The Insider

By John Liang
November 11, 2022 at 1:49 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on Inside Defense obtaining the Navy's long-term maintenance plan along with coverage of a Navy infrared tracking system, Space Development Agency satellites and more.

Inside Defense obtained a copy of the Navy's long-term maintenance plan:

Navy's long-term maintenance plan highlights continued misalignment with capacity, requirements

The Navy delivered its initial, long-range ship maintenance plan to Congress this summer, detailing continued misalignment between shipyard capacity and maintenance requirements and steps the service is taking to mitigate delays.

Document: Navy's long-range ship maintenance plan

The Infrared Search and Track (IRST) is a sensor component of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet that allows the aircraft to detect and track targets in high electronic attack and radar-denied environments:

IRST production readiness and cybersecurity assessments expected this year

The Navy expects to complete a production readiness review and manufacturing readiness assessment for a new infrared tracking system in the second quarter of fiscal year 2023, with cybersecurity testing coming later in the year.

The Tranche 0 satellites are split between two launches, with the first scheduled for December after being pushed back in August. The second launch, set for March, may also be delayed due to supply chain difficulties impacting deliveries:

SDA monitors risk of schedule slip for Tranche 0 launch

Supply chain snarls hampering the space industry risk delaying completion of the SDA Tranche 0 Tracking Layer that will demonstrate initial warfighting capability for the Defense Department’s new space architecture, according to SDA Director Derek Tournear.

The Army's top civilian official spoke to the media this week at Ft. Irwin, CA:

Project Convergence, Ukraine war underscore importance of unmanned systems, Army says

Army leaders did not have time to reshape Project Convergence 22 around lessons learned from the ground war in Ukraine, they told reporters Wednesday, although the war has validated lessons the service has gleaned from ongoing experimentation, like the integral role unmanned systems would play in multidomain operations.

The Air Force's Skyborg unmanned aerial system has demonstrated the ability to bring autonomy to crewed and uncrewed aircraft for missions including sensing, weapons, electronic attack and training:

Air Force's Skyborg Vanguard to transition to Collaborative Combat Aircraft PEO

The Air Force's Vanguard program for developing autonomous aircraft capabilities is transitioning to the service's future Program Executive Office for the Collaborative Combat Aircraft, according to Kristen Baldwin, deputy assistant secretary for science, technology and engineering.

By Michael Marrow
November 10, 2022 at 5:16 PM

The Air Force Research Laboratory has awarded Advanced Space $72 million to deliver a satellite that will perform space situational awareness services in the region of the moon, AFRL announced Thursday.

The satellite, named Oracle, will provide SSA and object detection and tracking services in cislunar orbit after its launch in late 2025. On-orbit experimentation will then proceed for two years, the announcement says.

Oracle will operate about 200,000 miles from earth, a region AFRL refers to as XGEO to denote space beyond geosynchronous orbit. The area is otherwise known as Earth-Moon Lagrange Point 1.

As international interest in lunar voyages increases, the satellite will demonstrate tracking capabilities to prepare civil and military officials for the coming deluge of space traffic. Current Space Surveillance Satellites are equipped to track objects within approximately 22,000 miles, the announcement says, making Oracle the first step in filling a critical capability gap.

Since satellites often last well beyond their expected service lives, officials are prepared to extend Oracle’s mission to test other capabilities as well.

A green propellant developed by AFRL called Advanced Spacecraft Energetic Non-Toxic, or ASCENT, offers increased fuel efficiency and low toxicity along with extending satellite lifespans but requires more testing to mature.

Officials mounted a refueling port on Oracle, according to the announcement, though AFRL has no plans to refuel it. Instead, AFRL is leaving the opportunity open to further develop on-orbit refueling and mature the ASCENT fuel.

“We have a great deal to learn when it comes to operating, navigating and communicating from cislunar space and the more distant XGEO region,” AFRL’s Space Vehicles Directorate head Col. Jeremy Raley said in the release. “We look forward to working with Advanced Space LLC, as we deliver novel space capabilities, thereby providing a safe and sustainable cislunar environment.”

By Tony Bertuca
November 10, 2022 at 2:48 PM

The Pentagon has announced a $400 million weapons package for Ukraine including -- for the first time -- four Avenger air defense systems to protect against attacks from Russian unmanned drones and helicopters.

The package, which will be transferred to Ukraine directly from U.S. stocks of presidential “drawdown” authority, includes:

  • missiles for HAWK air defense systems
  • four Avenger air defense systems and Stinger missiles
  • additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems
  • 21,000 155 mm artillery rounds
  • 500 precision-guided 155 mm artillery rounds
  • 10,000 120 mm mortar rounds
  • 100 humvees
  • 400 grenade launchers
  • small arms, optics and more than 20,000,000 rounds of small arms ammunition
  • demolition equipment for obstacle clearing
  • cold weather protective gear

Today’s announcement marks the 25th drawdown of equipment from Defense Department stocks for Ukraine since August 2021.

“With Russia's unrelenting and brutal air attacks on Ukrainian critical infrastructure, additional air defense capabilities are critical,” DOD said.

The HAWK missiles, which will be refurbished using Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative funds, “will complement Spain's recent commitment of HAWK launchers to help Ukraine meet this threat,” DOD said.

Meanwhile, the four Avenger short-range air defense systems “will also provide Ukraine with capability to protect Ukrainian troops and critical infrastructure against unmanned aerial systems and helicopters,” DOD said.

In total, the United States has committed more than $19.3 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the Biden administration, with $18.6 billion coming since the beginning of an ongoing Russian invasion.

By John Liang
November 10, 2022 at 1:35 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Pentagon's Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program, the upcoming zero-trust strategy, the Navy's long-term ship maintenance plan and more.

We start off with the latest cyber defense news from our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity:

Bostjanick: DOD plans to submit CMMC rule 'imminently' for OMB review, urges companies to reach compliance

Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program Director Stacy Bostjanick urged defense companies to get prepared for assessment under the CMMC effort, as the process to finalize version 2.0 changes gets closer to fruition.

In related cyber news, the Defense Department is close to releasing its latest zero-trust strategy:

DOD zero-trust strategy nears release

TOWSON, MD -- The Pentagon is preparing to "very soon" release its enterprise-wide, zero-trust strategy -- a key document as the military looks to put the cybersecurity concept into action within the next five years.

Keep an eye out for the Navy's long-term ship maintenance plan:

Navy's initial long-term ship maintenance plan completed this summer, more robust version coming

The Navy delivered its initial, long-range ship maintenance plan to Congress this summer and will give lawmakers a more detailed version with the fiscal year 2024 budget request.

The Navy is also close to reaching a full-rate production decision on the latest version of its biggest heavy-lift helicopter:

CH-53K full-rate production decision expected this month as Navy works through supply issues

The Navy expects to reach a full-rate production decision on the CH-53K King Stallion before the end of the month, as it works through lingering supply issues.

In mid-October, the Army Test and Evaluation Command completed the second of two planned phases of initial operational test and evaluation of the main element of the Integrated Air and Missile Defense program -- IAMD Battle Command Systems (IBCS) -- and prime contractor Northrop Grumman is bullish about the testing performance and future prospects:

Final phase of IOT&E for IBCS wraps, program eyes full-rate production, follow-on development

Army testers are readying a final assessment of Integrated Air and Missile Defense operational effectiveness, suitability and survivability after completing a major appraisal, setting the stage for an early 2023 full-rate production decision and a pivot to follow-on development that includes integration with the F-35 fighter and the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system.

By Michael Marrow
November 10, 2022 at 10:08 AM

The Space Force awarded Ball Aerospace $78 million to develop and fabricate the second Weather System Follow-on satellite, according to a Defense Department contract announcement posted Nov. 9.

Filling critical capability gaps such as measurements of ocean surface vector wind, energetic charged particles and tropical cyclone intensity, the WSF space vehicles will join a constellation of Spaced Based Environmental Monitoring satellites to replenish the aging Defense Meteorological Satellite Program.

Ball will build a total of two WSF satellites. Space Vehicle 1 is scheduled to launch in the first quarter of fiscal year 2024 and Space Vehicle 2 will replace the first satellite after it approaches the end of its service life in 2028.

The announcement comes almost four years to the day since an award for development and fabrication of the first satellite, which Inside Defense recently reported is on track for September 2023 delivery following the completion of a set of cybersecurity assessments.

Officials have yet to release the estimated cost of the second space vehicle, whose construction is scheduled to conclude in November 2027. The Government Accountability Office estimated in its annual weapon systems assessment in June that the unit cost was $515 million, though officials previously told Inside Defense that the cost of the first space vehicle was $488 million.

By Michael Marrow
November 9, 2022 at 5:32 PM

The Air Force has launched a review of a mishap involving a KC-46A Pegasus dropping a boom nozzle during a refueling run on Nov. 7, an Air Force spokeswoman confirmed to Inside Defense.

The tanker is part of the 305th Air Mobility Wing, according to Air Mobility Command spokeswoman Capt. Natasha Mosquera, who said the incident is being tracked as a Class C mishap.

The tanker in question “dropped a boom nozzle poppet valve while conducting in-flight refueling operations with two F-22 aircraft as part of an exercise,” Mosquera said in a statement, adding that further details are not releasable.

The Nov. 7 incident was disclosed by a tanker meme account on Instagram, which previously posted about a separate incident involving a KC-46 and F-15 in October. Air Force Times first reported the mishap, where a KC-46’s boom broke away from the fighter jet it was refueling and struck the back of the tanker.

Though the root cause of either incident is unclear, the KC-46’s Remote Vision System that allows operators to remotely gas up planes has separately struggled with myriad technical difficulties that place restrictions on the tanker’s ability to refuel. AMC Commander Gen. Mike Minihan cleared the aircraft for combat deployment in September with the caveat that weather conditions limited refueling operations.

In October, the Air Force also conceded another schedule slip for the KC-46: the RVS replacement, called RVS 2.0, is now expected to arrive in October 2025, an additional delay of 19 months for a program already more than seven years behind schedule.

The Air Force is also nearing a decision on a “bridge” tanker that would follow the Pegasus to continue recapitalization of the refueling fleet, which would feature bids from Boeing’s Pegasus and the LMXT, an Airbus A330 retrofitted for military service by Lockheed Martin.

Earlier this year, service Secretary Frank Kendal indicated the Air Force may opt to continue buying more KC-46s rather than hold a competition for the program.

By John Liang
November 9, 2022 at 1:11 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on missile defense, overall weapons production, the long-anticipated Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability and more.

In mid-October, the Army Test and Evaluation Command completed the second of two planned phases of initial operational test and evaluation of the main element of the Integrated Air and Missile Defense program -- IAMD Battle Command Systems (IBCS) -- and prime contractor Northrop Grumman is bullish about the testing performance and future prospects:

Final phase of IOT&E for IBCS wraps, program eyes full-rate production, follow-on development

Army testers are readying a final assessment of Integrated Air and Missile Defense operational effectiveness, suitability and survivability after completing a major appraisal, setting the stage for an early 2023 full-rate production decision and a pivot to follow-on development that includes integration with the F-35 fighter and the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system.

The No. 2 top civilian Pentagon official's meeting with DOD's top defense contractors this week comes as the department seeks to sharpen its focus on increasing weapons production, especially munitions for the long-range artillery and anti-tank and anti-aircraft systems being transferred to Ukraine from U.S. stocks to fight off a Russian military invasion:

Hicks meets with top weapons makers amid LaPlante's push for boosted production

Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks met with the Pentagon's top eight defense contractors this week to discuss industrial base issues including the surging demand for U.S. weapons in Ukraine, supply chain bottlenecks and labor challenges.

In the lead-up to the long-anticipated Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability selection, one Defense Information Systems Agency official said the organization is working to put in place what she called "cloud accelerators" that will allow the military "to not only access the contract but be able to consume cloud in a faster and smarter way":

DOD eyes mid-December for JWCC award

TOWSON, MD -- Defense Department officials are planning to award their multivendor, multicloud enterprise solution contract by the middle of next month, following a delay that pushed the announcement back by more than half a year.

Top brass at NORTHCOM and NORAD have for the last three years sounded the alarm about potential Russian and Chinese capability to attack the United States below the nuclear threshold, including against targets that could disrupt military deployments:

DOD wants new Over-the-Horizon Radar operational by 2027 at up to four CONUS sites

The Defense Department wants a new over-the-horizon radar to be operational by 2027 to detect and decrease risk from potential Russian and Chinese cruise missile strikes against U.S. critical assets and plans to brief industry in early December on a new homeland defense sensor competition that will launch next summer to support this goal.

Twenty-four hours after Election Day began, it's still not clear which party will control Congress:

Elections set to reshuffle Capitol Hill's key defense committees

Midterm elections this week are poised to set off a political game of musical chairs on Capitol Hill that could have significant impacts on defense issues ranging from topline spending to Ukrainian military aid to U.S. shipbuilding.

By Tony Bertuca
November 8, 2022 at 4:59 PM

Top Pentagon officials today met with executives from the largest defense companies to discuss issues and challenges related to the defense industrial base.

The meeting, led by Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks, included Pentagon acquisition chief Bill LaPlante, Pentagon technology chief Heidi Shyu, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy, Plans and Capabilities Mara Karlin and Deborah Rosenblum, the assistant secretary of defense for nuclear, chemical, and biological defense programs who is performing the duties of assistant secretary of defense for industrial base policy.

Industry attendees included executives from Lockheed Martin, Raytheon Technologies, General Dynamics, Boeing Defense, Space and Security, BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman, Huntington Ingalls Industries and L3Harris Technologies.

Hicks, according to a readout of the meeting provided by the Pentagon, “underscored the deep and longstanding relationship between the Department of Defense and America’s defense industrial base,” and “reinforced the department’s strategic competition priorities under the National Defense Strategy, which require sustained industry engagement and support to address critical needs in the near- mid- and long-term.”

Meanwhile, industry executives asked questions and commented on “accelerating weapons development and production and building more capacity across the industrial base for producing weapons and equipment -- to include workforce challenges caused by an exceptionally challenging jobs market, caused by low unemployment.”

Last week, LaPlante said boosting production contracts, especially for weapons that have proved critical in Ukraine’s fight against Russia, have become a top Pentagon priority.

“Ukraine is not holding their own against Russia with quantum, they’re not holding their own with AI, whatever your favorite gadget is,” he said. “It is hardcore production of really serious weaponry and that’s what matters.”

LaPlante said last week he believes Congress is set to provide DOD more authority and funding to enter into multiyear contracts, thus giving the defense industrial base the demand signal required to invest in hot production lines.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon said the Tuesday meeting is just the latest in an ongoing series of discussions senior defense officials have had with defense contractors.

“Across the defense acquisition, commercial industry and organic industrial base workforces, the department is working with its partners to invest in recruiting, retaining and adapting the workforce so the full spectrum of the defense ecosystem will be able to leverage advanced manufacturing techniques and a highly skilled labor pool when producing innovative capabilities,” the Pentagon said.

By John Liang
November 8, 2022 at 2:07 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the implications of today's congressional elections plus the Air Force seeking industry input for a homeland defense radar and more.

With Election Day being today, we have a look at the implications for the U.S. military depending on which party comes out on top on Capitol Hill:

Elections set to reshuffle Capitol Hill's key defense committees

Midterm elections this week are poised to set off a political game of musical chairs on Capitol Hill that could have significant impacts on defense issues ranging from topline spending to Ukrainian military aid to U.S. shipbuilding.

The Air Force has announced plans for an industry day for a new-start project dubbed Homeland Defense Over-The-Horizon Radar for placement in up to four locations in the continental United States:

DOD wants new Over-the-Horizon Radar operational by 2027 at up to four CONUS sites

The Defense Department wants a new over-the-horizon radar to be operational by 2027 to detect and decrease risk from potential Russian and Chinese cruise missile strikes against U.S. critical assets and plans to brief industry in early December on a new homeland defense sensor competition that will launch next summer to support this goal.

Washington and Tokyo are in discussions about work on a hypersonic defensive missile, likely the Missile Defense Agency's Glide Phase Interceptor project:

U.S., Japan exploring possible co-development of hypersonic-killing guided missile

The United States is exploring the possibility of teaming with Japan to develop a counter-hypersonic interceptor, a project that could allow the Pentagon to share the cost of developing a new guided missile and build on the 16-year collaboration that produced the newest Aegis weapon: the Standard Missile-3 Block IIA.

The Navy is conducting a preliminary study that will analyze the capability of existing shipyards to determine whether an additional yard is warranted:

Navy to launch 'scoping study' for a new shipyard as it works to reduce maintenance delays

The Navy plans to launch a "scoping study" within the next year that will begin exploring the possibility of establishing a fifth public shipyard for submarine maintenance, according to a top service official.

In the view of Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl, China is currently seeking to "apply coercive pressure on Taiwan," as well as "establish a new normal" and convince "the international community to acquiesce" to its Taiwan policy, but that doesn't necessarily mean an invasion of the island anytime soon:

DOD policy chief doesn't anticipate Taiwan invasion in 'near term'

The Pentagon's policy head said he doesn't anticipate that China will invade Taiwan in the "near term" but he cautioned there could be an "incident" involving China in the coming years given a recent series of "unsafe and unprofessional activities."

A recent Air Force request for information regarding testing and training capabilities identifies eight areas the service is seeking to strengthen, topics the notice says must be addressed to fulfill Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall’s seventh operational imperative to transition the service to a wartime posture:

Air Force seeks industry solutions to test and train for 'high-end fight'

Air Force officials are searching for an advanced test and training infrastructure that can fill capability gaps and equip U.S. troops to keep pace with China, according to a request for information posted by the service.

By Nick Wilson
November 7, 2022 at 3:42 PM

Bollinger Shipyards announced Monday that it has reached a "definitive agreement" to acquire shipbuilders VT Halter Marine and ST Engineering Halter Marine Offshore from their parent company, ST Engineering North America.

The acquisition encompasses two active shipyards spanning 378 acres in Pascagoula, MS, as well as two more dormant yards. The yards have direct, deep-water access to the Gulf of Mexico, according to Bollinger’s announcement.

The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2022. All the yard’s ongoing programs will be transferred to Bollinger, including the Navy’s Auxiliary Personnel Lighter-Small (APL(S)) program -- a series of mobile barges used to house sailors while ships are in port for maintenance.

Bollinger, the largest privately owned shipbuilder in the U.S., builds the Navy’s Mine Countermeasures Unmanned Surface Vessel (MCM USV) and Towing, Salvage and Rescue Ships (T-ATS). The company is contracted by General Dynamics Electric Boat to construct a floating drydock and pontoon launcher to support the Columbia-class submarine program.

The acquisition will also add the Coast Guard’s Polar Security Cutter program to Bollinger’s portfolio. The company already builds the Coast Guard’s Sentinel-class Fast Response Cutter.

The new shipyards include 225,000 square feet of covered production area. The facilities are capable of producing Panamax-sized vessels, according to the announcement.

“This acquisition creates expanded opportunities for Bollinger to better serve and deepen its relationships with its key defense and commercial customers with an increased capacity and footprint, improved efficiencies, enhanced economies of scale, and access to a large skilled workforce, including increased engineering capacity,” the release states.

By John Liang
November 7, 2022 at 12:58 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on Army radars getting a potential counter-unmanned aerial system capability, a deep dive on the Defense Innovation Board, hybrid tactical vehicles and much more.

The Army wants to make some if its radars able to do the counter-unmanned aerial system mission:

Army partners with Lockheed on Q-53 test to counter drones

The Army is partnering with Lockheed Martin in equipping some of the service's Q-53 radars with counter unmanned aerial system capabilities. The company announced late last month that it had conducted a test of the system in Yuma, AZ.

Boasting a membership that includes a former national security specialist, a past chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, an ex-military service acquisition lead and a retired lawmaker, the current iteration of the Defense Innovation Board is not short on government expertise:

Following restart, Defense Innovation Board looks to build on past accomplishments

As the revitalized Defense Innovation Board begins to ramp up its work under a new chairman, the latest round of members is squaring up to the task of building on the lasting successes of the original panel, which include software acquisition, artificial intelligence and more.

A new timeline for procuring hybrid tactical vehicles could potentially put the Army ahead of one of the goals established in its Climate Strategy, released earlier this year:

Bush: Army could 'potentially' produce hybrid tactical vehicles within six years

The Army could begin producing hybrid tactical vehicles as early as 2027, the service's acquisition executive said Thursday, laying out a possible timeline that could put the service ahead of one of its climate goals.

The Defense Information Systems Agency could roll out a certain software toolkit within the next three months:

DISA aims to roll out expanded Vulcan toolkit in January

The Defense Information Systems Agency is hoping to roll out an expanded continuous integration, continuous delivery toolkit by the end of January -- a software development platform that one agency official said could act as an "enabler for modernization" across the Fourth Estate.

National Reconnaissance Office Commercial Systems Program Office Deputy Director Jeremy Banik spoke at the recent CyberSatGov conference:

NRO nears release of commercial hyperspectral remote sensing RFP

RESTON, VA -- The National Reconnaissance Office will soon release a request for proposals for commercial hyperspectral remote sensing capabilities, according to an NRO official.

A proposed industry consortium would address propulsion mission areas including hypersonics, engine health monitoring, small engines, air platforms, digital engineering and artificial intelligence:

Air Force Propulsion Directorate seeks information to form industry consortium

The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center is seeking input from industry to form a consortium to execute prototyping projects for its Propulsion Directorate, according to a recent online posting.

News on submarine and missile defense missions based on Guam:

Army considering newly tailored 'substantial' air and missile defense unit for Guam

Defense Department plans to beef up Guam's air and missile defenses is prompting the Army to contemplate development of an entirely new organization -- likely larger than a Patriot battery -- beginning as soon as fiscal year 2025 as part of the service's contribution to protecting the U.S. territory in the Western Pacific against advanced Chinese threats.

Navy bolsters Guam-based submarine operations in preparation for China

The Navy will expand its Guam-based submarine operations in an effort to increase the reach and warfighting capacity of its undersea force, Pacific Fleet’s Submarine Force commander said Wednesday.

More submarine news from HII's recent quarterly earnings call:

HII reports modest inflation impact, stability in submarine programs

Shipbuilder and defense technology company HII reported moderate effects from inflation and touted strong visibility across its shipbuilding portfolio, especially for its submarine programs, during the company’s third quarter earnings call.

The most recent continuing resolution passed by Congress at the end of September doesn't allow government agencies to start new programs, a condition that National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office of Space Commerce Director Richard Dalbello said is delaying next steps for the handover of civil space traffic management to the Commerce Department:

Budget impasse hinders space traffic management transition process, official says

RESTON, VA -- The planned transition of civil space traffic management authorities from the Pentagon to the Commerce Department is expected to be a "long process," an official overseeing the transition said, noting that the timeline that is getting stretched out by lawmakers failing to pass a budget for fiscal year 2023 on time.

Don't expect more testing of the Army's Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System to happen anytime soon:

DARPA looks to transition autonomous Black Hawk to Army

Following a series of tests in Yuma, AZ, last month of a pilotless Black Hawk helicopter using Sikorsky's autonomy software, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency says it likely will not be conducting further tests before it transitions the program to the Army.

By Tony Bertuca
November 7, 2022 at 5:00 AM

Midterm elections will be held this week. Meanwhile, senior defense officials are slated to speak at several events.


The Defense Information Systems Agency hosts its forecast to industry.


Election day.


The Heritage Foundation hosts a discussion on what China’s “strategic breakout” means for the United States.


Defense News hosts a webcast on the Air Force’s “strategy to maintain air dominance.”

The National Security Space Association hosts a discussion with the Space Development Agency director.

By Thomas Duffy
November 4, 2022 at 1:43 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest starts off with a look at how the Navy is using its sub-building experience for the latest attack sub program, a new memo from the head of space acquisition, hypersonic weapons news, an update on the Army’s light tank program, and more.

The Navy is taking a good look at its next attack submarine program:

Navy hopes to leverage lessons learned as it looks ahead to SSN(X)

As the Navy designs its next-generation attack submarine, it will leverage lessons learned from developing and fielding previous vessels, according to the program executive officer of attack submarines.

The buyer for the Space Force issued a memo laying out his ideas for acquiring new systems:

Calvelli memo outlines nine new space AQ tenets

Space Force acquisition chief Frank Calvelli published a memo this week outlining new tenets for space acquisition that are intended to drive key priorities of rapid procurement, construction of a resilient architecture and integration of space capabilities with the joint force.

The Pentagon is looking at improvements to its developing hypersonic weapons fleet:

DOD flies 24 experiments to explore potential upgrades to 2024 hypersonic glide fleet

The Defense Department flew two dozen technology experiments in a pair of flight tests over the Atlantic Ocean last week as part of the U.S. military’s project to identify new capabilities to improve long-range hypersonic strike weapons as well as support development of defensive capabilities against such weapons.

General Dynamics officials discussed the company’s work on the Army’s light tank program:

GD ‘challenged’ suppliers to meet MTA demands ahead of Army’s new light tank program

The Army’s use of an alternate acquisition pathway to develop its new light tank required General Dynamics Land Systems to invest in materiel ahead of time and harness insights from soldier testing to win a production contract, company officials said.

The Air Force unveiled a new digital model for its emerging battle management concept:

Air Force releases battle management model, seeks input to advance ABMS effort

The Air Force recently released a battle management digital model, giving industry the opportunity to provide input on potential requirements as the service refines its nebulous Advanced Battle Management System concept.

By Tony Bertuca
November 4, 2022 at 12:44 PM

The Pentagon announced a $400 million military aid package for Ukraine that would deliver capabilities in the coming years, including money for refurbished tanks and tactical drones.

The package, being resourced through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which is unlike presidential “drawdown” authority that rapidly transfers weapons from U.S. stocks. The USAI is used to contract directly with defense contractors.

The package will include:

  • 45 refurbished T-72B Tanks with advanced optics, communications, and armor packages
  • 1,100 Phoenix Ghost Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems
  • 40 Armored Riverine Boats
  • funding to refurbish 250 M1117 Armored Security Vehicles
  • tactical secure communications systems and surveillance systems
  • funding for training, maintenance, and sustainment

“The overhauled T-72B tanks included in this package are part of a trilateral, coordinated effort with the Netherlands and Czech Republic,” the Pentagon said. “Alongside the United States, the Netherlands will provide 45 additional T-72B Tanks with the support of the Czech Ministry of Defense and in cooperation with Czech industry.”

The package also includes funding to refurbish HAWK air defense missiles for inclusion in future presidential drawdown packages.

“With Russia’s unrelenting and brutal air attacks on Ukrainian civilian critical infrastructure, additional air defense capabilities are critical,” the Pentagon said. “Funding to refurbish HAWK missiles will complement Spain’s recent commitment of HAWK launchers to help Ukraine meet this threat.”

In total, the United States has now committed more than $18.9 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the Biden Administration, with more than $18.2 billion coming since the beginning of Russia’s ongoing invasion.

“This USAI package underscores the continued U.S. commitment to supporting Ukraine by meeting their most urgent needs, while also building the capacity of Ukraine’s Armed Forces to defend its sovereignty over the long term,” the Pentagon said.

By Thomas Duffy
November 3, 2022 at 11:56 AM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest leads off with news about the Navy’s ballistic missile sub fleet, news from the Navy Submarine League meeting, a big IT contract, an Army vehicle program, and news of the Army’s missile defense plans for South Korea.

The Navy is looking to keep its legacy ballistic missile subs in the water longer than planned:

Navy to consider service extensions for select Ohio-class subs

The Navy will consider extending the lifespan of specific Ohio-class submarines in an effort to reduce risk as it transitions from these legacy vessels to the next generation of ballistic missile submarines, according to service leaders.

Unmanned vessels will play a big part for the Navy’s sub fleet:

Navy leaders stress importance of medium UUVs for submarine fleet

Top Navy submariners highlighted medium-sized unmanned undersea vehicles as a main priority for the service, noting that demonstrations are under way to determine how these vehicles will be launched and recovered from submarine torpedo tubes.

Leidos has big plans under an existing IT contract:

Leidos targets five agencies under initial Defense Enclave Services task order

Armed with their first task order under the Defense Enclave Services contract, Leidos executives are laying the groundwork for consolidation and integration work across an initial slate of five agencies as they prepare to gradually ramp up efforts to unify the Pentagon’s Fourth Estate IT environments.

The competition for the Army’s newest combat vehicle is heating up:

All five companies selected for OMFV concept design submit proposals for next phase

The five companies that participated in the concept design phase for the Army’s Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle all submitted proposals for the next phases of the competition ahead of a Nov. 1 deadline, they confirmed to Inside Defense.

The Army is making improvements to key pieces of its missile defense systems in South Korea:

Army grants ‘urgent material release’ for THAAD, PAC-3 integration in South Korea

The Army has formally approved for operational use on South Korea the software and hardware changes to its upper- and lower-tier missile defense weapon systems launched in 2017 in an effort to expand the coverage umbrella of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense and Patriot Advanced Capability-3 systems.