The INSIDER daily digest -- Oct. 14, 2020

By John Liang / October 14, 2020 at 1:39 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Navy's Future Frigate program, the Army's Shadow unmanned aircraft system, the Air Force's Small Diameter Bomb and more.

The Congressional Budget Office is casting doubt on the Navy's cost estimate for the Future Frigate program:

CBO: Frigate program could cost 40% more than Navy estimates

The Navy's new frigate program could cost 40% more than the service's estimate, according to a new Congressional Budget Office report.

Document: CBO cost estimate of the Navy's new frigate program

The Army is making upgrades to the Shadow unmanned aircraft system while also assessing systems that have been downselected as possible replacements for the drone through the Future Tactical UAS effort, which began in April:

Army wraps up live-fire test portion of Shadow Block III FOT&E, Textron FTUAS assessment

The Army, with Textron, has completed the live-fire test portion of the RQ-7 Shadow V2 Block III drone follow-on operational test and evaluation effort, according to company and service officials.

The Small Diameter Bomb II has been approved for operational use:

ACC green-lights SDB II for operational use on F-15E Strike Eagle

Air Combat Command has approved Raytheon's Small Diameter Bomb II -- a smart weapon dubbed "StormBreaker" -- for operational use following a major testing campaign, a production line pause and a Nunn-McCurdy cost growth breach.

The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence released its latest report this week:

AI Commission recommends Pentagon increase the powers of its chief technology officer

The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence is advising Congress to beef up the authorities of the under secretary of defense for research and engineering to direct the Pentagon's technology strategy and investments.

Document: NSCAI's 2020 report to Congress

Army Brig. Gen. Scott Jackson, head of the 1st Security Force Assistance Command, spoke with reporters this week:

SFABs following regional deployment model to assist partner nations

As the Army continues to send its Security Force Assistance Brigades overseas to advise and assist foreign partners, a new regionally aligned deployment model seeks to provide a "sustained presence," according to the general in charge of these specialized forces.

Unmanned ships will be a key part of the Navy's future, according to the service's top uniformed officer:

Gilday: Unmanned ships key to Navy's future

The Navy needs to invest heavily in unmanned ships to improve its intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance functions, according to Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday.

Bell recently completed its air vehicle preliminary design review for the 360 Invictus competitive prototype helicopter and is currently in a detailed design phase:

Bell ready to begin assembling 360 Invictus FARA prototype

Bell will soon start assembling the 360 Invictus, its prototype for the Army's Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft program, after being selected earlier this year to move onto the effort's competitive flight test phase, company officials tell Inside Defense.