Defense Business Briefing -- Oct. 31, 2023

Welcome to today's Defense Business Briefing, your weekly roundup of the latest defense industry news.

This week's top story

DSCA director pledges continued FMS reform, signaling lessons learned from global crises

The director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency spoke about Pentagon and State Department efforts to reform and streamline the foreign military sales process, detailing how work is ongoing to follow new "tiger team" recommendations and how they might impact the war in Ukraine and the future of allyships like AUKUS.

News & notes

DOD pushing new defense industrial strategy to expand weapons stockpiles

Pentagon acquisition chief Bill LaPlante, a key official behind the Biden administration's effort to again make the United States an "arsenal of democracy," said a forthcoming National Defense Industrial Base Strategy will underscore ongoing work to surge global weapons production as a means of deterring U.S. adversaries.

VC-25B issues helped drag down Boeing defense margins in third quarter

Continuing issues with the VC-25B, the eventual replacement for presidential escort aircraft Air Force One, were contributing factors to negative margins in Boeing’s defense sector for the third quarter of 2023, company executives noted during an earnings call.

RTX suffers loss due to a metal powder quality crisis affecting engines

RTX (formerly Raytheon Technologies) reported a 21% drop in sales compared to the previous year due to a metal powder quality crisis that led to engine failure of the V2500 engine fleet, the company said in its third-quarter earnings statement.

GD execs: Submarine supply chain remains 'very fragile' while workforce picture improves

General Dynamics Electric Boat continues to receive late deliveries of submarine components from a "very fragile" supply chain, company executives said, noting enduring production challenges within the Navy's two critical submarine programs.

International demands highlight Northrop's Q3 earnings with record backlog

The continuing war in Ukraine and increasing geopolitical tensions elsewhere has led to increased sales for Northrop Grumman, which reported a record backlog of $84 billion during its third-quarter earnings call.

L3Harris planning to use Defense Production Act funding to boost Aerojet Rocketdyne capacity

L3Harris Technologies plans to use $216 million in Defense Production Act funding to boost capacity and long-term growth at recently acquired Aerojet Rocketdyne, executives said.

Oshkosh Defense sales decrease after JLTV contract loss

After losing a production contract for tactical vehicles, Oshkosh Defense experienced a loss in sales in the third quarter but expects a “strong” fourth quarter and production capacity to increase, according to the company’s earnings call.

Lower IRAD costs with FLRAA helped Bell in third quarter

Bell, a Textron subsidiary, spent less money in the third quarter on independent research and development for programs such as the Army's Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft, the company's CEO said during aN earnings call.

DOD preparing to brief lawmakers on AUKUS cost estimate study

The Defense Department is preparing to brief lawmakers on the findings of a recent AUKUS-focused industrial base study, acting Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Mara Karlin told the House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee.

Lockheed partners with Terran Orbital to build 36 satellites for T2TL-Beta variant

Lockheed Martin is joining forces with Terran Orbital Corp. to develop 36 buses for a constellation of military satellites scheduled to be launched in 2026, Terran Orbital said.

Promotions and appointments

HII hires Tennant as corporate VP of engagement and international government relations

HII announced it has hired retired British Army Brig. Gen. Paul Tennant to be corporate vice president of engagement and international government relations.

What's happening

The week ahead

Senior defense officials are scheduled to speak at several events this week, including a key appropriations hearing on Capitol Hill.

For Inside Defense subscribers

CBO: As acquisition costs rise, shipbuilding appropriations must grow 31-40% to achieve Navy fleet plans

Annual shipbuilding appropriations must increase by 31% to 40% over their current five-year average for the Navy to achieve any of the three alternatives presented in its latest 30-year shipbuilding plan, according to a new Congressional Budget Office analysis that points to submarine acquisitions as a leading driver of cost growth.

In a first, Navy destroyer intercepts ballistic missile and anti-ship drone threats at the same time

For the first time, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer simultaneously intercepted short-range ballistic missile threats and anti-ship drone threats during an Integrated Air and Missile Defense test, according to a Wednesday Missile Defense Agency announcement.