The Insider

By Georgina DiNardo
February 5, 2024 at 11:57 AM

The Defense Science Board will hold closed federal advisory committee meetings this week, starting tomorrow and ending Thursday, to analyze classified information pertaining to advanced capabilities needed for future conflicts, according to a notice posted in the Federal Register today.

The board is scheduled to hear from Heidi Shyu, defense under secretary for research and engineering, on Wednesday on symmetric and asymmetric capabilities.

The first closed meeting on Tuesday will include Lt. Gen. Charles Moore, chair of the DSB task force on future cyber warfighting capabilities, supplying a briefing on the task force’s technical evaluations of cyber capabilities. The DSB will then take a vote based on these recommendations.

Then, Katherine McGrady and Robert Wisnieff, chairs of the DSB task force to advise implementation and prioritization of national security innovation activities, will brief the board on findings related to emerging hardware and materials areas with potential dual-use impact. The DSB will take another vote after hearing the chairs’ recommendations.

Robert Grossman, study chair, will present a report by the DSB task force on digital engineering that covers DOD’s implementation progress of the requirements listed in the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act. This will be followed by a vote.

Following that presentation, the DSB task force on test and evaluation, which researched resources and capabilities for DOD test and evaluation organizations and laboratories, will present a minority opinion document, followed by another vote.

Next, David Knoll, director for analysis and study director in the defense secretary’s office, will lead a team, comprised of OSD workers and study members, briefing on lessons learned from the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Doug Beck, director of the Defense Innovation Unit, will conclude Tuesday’s session with a classified briefing on DIU’s strategy, obstacles and primary goals.

Wednesday’s classified briefing will begin with an objectives overview of the 2024 Summer Study on Advanced Capabilities for Potential Future Conflict led by Betsy Kowalski, DSB DFO, and Eric Evans, DSB chair.

Then, the board will discuss strategies that help DOD’s “continued development of symmetric and asymmetric capabilities that will characterize future conflicts,” according to the Federal Register notice.

Finally, Shyu will brief the board on her own view of how future conflicts will be altered by symmetric and asymmetric capabilities.

Thursday’s meeting will be a chance for DSB members to continue their discussion about symmetric and asymmetric capabilities.

By Tony Bertuca
February 5, 2024 at 5:00 AM

Senior defense officials are scheduled to speak at several events this week, including the acquisition chiefs of two military services.


The Center for Strategic and International Studies hosts a discussion on munitions production with Army acquisition chief Doug Bush.


The Association of the United States Army hosts a discussion with Army Chief of Staff Gen. Randy George.


AUSA will host a "hot topic" event on contested logistics.

The House Armed Services readiness subcommittee holds a hearing on military housing and infrastructure.


The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies hosts a discussion about Ukraine with the assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs.

RAND hosts a discussion with senior defense officials on reforming the planning, programming, budgeting and execution process.


The Atlantic Council hosts a discussion with Air Force acquisition chief Andrew Hunter.

By Tony Bertuca
February 2, 2024 at 6:31 PM

The United States, in retaliation for a drone attack that killed three U.S. servicemembers in Jordan last Sunday, has launched airstrikes against 85 targets at seven military facilities in Iraq and Syria controlled by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps' Quds Force and other affiliated groups.

Administration officials who briefed reporters said the strikes are only the beginning of the U.S. response.

The strikes were carried out by numerous U.S. aircraft including multiple B-1 bombers dispatched from the United States, according to Lt. Gen. Douglas Sims, director for operations on the Joint Staff.

“The beauty of the American bomber is we can strike anywhere in the world at a time of our choosing,” he said. “We can conduct this from home turf so to speak.”

Sims said the strike also involved “a number” of aircraft from the U.S. Central Command area of operations but would not provide details.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the strikes hit three military facilities in Iraq and four in Syria.

“These targets were carefully selected to avoid civilian casualties,” he said, adding that there is “clear irrefutable evidence” that they were connected to the dozens of attacks on U.S. servicemembers in the region.

“The signal is to the IRGC and these groups is the attacks have got to stop,” he said.

Kirby, who stressed there will be additional strikes in coming days, said the attacks also degraded capability of Iran’s proxy forces in the region.

“That began tonight but it will not end tonight,” he said. “This is just a first set of responses.”

Sims said the strikes involved 125 precision guided munitions launched over a period of about 30 minutes.

“We’re very confident in the targets that we struck today,” he said. “We confidently struck targets that will impact their ability to conduct future strikes against Americans.”

The officials said the facilities struck included command and control operations centers, intelligence centers along with rocket, missile and drone storage areas and logistics and munition supply chain facilities.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin released a statement stressing that the United States does not seek war.

“We do not seek conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else, but the president and I will not tolerate attacks on American forces,” he said. “We will take all necessary actions to defend the United States, our forces, and our interests.”

By John Liang
February 2, 2024 at 4:41 PM

BAE Systems announced today it has acquired British drone company Malloy Aeronautics.

Malloy Aeronautics designs and supplies all-electric uncrewed aerial systems to both civil and military customers, according to a BAE statement. Its range of uncrewed, heavy lift quadcopters are capable of lifting payloads from 68kg to 300kg over short- to medium-range missions.

Malloy’s approximately 80-strong workforce will continue to operate from its site in Berkshire in the U.K., supporting its existing customers. BAE Systems and Malloy, who have been working together on UAS solutions since 2021, "will further develop Malloy’s existing portfolio and accelerate new and novel technologies to customers worldwide," the statement reads.

Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

"Our acquisition of Malloy Aeronautics is part of our ongoing strategy to develop and invest in breakthrough technologies which augment our existing capabilities and provide our customers with the innovation they need in response to evolving requirements," Simon Barnes, group managing director of BAE Systems' Air sector, said in the statement. "We're confident that the synergy between our two companies will pave the way for even greater achievements in uncrewed aerial systems and technologies.”

Engineers from the two companies have been developing the 300kg T-650 all-electric "heavy lift" UAS as a potential new solution for military, security and civilian customers.

Last year, the companies announced the successful demonstration of the carriage and release of a 200kg inert Sting Ray Training Variant Torpedo using the T-600 demonstrator aircraft during a NATO exercise called Robotic Experimentation and Prototyping with Maritime Uncrewed Systems (REPMUS).

Malloy Aeronautics will be part of FalconWorks, the research and development business within BAE Systems’ Air sector.

By Nick Wilson
February 2, 2024 at 4:21 PM

The Marine Corps has selected contractors Mack Defense and Navistar Defense for the initial development of a Medium Tactical Truck, a future vehicle family intended to replace the Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR) fleet.

In phase I of the program, each company will spend approximately 12 months developing and submitting “innovative design concepts” and a “comprehensive project plan” based on service requirements for a cargo MTT variant, according to a Marine Corps notice.

Early prototype development will focus on three cargo variant configurations consisting of 10-, 15- and 20-foot cargo beds, the announcement states.

System requirements include the integration of hybrid electric technologies for “reduced fuel consumption, extended range and a silent watch capability”; all-terrain mobility with a 70% off-road and 30% on-road mission profile; a 60-inch water fording capability; a 10-kilowatt, onboard power generation capacity and up to 30 kilowatts of exportable power generation for external demands.

The legacy MTVR platform, produced by Oshkosh Defense, includes cargo, dumper, wrecker, tractor and resupply variants. The vehicle, which supports all elements of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force, began fielding in the early 2000s with a 22-year service life that was subsequently extended to 2042.

In a separate announcement shared with Inside Defense, Navistar Defense said its MTT prototype will be based on its existing ATLAS vehicle. The company’s prototypes will be delivered by December 2025, the announcement continues.

The Marine Corps requested just under $12 million in fiscal year 2024 research and development funding for the MTVR Modification program, which funds a variety of vehicle modernization and development initiatives. Funding is expected to climb to more than $21 million in FY-25 and grow to nearly $85 million by FY-27.

Budget documents indicate a milestone B decision is expected in the fourth quarter of FY-26, with the program’s engineering and manufacturing development phase spanning FY-27 to FY-29 and its production and deployment phase following from FY-30 to FY-34.

“The Marine Corps looks forward to collaborating with Mack Defense and Navistar Defense in this crucial development phase, working toward the common goal of delivering a Medium Tactical Truck that meets the diverse and challenging needs of Marine Corps missions,” the service announcement states.

By Tony Bertuca
February 2, 2024 at 3:59 PM

The White House intends to submit its fiscal year 2025 spending request to Congress on March 11, according to the Office of Management and Budget.

The budget submission will follow President Biden’s March 7 State of the Union address and will come days after two government shutdown deadlines put in place by Congress, which is still struggling to pass FY-24 appropriations bills.

The FY-25 total defense topline, according to the Fiscal Responsibility Act inked last fall, will be capped at $895 billion, up from $886 billion in FY-24.

Presidents are required by law to submit their annual budget proposals the first Monday of February, but the deadline is often missed and there is no penalty for missing it.

Meanwhile, the White House has been trying for months to get Congress to pass a security supplemental spending package of more than $100 billion that includes aid for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and border security. Hill staffers said the text of a proposed bipartisan supplemental would be released this weekend.

The Pentagon, along with the rest of the federal government, is running internal “drills” to take a 1% budget cut because -- as mandated by the FRA agreement -- it began the year under a stopgap continuing resolution. Congress has until April, however, to stop the automatic sequester, which many defense budget analysts expect will be part of an upcoming budget deal.

By John Liang
February 2, 2024 at 1:08 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Defense Department's latest operational test and evaluation report, a Senate hearing to consider the nomination of the next head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and more.

We start off with coverage from the Pentagon's latest operational test and evaluation report:

DOD's top weapons tester says Ukraine war validates live-fire evals

The acting head of the Pentagon's independent weapons testing office says that while his team has developed new digital tools to evaluate the military’s most expensive systems, the war in Ukraine demonstrates the deadly effectiveness of U.S. weapons that have been put through rigorous live-fire test and evaluation.

Pentagon tester says F-35 availability at serious low, program deficiencies persist

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is significantly behind schedule, with just 51% of the aircraft available last year for combat, testing or training as opposed to the fleet's stated goal of 65%, according to a Pentagon report published this week.

Ford IOT&E extended through FY-27, flight system reliability challenges persist

Initial operational test and evaluation for the Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) aircraft carrier is expected to stretch through fiscal year 2027, according to an annual report from the Pentagon's chief weapons tester, which points to persistent reliability challenges for the vessel’s flight operations systems.

Document: DOT&E's 2023 annual report

(Read our full DOT&E report coverage.)

Navy Adm. Samuel Paparo submitted answers to advance policy questions ahead of his nomination hearing this week before the Senate Armed Services Committee to become chief of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command:

INDOPACOM needs 'persistent stare,' quality targeting to deter China; means to 'blind' and kill

The presumptive new head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command -- whose tenure, if confirmed, could extend to the cusp of a 2027 centennial celebration of the founding of China's armed forces and a potential move by Beijing to take Taiwan by force -- today outlined for Congress new capabilities needed for decision superiority to "blind, see and kill" adversary forces.

Document: Adm. Paparo's INDOPACOM nomination APQs

The Army's C5ISR Center Research and Technology Integration Directorate is asking companies to provide information on capabilities "that can help protect soldiers, vehicles and infrastructure from emerging and future [UAS] threats":

Army seeking non-kinetic solutions for May CUAS industry day

The Army is seeking non-kinetic solutions for a May industry day focused on counter-unmanned systems, according to a sources-sought notice posted this week.

CoorsTek, Goex/Estes Energetics, Lacamas Laboratories, Margrathea Metals, METSS Corp., Powdermet and Synthio Chemicals were selected for different awarded amounts to work on developing critical chemicals, all funded through the Defense Production Act Investments Program:

DPAI awards $192.5 million to increase domestic critical chemicals production

The Defense Department awarded seven companies contracts totaling $192.5 million today in efforts to generate critical chemicals domestic manufacturing capabilities.

HII Chief Executive Officer Chris Kastner spoke about his company's quarterly earnings this week:

HII hiring, revenue climbed in fourth quarter

Shipbuilder HII made progress with hiring in 2023 -- bringing in over 6,900 craft personnel -- and set a goal of hiring approximately 6,000 more in 2024, according to a fourth-quarter earnings call with investors held on Thursday.

Jill Hruby, who heads the National Nuclear Security Administration, said at the 16th annual Nuclear Deterrence Summit this week that Generative AI is a large tool for the Energy Department to use when it comes to efficiency:

NNSA chief says Generative AI needs to adhere to nuclear enterprise standards

A senior Energy Department official said today that Generative Artificial Intelligence needs to be integrated into DOE efforts under nuclear enterprise security standards.

By Abby Shepherd
February 2, 2024 at 12:54 PM

Hardware reliability issues and a lack of modeling are largely to blame for delays facing the Navy's Next Generation Jammer Mid-Band, according to an annual report released Thursday by the Pentagon's director of operational test and evaluation.

The DOT&E has not yet cleared the program to conduct initial operational test and evaluation due to “system immaturity,” the report notes. NGJ-MB was previously expected to clear this barrier in August 2023, and a Navy spokesperson told Inside Defense in October that testing and data collection were ongoing.

In January, a Navy spokesperson told Inside Defense that initial operational capability for NGJ-MB had once again been pushed back to spring of 2024, following the completion of IOT&E.

“Hardware reliability issues and a lack of validated or accredited digital models, which are derived from operational test data and are required to supplement NGJ-MB operational flight test evaluation, present a significant risk to NGJ-MB IOT&E,” the report said.

The NGJ-MB consists of two pods located under EA-18G aircraft wings and is the first of three programs meant to replace the AN/ALQ-99 Tactical Jammer System currently used by the aircraft.

In its report, DOT&E encourages the development and assessment of digital models of integrated test events to provide data necessary for modeling and simulation verification, validation and accreditation. Above all, DOT&E requests the program submit an IOT&E test plan for approval.

By Tony Bertuca
February 1, 2024 at 2:28 PM

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, speaking to the press for the first time since his Jan. 1 emergency hospitalization, apologized for how he handled the secrecy surrounding his medical absence, including his failure to tell President Biden.

“I want to be crystal clear -- we did not handle this right, and I did not handle this right,” he told reporters during a Pentagon press conference.

Austin was hospitalized Jan. 1 due to complications from a Dec. 22 surgery to treat prostate cancer. Neither Austin nor his staff alerted senior White House officials, including the president, about his diagnosis, his surgery or his subsequent hospitalization. Biden did not learn Austin was in the hospital until Jan. 4, three days after he was admitted. The president and other White House officials did not learn of his cancer diagnosis until days later.

“I should have told the president about my cancer diagnosis. I should have also told my team and the American public,” Austin said. “I take full responsibility. I apologize to my teammates and to the American people.”

Austin, who was not released from Walter Reed Medical Center until Jan. 15, said he kept the matter a secret because he was “shook” by his cancer diagnosis and is a private person by nature.

“It was a gut punch, and frankly, my first instinct was to keep it private,” he said. “I don't think it's news that I'm a pretty private guy. I never like burdening others with my problems. It's just not my way. But I've learned from this experience. Taking this kind of job means losing some of the privacy that most of us expect.”

Austin, who is still recovering from his time in the hospital and using a small golf cart to move about the Pentagon, emphasized there were “no gaps” and “no risks” in the national security chain of command while he was in the hospital.

“At every moment, either I or the deputy secretary was in full charge,” he said. “And we've already put in place some new procedures to make sure that any lapses in notification don't happen.”

Still, Austin said he and his team will do a better job of notifying the White House if Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks must temporarily assume his duties. It is unclear what Hicks knew of Austin’s condition and when she was made aware of it.

“In the future, if the deputy secretary needs to temporarily assume the office -- the duties of my office, she and several White House offices will be immediately notified, including the White House Situation Room, and so will key officials across the department. And the reason for that assumption of duties will be included in writing,” he said.

Meanwhile, Austin’s staff is running an internal review of the matter and the DOD inspector general has begun its own investigation.

The news of Austin’s secret hospitalization consumed Washington for days, potentially become a political liability for Biden as he pursues re-election.

“I don't talk about conversations with my boss, but I can tell you I've apologized directly to President Biden, and I've told him that I'm deeply sorry for not letting him know immediately that I received a heavy diagnosis and was getting treatment,” Austin said.

Austin said he never considered resigning and the White House made clear early on that Biden continued to have confidence in him.

“He has responded with the grace and warm heart that anyone who knows President Biden would expect, and I'm grateful for his full confidence in me,” Austin said.

However, several congressional Republicans, and one Democrat, have called for Austin’s resignation.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-AL) has requested that Austin appear before the panel on Feb. 14 to discuss the matter.

Austin did not commit to attending the hearing but did say he would remain in contact with Rogers and his office.

“Congress had some very relevant questions that they've asked us, and we will continue to answer those questions,” he said. “We'll continue to work with Chairman Rogers' office to address any additional questions or issues that he might have. And again, we'll stay in touch with Chairman Rogers' office as things play out.”

By John Liang
February 1, 2024 at 1:20 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on Boeing's quarterly earnings, the Marine Corps' Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle competition, the Air Force's Advanced Battle Management System and more.

Quarterly earnings news from Boeing:

Boeing defense unit still bleeding money, but 'poised to improve'

A senior Boeing executive today said the company's defense business is "poised to improve" after recording huge losses, yet fell short of announcing a blueprint for 2024 during the company's year-end earnings call.

Contractors General Dynamics Land Systems and Textron Systems each delivered an ARV prototype to the Marine Corps in early fiscal year 2023 and spent the remainder of the year running a gauntlet of government-directed tests to assess the vehicles' survivability, land and water mobility as well as command, control, communications and computer/uncrewed aerial systems (C4UAS) capabilities. Here's the story, now available to all:

Two contractors remain as ARV competition moves toward EMD phase

As the Marine Corps moves its Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle program toward the engineering and manufacturing development phase and narrows in on requirements for a family of six vehicle variants, two companies remain standing in the prototyping competition that will decide the maker of this next-generation family of vehicles.

Inside Defense recently interviewed C3BM Integrating Program Executive Officer Brig. Gen. Luke Cropsey:

Exclusive: ABMS IDIQ awardees now competing for follow-on work

The Air Force awarded the last of its indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contracts for the Advanced Battle Management System last year, and the awardees are now competing to bring their capabilities to fruition as the service seeks to rapidly field technology for its contribution to the Joint All Domain Command and Control effort.

Heidi Shyu, under secretary of defense for research and engineering, spoke this week at the 10th annual Defense R&D Summit in Alexandria, VA:

DOD official wants to focus on bridging 'valley of death' to counter China

The Pentagon's technology chief emphasized the importance of bridging the "valley of death" by creating pathways for innovation through the government's labyrinthine acquisition system, especially during a time of increased military challenge from China.

The goal of China's military-civil fusion strategy, according to DOD, is to support weapons modernization by ensuring Beijing can "acquire advanced technologies and expertise developed by PRC companies, universities and research programs that appear to be civilian entities":

DOD releases new list of 'Chinese military companies' connected to U.S.

The Defense Department has released an updated list of "Chinese military companies" operating directly or indirectly in the United States.

News on the latest happenings at the Defense Innovation Unit:

Upcoming DIU summit aims to scale commercial tech for INDOPACOM

A senior Defense Innovation Unit official said an upcoming industry summit will be an opportunity to focus on scaling commercial technologies for use by the Defense Department, specifically focusing on U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.

DIU seeks autonomous surface vehicle prototype in line with Replicator

The Defense Innovation Unit is looking for submissions from industry that can produce small, unmanned, autonomous surface vehicle interceptors for the Navy, according to a new solicitation in line with the Defense Department's Replicator initiative.

The Missile Defense Agency completed a preliminary design review of Northrop Grumman's Next Generation Interceptor proposal last week:

MDA completes major review of Northrop's NGI design; fate of competition TBD in PB-25

The Defense Department last week completed the second of two major technical reviews for the Next Generation Interceptor, wrapping up an assessment of Northrop Grumman's design and select components for a homeland defense guided-missile prototype -- an event that potentially could form the basis of a source selection if funding for the project is curtailed.

By Nick Wilson
February 1, 2024 at 12:25 PM

Two contractors remain in the Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle competition as the program moves towards its engineering and manufacturing development phase and the Marine Corps narrows in on requirements for a family of six mission role variants.

After a year of government-lead testing using initial prototypes, contractors General Dynamics Land Systems and Textron Systems are maturing their platforms and preparing to deliver an additional ARV variant prototype in fiscal year 2024.

Read this story, now available to all.

By Tony Bertuca
February 1, 2024 at 11:42 AM

The State Department has approved a possible $4 billion foreign military sale to India for 31 Sky Guardian MQ-9B drones to conduct “unmanned surveillance and reconnaissance patrols in sea lanes of operation,” according to a congressional notification from the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

The deal for the drones, made by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, includes 170 AGM-114R Hellfire missiles, 16 M36E9 Hellfire Captive Air Training Missiles, 310 GBU-39B/B Laser Small Diameter Bombs and eight GBU-39B/B LSDB Guided Test Vehicles with live fuzes. The sale would also cover a variety of communications and navigation equipment and sensors.

DSCA notes that India typically requires “offset” agreements to mitigate the impact on its domestic industrial base, though the terms will be defined in future negotiations.

“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by helping to strengthen the U.S.-Indian strategic relationship and to improve the security of a major defense partner which continues to be an important force for political stability, peace, and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific and South Asia region,” DSCA said.

Though the notice states the FMS will amount to $4 billion, DSCA adds that the final deal “will be lower depending on final requirements, budget authority and signed sales agreement(s), if and when concluded.”

By Shelley K. Mesch
February 1, 2024 at 10:45 AM

The Space Force will send its first guardian into space later this year as part of a NASA mission to the International Space Station, the service announced yesterday.

Col. Nick Hague will spend six months on the space station as a flight engineer conducting operations and research activities, the service said.

Hague will pilot the SpaceX Crew-9 mission on the Dragon spacecraft in August at the earliest. His crewmates include Zena Cardman, commander; Stephanie Wilson, mission specialist; and Aleksandr Gorbunov, mission specialist and Roscosmos cosmonaut.

“Being a part of this mission is a unique honor, but it’s truly a collective effort,” Hague said. “Guardians worldwide ensure safe and secure operations of critical systems for launch and on station. From GPS satellites that underpin our station navigation systems, to space domain awareness sites around the globe that help NASA prevent orbital debris from colliding with the space station, to the launch range that my crew will use when we liftoff, Guardians provide critical support without which our NASA human spaceflight program wouldn’t be possible.”

Before joining the Space Force, Hague took part in three NASA missions to the space station. He trained as an astronaut candidate from 2013 to 2015 and was selected for his first mission in 2018.

His first launch in 2018 experienced a malfunction, leading him and his crewmate Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos to abort the mission shortly after launch.

In 2019, Hague successfully traveled to the space station and spent 203 days on-orbit.

Hague had an extensive Air Force career prior to his astronaut training, according to his NASA profile. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1998, worked on advanced spacecraft technologies as well as on flight tests.

After returning from the space station, he transitioned to the Space Force and served as the director of test and evaluation for two years.

By Nick Wilson
February 1, 2024 at 10:38 AM

BAE Systems has delivered a new Amphibious Combat Vehicle variant to the Marine Corps, providing a production-representative test vehicle equipped with a 30mm cannon for government testing, according to a Thursday company announcement.

The ACV-30 is the third variant in the ACV vehicle family, currently being fielded by the Marine Corps. The ACV-30 is equipped with a stabilized, medium-caliber, remote turret system produced by Norwegian company Kongsberg.

The system “provides the lethality and protection Marines need while leaving ample room for troop capacity and payload while keeping the crew under armor,” BAE’s announcement states. “The remote turret eliminates the space requirement of legacy turreted cannon systems and provides more room to transport troops or mission essential equipment and reduces weight for better mobility.”

BAE, the prime contractor for the ACV program, has already entered full-rate production of two earlier vehicle variants: personnel carrier (ACV-P) and command and control (ACV-C) versions. The company delivered more than 70 ACV-Ps in FY-23 and announced it had delivered its first full-rate production ACV-C last month.

BAE is also on contract to design and develop a fourth ACV-R recovery variant, intended to provide field support and maintenance for the vehicle family.

Designed as a replacement for the legacy amphibious assault vehicle (AAV) with improved ocean swim, survivability and technical capabilities, the ACV family is an important piece of the Marine Corps’ force design plans, especially as an armored connector in the Indo-Pacific.

But the platform has struggled with a series of training incidents. Over the past year, multiple ACV rollovers occurred during waterborne training, prompting the Marine Corps to launch an effort to retrain and recertify vehicle operators. More recently, a Marine was killed in an ACV rollover on land.

Despite these incidents, last week Assistant Commandant Gen. Christopher Mahoney said the Marine Corps remains confident in the platform, attributing these accidents largely to inadequate operator training rather than material problems with the vehicles. The Marine Corps has resumed “protected waterborne operations” with the ACV and is preparing to deploy the vehicles to the 15th MEU, Mahoney said.

The Marine Corps’ FY-24 budget request includes $557.5 million for 80 more ACVs and predicts procurement will exceed 100 vehicles in FY-25.

By Vanessa Montalbano
January 31, 2024 at 9:41 AM

The Air Force will meet with defense contractors next month to consider the upcoming 2024 broad agency announcement for the Networking the Fight program, which is meant to encourage and secure information sharing across several domains, according to a notice published Tuesday.

The event is set to take place on Feb. 15 and will be hosted virtually by the Air Force Research Laboratory. It is intended to “discuss specific areas of interest, promote an early exchange of information, and provide an opportunity for both the Government and Industry to gather more information prior to the submission of white papers,” the posting said.

It describes three major focus areas for rapid integration. They include:

  • Next Generation Cross Domain Solution
  • Highly Dynamic Red/Black Networking
  • Modeling, Simulation, and Analysis

The meeting comes as the service is rapidly outlining its priority research areas in 2024, with companies due to respond to a market survey by Feb. 2 about whether they are qualified to engineer or design several breakthrough technologies, from artificial intelligence to advanced missile propulsion devices, for the 2024 Air Dominance broad agency announcement.

The Air Force said in Tuesday's posting that the industry day will be unclassified and that participation in the talks does not reflect a commitment of any kind, including for a proposed contract. Companies are asked to team together to meet the requirements where possible.

“This research will develop [a] capability to transmit and manage information flows seamlessly across various physical domains, including air, space and ground,” the service said in the notice. “By integrating these technologies, the goal is to strengthen information sharing and collaboration in tactical environments, ultimately enhancing mission success.”