The Insider

By Tony Bertuca
May 8, 2024 at 1:59 PM

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin today said the United States has "paused" a shipment of powerful bombs to Israel, citing concerns about civilian "collateral damage" in Gaza.

Austin, confirming media reports about the paused munitions shipments, told the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee the Defense Department has paused “one shipment of high-payload munitions.”

“We have not made a final determination on how to proceed with that shipment,” he said, noting the weapons could be sent to Israel eventually.

Austin said the decision to hold the shipment, which includes 2,000-pound bombs, was made out of concern that Israel is not properly considering safeguarding civilians amid a new offensive against Hamas in Rafa.

“I think we’ve been very clear about the steps we’d like to see Israel take to account for and take care of those civilians before major combat takes place,” he said. “We certainly would like to see no major combat take place in Rafah, but certainly our focus is on making sure we protect the civilians.”

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), the committee’s ranking Republican, said DOD should not “micromanage Israel’s right to defend itself” and should keep in mind that Hamas uses civilians in Gaza as “human shields” and bears responsibility for the start of the conflict because of its Oct. 7, 2023, attacks on Israelis.

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), the ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, released a statement criticizing the Biden administration’s decision to pause the bomb shipment.

“If Hamas laid down its weapons, the war would be over. But if Israel lays down its weapons, it would be the end of Israel,” he said. “This delay has sent a dangerous message to Hamas that if they hold out against the [Israeli Defense Forces] for long enough, they can still win.”

At the hearing, Austin said the paused shipment does not include “precision weapons” but covers 2,000-pound bombs that “could create a lot of collateral damage.”

“It's about having the right kinds of weapons for the tasks at hand,” he said. “We think it’s imperative to do more to protect civilians in the battlespace.”

By John Liang
May 7, 2024 at 1:25 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Air Force's effort to transition Air National Guard space missions into the Space Force, the Army delaying a full-rate production contract for anti-armor missile launch units and more.

A new Air Force report to Congress lays out the three options for space missions within the Air National Guard -- maintaining them within the Air National Guard, transferring them to the Space Force or creating a Space National Guard:

Air Force report explains space mission transition proposal; Guard, governors remain opposed

The Defense Department sent a report to Congress and U.S. governors detailing why it wants to transition Air National Guard space missions into the Space Force, while governors and the National Guard Association of the United States continue to push against the proposal.

Document: Air Force report on consolidation/transfer of National Guard space functions to USSF

A new agreement between Lockheed Martin and Maxar Intelligence will "streamline the procurement and delivery of Maxar's geospatial products for the F-35 Full Mission Simulator flight simulation and training system," according to Maxar:

Lockheed, Maxar enter contract to expand F-35 simulator

Lockheed Martin and Maxar Intelligence on Monday entered a contract to better integrate several of Maxar's 2D and 3D products into a digital cockpit intended to replicate the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, according to a company announcement.

According to the 2023 Director of Operational Test and Evaluation report, the Army intended to award a full-rate production contract for the lighter variant of the Javelin's launch unit in the second quarter of fiscal year 2024 after getting results from an unreleased Follow-on Operational Test & Evaluation report:

Army delays full-rate production contract for Javelin launch units

The Army is delaying a full-rate production contract for anti-armor missile launch units by at least three months, according to a service spokesperson.

A new Government Accountability Office report provides eight recommendations drawn from commercial shipbuilders' best practices, including that the Navy "ensure that shipbuilding programs complete functional design for new ships before awarding detail design and construction contracts":

Navy agrees to adopt some commercial ship design best practices but stops short of full GAO recommendation

The Navy has resolved to complete more functional design work on new shipbuilding programs prior to milestone B, but the commitment falls short of a new recommendation from government auditors, which encourages the sea service to complete a ship's functional design before awarding a detail design and construction contract.

Last week, the White House released a statement marking notable actions taken in the 180 days following Biden’s executive order focusing on the safe and responsible use and development of artificial intelligence:

DOD launched pilot program to spot AI vulnerabilities after Biden's E.O.

The Defense Department is moving to comply with President Biden's recent executive order on artificial intelligence, establishing a pilot program to spot malicious cyber activity in IT systems.

By Dan Schere
May 7, 2024 at 1:01 PM

Army Futures Command Commanding Gen. James Rainey envisions warfare being more data-centric in the future and told attendees today at the Ash Carter Exchange on Innovation and National Security in Washington that he sees a "re-ascendance of fires over maneuver."

“It’s gone back and forth in history. But for the Army, maneuvering to position fires in support of the joint force would drive some major changes in both how we build our formations, and the balance between say, fire brigades, air defense brigades and maneuver brigades,” he said.

Rainey has previously said the force must merge offensive and defensive fires beyond 2030 and noted at the AUSA Global Force Symposium in Huntsville, AL earlier this year that he wants this to be done for systems such as Patriot, High Mobility Artillery Rocket System and Army Tactical Missile System.

Rainey said Tuesday that the decade from 2030 to 2040 will be “really disruptive” when it comes to technology on the battlefield, but it’s also a time when the service will be able to make some “really dramatic transitions or transformations.”

“Everything going on right now is great, and I applaud things like [Combined Joint All-Domain Command and Control]. But the real opportunity to move to data-centric warfare, software over hardware, where you don’t have to go out looking for the data. It’s in a place where it’s usable and accessible. Then you can really bring the power of things like AI and machine learning to bear,” he said.

Rainey also reiterated Tuesday the need for the Army to move to “capability-based” requirements documents, which he thinks will be helpful to industry.

“The less words, the better response we get out of industry,” he said.

By Tony Bertuca
May 6, 2024 at 4:32 PM

Janice Muskopf, the Defense Department's director of price, cost and finance, has retired and will be temporarily succeeded by an acting official, according to a recent Pentagon memo.

Muskopf retired on May 1 after 34 years of government service that culminated in her role as PCF director, according to the memo by Principal Director of Defense Pricing and Contracting John Tenaglia.

During her tenure as PCF director, Muskopf helped complete the department’s first contract financing study in decades.

Meanwhile, procurement analyst Leslie Overturf has been designated as acting PCF director.

By John Liang
May 6, 2024 at 1:51 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Pentagon's Replicator initiative, the Navy seeking solutions to resolve a sealift capacity shortage and more.

The Pentagon today announced it is beginning to invest in the first tranche of Replicator capabilities, which centers around UAS, USVs and C-UAS of multiple sizes and different payloads:

DOD announces Replicator tranche 1 focus areas and first official selected capability

Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks announced today that the first tranche of Replicator capabilities includes uncrewed aerial systems like AeroVironment's Switchblade-600 loitering munition, uncrewed surface vehicles and counter-uncrewed aerial systems.

The Navy is seeking solutions to resolve a shortage in sealift capacity:

Legislative proposal may allow Navy to buy foreign, used ships to support sealift

A legislative proposal brought forward by the Navy will potentially allow the service to acquire foreign, used vessels to bolster sealift capacity.

On May 2, Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Richard Marles, Japanese Minister of Defense Kihara Minoru and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin held a Trilateral Defense Ministerial Meeting in Hawaii:

Japan, Australia, U.S. announce plans for 'inaugural' regional missile defense event

Japan, Australia and the United States announced plans for a trilateral air and missile defense live-fire exercise -- an "inaugural" event -- that will be folded into the 2027 Talisman Sabre exercise that simulates a highly contested combat scenario in the Indo-Pacific region.

The Marine Corps Amphibious Combat Vehicle program office began soliciting industry for a training system to improve driver proficiency in the spring of 2023 following multiple accidents in which ACVs rolled over in the water -- incidents the service attributed largely to inadequate operator training:

Marine Corps fielding ACV driver simulators, preparing for wider vehicle deployment

The Marine Corps has fielded the first unit of a new mixed-reality training system intended to improve the performance of Amphibious Combat Vehicle operators. It expects to receive 80 more of these driver simulators by the end of fiscal year 2024.

Army acquisition chief Doug Bush spoke during a roundtable with reporters at the Pentagon last week:

Army to hold howitzer demonstrations this summer to replace some Paladins

The Army will use approximately $55 million in leftover funds to host howitzer demonstrations in August before setting capability requirements for replacing its Paladin artillery system, according to the service's acquisition executive.

By Tony Bertuca
May 6, 2024 at 5:00 AM

Senior defense officials are scheduled to speak at several events around Washington and elsewhere this week.


The annual SOF Week conference begins in Tampa, FL. The event runs through Friday.


The American Enterprise Institute hosts a discussion with House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA).

The Special Competitive Studies Project hosts its AI Expo for National Competitiveness conference. The event runs through Wednesday.


The Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee holds a hearing with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. C.Q. Brown on the defense budget.

The Senate Armed Services personnel subcommittee holds a budget hearing.

The Senate Armed Services airland subcommittee holds a hearing on Air Force modernization.

The Senate Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee holds a hearing on missile defense.

The House Financial Services national security, illicit finance and international financial institutions subcommittee holds a hearing on the Defense Production Act.

The Naval Postgraduate School hosts its annual Acquisition Research Symposium in Monterey, CA. The event runs through Thursday.


The Foundation for Defense of Democracies hosts a discussion on NATO with the deputy chief of U.S. European Command.

By John Liang
May 3, 2024 at 1:59 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Navy needing to replenish its Standard Missile stocks in the wake of defending shipping in the Red Sea from Houthi missile attacks, plus coverage of a new Defense Innovation Unit report and more.

Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro revealed this week that the Defense Department's decision to terminate SM-3 Block IB production -- and save $1.9 billion -- was baked into the FY-25 budget request before recent real-world events provided a showcase for the advanced guided-missile interceptor to defeat ballistic missile threats:

SECNAV: DOD needs to 'relook' SM-3 Block IB termination after Iran strike, Pacific forecast

The Navy secretary says Pentagon leaders need to reconsider plans to terminate Standard Missile-3 Block IB production in light of recent Red Sea missile defense missions, Iran's missile attack last month against Israel and the likelihood of similar engagements in a potential conflict in the Pacific.

A new Defense Innovation Unit report is out:

DIU says 10 technologies made successful transitions in FY-23

The Defense Innovation Unit released its fiscal year 2023 annual report today which noted that 10 technologies successfully transitioned from prototypes to fielded capabilities.

DIU pushes partnerships with U.S. allies

The Defense Innovation Unit's fiscal year 2023 annual report highlighted successful partnerships with U.S. allies like India, the U.K., Australia, Japan and Ukraine.

Document: DIU's FY-23 annual report

The Navy's top civilian this week acknowledged that the Navy and Marine Corps are jointly developing a memorandum of understanding pertaining to amphib readiness:

Navy, Marine Corps narrowing in on amphib readiness requirements

The Navy and Marine Corps are advancing a joint effort to clarify requirements and metrics for amphibious warship readiness, according to Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro, who today said the services believe they need at least nine of the ships ready for action around the clock.

The Command, Control, Communications and Battle Management (C3BM) Aerial Networking line for the Air Force would grow to $147.1 million in the fiscal year 2025 budget request from $76.8 million asked for FY-24:

Air Force amps up ABMS work with Phalanx Griffon program in FY-25

The Air Force wants to nearly double its budget for the airborne networking segment of the Advanced Battle Management System as it ramps up a newer effort called Phalanx Griffon, according to budget documents released with the fiscal year 2025 budget request.

The CEO of HII discussed his company's quarterly earnings this week:

HII CEO: Manufacturing and shipbuilding labor major factor in delays

There is no "one-size-fits-all" solution to shipbuilding delays, but labor is the most contributing factor, shipbuilder HII Chief Executive Officer Chris Kastner told investors in a first-quarter earnings call Thursday.

The National Counterintelligence and Security Center found that semiconductors are one of the technology sectors where the opportunity for disruption of U.S. economic and national security is highest:

DOD, GSA and NASA working to implement semiconductor product ban

The Defense Department, General Services Administration and NASA are considering the implementation of a rule that would ban executive agencies from obtaining certain semiconductor products.

By Jason Sherman
May 3, 2024 at 12:17 PM

The United States, Japan and Australia have inked a "landmark" agreement to explore trilateral cooperation on efforts to develop collaborative combat aircraft, autonomous systems and composite aerospace materials, the latest development in a growing three-way compact between Washington, Tokyo and Canberra.

On May 2, Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Richard Marles, Japanese Minister of Defense Kihara Minoru, and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin signed a three-way Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation (RDT&E) Projects Arrangement during a Trilateral Defense Ministerial Meeting in Hawaii.

“Science and technology cooperation is vital to maintain their collective edge and deepen their defense cooperation,” according to a May 3 joint statement. “This landmark arrangement allows the respective defense organizations to pursue areas of interest for operationally relevant advanced collaboration.”

A Pentagon spokesman said the full text of the agreement will not be made public.

The statement notes the agreement provides a new channel for defense officials from the three nations to “further discuss cooperative opportunities in the areas of collaborative combat aircraft and autonomous systems and composite aerospace materials.”

By John Liang
May 3, 2024 at 10:05 AM

Lockheed Martin announced this week that Thomas Falk had been elected as independent lead director of the board.

Falk succeeds Daniel Akerson who, along with James Ellis, retired from the board following the company's annual stockholders meeting.

Falk has served on Lockheed's board of directors since 2010 and as Audit Committee chair since 2015. As independent lead director, he "will assume all duties and responsibilities of that position, including presiding over executive sessions of independent directors, approving agendas for board meetings and providing feedback to management," according to a company statement.

He will also chair the board's Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee and serve as ex officio member of each of the other committees. As part of Falk's election as independent lead director, Patricia Yarrington has been appointed chair of the board's Audit Committee, the company said.

By Tony Bertuca
May 2, 2024 at 4:18 PM

Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said today that China and Russia have begun closer military ties that could possibly threaten Taiwan.

“We see China and Russia, for the first time, exercising together in relation to Taiwan and recognizing that this is a place where China definitely wants Russia to be working with them, and we see no reason why they wouldn’t,” Haines told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Haines said the “no-limits” partnership between China and Russia means the U.S. military and intelligence community are becoming increasingly concerned about a potential conflict scenario involving both countries.

“Certainly it’s a possibility,” she said. “The question of just how likely it is, I think differs depending on the scenario.”

Haines said China and Russia are cooperating “across really every sector of society.”

Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Kruse, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said the United States has “become even more concerned about our joint force requirements in an environment where” China and Russia are cooperating.

Kruse said the military needs to take into account “whether or not we actually believe there would be two full-up” battlefronts against China and Russia.

“And we would need to take that into account, in force structure and planning,” he said.

By John Liang
May 2, 2024 at 2:21 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on Navy shipbuilding, a nascent Russian anti-satellite capability and more.

A legislative proposal submitted by the Navy to Congress would allow up to six voyage repair ship availabilities of about 15 to 30 days in an international shipyard -- opening the door for emergent voyage repairs during peacetime and in times of conflict:

Lawmakers, Navy officials go back and forth on resolving shipbuilding issues

Capacity for ship repairs and construction continues to be a top issue for the Navy and Marine Corps, service officials told lawmakers today on Capitol Hill. Outsourcing ship repairs to foreign countries is a potential solution, the officials added, one already raised last month by Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro.

Assistant Defense Secretary for Space Policy John Plumb testified before the House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee this week:

Plumb: Russia developing satellite with a nuclear weapon

Russia is developing a satellite to carry a nuclear weapon on-orbit that could wipe out satellites for a year or more, a top Defense Department official confirmed today at a congressional hearing.

The top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee wants to make sure that if the Defense Department gets to spend more than the congressionally mandated budget cap, so should non-defense spending:

Top Senate appropriator insists on 'parity' if defense spending caps are to be broken

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) said today that any effort to increase defense spending in fiscal year 2025 above the cap set by the Fiscal Responsibility Act must also be matched by a boost in non-defense funds.

Keep an eye out this summer for a counter-small uncrewed aircraft system demonstration:

SAIC will be among industry participants in summer CUAS demonstration

DENVER -- SAIC will be among the industry participants in a demonstration to be conducted by the Pentagon's Joint Counter-small Unmanned Aircraft System Office (JCO) this summer, according to a company employee.

The vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington this week, appealed to defense contractors to develop "alternative" positioning, navigation and timing for the U.S. military:

Grady says electronic warfare has become a dominant feature of Ukraine conflict

Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Christopher Grady said today that electronic warfare, though it didn't play a major role in earlier phases of Ukraine's conflict with Russia, has now become a "defining feature of that battlespace."

Originally scheduled for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2024, the Army delayed the critical design review on a certain missile program to the following fiscal year, according to the Army’s FY-25 budget request:

Army delays design reviews and flight tests for extended range GMLRS

The Army has delayed a critical design review and qualification flight tests for the Extended Range Guided Multiple Launch Rocket system by about eight months, according to a service spokesperson.

William Streilein, chief technology officer for the chief digital artificial intelligence office, said at Adobe’s 2024 Government Forum today that some areas of the department, like intelligence analysis, are already prepared and ready to adopt generative AI into their processes:

DOD tech official says intel analysis and back-office functions are ready to adopt generative AI

A senior Pentagon technology official said today that Task Force Lima has found intelligence analysis and back-office functions are the two largest application areas within the Defense Department for generative artificial intelligence, noting DOD is prepared to accept the role of AI as a "teammate."

The State Department has issued a proposed rule that would exempt the British and Australians from certain export control regulations:

State moves to ease weapons export regulations in support of AUKUS

The State Department is proposing to exempt the U.K. and Australia from International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) to better bolster the trilateral AUKUS agreement and "foster defense trade and cooperation between and among the United States and two of its closest allies."

By Nick Wilson
May 1, 2024 at 5:29 PM

The Marine Corps has reorganized its radar systems portfolio to meet evolving force design goals, expanding the scope of a program office that was once focused solely on the Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar to encompass multiple future expeditionary systems.

The former G/ATOR program office was redesignated as Program Manager for Expeditionary Radars (PM ExR) in September 2023 and now includes a few distinct “product lines,” including G/ATOR and a group of unnamed future radar systems, program official Mark Lamczyk said today at the Modern Day Marine conference in Washington.

In addition to G/ATOR, “the other product line is our future radar systems,” Lamczyk said. “I won't be speaking too much, deliberately, about that. But those are initiatives to achieve integrated air and missile defense [and] enabled integrated fire control, which are concepts in the commandant’s force design strategy.”

“Lastly, we do have a small portfolio of foreign military sales cases which are our former, legacy Marine Corps programs that are still out with our coalition partners that we support mainly with training and some sustained capability,” he added.

Gen. Eric Smith, who was confirmed by the Senate as Marine Corps commandant in September, has not publicly released an official Commandant’s Planning Guidance, though he has issued multiple interim guidance documents affirming the service’s force design trajectory.

Today, Lamczyk said the G/ATOR program is roughly halfway through full-rate production with contractor Northrop Grumman. The program office is placing increased focus on the sustainment of deployed systems and is looking for alternate producers of system components to aid in sustainment, he said.

Additionally, PM ExR is preparing to “recompete” an acquisition support contract in an effort to combine support work for G/ATOR and the future radar systems product line.

“I mentioned that we had two primary product baselines in the PM ExR and that's the G/ATOR and the future radars,” Lamczyk said. “Those are currently separate support contracts and we'll be releasing a [request for proposals] later this summer which combines those support contracts into one, overarching expeditionary radar acquisition support requirement.”

The office will publish the RFP in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2024 and plans to award the contract in the first quarter of FY-25, Lamczyk added.

The Marine Corps’ FY-2025 budget request includes $72 million for G/ATOR and anticipates full operational capability in FY-28.

By John Liang
May 1, 2024 at 2:45 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Virginia-class submarine program, a Marine Corps air defense system, Navy readiness issues and more.

In a letter to defense appropriators, 120 House lawmakers state U.S. undersea supremacy must be preserved to deter an increasingly emboldened China and Russia:

Courtney rallies 120 bipartisan lawmakers to push appropriators to restore submarine cut

Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT), a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, today released a letter to defense appropriators with 120 signatures from lawmakers seeking the restoration of funding for a Virginia-class submarine in fiscal year 2025.

The Marine Air Defense Integrated System, or MADIS, is "going to [Initial Operational Test and Evaluation] here in the next couple of months, and then that looks like fielding early next fiscal year," a senior Marine Corps official said during the Modern Day Marine conference in Washington this week:

MADIS and L-MADIS air defense systems advance toward FY-25 fielding decisions

Two of the Marine Corps' developing mobile air defense systems are advancing toward fielding decisions, expected before the end of fiscal year 2025, according to Steve Bowdren, program executive officer for land systems.

The House Armed Services readiness subcommittee held a hearing this week on Navy readiness:

Lawmakers question Navy officials, again, on readiness issues

The Navy's and Marine Corps' sealift capacity is not where it needs to be, lawmakers told service officials Tuesday at a House Armed Services readiness subcommittee hearing, which largely revolved around availability delays, recapitalization plans and potential solutions to construction backlogs.

Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Heidi said during a National Defense Industrial Association webinar that four RDER programs were first approved last year:

Pentagon tech chief announces four RDER projects headed into production

Pentagon technology chief Heidi Shyu announced that four Rapid Defense Experimentation Reserve projects are headed into production.

The top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee would prefer the congressionally mandated defense spending limit was higher:

Rogers set to mark defense bill to spending cap as lawmakers question DOD modernization plans

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-AL) today said he intends to honor the defense spending cap mandated by the Fiscal Responsibility Act when he leads the panel in its mark-up of the annual defense authorization bill, though he stressed that he thinks the $895 billion limit is far too low.

The Boeing- and Leonardo-made Grey Wolf helicopter is set to replace the UH-1N Iroquois in its mission to patrol U.S. Global Strike Command nuclear silos:

Grey Wolf helo program cost growth triggers Nunn-McCurdy breach

Costs for the MH-139 Grey Wolf grew enough to trigger a critical Nunn-McCurdy breach, the Air Force notified Congress last week, because of a reduction in the number of helicopters the service plans to buy.

The Space Development Agency this week announced a potential $414 million contract to build eight satellites for launch in 2027 “to accelerate fire-control capability for global detection, warning and precision tracking of advanced missile threats” including maneuvering hypersonic weapons:

Boeing nabs FOO Fighter to build new space-based, missile tracking fire-control 'efforts'

The Defense Department has tapped Boeing's Millennium Space Systems to build eight satellites for the FOO Fighter program -- a project whose exact capability remains classified but is tied to the efforts to rapidly develop a low-earth orbit Resilient Missile Warning and Missile Tracking capability against the most advanced threats.

By Abby Shepherd
May 1, 2024 at 2:29 PM

After hundreds of Red Sea attacks on Navy and commercial vessels over the past few months, there's a need for a steady supply of munitions like the Standard Missile-3, which Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro told lawmakers today the service needs more of.

SM-3s will be needed in greater numbers, Del Toro said during a House Armed Services Committee hearing that touched on shipbuilding delays, faltering recruitment numbers and future unmanned technology the Navy plans to invest in.

“I truly believe that SM-3s will be needed in greater numbers in the future, given the operations that took place in defense of Israel here recently, where some were fired and very effectively, so I think given the future threat and our deterrence mission in the Pacific, we are going to need more SM-3s in the future,” Del Toro said.

In April, ahead of Congress’ approval of a $95 billion supplemental spending package, Del Toro called for $2 billion dedicated to replenishing weapons stocks -- including SM-2s, SM-6s and SM-3s -- following heavy defense against Houthi rebel and Iranian attacks on ships in the Red Sea.

By Nick Wilson
May 1, 2024 at 12:04 PM

A new missile facility in Camden, AR will begin producing SkyHunter interceptors in late 2025 or early 2026 for a developing Marine Corps air defense system, according to Ground Based Air Defense Program Manager Col. Andrew Konicki.

In February, RTX Technologies and Israeli company Rafael broke ground on the facility, which will eventually produce Tamir interceptors for the Israeli Iron Dome and SkyHunter missiles for the Marine Corps’ developing Medium Range Intercept Capability.

“We're tracking right now that the facility is going to be up online within calendar year 2025, so, the latter end of 2025 and then they'll start producing things there towards the tail end of 2025 and into calendar year 2026,” Konicki told Inside Defense today during the Modern Day Marine conference in Washington.

The Marine Corps has been working with industry to establish a domestic source of MRIC interceptors. SkyHunter is “essentially the same thing” as the Tamir missile, Konicki said, sharing about 95-99% commonality.

MRIC is a system “derivative” of Iron Dome that is being “Americanized” for use by the Marine Corps in detecting, tracking and shooting down cruise missile threats, he continued.

The Marine Corps’ FY-25 budget request includes $111 million for the program to support the purchase of 12 launchers and 242 missiles as it transitions from rapid prototyping to rapid fielding.

The service plans to begin fielding an initial MRIC battery in the second quarter of fiscal year 2025 following a quick reaction assessment scheduled for September, Konicki confirmed.