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Daily News

March 31, 2000

March 31, 2000 -- Lt. Gen. John Costello, commander of the Army's Space and Missile Defense Command, said today he was "surprised" by Russia's use of ballistic missiles against Chechen rebels.

Speaking at a missile defense breakfast sponsored by the National Defense University Foundation, Costello said the number of tactical ballistic missiles Russia has launched into Chechnya "is in the hundreds." The United States has tracked these launches using the Joint Tactical Ground Station system, he added. "We are watching this; it is a concern."

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March 31, 2000 -- A Raytheon surface-to-air ship self-defense missile shot down a target drone earlier this month over New Mexico during its first guided flight test, the company announced yesterday.

The Evolved SeaSparrow Missile (ESSM) destroyed a BQM-34S Firebee target drone after being fired from the Desert Ship launch complex at White Sands Missile Range, NM. The successful shoot-down was the first of 15 flight tests scheduled for this year, according to Raytheon.

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March 30, 2000 -- The House and Senate versions of the congressional budget resolution include only a "small increase" to the Clinton administration's fiscal year 2001 defense spending request and could "severely constrain" funding for defense over the next 10 years, according to an analysis released yesterday by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

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March 31, 2000 -- The commander of the Army's missile defense programs said a sea-based national missile defense system -- being touted by senior Navy officials and a group of congressional and academic backers -- may not be as easily achieved as some press accounts have suggested. The very discussion of a naval system may cause an actual or artificial competition for program dollars for the ground-based system the Army is now developing, he added.

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March 31, 2000 -- Air Force investigators say pilot error was the cause of a C-130 aircraft crash in Kuwait last December that killed three people and injured seven.

The mishap occurred on Dec. 10, 1999, at Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base in Kuwait. The C-130E had made a number of flights that day, ferrying passengers between Kuwait City International Airport and Al Jaber and Al Salem Air Bases, according to a March 20 Air Force Accident Investigation Board report released today.

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March 30, 2000

March 30, 2000 -- By a vote of 263-146, House lawmakers today approved a $12.7 billion supplemental spending bill for Kosovo, flood relief, and counternarcotics activities in Colombia and other source countries.

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March 30, 2000 -- The Defense Department announced this week that the Army has awarded Raytheon Systems Co. a contract worth as much as $338.3 million for the production of Long-Range Scout Surveillance Systems.

The systems are made up of second-generation Forward Looking Infrared, long-range optics, an eyesafe laser rangefinder, a video camera and Global Positioning System technologies. They will be used by Army scout vehicles like humvees to detect targets at greater ranges than current capabilities permit.

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March 30, 2000 -- Air Force Secretary F. Whitten Peters told a Senate committee yesterday that the cost of the C-17 airlifter will remain steady if the service is allowed to use money appropriated last year for a 15-aircraft buy, even though it will only purchase 12 planes in fiscal year 2001. Peters said the Air Force would return to a 15-aircraft buy in 2002 and beyond.

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March 30, 2000 -- Defense Secretary William Cohen last night signed two new deployment orders sending an Army long-range reconnaissance company to Kosovo and 14 tanks to reinforce an armored company now stationed in Macedonia, Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon said today.

Brig. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of Task Force Falcon, the United States force in Kosovo, requested the deployments when he recently met with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Henry Shelton and Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Wesley Clark, Bacon said.

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March 29, 2000

March 29, 2000 -- Yesterday's tornado in downtown Fort Worth, TX, will delay take-off for the annual Army Aviation Association of America conference, organizers said this morning.

The F2-level tornado, which tore through the center of Fort Worth, caused severe damage through a two-mile swath that crossed Sundance West, an area only a few blocks from the Fort Worth Convention Center, site of the AAAA conference.

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March 29, 2000 -- Over the past four years the Marine Corps has seen dozens of EA-6B pilots leave the service because of an increasingly heavy workload and the lure of higher-paying jobs with commercial airlines. Now, faced with an EA-6B pilot inventory that has reached an all-time low, the service is offering an unprecedented transition program to any fixed-wing naval pilot that will hopefully begin to reverse the downward slide, Lt. Col. Patrick Noonan told InsideDefense.com today.

Noonan is assigned to the Marine Corps' aviation manpower branch.

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March 28, 2000

March 28, 2000 -- The Ballistic Missile Defense Organization can shave dollars off its numerous radar programs by focusing on common hardware and software and adopting an "open" design architecture for each program, an internal study team has told BMDO Director Lt. Gen. Ron Kadish.

The team delivered its recommendations to Kadish on Feb. 22, Cmdr. Michael Scharf told InsideDefense.com today. Scharf, program integrator for BMDO's Navy Area Missile Defense program, was a member of the study team.

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March 28, 2000 -- Four of the world's largest defense contractors today announced they are creating an online marketplace from which they will conduct all of their subcontracting.

Boeing, Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems and Raytheon have signed a memorandum of understanding to form the new venture. The parties expect to sign a binding agreement soon and will form a new company that will own and operate the exchange, according to a joint statement.

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March 28, 2000 -- An expert panel of Pentagon advisers has concluded the United States must develop the ability to destroy satellites as part of a deterrence strategy that emphasizes the protection of military and commercial space assets as well as the denial of adversaries' use of space.

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March 27, 2000

March 27, 2000 -- The conventional take-off and landing variant of the Joint Strike Fighter being developed for the Air Force will probably never return to its long-promised price of $28 million per fighter, JSF Program Director Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Mike Hough told reporters today.

The rise in price is the result of the latest computation of the cost figures, Hough said, which created a new cost estimate for the fighter. The metrics used to determine JSF cost since 1995 changed, Hough said, and "all of a sudden a $28 million aircraft went to about $30 million."

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March 24, 2000

March 24, 2000 -- A Defense Science Board task force formed last January to look at the Defense Department's information assurance capabilities has been upgraded to a full DSB summer study, according to an industry source. The change means the group will go far beyond its original charter and will now recommend to Pentagon officials what changes need to be made if the United States military is to get its arms completely around the information assurance/information warfare problem.

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March 24, 2000 -- Defense Secretary William Cohen today ordered the formation of a working group of senior service leaders to draft an action plan to reduce the harassment of homosexual service members.

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March 24, 2000 -- A derivative of the turbine jet engine used for Navy Harpoon missiles will power production-model Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles, Teledyne Continental Motors officials announced this week.

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March 23, 2000

March 23, 2000 -- President Bill Clinton's pick for the Pentagon's top legal position told a Senate committee Tuesday he does not expect Defense Secretary William Cohen will reexamine the department's policy covering gays in the military following the imminent release of a pair of DOD reports on gay harassment in the military.

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March 22, 2000

March 22, 2000 -- A small Florida company has beaten out two defense giants by winning a contract for the upgrade of Marine Corps Light Armored Vehicles.

According to military and industry officials, the company, Metric Systems, was told this week it won a deal worth $4.4 million initially, with up to $60 million worth of options to follow. An announcement has not yet been made, but both the winning and losing firms were informed of the decision early this week, according to an Army contract officer.

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