to quickly deliver cargo, thus getting troops off the roads and allowing them to focus on other missions," said Navy Rear Adm. Bill Shannon, division executive officer for unmanned aviation and strike weapons.
September 20, 2011 |
The U.S. Air Force's F-22 Raptor fighter jets have been cleared for takeoff after a government safety investigation grounded the entire fleet for more than four months. The Air Force said that all 170 F-22s will be inspected before flight operations resume. The fleet was put out of service May 3 after a dozen incidents since April 2008 in which pilots' oxygen was cut off. It is the latest issue for the F-22, which cost an estimated $412 million each, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office's latest report, and have not been used in combat since entering service in 2005.