The Insider

By John Liang
August 23, 2022 at 10:38 AM

System High announced today it has promoted Rob Sanborn to executive vice president and chief technology and innovation officer.

Sanborn's responsibilities will include "identifying, developing, and maturing technologies and processes that will enable unmatched security and protection capability to customers," according to a company statement.

Since 2020, Sanborn has worked as a strategic adviser to System High's CEO. Before that, he was a U.S. Designated Security Authority on behalf of the Defense Department. In this capacity, he led U.S. security delegations abroad and hosted reciprocal international security delegations within the U.S.; led and conducted international security reviews on behalf of the interagency National Disclosure Policy Committee; negotiated general security of information agreements with foreign senior security, intelligence and counterintelligence officials; authored, reviewed, and commented on U.S. international security policies; served as a senior U.S. NATO Security Committee delegate; and represented U.S. industrial security interests to the Multinational Industrial Security Working Group, according to System High.

By Evan Ochsner
August 22, 2022 at 5:40 PM

BAE Systems will produce the Army's new specialized arctic vehicle after it was awarded a $278 million contract, the Pentagon announced Monday.

BAE competed against Oshkosh to provide the Cold Weather All-Terrain Vehicle, which will replace the Small Unit Support Vehicle. The Army awarded contracts to BAE and Oshkosh to produce prototypes, both of which were tracked vehicles that can operate in the snow, mud and extreme cold for use in Arctic operations. The CATV is part of the Army’s arctic strategy.

Temperatures approached 50 degrees below zero during testing of BAE’s offering, the Beowulf, the company said in a March 23 press release.

“Beowulf performed in multiple tasks while remaining fully mission-capable during the prototype evaluation phase in Alaska that began in June and ended earlier this year,” the press release stated. “The testing included amphibious operations, navigating terrain with varying levels of complexity, starting and operating in extreme cold weather, and most critically, user assessment by soldiers.”

The vehicle is an unarmored version of the BvS10, which the United Kingdom, France, Sweden, Norway and Austria already use, BAE has previously said. BAE Hagglunds, a Swedish division of the company, has collaborated on the program.

BAE’s website says the vehicle can carry up to 14 people.

The contract will cover production units, spare parts and contractor logistics support, according to the Pentagon announcement, which said work locations and funding will be determined with each of the Army’s orders. The contract is expected to end in 2029.

The procurement objective is 110 vehicles, while the acquisition objective is 163, a service official said last year.

By John Liang
August 22, 2022 at 4:53 PM

Austal USA announced this week it has hired Michelle Kruger as vice president of global services and support.

Kruger will be responsible for the company's "global post-delivery repair and warranty efforts, including the development of business strategy and strategic alliances," according to an Austal statement.

Prior to joining Austal USA, Kruger was vice president of operations at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works. Over 25 years with GD, she also worked on the Littoral Combat Ship Program and was General Dynamics NASSCO’s director of repair administration.

By Evan Ochsner
August 22, 2022 at 2:51 PM

Oshkosh has received five new patents for technology featured in its hybrid-electric Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, the company announced Monday.

The patents relate to “the accessory drive approach, battery and inverter integration, and the range and capability of the Oshkosh vehicle,” the company said.

“The addition of these recent patents underscores our unique ability to deliver innovative solutions that meet the needs of our customer and advance technology for the tactical wheeled vehicle fleet,” George Mansfield, vice president and general manager of joint programs for Oshkosh Defense, said in a statement.

The hybrid version of the JLTV adds a 30-killowatt-hour battery that can power the vehicle for 30 miles, the company previously said. The hybrid engine reduces noise and provides better fuel economy.

The Army said last year that it wanted companies to prototype hybrid-electric JLTVs and humvees. Hybrid technology is a partial step toward electrification, and service officials have said it is more technologically feasible than full electrification for a vehicle the size of the JLTV with today’s technology.

Oshkosh said Monday that it has a portfolio of over 115 patents and pending applications related to the JLTV and eJLTV.

By John Liang
August 22, 2022 at 1:40 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on an Air Force command-and-control center contract award, the Pentagon's Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program and more.

SAIC has been tasked in part with modernizing the Falconer Air Operations Center, including optimizing for cloud computing, evolving data architectures and new approaches to development, security and operations practices:

SAIC secures $319 million contract for Falconer AOC

The Air Force awarded Science Applications International Corp. a five-year, $319 million contract to sustain the Falconer Air Operations Center Weapon System, adding to the business' portfolio of command-and-control contracts with the service.

The latest from our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity:

Defense sector coordinating council seeks details on classifying sensitive data for CMMC suppliers

A defense industry leader says the Defense Industrial Base Sector Coordinating Council's recent exercise on the Pentagon's Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program shows more work is necessary to determine how the department will classify controlled unclassified information and the required maturity level needed for defense suppliers in contracts.

General Electric, Pratt & Whitney, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman have been awarded $975 million indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contracts for the Air Force's F-35 next-generation engine effort:

Air Force awards five $975 million NGAP contracts

The Air Force has selected five companies to field prototypes for the service's Next Generation Adaptive Propulsion program, according to an award announcement posted by the Defense Department on Friday.

The Navy has been looking at three possibilities for doing away with the aircraft carrier Enterprise:

Navy proposes commercial dismantlement for CVN-65

The Navy is proposing a plan to contract with commercial industry to dismantle and dispose of the decommissioned nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Enterprise (CVN-65) -- one of three alternative disposal plans the service has been weighing, according to a recently released environmental statement on the project.

AeroVironment has sold the Army an uncrewed helicopter system:

Army awards OTA for new reconnaissance drone

The Army has agreed to purchase a vertical-takeoff-and-landing drone system from AeroVironment that will be tested as a replacement for the RQ-7B Shadow, the service announced Thursday evening.

By Tony Bertuca
August 22, 2022 at 5:00 AM

Senior defense officials are slated to speak at several Washington think tank events this week.

Tuesday

Navy Program Executive Officer for Strategic Submarines Rear Adm. Scott Pappano speaks at a Mitchell Institute virtual Nuclear Deterrence and Missile Defense Forum event.

The Association of the U.S. Army holds a webinar on countering small unmanned aircraft systems.

Wednesday

The Center for Strategic and International Studies hosts a discussion on Army Future Vertical Lift.

The Atlantic Council hosts a discussion on the state of the space industrial base.

Thursday

The Heritage Foundation hosts a discussion with Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday.

Friday

The Brookings Institute hosts a discussion on the Marine Corps and the future of expeditionary warfare.

By John Liang
August 19, 2022 at 2:07 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on microelectronics manufacturing, Littoral Combat Ships being deployed to the Western Pacific, the Army's unified network and more.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is in the early stages of developing a Next-Generation Microelectronics Manufacturing (NGMM) capability:

DARPA seeks input to set course for microelectronics manufacturing effort

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is working to determine its approach to a new microelectronics manufacturing program that aims to ultimately onshore research and production of advanced microsystems.

The trimaran-hulled Independence class of Littoral Combat Ships will continue to be deployed to the Western Pacific:

Kitchener: Navy to increase LCS numbers to six in the Pacific

The Navy will build its Littoral Combat Ship presence in the Western Pacific to six vessels in the next few years, according to a top service official.

Army Lt. Gen. John Morrison spoke this week at the AFCEA TechNet conference in Augusta, GA:

Army is already realizing the benefits of the unified network, deputy chief of staff says

The Army has begun to realize the benefits of its unified network, the service's deputy chief of staff said Thursday, before outlining the progress it needs to make in the coming years to improve the capability.

The latest cyber defense news from our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity:

DHS rule finalizing controlled unclassified information policy for contractors submitted to OMB

The Department of Homeland Security is moving forward with a final rule to set up security requirements for contractors handling sensitive data, submitting the rulemaking to the Office of Management and Budget for review.

NCD Inglis: CHIPS-plus law provides funding to address supply chain issues beyond rip-and-replace through U.S. manufacturing

Creating resilient supply chains in the United States will depend on investments in manufacturing like those in the CHIPS and Science Act, which provides $52 billion to bolster semiconductor production, according to National Cyber Director Chris Inglis, who argued the traditional rip-and-replace approach won't work in the long term.

By Tony Bertuca
August 19, 2022 at 12:28 PM

The United States is sending dozens of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles to Ukraine, along with additional drones, artillery, ammunition and other weapons as part of an upcoming $775 million military aid package, according to a senior defense official.

The official, who spoke to reporters today on the condition of anonymity, said the 40 MaxxPro MRAPs being provided to Ukraine through presidential drawdown authority will be the first time the vehicle has been provided to Ukraine since the start of the ongoing Russian invasion.

The official said the MRAPs are being provided along with “mine-clearing equipment and systems.”

“We know that Russia has heavily mined areas,” the official said. “This is going to give the Ukrainians a resilient capability for transporting troops in this challenging terrain.”

The United States initially procured MRAPs in massive numbers during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to mitigate improvised explosive devices.

The mine-clearing systems and MRAPs, the official said, are good examples of capabilities the Ukrainians are seeking that could perhaps “push their forces forward and re-rake territory” as fighting in the southern part of the country remains at a brutal stalemate.

The new aid, which follows a $1 billion package announced on Aug. 8, will also include additional ammunition for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems already provided by the United States.

The HIMARS, the official said, has “really changed the dynamic on the battlefield” and the United States is prepared to provide a “steady stream of ammunition” to replenish the Ukrainian military.

Ukraine, the official said, is “employing HIMARS masterfully on the battlefield.”

Additionally, the United States will be providing additional high-speed, anti-radiation missiles intended to “seek and destroy Russian radars,” the official said, noting the Ukrainians have been able to “successfully integrate” HARM missiles with existing Mig-29 aircraft.

The U.S. government is also sending 16 105 mm howitzers and 15 Scan Eagle small unmanned aircraft systems intended to provide the Ukrainians with better battlefield reconnaissance and targeting.

The official said the aid package will also include 50 humvees, 1,000 Javelin anti-armor systems, 2,000 anti-armor rounds, and 1,500 tube-launched, optically tracked, wire-guided missiles.

Other items in the package include tactical communications, night vision systems, thermal imaging systems and laser rangefinders.

The official said the United States has committed more than $10 billion in military aid to Ukraine since August 2021.

“This isn't the end,” the official said. “We will continue to consult with the Ukrainians to make sure we are providing them with what they need when they need it.”

By Michael Marrow
August 19, 2022 at 12:04 PM

The Space Force will hold a virtual industry day on Oct. 25 and 26 to gather industry input on spacecraft acquisition for technological and scientific experiments, according to a notice posted by the service today.

The industry day will be hosted by the Innovation and Prototyping Acquisition Delta at Kirtland Air Force Base, NM, for an initiative spearheaded by the Space Test Program. Called the Space Test Experiments Platform 2.0, the program will procure spacecraft for experimentation, the notice states.

STEP 2.0 is anticipated to be an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity multiple award contract, according to the notice, and will utilize “cascading set-asides to support the spacecraft needs of the STP office.” Vendors will be required to construct the spacecraft, provide payload and launch vehicle integration and a minimum of 365 days of on-orbit support.

Officials plan to issue a draft request for proposals on or around Oct. 11, according to the notice, which will include instructions for the industry day.

By Audrey Decker
August 19, 2022 at 9:50 AM

The Navy will begin construction of the first Constellation-class frigate this month, according to a service official.

“The FFG-62 Constellation-class: We're going to start bending metal later this month. That's a success story,” said Rear Adm. Fred Pyle, director of the office of the chief of naval operations’ surface warfare division.

The Navy aimed to begin construction in April, but that was pushed back to finish the program’s critical design review.

“This frigate is going to bring DDG-like capability. We need to build small surface combatants in numbers and [to] get this fighting frigate to sea,” Pyle said during the Surface Navy Association’s 2022 Waterfront Symposium.

The service wants to procure a total of 20 frigates, with 10 already on contract to Fincantieri Marinette Marine. The lead ship Constellation will be followed by Congress (FFG-63) and Chesapeake (FFG-64).

Commander of Naval Surface Forces Vice Adm. Roy Kitchener told reporters yesterday that the Navy has “invested heavily” in land-based testing for the frigate program.

The Navy plans to reach initial operational capability for the ship class in fiscal year 2029.

By Tony Bertuca
August 18, 2022 at 4:28 PM

Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks today highlighted President Biden's recent signing of the CHIPS and Science Act, which she said will "supercharge" U.S. semiconductor research, development and production.

Hicks, speaking at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN, said the new law would create jobs and drive innovation by onshoring production of key technologies.

“This new law will help ensure that America has -- and makes -- the technology that powers everything from F-35 stealth fighter jets to the smartphones in our pockets,” she said.

Hicks noted SkyWater Technology plans to open a new manufacturing facility to fabricate computer chips at Purdue’s Discovery Park.

Additionally, Hicks touted the Air Force Research Laboratory’s choice of Purdue as the headquarters for a new network of regional research hubs.

“Their goal: to create a collaborative science and technology ecosystem -- bringing together government, academia and the private sector -- that will accelerate the collision of ideas and talent to produce solutions for both DOD and commercial use,” she said.

While at Purdue, Hicks also visited the Zucrow Lab and Hypersonics and Applied Research Facility.

“The research here will not only help develop the capabilities we need to defend the nation, but it will drive progress beyond DOD, for the aerospace sector and other industries -- shaping the next generations of commercial air travel, space exploration, and beyond,” she said.

Purdue is also home to the Birck Nanotechnology Center, which Hicks also visited. The facility is focused on, among other things, the development of microelectronics and semiconductors.

“There’s no understating how critical that work is,” she said.

The Pentagon, meanwhile, is pursuing a National Defense Strategy that emphasizes greater competition with China, including the onshoring of key microelectronics manufacturing currently performed in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Pentagon’s fiscal year 2023 budget request includes $3.3 billion in microelectronics investments.

Hicks’ appearance at Purdue is the last stop in a multistate trip focused on defense innovation.

By John Liang
August 18, 2022 at 1:23 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Air Force's CV-22 Osprey fleet, a recent NORAD cruise missile defense exercise and more.

The Air Force's CV-22 Ospreys won't be flying anytime soon:

Air Force stands down Osprey fleet

Air Force Special Operations Command has indefinitely grounded its fleet of CV-22 Ospreys in response to an unidentified "hard clutch" issue that has caused a total of four known incidents.

In late June, North American Aerospace and Defense Command's continental U.S. region conducted a defensive counter-air exercise involving Navy and Air Force assets that hunted a simulated cruise missile attack:

U.S. military executes air-defense exercise over southern U.S. after China's long-range hypersonic test

China's surprise demonstration last year of a Fractional Orbital Bombardment System prompted the U.S. military this summer to conduct an air defense exercise against a hypothetical threat approaching the U.S. from the south, a significant reorientation from the usual focus on the north, west and east.

General Motors Defense and American Rheinmetall Vehicles are proposing a Common Tactical Truck for the Army based on an Americanized version of Rheinmetall's HX3 commercial vehicle:

GM, Rheinmetall announce Common Tactical Truck bid

General Motors Defense will partner with American Rheinmetall Vehicles in a bid to provide the Army with its Common Tactical Truck, the companies announced Wednesday.

The Marine Corps' Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar system is due for another test soon:

Marine Corps to continue testing prototype air defense system

The Marine Corps is planning a third live-fire test of a prototype air defense system within the next six weeks, following two successful tests in which the system detected, tracked and destroyed multiple targets.

Australia and Canada recently took part in Pacific Dragon 22, which took place at the Pacific Missile Range Facility Barking Sands and off the coast of Kauai, HI:

Australia, Canada join missile defense exercises, bringing together five Pacific air-defense navies

For the first time, Australia and Canada participated in a multinational missile defense exercise with the United States, Japan and South Korea, a significant expansion of efforts to build advanced interoperability among five nations that, in theory, could lock arms in response to a Pacific crisis.

By Shelley K. Mesch
August 18, 2022 at 11:45 AM

U.S. Central Command is seeking technology descriptions from industry, academia and others ahead of its summit on Long Endurance Alternate Airborne Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, or LE-A2ISR, in October.

The request for information posted online this week calls for technologies that can be displayed at the Oct. 5-6 summit at MacDill Air Force Base, FL, that will focus on solutions to solve persistence gaps across the CENTCOM area of responsibility. The solutions should be based in platforms; payloads; electro-optical/infra-red; processing, exploitation and dissemination; and signal intelligence.

The event supports efforts enacted in the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act by identifying and accelerating capabilities relating to LE-A2ISR, according to the request.

Applications to create a display for the summit are due by Sept. 16, and attendees will need secret-level security clearance.

By Audrey Decker
August 18, 2022 at 11:15 AM

Lockheed Martin has delivered its multimission laser weapon system to the Navy, slated to be operational at sea in fiscal year 2023.

The High Energy Laser with Integrated Optical-dazzler and Surveillance is a weapon system that provides the Navy with different options for deterrence.

This is the first tactical laser weapon system to be integrated into existing ships, the company said in a statement today.

“HELIOS is a transformational new weapon system providing an additional layer of protection for the fleet with its deep magazine, low-cost per kill, speed of light delivery and precision response,” Lockheed said.

The laser will be integrated into the Aegis combat system on the destroyer Preble (DDG-88).

HELIOS is increment one of the multi-increment Surface Navy Laser Weapon System acquisition program, which is aimed at exploring the potential of laser technology for the surface fleet.

By Tony Bertuca
August 17, 2022 at 5:05 PM

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed (D-RI) is leading a bipartisan effort to convince the Federal Communications Commission to rescind an April 2020 decision allowing Ligado Networks to deploy a new, low-power, terrestrial nationwide network after next month that lawmakers say would cause "unacceptable risk" to national security.

The senators, in a letter sent today to the FCC, say Ligado’s proposed network in the L-Band range of frequencies would harm military communications capabilities.

“Staying and reconsidering the Ligado Order is necessary to address the imminent risks associated with Ligado’s intention to ‘commence operations’ in the 1526-1536 Mhz band on or after September 30, 2022,” the letter states.

Among the lawmakers trying to get the FCC to reverse its decision is Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), the committee’s ranking member. Inhofe, when he was chairman of the committee, tried in vain to get the FCC to change its mind about the Ligado network.

“We remain gravely concerned that the Ligado Order fails to adequately protect adjacent band operations -- including those related to GPS and satellite communications -- from harmful interference impacting countless military and commercial activities,” the letter states. “We urge you to set aside the Ligado Order and give proper consideration to the widely held concerns across the Executive Branch, within Congress, and from the private sector regarding the expected impact of the Ligado Order on national security and other systems.”

Neither the FCC nor Ligado immediately responded to requests for comment.