The INSIDER daily digest -- Sept. 5, 2023

By John Liang / September 5, 2023 at 12:20 PM

This post-Labor Day INSIDER Daily Digest has an exclusive deep dive into a new cruise missile defense initiative, plus Naval Sea Systems Command working on an unmanned maritime minelaying system and more.

We start off with an exclusive deep dive into a new cruise missile defense initiative:

DOD launches domestic cruise missile defense program to protect U.S. cities, 'critical' sites

The United States -- which since the advent of flight more than a century ago has relied on two vast oceans as a buffer against adversaries attacking U.S. citizens and soil with low-flying aircraft and missiles -- this summer began designing a next-generation domestic air defense system to protect cities and critical infrastructure from Russian and Chinese cruise missiles.

NAVSEA has announced plans to design, fabricate and test the “mining expendable delivery unmanned submarine asset,” also known as MEDUSA UUV:

Unmanned minelaying MEDUSA advances

Naval Sea Systems Command has issued a draft request for proposals to develop and evaluate MEDUSA -- an unmanned maritime minelaying system.

The Air Force is aiming to close the gap between the end of KC-46 tanker aircraft production and the delivery of the next-generation refueling system by recapitalizing the current tanker fleet:

Air Force plans to collaborate with industry on tanker recapitalization program

The Air Force is planning to release a "draft system requirements document for the KC-135 replacement aircraft system" later this month, according to a notice posted Friday.

A recent Defense Department inspector general's office report "determined whether the Air Force effectively used the middle tier of acquisition (MTA) pathway for the prototyping and fielding of the Three‑Dimensional Expeditionary Long‑Range Radar (3DELRR) program":

IG: Air Force misused MTA pathway for 3DELRR

The Air Force misused the middle tier of acquisition pathway for its Three-Dimensional Expeditionary Long-Range Radar program because it misinterpreted the stage at which procurement funds could be used, according to a Defense Department inspector general report released this week.

Document: DOD IG report on the 3DELRR program

Boron nitride nanotubes (BNNT) perform well under extreme heat with potential applications for aerospace, electronics and energy:

Nanotubes project closes research-prototype gap

Military applications for boron nitride nanotubes -- which hold promise for their strength and radiation-shielding properties -- are expected to move more quickly from the laboratory to prototype under the inaugural S²MARTS Research OTA project.