The INSIDER daily digest -- July 9, 2024

By John Liang / July 9, 2024 at 2:17 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Sentinel intercontinental ballistic missile program's price tag, plus coverage of the Senate Armed Services Committee's fiscal year 2025 defense authorization bill and more.

Pentagon acquisition chief Bill LaPlante certified this week that the Sentinel intercontinental ballistic missile modernization program is necessary for national security, there are no alternatives to meet the requirements and the program is a higher priority than other programs whose funding will need to be cut:

Sentinel nuclear missile program to continue despite cost jump to $141 billion

The Defense Department is committing to the LGM-35A Sentinel nuclear missile program despite the price tag jumping to $140.9 billion -- an 81% increase -- and facing years-long delays.

The Senate defense authorization bill released this week would add $615 million in funding to a variety of Army programs:

Senate authorizers add funding for counter UAS, missile items from Army UPL in bill

The Senate Armed Services Committee would add funding for multiple items listed on the Army's unfunded priorities list related to unmanned systems and air and missile defense in its version of the fiscal year 2025 defense authorization bill.

Building a manned refueling aircraft remains Boeing's priority because it "requires much less electromagnetic spectrum to accomplish the mission over time, through technologies such as artificial intelligence, which could reduce the electromagnetic spectrum required to command and control those assets," according to a senior company executive:

Boeing not interested in making autonomous air refuelers -- for now

ST. LOUIS -- Even as the Air Force has signaled some support to eventually field unmanned tanker systems, plane-maker Boeing is looking at "principally crewed concepts" when developing future refueling platforms, Sean Liedman, Boeing's director of global reach, mobility, surveillance and bombers, recently told reporters here.

In its latest annual weapon system assessment, the Government Accountability Office found the Army initially intended to conduct its design completion review for the Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) Increment 1 by December 2023 but delayed the review until all entrance criteria were met:

Army completes design review of Precision Strike Missile

The Army completed the design review for its short-range precision fire missile in the third quarter of this fiscal year, moving the nearly $8 million multiyear program closer to full operability.

GAO's weapon systems assessment also found cost increases in the Navy's MQ-4C Triton uncrewed aircraft program:

MQ-4C costs rise by 117%, final version estimated at $618 million per unit

The Navy's MQ-4C unmanned aircraft program has experienced substantial increases in acquisition unit costs with the newest version of the aircraft estimated to cost $618 million per unit, according to the Government Accountability Office and a Navy spokesperson.

The Multi-Domain Artillery Cannon System (MDACS) effort is a new-start program in fiscal year 2025 aimed at bolstering the joint force's air and missile defense efforts against cruise missiles and unmanned aircraft systems:

Army releases RFIs for Multi-Domain Artillery Cannon System

The Army's Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office released a series of requests for information today related to the service's new Multi-Domain Artillery Cannon System (MDACS) effort.

Document: Army RFI for MDAC

Document: Army RFI for MFPR