Thursday, March 8, 2018

Fw: TheList 4673

The List 4673

To All,
I hope that your week has been going well.
This Day In Naval History – March 8, 2018
March 8
1822Crew from the schooner Enterprise capture and burn seven small pirate vessels off Cape Antonio, Cuba.
1854 - Commodore Matthew Perry opens treaty negotiations with Japan
1862The ironclad CSS Virginia destroys the wooden ships USS Cumberland and USS Congress in Hampton Roads, VA. 
1943PBY-5 Catalinas from VP-53 sink German submarine U 156 east-northeast of Trinidad. 
1945Phyllis Daley becomes the first African-American ensign in the Navy Nurse Corps and serves at the Naval Dispensary at Boston, MA. 
1945Navy patrol bombers hit a Japanese convoy, sinking cargo vessel No. 21 Yusen Maru in Formosa Strait.
1950Operation Portrex begins. The two-week-long exercise is the first use of airborne troops in support of an amphibious landing and takes place on Vieques Island, Puerto Rico.
1958 - Battleship USS Wisconsin (BB-64) is decommissioned, leaving the Navy
without an active battleship for the first time since 1895.
1961USS Patrick Henry (SSBN 599) returns from patrol to become the first ballistic missile submarine to use Holy Loch, Scotland, as a refit and upkeep anchorage.
1965 - Seventh Fleet lands first major Marine units in South Vietnam at Danang
March 8
Johannes Kepler discovers the third Law of Planetary Motion.
Queen Anne becomes the monarch of England upon the death of William III.
George Washington delivers the first State of the Union address.
The first bronze statue of Andrew Jackson is unveiled in Washington, D.C.
The first train crosses Niagara Falls on a suspension bridge.
On the second day of the Battle of Pea Ridge, Confederate forces, including some Indian troops, under General Earl Van Dorn surprise Union troops, but the Union troops win the battle.
The Confederate ironclad C.S.S. Virginia (formerly U.S.S. Merrimack) is launched.
President Rutherford B. Hayes declares that the United States will have jurisdiction over any canal built across the Isthmus of Panama.
The Bundestag in Germany lifts the ban on the Jesuit order of priests.
The House of Commons, London, turns down the women's suffrage bill.
Pope Pius X lifts the church ban on interfaith marriages in Hungary.
Baroness de Laroche becomes the first woman to obtain a pilot's license in France.
Spanish Premier Eduardo Dato is assassinated while leaving Parliament in Madrid.
French troops occupy Dusseldorf.
Martial law is proclaimed in Holland in order to extinguish any anti-Nazi protests.
Japanese troops capture Rangoon, Burma.
Japanese forces attack American troops on Hill 700 in Bougainville. The battle will last five days.
Phyllis Mae Daley receives a commission in the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps. She will become the first African-American nurse to serve duty in World War II.
The U.S. Supreme Court rules that religious instruction in public schools is unconstitutional.
France and Vietnam open talks in Paris on a treaty to form the state of Indochina.
Max Conrad circles the globe in a record time of eight days, 18 hours and 49 minutes in Piper Aztec.
More than 4,000 Marines land at Da Nang in South Vietnam and become the first U.S. combat troops in Vietnam.
Australia announces that it will triple the number of troops in Vietnam.
The Nixon administration discloses the deaths of 27 Americans in Laos.
Two bombs explode near Trafalgar Square in Great Britain injuring 234 people.
The United States accuses the Soviets of killing 3,000 Afghans with poison gas.
Thomas Creighton dies after having three heart transplants in a 46-hour period.
Thanks to Carl
Historic Pictures & Rare Film Footage: NAS Pensacola – Birthplace of Naval Aviation
To ensure wide dissemination.
It is with a heavy heart that I must inform you that my Dad, Denis "Taco" Bell, has passed.

Taco took his last catapult shot at 0210 on February, 27th in full afterburner on a full moon night ... perfect night flight ops conditions.

Memorial Service is 1100 April 5th at Miramar National Cemetery and a Celebration of Life will follow at noon at the Coronado Yacht Club.

Please RSVP.

Mike Bell

Thanks to Hal
Spy stuff... Anna Kushchyenko Chapman surfaces
   Anna is the daughter of a senior level KGB officer and was trained for deep cover.  She went to England, found Alex Chapmen and married him, probably to get a UK passport and a less suspicious name than Kushchyenko to enter the United States. She made her way to New York City and set up a business.  There were nine others Russian agents with her and the FBI was keeping track. They weren't very effective but they would be useful for a swap one of these days.
If you remember some years before, our Francis Gary Powers was exchanged for the Soviet spymaster Colonel Rudolph Abel (Fisher) who ran agents out of a bookstore in NYC.  A movie was made of that and the dramatic swap in the movie, "Bridge of Spies".
   So the time came when the Russians were holding four people we needed to rescue from prisons and then the FBI rolled up the ten and a swap was made in Vienna.  In the old days, Stalin would have executed all of them for failure, but Vladimir Putin was a different man.  He actually promoted Anna's career and she became a model and TV personality.  In 2015 she gave birth to a son and has not disclosed the name of the father.  Hmmm, could it be ?
   I think you will enjoy reading this article and seeing the new Anna.  Click on the blue line below.
Thanks to Debra for finding this.
This article is long, but fortunately has lots of pix if Anna Chapman.  I just wish Sergei Skripal didn't have to pay the price for her exchange. . . . Debra
Russian agent Anna Chapman poses in swimwear in Thailand as she enjoys new life running fashion line while MI6 spy she was swapped for fights for his life after being 'poisoned'
Anna Chapman posed for bikini photos on a beach in Thailand for her Instagram
Chapman was one of ten agents returned to Russia in the 2010 swap
The Russians had been arrested in the US after apparently leading double lives
Sergei Skripal was one of the agents who was returned to Britain in the swap
He is fighting for his life in hospital after allegedly being poisoned 
This from the archives is worth the humor
Thanks to Mike
Although flying a helicopter may seem very difficult, the truth is that if you can drive a car, you can, with just a few minutes of instruction, take the controls of one of these amazing machines. Of course you would immediately crash and die. 
This is why you need to remember: 
RULE ONE OF HELICOPTER PILOTING: Always have somebody sitting right next to you who actually knows how to fly the helicopter and can snatch the controls away from you.  Because the truth is that helicopters are nothing at all like cars.  Cars work because of basic scientific principles that everybody understands, such as internal combustion and parallel parking. Whereas scientists still have no idea what holds helicopters up. "Whatever it is, it could stop at any moment," is their current feeling. This leads us to: 
RULE TWO OF HELICOPTER PILOTING: Maybe you should forget the entire thing.   
This was what I was thinking on a recent Saturday morning as I stood outside a small airport in South Florida, where I was about to take my first helicopter lesson.  This was not my idea.  This was the idea of Pam Gallina-Raissiguier, a pilot who flies radio reporters over Miami during rush hour so they can alert drivers to traffic problems ("Bob, we have a three-mile backup on the interstate due to an overturned cocaine truck").
Pam is active in an international organization of women helicopter pilots called - Gloria Steinem, avert your eyes - the "Whirly Girls." She thought it would be a great idea for me to take a helicopter lesson.
I began having severe doubts when I saw Pam's helicopter.  This was a small helicopter. It looked like it should have a little slot where you insert quarters to make it go up and down. I knew that if we got airborne in a helicopter this size in South Florida, some of our larger tropical flying insects could very well attempt to mate with us. 
Also, this helicopter had no doors.  As a Frequent Flyer, I know for a fact that all your leading U.S. airlines, despite being bankrupt, maintain a strict safety policy of having doors on their aircraft. 
"Don't we need a larger helicopter?" I asked Pam. "With doors?" 
"Get in," said Pam.
You don't defy a direct order from a Whirly Girl.
Now we're in the helicopter, and Pam is explaining the controls to me over the headset, but there's static and the engine is making a lot of noise.
". . . your throttle (something)," she is saying. "this is your cyclic and (something) your collective." 
"What?" I say. 
"(something) give you the controls when we reach 500 feet," Pam says.
"WHAT?" I say.
But Pam is not listening. She is moving a control thing and WHOOAAA we are off the ground, hovering, and now WHOOOOAAAAAA we are shooting up in the air, and there are still no doors on this particular helicopter.
Now Pam is giving me the main control thing. 
RULE THREE OF HELICOPTER PILOTING: If anybody tries to give you the main control thing, refuse to take it. 
Pam says: "You don't need hardly any pressure to . . ."
"That was too much pressure," Pam says.
Now I am flying the helicopter.  I AM FLYING THE HELICOPTER. I am flying it by not moving a single body part, for fear of jiggling the control thing.  I look like the Lincoln Memorial statue of Abraham Lincoln, only more rigid. 
"Make a right turn," Pam is saying.
I gingerly move the control thing one zillionth of an inch to the right and the helicopter LEANS OVER TOWARD MY SIDE AND THERE IS STILL NO DOOR HERE.  I instantly move the thing one zillionth of an inch back.
"I'm not turning right," I inform Pam.
"What?" she says.
"Only left turns," I tell her. When you've been flying helicopters as long as I have, you know your limits.
After a while it becomes clear to Pam that if she continues to allow the Lincoln statue to pilot the helicopter, we are going to wind up flying in a straight line until we run out of fuel, possibly over Antarctica so she takes the control thing back.  That is the good news.  The bad news is, she's now saying something about demonstrating an "emergency procedure." 
"It's for when your engine dies," Pam says. "It's called "auto-rotation.' Do you like amusement park rides?"
I say: "No, I DOOOOOOOOOOOOO . . ."
RULE FOUR OF HELICOPTER PILOTING: "Auto-rotation" means "coming down out of the sky at about the same speed and aerodynamic stability as that of a forklift dropped from a bomber."
 Now we're close to the ground (although my stomach is still at 500 feet), and Pam is completing my training by having me hover the helicopter. 
RULE FIVE OF HELICOPTER PILOTING: You can't hover the helicopter.
The idea is to hang over one spot on the ground. I am hovering over an area approximately the size of Australia.  I am swooping around sideways and backward like a crazed bumblebee.  If I were trying to rescue a person from the roof of a 100-story burning building, the person would realize that it would be safer to simply jump. At times I think I am hovering upside-down.  Even Pam looks nervous. 
So I am very happy when we finally get back on the ground. 
Pam tells me I did great, and she'd be glad to take me up again.  I tell her that sounds like a fun idea. 
RULE SIX OF HELICOPTER PILOTING: Sometimes you have to lie.
Dave Barry is a humor columnist for Knight-Ridder Services.
Item Number:1 Date: 03/08/2018 BURKINA FASO - 2 SOLDIERS AMONG 8 ARRESTED IN CONNECTION WITH DEADLY TERROR ATTACKS (MAR 08/REU)  REUTERS -- Police in Burkina Faso have arrested eight people, including two soldiers, in connection with deadly terrorist attacks last week, reports Reuters.   A retired soldier and two others still in service were among those arrested, a prosecutor told reporters on Tuesday.   More than 60 victims and witnesses were questioned as part of the investigation, she said.   Eight Burkinabe security personnel and eight attackers died in the March 2 assault on the French embassy and the army headquarters in the capital, Ouagadougou.   Investigators believe the attackers had help inside the building. The attacks targeted a specific room where army officials were supposed to be meeting.   The attack was claimed by the Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM). At least 80 people were wounded in the attack.    
 Item Number:2 Date: 03/08/2018 COLOMBIA - FARC WILL NOT FIELD PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE AFTER TIMOCHENKO WITHDRAWS FOR HEALTH REASONS (MAR 08/REU)  REUTERS -- The candidate representing Colombia's former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels is withdrawing from the race because of health issues, reports Reuters.   Rodrigo Londono, also known as Timochenko, is battling heart problems and will not compete in upcoming elections, the group said Thursday.   Londono underwent heart surgery on Wednesday in Bogota.   The group also cited attacks on its candidates by right-wing groups as a factor in their decision.   The FARC will not field a candidate in the elections, which are currently scheduled for May.   This was to be the first election that the group competed in as an unarmed political party since signing a peace accord with the government in 2016.   Londono was among the least popular candidates, according to polls cited by Colombia Reports.   FARC will be participating in legislative elections for the first time on March 11.    
  Item Number:3 Date: 03/08/2018 GERMANY - U.S., NATO ALLIES IN THE MIDST OF LARGEST ARTILLERY DRILL SINCE WWII (MAR 08/S&S)  STARS AND STRIPES -- More than 3,700 soldiers from 26 allied nations are in Grafenwoehr, Germany, to participate in the U.S.-led Dynamic Front artillery exercise, reports Stars and Stripes.   Dynamic Front, which began on Feb. 23 and concludes on March 10, is the U.S. Army's premier multinational artillery exercise.   The drills, which involve a variety of howitzers, artillery pieces and rocket launching systems, is focused on improving communication between the artillery units from different nations.   Nine of the participating nations have implemented the "Artillery Systems Cooperation Activities" computer program that promotes better synchronization of the batteries, as well as a reduction in the time between fire requests and ordinance being sent downrange.   Using such modern systems allows observers from one country to call for fire from another ally's guns, with rapid response times, U.S. officials said.   Taking part in the drills are seven rocket launching systems and 94 artillery pieces, including eight PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzers, 14 British 105-mm L118 light guns and 18 U.S. 155-mm M777 lightweight howitzers.   The event has nearly three times as many soldiers participating compared to 2017, and is being lauded by military brass as a great readiness-building exercise.   
  Item Number:4 Date: 03/08/2018 GUATEMALA - MILITARY TO WITHDRAW FROM POLICE PATROLS OVER CORRUPTION CONCERNS (MAR 08/TELESUR)  TELESUR -- Guatemala will withdraw military personnel from police duty following accusations of corruption and inappropriate behavior, reports TeleSur (Venezuela).   Beginning on March 31, soldiers will be redeployed to monitor border areas and other "strategic points" in the country, President Jimmy Morales said on Wednesday.   Morales said the decision to deploy the soldiers to street patrols was based on a precedent established by previous administrations as part of efforts to combat drug cartels and organized crime.   The president also said he has requested more aid from the U.S. in the form of military equipment and training to combat drug-trafficking along Guatemala's coast.   Guatemala needs more helicopters, boats, vehicles and communication equipment to bolster the navy's special anti-drug force, said Defense Minister Luis Ralda and Governance Minister Enrique Degenhart.   In 2017, the anti-drug force seized 10,000 packages of cocaine valued at nearly US$140 million.   The request came during last week's visit by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley
  Item Number:5 Date: 03/08/2018 INDIA - 2 PARAMILITARIES KILLED IN CLASHES WITH MAOIST MILITANTS (MAR 08/PTI)  PRESS TRUST OF INDIA -- Two Indian Border Security Force (BSF) personnel have been killed in fighting with Maoist militants in the eastern Chhattisgarh province, reports the Press Trust of India.   The paramilitaries from the BSF 134th Battalion were conducting an operation against the militants in the Kilenar forest on Wednesday when personnel hit an improvised explosive device, said local police officials.   The militants then opened fire. The Maoists fled after a prolonged gun battle, the officials said.   A BSF assistant commandant and a constable were killed in the IED blast, reported the Hindu.   The militants typically launch a counter-offensive from March to June, noted security sources.  
  Item Number:6 Date: 03/08/2018 ISRAEL - U.S. MARINES ARRIVE FOR BILATERAL JUNIPER COBRA DRILLS (MAR 08/MCT)  MARINE CORPS TIMES -- About 2,500 U.S. Marines have arrived in Israel as part of the biennial Juniper Cobra military exercises, reports the Marine Corps Times.   The Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit and the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) arrived on Tuesday for the drills, the 6th Fleet said in a statement.   The Marines will drill with the Israeli Defense Forces as they conduct ballistic missile defense exercises. U.S. forces will not directly take part in the missile defense training, said 6th Fleet.   "Our focus during Juniper Cobra 18 will be to hone our warfighting skills and ensure we are ready to react to any contingency we might face," said Col. Farrell Sullivan, the 26th MEU commander.   The exercises will also enhance interoperability between Israeli and U.S. forces, officials said.   The flagship of the ARG is the USS Iwo Jima, a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship.   The Juniper Cobra exercises have been conducted biennially since 2001. The last iteration was held in 2016.    
  Item Number:7 Date: 03/08/2018 PAKISTAN - SON OF TERROR LEADER AMONG 20 KILLED IN DRONE STRIKE ON PAKISTANI TALIBAN CAMP (MAR 08/DAWN)  DAWN -- At least 20 members of the Pakistani Taliban, also known as the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), have been killed in a U.S. drone strike in northeastern Afghanistan, reports the Dawn (Pakistan).   Among those killed in Wednesday's strike was Abdullah, the son of TTP leader Mullah Fazlullah; Gul Mohammad, a TTP commander; and Ustad Yaseen, a suicide bomber trainer, the terror group said in a statement.   An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) fired missiles at the TTP's Ghazi camp in Afghanistan's Kunar province, near the border with Pakistan.   The TTP said Afghan intelligence had tipped off American forces to the presence of militants in the area.   All of those killed were suicide bombers, according to the statement. Six others were wounded. The attack came on the day the training of the bombers was to be completed, said an intelligence official cited by the Express Tribune (Pakistan).     
  Item Number:8 Date: 03/08/2018 PHILIPPINES - CHARGES DROPPED AGAINST ALLEGED ISIS RECRUITER AND GIRLFRIEND (MAR 08/CNNP)  CNN PHILIPPINES -- The Philippine Dept. of Justice has dropped charges against a Tunisian man accused of working as a recruiter for the Islamic State terrorist group (ISIS), reports CNN Philippines.   In a resolution dated March 5, the department approved the dismissal of charges against Fehmi Lassoued and his Philippine girlfriend, Anabel Salipada.   Lassoued and Salipada were charged with illegal possession of a firearm and instruments for making explosives.  The two were arrested last month in Manila after police searched their house and found a .45-caliber pistol, seven rounds of ammunition and materials that authorities said were ingredients for pipe bombs.   Philippine authorities alleged that Lassoued was part of an ISIS cell operating in the country.   The Dept. of Justice investigation found flaws in the police account.   Photos showing the evidence taken from the couple's apartment appeared to have a different background than that of the apartment, suggesting that it was taken elsewhere.   Both Lassoued and Salipada said that they were arrested separately and in different locations than those claimed by police. Lassoued denied that items allegedly recovered from him were in his possession during the arrest.   A spokesman for the Phillipine National Police said that police were disappointed with the verdict, reported the Sun Star (Philippines).   "The arresting officers can still avail of other legal remedies like filing a petition for review before the secretary of the DOJ," said a police spokesman.    
  Item Number:9 Date: 03/08/2018 RUSSIA - BORDER GUARD HELICOPTER GOES DOWN IN CHECHNYA KILLING AT LEAST 3 (MAR 08/TASS)  TASS -- At least three people have been killed in a helicopter crash in Chechnya, reports Russia's Tass news agency.   The Mi-8 helicopter belonging to the Russian border service went down on Wednesday in a mountainous area near the border with Georgia, officials said.   Nine people were aboard the helicopter. Three were confirmed killed and four were missing, according to the Chechen Health Ministry. Two people survived.   At least six people were killed in the crash, reported Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.   Weather may have been a factor, said Chechen officials.     
  Item Number:10 Date: 03/08/2018 SINGAPORE - POOR SEAMANSHIP, SUDDEN TURN CAUSED FATAL DESTROYER COLLISION IN AUGUST, SAYS REPORT (MAR 08/STIMES)  STRAITS TIMES -- The Singapore Transport Ministry says last year's deadly collision involving a U.S. guided-missile destroyer and an oil tanker was caused by a "sudden turn" made by the warship, reports the Straits Times (Singapore).   The USS John S. McCain and oil tanker Alnic MC were passing through the Singapore Strait on Aug. 21, 2017, when the U.S. ship turned suddenly, according to a new report released on March 8.   The turn put the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer directly in the path of the tanker, which struck the warship three minutes later, said investigators.   The maneuver was the result of a series of missteps regarding the transfer of propulsion controls. Confusion about which station had steering control and an unintentional loss of throttle on the port side accelerated the turn to port.   These mistakes were likely the result of inadequate training and a lack of familiarity with the steering control system, according to the report.   The collision killed 10 sailors aboard the McCain. The findings of the report are consistent with those of the U.S. Navy, which published the results of its investigation in November.    
  Item Number:11 Date: 03/08/2018 SOMALIA - GOVERNMENT FORCES TARGET MILITANT SYMPATHIZERS IN MOGADISHU (MAR 08/SHABELLE)  SHABELLE MEDIA NETWORK -- On Tuesday night, Somali government forces conducted a major operation against individuals suspected of having links with militant groups, according to the Shabelle Media Network (Mogadishu).   The raid, which resulted in the arrests of dozens of suspects, included a significant firefight when the government forces were resisted by armed men in the Siigaale area. Possible casualties were not reported.   Government officials believe the area has been used as a staging area for attacks. While the Al-Shabaab terrorist group was forced from its Mogadishu strongholds in 2011, the group has still been able to execute attacks throughout the city.   On Wednesday, a roadside bombing on the main road linking Mogadishu to southwestern Somalia killed two government officials and two of their bodyguards, according to local officials cited by the Voice of America News.   There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Al-Shabaab has conducted similar attacks in the region previously.     
  Item Number:12 Date: 03/08/2018 SYRIA - REGIME FORCES IN CONTROL OF HALF OF EASTERN GHOUTA (MAR 08/VOA)  VOICE OF AMERICA NEWS -- Syrian government forces have made significant gains as they countinue their push into the final rebel stronghold near Damascus, reports the Voice of America News.   The campaign has effectively divided Eastern Ghouta in half, according to the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.   The ground offensive, which began on Feb. 25 after a week of aerial bombardment, has resulted in heavy civilian casualties. Aid trucks entered the area on Monday, but were quickly forced to leave as the shelling resumed.   Airstrikes killed at least 20 people as the Russian-backed Syrian force advanced on Wednesday, reported Agence France-Presse. The observatory reported as many as 45 fatalities in the fighting.   Regime forces captured the town of Beit Sawa, Al Ashaari and nearby farmland, taking control of more than half the territory once held by rebels, said the British-based observatory
Item Number:13 Date: 03/08/2018 UNITED KINGDOM - NERVE AGENT USED IN ATTACK ON FORMER SPY, OFFICIALS SAY (MAR 08/WSJ)  WALL STREET JOURNAL -- A former Russian spy and his daughter were poisoned with a nerve agent, reports the Wall Street Journal, citing British officials.   Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were found unconscious on a bench outside a shopping mall in southwestern England on Sunday.   A police officer who arrived to the scene early was seriously ill, although he was no longer in intensive care, according to Home Secretary Amber Rudd, as cited by the Guardian (U.K.).   On Wednesday, police said they had identified the substance used and would be investigating the case as an attempted murder. They declined to name the specific substance.   The use of a nerve agent strongly suggests state involvement, said one local analyst cited by the Journal.   Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said that Russia will face sanctions if it is found to be responsible for the attack.   Mr. Skripal was convicted of treason in 2006 for passing the names of Russian intelligence assets to the U.S. In 2010, he moved to the U.K. as part of a spy exchange.  
  Item Number:14 Date: 03/08/2018 USA - F-35 PRODUCTION DEFECTS BLAMED ON STEALTH CHARACTERISTICS (MAR 08/DN)  DEFENSE NEWS -- Lockheed Martin's top F-35 official has conceded that the F-35's low observability characteristics are the leading cause of defects, reports Defense News.   While the errors are minor, they increase the cost of producing an aircraft and the time to operational service, according to Vice Adm. Mat Winter, the program chief.   The problems have originated from two sources: human error on the assembly line and defects in parts from Lockheed's suppliers. The former is not easily corrected because the company's assembly team is "approaching the limits of (their) ability to build some of these things from precise-enough technology," Jeff Babione told reporters on Monday.   Some issues in the past have forced the Defense Dept. to ground its F-35s.   These quality errors have come under increased scrutiny as both the Pentagon and Lockheed have made unit cost reductions a primary focus of the F-35 program. Production of the aircraft is scheduled to increase from 66 units in 2017 to 90 this year.   
  Item Number:15 Date: 03/08/2018 USA - HYPERSONIC TECHNOLOGIES TOP PRIORITY OF NEW PENTAGON R&D CHIEF (MAR 08/BREAKDEF)  BREAKING DEFENSE -- The Pentagon's undersecretary for research and engineering wants to step up efforts to develop counters to hypersonic threats, reports Breaking Defense.   China has been outpacing the U.S. in evaluating hypersonic technology, completing more than 20 times as many tests in recent years, Michael Griffin said on Tuesday at a conference in Washington, D.C.   "I plan to create budget lines that may not yet exist," he said. Griffin said he's working on moving things around in the fiscal 2019 budget.   The Pentagon is looking to invest more in both offensive hypersonic capabilities and defensive measures, Griffin said, as cited by Defense News.   Significant budget increases are on the way. Congress approved $85.5 million for hypersonics in fiscal 2017. This grew 27 percent to $108.6 million in the fiscal 2018 budget request. The fiscal 2019 request calls for $256.7 million for hypersonics, a 136 percent boost.  
  Item Number:16 Date: 03/08/2018 USA - NAVY PLANS TO ACCELERATE TRANSITION TO SUPER HORNETS, RETIRE SCORES OF HORNETS BY 2020 (MAR 08/S&S)  STARS AND STRIPES -- Boeing has been awarded an initial contract to refit the US Navy's F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets, reports Stars and Stripes.   The $73 million contract covers a batch of four fighters.   The work includes new conformal fuel tanks, advanced data links, improved infrared sensors and an electronic touchscreen interface, according to Aviation International News. The operational life of the jets will be extended from 6,000 to 9,000 hours.   The initial aircraft will be modernized in St. Louis. Boeing is building a new assembly line in San Antonio, where the rest of the fleet will be upgraded.   The full scale modernization of the Super Hornet fleet is anticipated to start in the early 2020s.   Separately, the Navy is moving to retire 136 F/A-18A-D fighters to reduce maintenance expenditures and reallocate the money elsewhere, reported Defense News. Sixty-six jets are expected to be retired by the end of 2020.   The move will save around $852 million over five years.

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