The INSIDER daily digest -- April 15, 2024

By John Liang / April 15, 2024 at 1:06 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Defense Department's secretive Replicator program, the Marine Corps' CH-53K heavy lift helicopter, plus coverage from a missile defense hearing and more.

We start off with news on the Pentagon's secretive Replicator program:

Three MARTAC unmanned surface vessels under 'consideration' for Replicator initiative

Maritime Tactical Systems (MARTAC) has submitted three unmanned surface vessels to the Pentagon's secretive Replicator initiative, Inside Defense has learned.

Pentagon cost estimates indicate a proposed block buy would achieve a $135 million savings compared to single-year contracts for the CH-53K program, which will replace the legacy CH-53E aircraft and play an important role in Marine Corps and Navy operations:

Navy looks to enter block buy for CH-53K airframes

The Navy is asking Congress for the authority to enter into a block-buy contract during fiscal years 2025 or 2026 for up to 37 CH-53K helicopter airframes, according to a legislative proposal submitted by the Defense Department on Friday.

Document: DOD's fourth FY-25 legislative proposals package

The House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee recently held a hearing on the fiscal year 2025 budget request for missile defense and missile defeat programs:

MDA to pick winner this month in Lockheed and Northrop NGI competition

The Missile Defense Agency this month will pick a winner between Lockheed Martin and Northrop in the Next Generation Interceptor competition, slicing a year off the original source-selection plan to develop the homeland defense guided missile based on information produced during the first round of the contest.

Document: House hearing on FY-25 BMD budget request

The Army's acquisition office has been putting out multiple requests for information to industry as a way to drive "market entry" and bring down the cost of commercial drones:

As it seeks to field commercial drones, Army wants to bring down the cost

As the Army seeks to invest more in commercial technology to bolster its arsenal of small UAS and counter UAS capabilities, the service is focused on finding ways to reduce the price tag.

There are increasing signs on Capitol Hill that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are thinking about raising the congressionally mandated budget cap on defense spending:

Appropriators send bipartisan signals for possible move against defense budget cap

Senior House and Senate appropriators this week said they believe the congressionally mandated cap on fiscal year 2025 defense spending is too low to address the Pentagon's requirements and signaled that they intend to do something about it.