The INSIDER daily digest -- Sept. 28, 2023

By John Liang / September 28, 2023 at 2:31 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Defense Department's latest Selected Acquisition Reports and more.

We start off with coverage of the Pentagon's most-recently released Selected Acquisition Reports on various weapon systems:

DOD tallies $12.5B price tag for F-15EX fleet; 1970s airframe forecasted to fly until 2060s

The Pentagon estimates the total price tag for Boeing's F-15EX fighter aircraft program is $12.5 billion, a sum that allows the Air Force to replace its oldest two-seater fighters with a modernized variant of the 1970s-design combat system and puts a significant six-year squeeze on available funding to buy F-35 aircraft as Lockheed Martin struggles to reach objective manufacturing rates.

DOD to break out SM-6 reporting of new hypersonic strike and defense missiles

The Navy plans to establish a dedicated program to manage procurement of a hypersonic capability -- both defensive and offensive -- in development since 2018 and slated to begin production in fiscal year 2024, breaking the Standard Missile-6 Block IB off from other variants of the SM-6 for cost and schedule reporting.

Army tallies $7.2B light tank program cost, excluding $2.2B unfunded requirement

The Army has tallied a $7.2 billion price tag for its Mobile Protected Firepower program, a project to buy 377 light tanks for infantry brigades that will outfit six battalions but still leave the service shy of more than 30% of the total infantry requirement for a direct-fire capability needed to neutralize hardened enemy positions and armored vehicles.

The Pentagon wants to shore up the defense microelectronics industrial base:

DOD awards contracts to improve resilience in the defense microelectronics industrial base

The Defense Department has awarded a combined $17.5 million to two initiatives that aim to strengthen the resilience of the defense microelectronics industrial base.

Keith DeVries, deputy defense director of manufacturing technology, said during a Defense News webinar this week that he believes additive manufacturing has the potential to simplify and streamline the way weapons and other military items are produced:

DOD official touts additive manufacturing for hypersonic weapons

A senior Pentagon official this week highlighted the promise that additive manufacturing brings to the defense industrial base, specifically when it comes to hypersonic weapons, calling it a "game changer."

A recent international naval exercise integrated unmanned systems operations with crewed ships:

4th Fleet rides wave of 'technical firsts' in UNITAS

The U.S. 4th Fleet launched Starlink systems and reported "technical firsts" fielding unmanned aerial and surface vehicles during UNITAS exercises conducted with 20 partner nations in waters off Central and South America.