The INSIDER daily digest -- Sept. 25, 2020

By John Liang / September 25, 2020 at 2:28 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Air Force's follow-on MQ-9 Reaper effort, Space Force launch activities, the Navy's future force structure and more.

The Air Force kicked off market research into MQ-Next with an initial request for information in June after revealing in its fiscal year 2021 budget proposal a few months before its plan to stop buying new Reapers after FY-20, earlier than expected:

AFMC considers releasing second RFI for MQ-9 replacement

Air Force Materiel Command is considering sending industry a second request for information to support market research into the multiple roles an MQ-9 Reaper replacement, or MQ-Next, can perform as a node within the joint all-domain command and control infrastructure.

The Space Force's Program Executive Officer for Space Lt. Gen. John Thompson said in a press release this week that it "welcome[s] SpaceX's innovative reuse into the National Security Space Launch program":

Space Force to fly previously used SpaceX boosters for the first time in two upcoming GPS III missions

The Space Force announced today it has reached an agreement with SpaceX to launch two future GPS III missions with previously flown boosters -- the first National Security Space Launch missions to fly with a re-used first stage.

The Hudson Institute recently issued a draft report on the Navy's future force structure:

Enlisted by DEPSECDEF, Hudson proposes fleet lighter on carriers, roughly 140 unmanned vessels

Under the force structure suggested by a group of third-party analysts enlisted by the deputy defense secretary, the Navy would build a fleet consisting of nine aircraft carriers and more than 100 unmanned ships while projecting an effectively flat budget for the foreseeable future.

Inside Defense this week interviewed Bill Falk, Sikorsky's program manager for the CH-53K helicopter:

Sikorsky: CH-53K production going smoothly despite pandemic

Production for the CH-53K helicopter is progressing on schedule despite the COVID-19 pandemic, prime contractor Sikorsky says.

Some big defense contractor M&A news:

Amentum to acquire DynCorp International

Amentum has agreed to acquire DynCorp International, which would create a $6 billion contractor.

Under Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger's latest planning guidance, released earlier this year, the service will focus on littoral combat and move away from the legacy capabilities used to fight ground wars:

Berger worried pandemic-related budget issues could slow force redesign

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger said Thursday he is concerned that funding constraints caused by the coronavirus pandemic could slow the service's force redesign efforts.

An indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity deal signed last month enables countries to purchase a common configuration of the F-16 fighter jet from Lockheed Martin's latest Block 70/72 production line that's based on the advanced Viper variant:

USAF, Lockheed negotiating lower F-16 Block 70/72 price for next delivery orders

The Air Force and Lockheed Martin have begun negotiating a lower unit cost for the next batch of commoditized F-16 fighter jets they anticipate supplying through last month's novel foreign military sale contract to a new group of customers, sources tell Inside Defense.