A Navy aircraft carrier will head to Japan in 2008, with the move possibly impacting the San Diego area.
The USS Kitty Hawk is being decommissioned, and Japan has agreed to allow a nuclear-class carrier to replace it , a sensitive issue because of the atomic attack against Japan at the end of World War II.
The Norfolk, Va.-based USS George Washington is slated to go, according to the (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot newspaper.
The Pentagon denies a decision has been made, though the Norfolk newspaper said an announcement is expected within a few weeks.
“There are some maintenance and operational factors that have to be considered first,” said Jon Yoshishige, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet, based in Hawaii. “Once we work through all of those issues, then we’ll be able to announce what specific ship will be replacing the Kitty Hawk.”
A plan for the Navy’s 12 carriers is expected when the Pentagon releases its Quadrennial Defense Review in February, Adm. Edmund Giambastiani said in a Pentagon briefing last week. Giambastiani said the Navy still wants to retire the USS John F. Kennedy, currently stationed in Mayport, Fla.
The review is expected to shift naval power to the West Coast, as China’s military grows increasingly powerful and tensions with North Korea continue, reported Richard Halloran, a Hawaii-based journalist and former New York Times correspondent in Asia.
Two carriers are stationed in San Diego: the USS Nimitz and the USS Ronald Reagan. Each ship annually pumps about $270 million into the local economy, according to estimates by the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Halloran reported that six carriers are expected to be based in the Pacific region once the quarterly review is finished. San Diego has not been mentioned as a destination for any additional carriers.
The choice of a ship to send to Japan had not-so-subtle political undertones. The Pilot reported that the USS Nimitz was immediately excluded from moving because of the namesake admiral’s role in World War II.
The Kitty Hawk, which was commissioned in 1961, was stationed in San Diego off-and-on throughout its career. It ultimately left in 1998 for Japan, its current port.
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SpaceDev, a Poway-based high-tech space development company, won a $2.7 million Air Force contract to begin developing a large hybrid rocket motor. The project calls for SpaceDev to design, develop and test a booster that can produce 100,000 pounds of thrust , nearly nine times more than the motor used in Paul Allen’s SpaceShipOne.
Test firings are scheduled next year.
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PepperBall Technologies Inc., a San Diego-based developer of non-lethal weapons, has marketed its first hand-held launcher to private security and bail enforcement agents.
The new SA-10NX launcher is designed to incapacitate its targets by shooting a capsule of hot pepper that breaks on impact. The company’s products are used by law enforcement officers in San Diego, Los Angeles and several other major U.S. cities.
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San Diego-based Sentek Consulting Inc. has hired retired Rear Adm. Hamlin Tallent, a former director of operations for the U.S. European Command, as vice president of C4I Systems.
Tallent, a Missouri native, is a former Top Gun instructor.
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Cubic Corp., a San Diego-based technology company, won a $43 million contract to provide instruction and maintenance for flight simulators at six Marine Corps installations, including Camp Pendleton and Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.
The contract calls for Cubic to maintain and operate a wide range of virtual simulators, including flight, radar night attack, weapons systems, maintenance, procedures and multitask trainers.
Send any defense or high-tech related items to Rob Davis. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (858) 277-6359.