Along with changes to the Conventional Arms Transfer Policy, President Donald Trump has cleared the way for direct commercial sales of military drones to US allies. "In the global market for defense goods, speed has become a decisive factor," said Aerospace Industries Association CEO Eric Fanning, noting that additional work is required. "We're not looking to change the answer from no to yes on any particular transfer. Rather, we're trying to get to the right answer more quickly." AIA's Remy Nathan praised the decision, noting "[t]he real significance of this announcement is that you have a presidential-level declaration that defense trade is important."
Lockheed Martin is reportedly developing a fighter aircraft proposal for Japan that includes elements of the F-22 and F-35. The aircraft would require the transfer of sensitive military technology.
The Air Force is signaling the potential for additional B-21 Raider orders, as top brass confirmed to Congress that the program is on track. "I am comfortable today with were we are at, the progress that Northrop Grumman is making on the program," Lt. Gen Arnold Bunch told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The State Department has given its approval for the sale to Mexico of MH-60R Seahawk helicopters and weapons worth an estimated $1.2 billion.
The Air Force is contemplating accelerating the retirement of F-15 Eagles and replacing them with F-16 Fighting Falcons.
Iran Air is anticipating the delivery of three Boeing passenger jets this year, part of an order for 80 Boeing planes.
The aerospace industry employs 3,600 people in Vermont, and the industry is expecting a boost from the Trump administration's defense policies. Companies including GE Aviation and UTC Aerospace Systems together contribute $2 billion annually to Vermont's economy.
The Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center will undergo a reorganization as the service works to become more agile in space. "It will have offices that will focus on innovation and another that focuses on partnerships," said Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson. "All of this intended to both accelerate what we buy, but also to buy things more smartly, and that new structure will reach initial operating capability in October of this year."
New policies introduced by the Trump administration that put economic security on par with national security are designed to make it easier for American companies to export weapons systems to partner nations. "This is a really big deal. These are issues that had typically been relegated to the second tier," Remy Nathan, vice president of the Aerospace Industries Association, said.
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