AIA has come out in support of the appointment of Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., as the co-chairman of the House Aerospace Caucus. "Aerospace Industries Association is delighted that Congressman Steven Palazzo has agreed to serve as one of the House Aerospace Caucus co-chairs," said AIA President and CEO David Melcher. "He is an enthusiastic supporter of the aerospace and defense industry, and his service in the House on the Appropriations Committee and as part of the Majority Whip Team will be key to addressing the difficult issues facing our nation and our industry."
The Air Force will deploy four F-35s to Mountain Home Air Force Base in southwestern Idaho in coming weeks. The move is part of the assessments that will enable the Air Force to deem the F-35 combat-ready by August. "What we’re trying to do is exercise the deployment concepts and to learn from maintenance and learn from (operations)," said Major General Jay Silveria.
Autonomous systems will prove a game-changer for unmanned aircraft, according to Northrop Grumman CEO Wes Bush. "I'm talking about cognitive autonomous systems. These are robotic systems that operate using the same actions we would expect from the judgment and, ultimately, the ethics of a pilot," he said, speaking at the Wings Club in New York. "It is not as mysterious as it sounds, but it is an enormous challenge to overcome. And autonomous aircraft will not grow into their full potential until we overcome that challenge."
The arsenal plane "takes one of our oldest aircraft platforms and turns it into a flying launchpad for all sorts of different conventional payloads," said Defense Secretary Ash Carter. "In practice, the arsenal plane will function as a very large airborne magazine, networked to fifth generation aircraft that act as forward sensor and targeting nodes, essentially combining different systems already in our inventory to create whole new capabilities."
The Navy is at work on an update to the Raytheon Standard Missile 6 that will create a supersonic anti-ship weapon that "can also target enemy ships at sea at very long ranges," according to Defense Secretary Ash Carter.
Aviation law attorneys say that states are limited in their powers to restrict drones, despite a raft of state bills that aim to address the drone issue at the state level. "As a general matter, any state law that tries to restrict the operation of aircraft, including unmanned aircraft, is probably preempted," said attorney Joshua Turner. "So if you're talking about restrictions on where you can fly unmanned aircraft, if you are talking about who can operate these aircraft, if you are talking about certifications for operating these aircraft -- all of those things strike me as right in the heartland of federal authority."
A House panel is calling for more details from NASA regarding human exploration of space as the White House is poised to change hands. "There appears to be a consensus that the horizon goal of America's human exploration program is to land on the surface of Mars. But how will we get there?" said Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas. "How do we ensure that the next administration does not wipe the slate clean, erasing all the hard work of the last five years?"
NASA's Juno spacecraft has completed a trajectory adjustment to put it on track to reach Jupiter, with 51 million miles to go. "This is the first of two trajectory adjustments that fine-tune Juno's orbit around the sun, perfecting our rendezvous with Jupiter on July 4 at 8:18 p.m. PDT," said Juno principal investigator Scott Bolton.
Unions representing Federal Aviation Administration employees have come out against privatization of the air traffic control system. "Making massive changes to the FAA's structure is neither a prudent nor responsible decision to move the agency forward. Privatizing the FAA will only add uncertainty and potentially reverse major advancements that have been made over the past several years toward modernization," said the unions in a joint statement.
Jet engines are still built by hand, but Pratt & Whitney has introduced one venerable element of mechanization. Engines at the Middletown, Conn., plant are built along an assembly line, with each suspended engine moving over an oval track where its height can be adjusted to the preference of each successive worker.
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