By Andrea Shalal-Esa WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jet dropped a 500-pound bomb this week, hitting a tank at Edwards Air Force Base in California and marking the first time the new warplane has fired a laser-guided weapon, the Pentagon said Wednesday. An F-35 B-model jet released the Guided Bomb Unit-12 (GBU-12) Paveway II bomb from its internal weapons bay while flying at around 25,000 feet, successfully smashing into a tank parked on the ground, the Pentagon's F-35 program office said in a statement. It took 35 seconds to hit the target. "This guided weapons delivery test of a GBU-12 marks the first time the F-35 truly became a weapon system," said Marine Corps Major Richard Rusnok, the pilot who flew the plane during the weapons test Tuesday. "It represents another step forward in development of this vital program." Different F-35 models have test-fired missiles during flight and over water. But this marked the first time the jet had fired a guided weapon at a ground target. After more than a decade of development, the $392 billion F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is making strides in testing, production and operations. The Marine Corps plans to start operating the planes in mid-2015. The Pentagon's top arms buyer, Frank Kendall, this week said the F-35 program had made sufficient progress to budget for higher production in fiscal year 2015, but said he remained concerned about progress on the jet's software, reliability and a computer-based logistics system. The GBU-12 weapons test will be followed later on Wednesday by a live fire test at Edwards Air Force Base of an AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missile, or AMRAAM, built by Raytheon Co. A test of the F-35's ability to drop a 1,000-pound GBU-32 built by Boeing Co is planned next month. The GBU-12 Paveway II is built by Lockheed and Raytheon. Tuesday's test was not considered a live fire test since the bomb did not carry explosives, said Kyra Hawn, a spokeswoman for the F-35 program. She said no explosives were used in order to save money, since the real point of the test was to ensure that the fighter jet would be able to accurately deliver the bomb onto a ground target. The F-35 used its Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS), built by Lockheed, to allow the pilot to identify, track, designate and accurately deliver the bomb on target. Hawn said EOTS is the world's first sensor to combine forward-looking infrared, infrared search and track, and a laser designator to allow F-35 pilots to hit targets. Last week, the Navy variant, or F-35C, released its first weapon during testing at Naval Air Station Patuxtent River in southern Maryland, and the Air Force version, or A-model, did the first ground release pit testing of a GBU-39, a 250-pound small diameter bomb. Lockheed is developing three models of the new radar-evading warplane for the U.S. military and eight countries that helped fund its development: Britain, Canada, Turkey, Italy, Norway, Australia, Denmark and the Netherlands. Israel and Japan have also placed orders for the jet. (Reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa; Editing by Ken Wills)
- Associated Press
Rescuers continued an urgent search Friday for an Indonesian submarine that disappeared two days ago and has less than a day's supply of oxygen left for its 53 crew. The KRI Nanggala 402 went missing after its last reported dive Wednesday off the resort island of Bali, and concern is mounting the submarine may have sunk in waters too deep to reach or recover. President Joko Widodo has asked all Indonesian people to pray for the crew’s safe return, while ordering all-out efforts to locate the stricken submarine.
- Business Insider
One dose of AstraZeneca or Pfizer's vaccine provides protection against COVID-19 that lasts at least 10 weeks
One dose of a Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccine reduced COVID-19 infections by 65%. Two doses of Pfizer's shot reduced infections by 90%.
- Idaho Statesman
“It is not an exaggeration to say that long COVID-19 is America’s next big health crisis.”
Venus Williams says switching to a vegan diet was a game-changer for her skin and health, but she still loves 'junk' food
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Other ex-officers charged in George Floyd's killing are 'almost 100 percent' going to plead guilty after Derek Chauvin's conviction, experts say
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Seth Rogen says it's not a 'coincidence' that he hasn't directed a movie since 'The Interview' and the subsequent Sony hack
The actor also admits to The New York Times that he was "gun shy" after all the controversy that surrounded the release of his 2014 comedy.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The head of U.S. forces in the Middle East said on Thursday that he was concerned about the ability of the Afghan security forces to hold territory after the withdrawal of all foreign troops from the country in the coming months. President Joe Biden announced last week that the United States will withdraw its remaining 2,500 troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the al Qaeda attacks that triggered America's longest war. "My concern is the ability of the Afghan military to hold the ground that they're on now without the support that they've been used to for many years," Marine General Kenneth McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, said during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.
A Florida couple tried to host their wedding at a $5.7 million mansion that wasn't theirs. Then the owner showed up.
A couple planned their wedding day at a 16,000-square-foot Florida estate. The only problem - they didn't have permission to use the property.
- Yahoo News
The deepening disparities between two of the world’s largest countries should remind optimistic Americans that with light at the end of their own tunnel, it’s probably time for the U.S. to start thinking about how it can help end the pandemic elsewhere too.
- The Independent
The ad will air starting on Thursday in Palm Beach, Florida – where Mar-a-Lago is based
I've followed the Mediterranean diet for nearly 2 years. Here are 11 reasons I won't eat any other way.
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- Associated Press
A former Atlanta police officer’s attorney said Thursday that his client didn't get a chance to defend himself before he was fired for fatally shooting Rayshard Brooks, a Black man who had been running away from two white officers after he resisted arrest and fired a stun gun at one of them. Officer Garrett Rolfe was dismissed “without a proper investigation” by the city on June 13, one day after Brooks' death, Rolfe's attorney, Lance LoRusso, told the city's civil service board as he argued for his client's reinstatement to the force, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The encounter outside a Wendy's restaurant last year started calmly but rapidly spun out of control when Atlanta police tried to handcuff and arrest Brooks, 27, for suspected DUI.
- The Independent
Prince Andrew: ‘Outrageous’ that year has passed since royal vowed to cooperate with FBI, says lawyer
It is ‘never too late to do the right thing’, lawyer says
- Associated Press
France will impose new entry restrictions on travelers from India to fight a contagious coronavirus variant spreading in that country, an official said Wednesday. The restrictions come in addition to those previously announced regarding four other countries — Brazil, Argentina, Chile and South Africa — that will be implemented starting from Saturday. Government spokesman Gabriel Attal also confirmed that France will lift its ban on domestic travel as planned on May 3, but will maintain its nighttime curfew, now in place from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. Nonessential shops, closed since the partial lockdown of the country at beginning of April, won't reopen before mid-May, he said.
A former Minneapolis police officer called Derek Chauvin's guilty verdict a 'tragedy,' saying he fears it will start a 'new trend' of sending cops to prison
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- Associated Press
The Israeli military said Thursday that a Syrian missile that reached deep into Israeli territory and set off air raid sirens near the country's top-secret nuclear reactor was the result of a misfire and not a deliberate attack. The missile landed in southern Israel early Thursday, prompting Israel to respond with airstrikes on the missile launcher and other targets in Syria. The army's chief spokesman, Brig. Gen. Hidai Zilberman, was quoted as telling military correspondents that the Israeli air force was already operating in Syrian airspace when the anti-aircraft missile was fired.
- Business Insider
Marjorie Taylor Green says she's ready to debate AOC after initially admitting that she had not read 'all 14 pages' of the Green New Deal
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The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell to a 13-month low last week, suggesting layoffs were subsiding and strengthening expectations for another month of blockbuster job growth in April as a re-opening economy unleashes pent-up demand. While the labor market recovery is gaining speed, red flags are emerging in the housing market, the economy's star performer during the COVID-19 pandemic. Realtors warned that expensive homes could become a permanent feature of the market, worsening inequality.
Fans are freaking out after the Grammy-winning rapper announced on Instagram that she's "recharging" to "prepare for what's next."