The INSIDER daily digest -- Oct. 11, 2018

By John Liang  
October 11, 2018 at 1:36 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Space-Based Infrared System follow-on effort, the Air Force's C-135 intelligence-gathering aircraft, the multibillion-dollar launch vehicle program, plus AUSA coverage and more.

Inside Defense obtained a draft of the Air Force's funding requirements for the Space-Based Infrared System follow-on effort:

Next-Gen OPIR underfunded by $1.6B in FY-19 budget, USAF may seek increase in FY-20

The Air Force underfunded its Space-Based Infrared System follow-on effort by about $1.6 billion in its fiscal year 2019 budget request and may seek to recover that difference in FY-20, according to a draft of the program's funding requirements.

The Air Force is looking at how to increase the flying hours of its C-135 intelligence aircraft:

ACC, AFMC looking at new maintenance plans for big-wing ISR fleets to meet NDS needs

Air Force officials are considering ways to increase sustainment for the service's fleet of C-135 intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft to prepare them for peer conflict, as the platforms face a slew of engine and structural problems.

In a multibillion-dollar Air Force contract announcement yesterday, SpaceX, one of two companies currently certified to fly National Security Space payloads, was not awarded funding for launch vehicle development:

ULA, Blue Origin, Northrop snag Air Force launch vehicle development awards

The Air Force announced Wednesday it has awarded more than $2.2 billion in other transaction agreements to Northrop Grumman, United Launch Alliance and Blue Origin to develop launch vehicles to compete for future national security space launches.

More of our AUSA coverage:

Shanahan: New aircraft readiness requirement will help DOD fight budget caps

Deputy Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan said a new aircraft readiness directive ordering the Air Force and the Navy to achieve 80 percent readiness rates for four key tactical fighter jets by the end of this fiscal year will help the Pentagon prove to Congress it is effectively spending a recent funding boost and make the case that further relief from statutory budget caps is warranted.

Army official: Abrams replacement may not need to be another tank

The official in charge of the Next Generation Combat Vehicle cross-functional team would consider replacing the M1A1 Abrams with a vehicle that is not a tank, a "distant" effort the Army plans to tackle after fielding the replacement for the Bradley Fighting Vehicle.

Army readying big S&T bets on lasers in future budgets to defeat air, missile threats

The Army is retooling its research and development accounts with an eye toward bolstering next-generation air and missile defense capabilities, plowing more than 50 percent of available science and technology funds into projects that aim to produce a directed-energy interceptor, according to a senior service official.

Delaying a milestone B decision to kick off the engineering and manufacturing development phase of the T-X trainer and GPS III Follow-on satellite constellation until the programs completed certain assessments could have national security implications:

Air Force waived pre-EMD PDR, technical risk assessment for T-X, GPS IIIF contract awards

Air Force acquisition executive Will Roper recently approved waivers for two major programs, the next-generation T-X trainer and the GPS III Follow-on constellation, bypassing requirements to conduct pre-milestone B design reviews and industrial technical risk assessments.