Metro-East News

Roger That: Air Force reviewing schedule for Pegasus tanker

News-Democrat

The US Air Force is reviewing Boeing’s schedule for its KC-46 Pegasus tanker to ensure the program is still on track to meet a critical deadline as repeated setbacks threaten to derail the company’s tight testing schedule, according to DefenseNews.

Boeing had to absorb an $835 million pre-tax charge that stemmed from development issues with the integrated fuel system on the plane, plus a series of delays of the first flight. Even so, Boeing is gung ho about its ability to deliver 18 ready-to-go tankers to the Air Force by August 2017.

“Boeing is committed to delivering the initial 18 tankers by 2017 and we continue to talk daily with the Air Force on our progress,” Boeing spokeswoman Caroline Hutcheson said Tuesday.

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Weeks after top Pentagon officials began openly calling Russia the greatest threat to the United States, the Air Force is preparing to deploy the F-22 Raptor to Europe for the first time, according to DefenseNews.

The deployment comes under the aegis of the European Reassurance Initiative, a Pentagon effort to soothe concerns among European allies in the face of increased Russian aggression.

Deborah Lee James, the Air Force secretary, told reporters Monday that a deployment of F-22s is heading to Europe for training exercises “very soon.” Details of the rotation, such as where it will be based and the size of the Raptor fleet deploying, were not shared due to what James called operational security reasons.

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Colorado’s decision not to allow marijuana to treat post-traumatic stress disorder has prompted a lawsuit by PTSD sufferers, according to the Associated Press.

Five PTSD patients filed suit Thursday in Denver District Court. They’re challenging a July decision by the Colorado Board of Health not to make PTSD the first condition added to Colorado’s medical pot eligibility list in 15 years.

The PTSD rejection came despite a recommendation from Colorado’s chief medical officer and a panel of physicians. They said questions remain about how effective pot is as a PTSD treatment, but that people with PTSD are commonly using pot anyway and that the designation would allow for better understanding about how people are using the drug.

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The U.S. Air Force wants to use another word to describe the expensive, high-tech helmet that can “see through” windowless parts of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, according to an article on DefenseTech.

When asked about the price tag for the pilot gear — which has ranged from $400,000 to $800,000 apiece — Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said he didn’t know its unit cost and that it won’t be finalized until the hardware enters production.

But he did have this to say about the technology:

“The helmet is much more than a helmet, the helmet is a work space,” he said. “It’s an interpretation of the battle space, it’s situational awareness. This is a — calling this thing a helmet is really — we’ve got to come up with a new word.”

The Helmet Mounted Display System made by Rockwell Collins Inc. was previously estimated to cost about $500,000 apiece. It’s designed to provide pilots with 360-degree situational awareness in any kind of weather, day or night.

The jet’s distributed aperture system streams real-time imagery from cameras and sensors mounted around the aircraft to the helmet, allowing pilot’s to “see through” windowless parts of the cockpit.

Contact reporter Mike Fitzgerald at mfitzgerald@bnd.com or 618-239-2533.

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