Defense Business Briefing -- April 23, 2024

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

This week's top story

Lessons learned from F-35: Air Force will now purchase IP rights of its weapon systems

When the Air Force began buying the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter about 20 years ago, it took a total system approach, meaning prime contractor Lockheed Martin earned the rights to total control of the program, including the intellectual property of its technologies and mechanical parts.

News & notes

RTX shifting away from space prime contracts

RTX won't seek many prime contracts for space products and will instead focus on component supply to other primes, Chief Operating Officer Chris Calio said during the company's first-quarter earnings call.

DARPA looking for Commercial Accelerators to help transition funded research to development

The chief of commercial strategy at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency told Inside Defense the agency is searching for multiple Commercial Accelerator providers to aid in scaling acceleration efforts and bringing DARPA-funded projects to the development stage.

Wedgetail delayed a year as negotiations continue with Boeing

At least one of the E-7A Wedgetail prototypes will be a year late due to ongoing price negotiations with prime contractor Boeing, according to Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall.

Navy moves to alleviate shipbuilding delays through workforce development and industry collaboration

The Navy has unveiled a series of new initiatives to tackle shipbuilding delays by refining contracting strategies, improving collaboration with industry and strengthening the workforce involved in designing, contracting and building naval vessels.

Transition Tracking Action Group chair says it will supply insights on programs like Replicator and RDER

The chair of the Transition Tracking Action Group (TTAG) told Inside Defense the group will provide recommendations to Defense Department programs involved in bridging the acquisition "valley of death," like the Replicator initiative and the Rapid Defense Experimentation Reserve (RDER).

What's happening

The week ahead

Senior defense officials are scheduled to speak at several events this week and the Army's aviation association hosts a conference in Denver, CO.

For Inside Defense subscribers

Army guts $4.8 billion from IFPC-HEL in new five-year plan, focuses on 'try' before 'buy'

The Army has cut $4.8 billion from planned future spending on the Indirect Fire Protection Capability-High Energy Laser in the service's new five-year spending plan, a dramatic reduction that removes future funding stability for a cruise-missile-killer-and-more project that a key service official says remains a priority.

OSD still wants Congress to repeal law requiring unfunded priorities lists, despite $30B military request

U.S. military officials have sent Congress more than $30 billion in “unfunded priorities lists” separate from their regular budget request, but civilian leaders at the Pentagon support repealing the law requiring that the annual lists be sent to lawmakers, who often use them as a blueprint for increasing the defense budget.