The Insider

By John Liang
June 7, 2024 at 1:53 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Pentagon seeking more funding flexibility, plus the latest on an effort to develop a next-generation airborne laser and more.

Heidi Shyu, defense under secretary for research and engineering, said this week that DOD lacks the amount of funding needed and the ability to maneuver that funding to deal with emergent threats as they appear:

Senior Pentagon official calls on Congress to grant DOD more flexible funding

A senior Pentagon official is calling for more flexibility in the Defense Department's budget so threats can be tackled as they emerge, comments coming a week before the House Armed Services Committee is expected to vote on the fiscal year 2025 defense spending bill.

Missile Defense Agency Director Lt. Gen. Heath Collins added new details to the agency’s plan for a new directed-energy project -- first reported earlier this week -- during remarks at a June 6 event hosted by a Washington think tank:

MDA plans 'tracking,' 'characterization' projects in initial exploration of new airborne laser

The Missile Defense Agency plans to begin work on tracking technology as a first step in a potential project that could build the case for arming uncrewed aircraft with a next-generation airborne laser powerful enough to defeat long-range ballistic missiles, according to a senior official.

Unmanned systems news from the Navy and Army:

Navy seeks industry input on small, long-endurance USVs

The Navy is seeking to expand its unmanned surface vessel portfolio -- specifically small, long-endurance vessels -- according to a request for information posted Thursday.

Army issues notice with intent to field larger, multipurpose drones

The Army is formulating a plan to field larger classes of unmanned systems that can perform a variety of mission roles such as surveillance, reconnaissance, security, attack, precision strike, intelligence collection and command and control.

Last but by no means least, some artificial intelligence news:

AFRL using AI to clean up data sets, tag data as it comes in

The Air Force Research Laboratory is running experiments to bring artificial intelligence into the field and bring data to the warfighter, but first it’s using AI to clean up the existing mounds of data.

By John Liang
June 6, 2024 at 2:45 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Army developing larger-sized drones, the Pentagon's Combined Joint All Domain Command and Control (CJADC2) effort and more.

The Army has released a sources-sought notice that asks industry for information on designs for Group 4 and 5 drones -- those classified by the government as weighing more than 1,320 pounds:

Army issues notice with intent to field larger, multipurpose drones

The Army is formulating a plan to field larger classes of unmanned systems that can perform a variety of mission roles such as surveillance, reconnaissance, security, attack, precision strike, intelligence collection and command and control.

Last week, the Army awarded Palantir a $480 million contract to produce MSS prototypes, falling under a wider berth of contracts all aimed at mission command applications for combatant commands:

CDAO official reports witnessing Palantir demonstrations regarding CJADC2 effort

Palantir has already demonstrated improvements regarding the Pentagon's Combined Joint All Domain Command and Control (CJADC2) effort in line with the department's new Open DAGIR approach, according to a Chief Digital Artificial Intelligence Office official.

The Pentagon's acquisition chief will conduct the first U.S.-Japan Defense Industrial Cooperation, Acquisition and Sustainment Forum (DICAS) alongside his Japanese counterpart:

DOD acquisition chief heading to Japan to cement defense industrial cooperation

Pentagon acquisition chief Bill LaPlante is departing for a weeklong trip to Japan to reinforce defense industrial cooperation between Washington and Tokyo.

The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center wants to take out the risks from adversarial high-altitude balloons:

Air Force assessing ways to deal with high-altitude balloons one year after Chinese spy balloon debacle

More than a year after an alleged Chinese spy balloon broke into U.S. airspace simply by floating slowly at a high altitude, the Air Force is seeking ways to "mitigate, neutralize or eliminate" similar adversarial balloons, according to a recent request for information.

The head of the Missile Defense Agency this week said his agency is working to create a new deputy director position:

MDA moving to meet requirement for two-star deputy director billet

The Missile Defense Agency is taking steps to re-establish a deputy director position occupied by a two-star general or flag officer, a new statutory requirement for the organization that oversees 9,000 government and contractor personnel as well as a $10 billion annual budget.

By John Liang
June 6, 2024 at 2:17 PM

General Dynamics announced today that Elizabeth Schmid has been promoted to be the company's senior vice president for government relations and communications.

Schmid joined General Dynamics in 2015 and has served as vice president for government relations since 2018, according to a company press release.

She previously served as vice president for national security and acquisition policy at the Aerospace Industries Association, as a professional staff member and staff director for the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee and as a Presidential Management Fellow in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

By Georgina DiNardo
June 6, 2024 at 12:23 PM

John Sherman, the Defense Department's chief information officer, intends to leave his job at the end of the month, according to an announcement by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

Sherman will be departing DOD to be the next dean of the Bush School of Government and Public service at Texas A&M University.

“Mr. Sherman has been a steadfast advisor and an innovative leader who has helped the Department adopt and utilize modern information technology to keep our country safe,” Austin said in a statement. “His technical expertise has proven invaluable in tackling a variety of digital challenges. His focus on mission readiness has ensured that each of the Services is equipped with both the capabilities and the digital workforce necessary for modern warfighting.”

Sherman served as CIO for the past two and a half years, during which Austin said Sherman helped restructure DOD’s cybersecurity approach.

“Today we are better positioned to take advantage of technological developments and respond to digital threats,” Austin said. “And we're working with our international partners to set the global rules and standards for responsible cyber practices for generations to come.”

By Vanessa Montalbano
June 6, 2024 at 11:57 AM

(Editor's Note: This post has been updated to reflect additional information received from a Skunk Works spokesperson.)

Skunk Works, a subset of defense prime Lockheed Martin, has “successfully” demonstrated artificial intelligence in air-to-air tactical intercept scenarios, the company said Wednesday.

In partnership with the University of Iowa’s Operator Performance Laboratory, Skunk Works sought to integrate its autonomy software into one of OPL’s L-29 Delfin jets that were produced between 1963 and 1974. The AI-enabled aircraft was then flown in several simulated scenarios to test machine learning algorithms, “from standard head-to-head flights to off-aspect encounters, missile support and missile defense scenarios,” according to a Lockheed Martin news release.

“The team executed simulated-to-real transfer test objectives against a virtual adversary in offensive and defensive risk postures,” the company said, noting it was “encouraged to see clean sim-to-real transfer of learned behaviors and that the AI agent appeared intentional and decisive in its actions.”

The exercises were conducted at the University of Iowa OPL airspace in Iowa City, Iowa on May 22, a Skunk Works spokesperson told Inside Defense. There were two, single-L-29 sorties, they said, and eight test cases were conducted per flight, the news release stated.

“This was the first live exercise of the new flight interface; it's thrilling to see the separate components successfully integrate on the L-29 to demonstrate new capabilities. The complete system performed even better in live flight than in simulation," Tom Schnell, OPL professor at Iowa Technology Institute, said in a statement.

The demonstration comes as the Air Force for ways to quickly and affordably develop and field innovative capabilities crucial for a future fight with a near peer adversary like China or Russia.

As part of the service’s recently announced “Reoptimization for Great Power Competition” concept, the Air Force is trying to change the way it solicits weapon systems, from a long-term sustainment structure to the more iterative and agile model planned for the Collaborative Combat Aircraft, or drone wingmen meant to tag along manned fifth- and sixth-generation fighters.

“We want to incentivize industry in a way that will allow us to move at the speed of technological advancements,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Allvin said in May. If the Pentagon can’t take advantage of “fleeting and frequent” technological advances due to the terms of a contract, “that’s where you fall behind as an institution,” he added.

Additional flight tests under the advanced automation program are planned for the remainder of this year, Skunk Works said, in which the team will create more complex scenarios by introducing several aircraft into counter air and battle management situations.

"We’ve developed our AI with an open systems architecture, enabling us to deploy to compatible platforms," the Skunk Works spokesperson said. "This test evaluated AI in isolation against a single, virtual adversary. Additional flight tests this year will increase in complexity, culminating in a collaborative multi-ship crewed-uncrewed teaming air-to-air scenario."

Last month, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall flew on board an AI-enabled X-62A VISTA in part using Skunk Works software. The modified F-16 Fighting Falcon engaged in a high-intensity dogfight with a manned F-16, allowing the platform’s algorithm to perform tasks, react to new conditions and make decisions based on safety and weapons effectiveness -- all while Kendall watched.

"Our work on the X62-A VISTA for the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot school is an example of the hardware modification required for transfer to an existing system," the Skunk Works spokesperson added. 

By John Liang
June 5, 2024 at 3:21 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Pentagon taking another stab at developing an airborne laser, the Missile Defense Agency looking into creating a deputy director position and more.

The Defense Department is taking another stab at developing an airborne laser:

Pentagon eyes next-generation airborne laser for missile defense in FY-26

The Pentagon believes the time has come to revisit the potential for very-high-flying lasers to shoot down long-range ballistic missiles early in flight, and is programming funding in fiscal year 2026 to explore putting directed-energy technology -- in the "upper hundreds" of kilowatts -- above the clouds to explore a next-generation airborne laser.

Missile Defense Agency Director Lt. Gen. Heath Collins said his agency is working to meet a mandate in the Fiscal Year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act to create a new deputy director position:

MDA moving to meet requirement for two-star deputy director billet

The Missile Defense Agency is taking steps to re-establish a deputy director position occupied by a two-star general or flag officer, a new statutory requirement for the organization that oversees 9,000 government and contractor personnel as well as a $10 billion annual budget.

The Navy is searching for a commercial Long Operation Combatant-Naval Energy Storage System (LOC-NESS), which is a “large-scale” industry solution to stronger energy resiliency at an affordable cost, while the Army is also looking for a commercial solution to solve energy resiliency challenges:

DIU leading Navy and Army search for commercial energy resiliency solutions

The Defense Innovation Unit posted two solicitations this week seeking commercial solutions to address Navy and Army energy resiliency needs.

Through an effort dubbed HALO, the Space Development Agency wants to "put in place a flexible and fast contracting mechanism to compete and award Tranche 2 Demonstration and Experimentation System (T2DES) and other SDA demonstration projects":

SDA creating pool of non-traditional vendors for demonstration satellites

The Space Development Agency released a solicitation to build a pool of non-traditional vendors to compete for its Hybrid Acquisition for Proliferated Low-Earth Orbit effort, dubbed HALO, according to an agency release issued last week.

The Air Force is looking at two possible locations to support an F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter formal training unit beddown and T-7A Red Hawk recapitalization, respectively:

Air Force to test environmental impacts of introducing T-7A and F-35 at new bases

The Air Force on Tuesday indicated it is planning to prepare environmental impact statements to bring two major aircraft programs to Kingsley Field Air National Guard Base, OR, and Vance Air Force Base, OK.

By Nickolai Sukharev
June 5, 2024 at 2:06 PM

The Army will explore how to streamline operations and decision making by incorporating data in its command-and-control systems, according to a public notice.

Issued as a request for information on May 17, the Army Science Board is conducting a study titled, “Data-Centric Command and Control (C2)” to explore how to best acquire command and control technologies to meet the future needs of multi-domain operations.

“The Army is dedicated to advancing and incorporating cutting-edge technology to enhance military capabilities and to streamline operations in battlefield applications,” the announcement reads.

The study will examine the main challenges in implementing data-centric decision-making capabilities, address unexpected challenges and provide recommendations to faster data-centric decisions.

Respondents are also asked to provide information on how they apply integrated, cross-functional planning and execution as well as how they coordinate operations, data sharing, and analytics across multiple entities.

“Based on information submitted in response to this request, the Board may conduct additional market research,” the announcement adds.

Gen. James Rainey, commander of Army Futures Command, requested the study, Karen Kurtz, a spokesperson for the Army Science Board, wrote in an email to Inside Defense.

“The Terms of Reference are being staffed among Army Senior Leaders, and we do not expect completion until July 2025,” Kurtz added.

By Abby Shepherd
June 5, 2024 at 10:50 AM

BAE Systems has received a $95 million contract from the Navy to design electronic warfare advanced countermeasure pods that will allow the P-8 Poseidon aircraft to detect and counter incoming threats.

The engineering and manufacturing contract follows “successful airworthiness and effectiveness testing” of the pod system, according to a BAE news release issued Wednesday.

The aircraft is the Navy’s maritime patrol plane, used for reconnaissance, anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare.

“We’re working closely with the U.S. Navy to deliver innovative solutions to protect this critical, high-value aircraft,” Don Davidson, director of advanced compact electronic warfare solutions at BAE, said in a statement. “We quickly prototyped a very capable system using proven technology to defend against air-to-air and surface-to-air guided threats.”

The system will allow for modernization, compatibility with future threat detection, decoy countermeasure capabilities and third-party EW techniques, according to BAE. Work on the pod system will be done in Nashua, NH and Austin, TX.

By Tony Bertuca
June 5, 2024 at 10:42 AM

Kelly Magsamen, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's chief of staff, plans to leave her job at the end of the month, according to a statement from Austin.

Austin said Magsamen, who was criticized by lawmakers amid the controversy and secrecy surrounding the defense secretary’s unannounced medical absence earlier this year, has “proved instrumental in navigating difficult international challenges, from Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine to the devastating Israel-Hamas war after the October 7th Hamas atrocities, from evacuations of embassies under extraordinary pressure to standing up to bullying and coercion by the People’s Republic of China in the South China Sea.”

“I am deeply grateful for her tremendous service over three and a half pivotal years to me, the Department, and the country as the Chief of Staff,” he said. “From day one of this administration, Kelly’s leadership, counsel, and selfless service made our nation safer, made the lives of our people better and more rewarding, and rendered the heavy burden of this office of mine a good bit lighter. At every stage, she provided a steady hand guiding our staff and the Department. I am -- and will remain -- in her debt.”

By Tony Bertuca
June 5, 2024 at 10:06 AM

The House Appropriations defense subcommittee has voted to advance its version of the fiscal year 2025 defense spending bill to the full committee, which is expected to vote on the measure next week.

The bill, which the subcommittee advanced in closed session, does not include funds for a second Virginia-class submarine and increases procurement of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, two key areas that differ from the defense authorization bill being advanced by the House Armed Services Committee.

The appropriations bill, which honors the defense spending cap mandated by the Fiscal Responsibility Act, would fund procurement at $165 billion and put $146 billion toward research, development and test and evaluation for a total “modernization account” of $311 billion. House authorizers have a bill that would approve $163 billion for procurement and $143 billion for RDT&E for a total of $307 billion. An FY-24 spending deal, meanwhile, appropriated $320 billion in combined procurement and RDT&E.

Subcommittee Chairman Ken Calvert (R-CA) touted the bill’s increased investment in the Defense Innovation Unit and emerging technologies. The bill also cuts $18 billion in spending that Calvert and other Republicans have deemed “wasteful” and redirects it toward other defense priorities but details have not yet been released.

House Democrats, however, say they do not support the GOP’s defense appropriations bill over its inclusion of “harmful policy riders” related to politically divisive issues like abortion, climate change and diversity, equity and inclusion.

“There is a path laid out for us to responsibly strengthen America’s national security and support our armed servicemembers. But instead, we are considering a bill that chooses chaos over our national security, and sows division instead of supporting our servicemembers’ morale and unity,” committee Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03) said in a statement.

Several Washington analysts have noted that the bill stands little chance of passage in the narrowly divided House if it includes divisive “culture war” provisions and will certainly be blocked by the Democrat-led Senate.

Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT), who is leading the push to fund a second Virginia-class submarine, released a statement yesterday saying the House GOP’s “first take” at the FY-25 defense spending bill “will never become law.”

By Dan Schere
June 4, 2024 at 4:37 PM

The House Appropriations defense subcommittee has included $240 million for procurement of MQ-1C Gray Eagle 25M unmanned aircraft systems in its draft defense spending legislation for fiscal year 2025.

The aircraft would be used in the Army National Guard, according to a bill summary released with the bill text Tuesday morning.

The GE25M is a modernized version of the Gray Eagle that maker General Atomics states is built for multidomain operations capability and can be used in active duty and National Guard units. It features a multimode radar and electro-optical/infrared sensors and can “host a wide range of additional kinetic and non-kinetic payloads,” according to the company.

In recent years, the Army has not included funding in its base budgets for procurement of additional Gray Eagles due to having already met its acquisition goal of 204 aircraft by the end of 2019. However, in the years since, Congress has continued to provide funding to procure additional aircraft beyond that total. In FY-23, Congress included $350 million in its defense spending legislation for the procurement of 12 Gray Eagles for the Guard.

Separately, General Atomics announced May 31 that the Army had ordered 12 of the new GE 25M aircraft that are being paid for with FY-23 congressional funding. Leaders in the Guard asked for the aircraft in order to ensure its divisions “mirror the active component in being Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) capable, deployable and better able to team with newly formed Division Artillery Brigades,” according to General Atomics. The aircraft can also support homeland defense, disaster response and other domestic missions.

Adding the new Gray Eagles to the Guard will give its divisions “divisional reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition for the first time.”

Patrick Shortsleeve, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems’ vice president of DOD Strategic Development, said in a statement last week that the Gray Eagle platform has a “proven record of performance with over a million hours of safe operations, including automatic takeoff and landing capability.”

“The aircraft excels as an enabler for fires, maneuver, network and intelligence operations. It is also an integral part of the Army aviation team, working closely with manned rotary-wing systems to achieve overmatch against pacing threats,” he said in the statement.

By Vanessa Montalbano
June 4, 2024 at 3:59 PM

Electric aviation company Joby today acquired the autonomy division of Xwing, a start-up that has worked with the Air Force Research Laboratory on several unmanned cargo missions since it was founded in 2016.

“The acquisition covers all of Xwing’s existing automation and autonomy technology activities and was paid for with Joby shares. Terms of the deal were not disclosed,” according to a Joby news release.

The Air Force in February awarded Xwing a Military Flight Release to fly cargo missions across California after the small company successfully completed the AGILE FLAG 24-1 Joint Force exercise, making it the first-ever to receive such a designation under the AFRL’s AFWERX Autonomy Prime program.

Autonomy Prime is an arm of the AFWERX program, which intends to bring small businesses and startups to the table to address the Air Force’s top priorities, including artificial intelligence and strengthening the industrial base. The goal is to better facilitate the transition from research and technology to operational capability.

Joby hopes this new acquisition can help build out its defense portfolio, as technology development will remain a top priority for the newly integrated business, the company said in the news release. Joby is already also collaborating with the Pentagon on electric vertical takeoff and landing air taxis. The idea, the company said, is for these air taxis to eventually fly autonomously to make for even safer and more efficient missions.

“The aircraft we are certifying will have a fully qualified pilot on board, but we recognize that a future generation of autonomous aircraft will play an important part in unlocking our vision of making clean and affordable aerial mobility as accessible as possible,” Joby founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt said in a statement. “The exceptionally talented Xwing team has not only made unparalleled progress on the development and certification of vision systems, sensor fusion and decision-making autonomous technologies, but they’ve also successfully demonstrated the real-life application of their technology, flying hundreds of fully autonomous flights in the national airspace.”

By John Liang
June 4, 2024 at 2:21 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the House Appropriations defense subcommittee's military spending bill and more.

Here's our preliminary coverage of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee's fiscal year 2025 spending bill:

House defense appropriators draft bill without additional sub and would increase F-35 buys

The House Appropriations defense subcommittee has released a draft version of the fiscal year 2025 defense spending bill that differs in several ways from their colleagues on the House Armed Services Committee, specifically by forgoing funds for an additional Virginia-class submarine and increasing procurement for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

House appropriators break with authorizers on shipbuilding, cutting frigate, LSM and second VA sub

A draft defense spending bill released today by House appropriators would fund only four battle force ships and only one Virginia-class submarine in fiscal year 2025, marking a significant break from both the Navy's budget request and from House authorizers' defense policy bill.

Gen. James Rainey, the head of Army Futures Command, spoke this week at a Center for Strategic and International Studies event:

Rainey: It is too early to set up a drone branch for the Army

The Army's top modernization officer says it is too early to set up a drone branch for the service, becoming the latest service official to oppose a congressional proposal supporting the idea.

The U.S. ambassador to NATO spoke to the media this week at a Defense Writers Group breakfast:

NATO looks to give global arms industry clearer demand signals by sharing defense plans

U.S. NATO Ambassador Julianne Smith said today the alliance intends to make new defense production announcements at a key summit in July that could give arms manufacturers insight into NATO's defense planning guidance in the hopes the information will serve as a multiyear "demand signal" to spur new investments in munitions capacity.

The Defense Innovation Unit and Air Force Armament Directorate are working on a new autonomous vehicle program:

DIU, Air Force Armament Directorate announce four companies selected for enterprise test vehicle project

The Defense Innovation Unit and the Air Force Armament Directorate (EB) announced today that the partnership selected four companies that will support their Enterprise Test Vehicle (ETV) project.

By Tony Bertuca
June 3, 2024 at 5:15 PM

While NATO may not be planning to deploy combat trainers to Ukraine, a new warfighting analysis center slated to be established in Poland will be a place for the Ukrainians to teach NATO.

U.S. NATO Ambassador Julianne Smith said today that the alliance recently approved the creation of a new Joint Analysis Training and Education Center at a to-be-determined location in Poland where the Ukrainians will be able to share the tactical and strategic “lessons learned” in their ongoing fight against Russia.

“People look at the NATO-Ukraine relationship often in a one-way direction -- that it's NATO to Ukraine -- but increasingly we're looking at it as a two-way street,” she said today at a Defense Writers Group event in Washington.

“What can we NATO allies learn from our friends in Ukraine about one, combatting Russian troops in real time -- who has better experience right now than the Ukrainians? -- and two, how have they incorporated technology into the fight,” she said.

The Ukrainian military’s use of commercial technology, especially small drones, has made headlines since the first weeks of the Russian invasion.

“I've heard stories about apps that they’ve designed, you know swipe left for more munitions,” Smith said.

The JATEC, she said, “will be more for NATO allies to learn from the Ukrainians themselves.”

Meanwhile, Smith said Ukraine’s desire to join NATO will be discussed at an upcoming Washington summit in July, where she expects a policy “package” will be unveiled to begin to address the matter.

“Allies will be putting forward a whole package of deliverables that will serve as a bridge to their membership inside the alliance,” she said. “Part of the package will be the language we use to describe Ukraine’s membership aspirations in the declaration itself.”

Smith said things like the JATEC demonstration that Ukraine has much to offer NATO.

“We’ve talked so much about their membership aspirations -- what NATO will bring to Ukraine,” she said. “I think we have to remember the other way around, what Ukraine brings into the alliance.”

By John Liang
June 3, 2024 at 1:50 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Defense Innovation Unit, the Marine Corps' Amphibious Combat Vehicle program and more.

The Defense Innovation Unit and Air Force Armament Directorate are working on a new autonomous vehicle program:

DIU, Air Force Armament Directorate announce four companies selected for enterprise test vehicle project

The Defense Innovation Unit and the Air Force Armament Directorate (EB) announced today that the partnership selected four companies that will support their Enterprise Test Vehicle (ETV) project.

More DIU news:

DIU updates Blue UAS program, adding new systems

After receiving user feedback, the Defense Innovation Unit has updated its Blue Uncrewed Aerial System program, including adding approved capabilities to its "Blue List," increasing the program's framework options and reducing update approval time through consistent software monitoring.

The Marine Corps' Advanced Amphibious Assault program office is polling industry to see if "more than one vendor" can produce an ACV-30 turret system:

Marine Corps seeks additional vendors capable of building remote turret system for ACV-30

The Marine Corps is testing the waters to see if any additional vendors can produce a remotely operated turret system for the Amphibious Combat Vehicle 30mm cannon variant, according to a sources-sought notice published late last week.

The Pentagon's Open Data and Application Government Owned Interoperable Repositories is meant to be a multivendor ecosystem that purchases the infrastructure needed so the government can own its data:

CDAO announces new 'Open DAGIR' approach to government and industry data collaboration

The Chief Digital Artificial Intelligence Office today announced its intent to embark on a new approach to accessible government data and a smoother acquisition process for digital capabilities through enterprise-level contracts and licenses called Open DAGIR.

In fiscal year 2023, contractors Kaman and Leidos secured rapid prototyping contracts to develop solutions for the Medium Aerial Resupply Vehicle-Expeditionary Logistics program:

Marine Corps prepares for July flight test of mid-sized logistics drones

The Marine Corps is preparing for an initial "fly-off" test that will evaluate two drone prototypes competing for a future program of record that will field a medium-size uncrewed aircraft system to deliver supplies to forward-deployed forces.