The Insider

By Evan Ochsner
September 9, 2022 at 12:31 PM

Poland plans to buy nearly 100 AH-64 Apache attack helicopters from Boeing as it continues to bolster its defenses in the face of rising Russian aggression.

Poland selected the Apache to serve as the nation’s new attack helicopter over Bell’s AH-1Z Viper. Poland’s deputy prime minister and minister of national defense tweeted this week that the county had notified the U.S. of its decision to buy 94 Apaches. The order needs to be approved by the State Department before it can become official.

Boeing, which sells Apaches to the U.S. Army, said in a statement that the selection would improve interoperability between Poland and the U.S. The company said it would expand its presence in Poland because of the deal.

“During the procurement process, Boeing established significant cooperative partnerships across Polish government and industry. Our partnership with the Polish Armaments Group in particular will continue to expand as we implement training and sustainment efforts with local industry,” the statement reads.

The deal is the second major acquisition news from Poland in recent weeks. The Army at the end of last month awarded a $1.1 billion contract to General Dynamics to provide 250 Abrams tanks to the NATO ally.

That agreement, too, will bolster interoperability, the Army said. The tank shipment is part of a broader $6 billion arms sale to Poland approved by the State Department in February as Russian forces amassed outside Ukraine before the invasion.

By Evan Ochsner
September 9, 2022 at 10:18 AM

The Army is seeking to expand Yuma Proving Ground, AZ, by 22,000 acres to be able to test emerging parachute methods at the site, according to a notice published Friday.

The notice of intent to prepare a legislative environmental impact statement says the additional land would improve public safety and allow for additional testing and training of advances in GPS-guided parachute technologies. The additional land would allow a buffer area in case of errors or failures during parachute tests and would allow for higher altitude releases.

“Currently, because of land and airspace limitations, systems are not tested to their full capability for altitude and precision,” the Army said in the notice. “Higher-elevation and GPS-guided air delivery methods are being developed to provide better support to soldiers and other personnel in the field.”

The additional land is currently managed by the Bureau of Land Management, and if added to YPG, would extend its area to Arizona State Route 95. Doing so would provide a physical landmark between BLM land and YPG ground land, which the area currently lacks, the notice states. The Army has seen members of the public unintentionally cross over onto YPG because of the lack of a physical landmark, it said in the listing.

The Army uses the 1,300-square-mile proving ground to test a wide range of capabilities, including artillery, aircraft and munitions. The Army’s request is for about 34 additional square miles.

By Michael Marrow
September 8, 2022 at 2:52 PM

BAE Systems has been awarded two separate contracts for modifications for the Air Force’s F-15 fighter, which respectively upgrade the aircraft’s electronic warfare suite and enhance its Global Positioning System technologies to protect against jamming and spoofing.

The first contract was awarded by Boeing for BAE’s Eagle Passive/Active Warning and Survivability System, according to a Sept. 7 BAE press release, which modifies the F-15E and F-15EX’s electronic warfare technologies to detect and defend against enemy radar.

The Air Force awarded the second contract for deliveries of the company’s Digital GPS Anti-jam Receiver.

EPAWSS is one of the Defense Department’s most costly acquisitions, whose procurement is expected to cost nearly $3.7 billion, the Government Accountability Office reported in its annual weapon systems assessment in June.

The program’s design is stable and its four critical technologies have matured, GAO found, though it had not met “leading acquisition practices.”

The EPAWSS program had not tested a “production-representative prototype,” before beginning production of approximately 75 EPAWSS units with a combined estimated value of $750 million, according to the report, which “increases the risk of finding issues in testing that may require costly and time-intensive future rework on units already produced.”

Boeing serves as the lead integrator for EPAWSS and previously awarded BAE a $58 million contract for Lot 1 low-rate initial production for integration with the F-15E and F-15EX in March 2021.

In July, Boeing announced EPAWSS integration had begun on two F-15Es. The system was originally tested on two F-15EXs that participated in the Northern Edge exercise in 2021, according to Boeing.

The Lot 2 contract announced by BAE yesterday would bring the contract value up to $351 million for further deliveries. A total of 217 F-15Es and 144 F-15EXs are slated to receive the EPAWSS enhancement, according to GAO’s weapon systems assessment.

“PAWSS LRIP 1 production was focused on getting initial shipsets into the hands of our customers to begin F-15E modifications and F-15EX aircraft deliveries,” EPAWSS LRIP Program Director Bridget McDermott wrote in a statement to Inside Defense. “Now we’re ramping up production for the next lot of F-15Es and F-15EXs, and are committed to producing dozens of EPAWSS shipsets during the LRIP 2 production phase.”

The second contract, which the Air Force has yet to announce, awarded BAE $13 million for its DIGAR system to protect F-15E aircraft from GPS jamming and spoofing and provide enhanced GPS capabilities.

DIGAR was previously integrated on the F-16, BAE’s release says. The company did not disclose the quantities or delivery timeframe associated with the contract.

By John Liang
September 8, 2022 at 2:32 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on Marine Corps logistics in the Indo-Pacific, the Australia-United Kingdom-United States alliance's latest efforts to build a nuclear submarine for Australia and more.

The Marine Corps' No. 2 uniformed official spoke this morning about logistics in the Indo-Pacific region:

Smith: Logistics, data sharing and mobility are force design priorities

As the Marine Corps continues its pivot to the Indo-Pacific, the service's assistant commandant is emphasizing logistics, the secure transportation of data and organic mobility as priorities in the fiscal year 2024 budget.

The latest on the Australia-United Kingdom-United States alliance's effort to build a nuclear submarine for Australia:

AUKUS partners sharing information on capabilities, final decisions yet to be made

The Australia-United Kingdom-United States alliance has been sharing information on each other's capabilities to plan a path forward for the future Australian nuclear-powered submarine, according to a senior U.S. Navy leader.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies released a new report this week on moving to software-centric systems:

Former JAIC officials push DOD to embrace software architecture

A new report from two ex-Defense Department officials is challenging the military to overhaul its approach to technology and transition to a software-centric system that aims to align the Pentagon with industry best practices.

The head of Air Force Special Operations Command spoke to an audience at the Air & Space Forces Association this week about the CV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft:

AFSOC has 'appropriate mitigation measures in place' following resumed Osprey flights, commander says

Days after Air Force Special Operations Command lifted the pause on flights for the service's Osprey variant known as the CV-22, AFSOC Commander Lt. Gen. Jim Slife said today that sufficient safety measures are in place to fly the aircraft even though the cause of the problem that originally grounded it is yet to be identified.

The Missile Defense Agency is asking industry about the viability of delivering key elements of a Guam Defense System by FY-24:

DOD eyeing potential FY-24 delivery for lead elements of new Guam defense system

The Defense Department is aiming to deliver elements of a new Guam air and missile defense system as soon as fiscal year 2024, a schedule that would appear to exceed the 2026 target top brass at U.S. Indo-Pacific Command set to counter advanced Chinese threats from every direction on the western U.S. territory.

The Navy's No. 2 civilian official spoke this week about the shipbuilding industrial base:

Raven: Navy needs to hold industrial base accountable

As industry faces workforce shortages, supply chain issues and inflation, the Navy must maintain an open dialogue with contractors while holding them to their commitments, according to the service's under secretary.

The aircraft engine industrial base could be getting a lift soon:

Following lack of 'threat-relevant cadence,' Air Force seeks to transform propulsion industrial base for sixth-gen fighters

As part of its efforts to develop an engine through the Next Generation Adaptive Propulsion program, the Air Force may be bringing new life to the propulsion industrial base, which one key official recently said has been teetering on the brink of collapse.

By Michael Marrow
September 8, 2022 at 2:10 PM

The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing on the nomination of Lt. Gen. B. Chance Saltzman to serve as the next chief of space operations on Sep. 13, according to a notice posted by the committee.

Saltzman will take the reins from Gen. John Raymond, who is set to retire this fall, as the Space Force’s top uniformed official. If confirmed, he will serve as the second space operations chief following the service’s stand up in 2019.

Saltzman currently serves as deputy chief of space operations for operations, cyber and nuclear for the Space Force and is a former Minuteman III launch officer and satellite operator at the National Reconnaissance Office.

By Shelley K. Mesch
September 8, 2022 at 11:51 AM

The Defense Department and the director of national intelligence's office need to update guidelines and regulations relating to the acquisition of commercial satellite imagery and other data, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office.

Neither DOD nor the U.S. intelligence community have clarified the roles and responsibilities for these types of acquisitions, according to the report, which was released publicly Wednesday. The National Reconnaissance Office is the central acquirer of imagery, but multiple organizations in DOD have acquired imagery in recent years without guidance addressing organizational roles and responsibilities.

“The potential for unnecessary overlap will only increase as interest in commercial imagery grows across the IC and DOD,” the report states.

Current regulations also aren’t able to quickly integrate emerging commercial capabilities, which GAO said could make the U.S. lose its edge over potential adversaries such as China.

GAO recommends the defense secretary and DNI:

  • Create clear roles and responsibilities for intelligence and DOD groups;
  • Ensure the National Reconnaissance Office assesses various approaches for incorporating and scaling emerging commercial satellite capabilities into operational support contracts in a timely manner;
  • Ensure the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and NRO develop specific performance goals and measures to maximize the use of commercial imagery; and
  • Ensure the NGA develops guidance to establish roles and responsibilities for commercial analytic services with remote sensing data, which would include noting the components responsible for addressing resourcing visibility and for identifying performance goals and measures.
By Tony Bertuca
September 8, 2022 at 11:24 AM

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said today the United States, in coordination with NATO, will soon host a meeting of armaments directors from nations around the world to discuss how the global defense industrial base can be "streamlined" to continue arming Ukraine in its ongoing fight against a Russian invasion.

Austin, speaking at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, said details about the meeting, which is slated to occur “in the next few weeks,” would be forthcoming.

“The round-the-clock efforts to manufacture new armaments are key to Ukraine’s success,” he said. “We’re going to move even faster and push even harder.”

The meeting is likely to include Bill LaPlante, the head of Pentagon weapons acquisition, who spoke Wednesday about ongoing discussions to aid the U.S. defense industrial base amid historic inflation.

Austin said today the “special session” with the armaments chiefs will be conducted under the auspices of the multination Ukraine Defense Contact Group, which includes more than 50 countries.

“They will discuss how our defense industrial bases can best equip Ukraine’s future forces with the capabilities that they need,” he said. “We all believe that working together we can better streamline things, we can shorten acquisition times, perhaps work on supply chain issues, learn from each other, we can increase interoperability. I think there’s broad agreement that this is an area that we can work on together.”

Austin’s announcement follows the latest tranche of U.S. aid to Ukraine, which includes $657 million of weapons transfers.

“Ukraine is fighting for its life,” he said.

By Tony Bertuca
September 8, 2022 at 10:20 AM

The Defense Department announced today that it intends to transfer $657 million in military aid to Ukraine, including additional long-range artillery and munitions to help the country defend itself from Russia's ongoing invasion.

The assistance, which is being offered via presidential “drawdown” authority, will provide Ukraine with: additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems; four 105 mm Howitzers and 36,000 105 mm artillery rounds; additional High-speed Anti-radiation missiles; 100 humvees; 1.5 million rounds of small arms ammunition; more than 5,000 anti-armor systems; 1,000 155 mm rounds of Remote Anti-Armor Mine systems; additional grenade launchers and small arms; 50 armored medical treatment vehicles; night vision devices and other field equipment.

All the weapons are coming directly from U.S. stocks, according to DOD.

Along with the DOD aid, the State Department has notified Congress of the Biden administration’s intent to make $2 billion available in “long-term investments in Foreign Military Financing,” which includes $1 billion for Ukraine and $1 billion to be divided among 18 of Ukraine’s regional neighbors.

“In total, the United States has committed approximately $15.2 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since January 2021,” DOD said in a statement. “Since 2014, the United States has committed more than $17.2 billion in security assistance to Ukraine and more than $14.5 billion since the beginning of Russia’s unprovoked and brutal invasion on February 24.”

The White House last week sent Congress a proposal for a stopgap continuing resolution that would put $4.5 billion toward “equipment for Ukraine” and “replenishment of Department of Defense stocks,” while another $2.7 billion would be used for “continued military, intelligence and other defense support.” The CR proposal states $3 billion would specifically be put toward the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which is used to buy new weapons for Kyiv over a period of months and years.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed (D-RI) said Wednesday that he expects Congress to pass a CR that contains more emergency military aid for Ukraine.

“There is a surprising and encouraging unity when it comes to the issue of supporting Ukraine,” he said.

By John Liang
September 7, 2022 at 2:49 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Pentagon helping contractors deal with inflation, military aid funding for Ukraine in the upcoming continuing resolution and more.

The Defense Department's head of acquisition spoke about helping contractors deal with inflation this morning:

LaPlante seeking new policies to grant defense contractors inflation relief

Pentagon acquisition chief Bill LaPlante said today he is planning to soon release updated policy guidance aimed at "loosening" contracting regulations to provide inflation relief to defense contractors, especially small suppliers working under firm, fixed-price contracts.

The top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee predicted the upcoming continuing resolution would include funding for military aid to Ukraine:

Reed sees continued funding support for Ukraine in upcoming CR

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed (D-RI) said today he expects Congress to pass a stopgap continuing resolution that contains more emergency military aid for Ukraine, though the debate may delay passage of the annual defense authorization bill.

The Air Force's No. 1 civilian official talked about divesting aircraft at a conference today:

Kendall: Expect continued aircraft divestment in FY-24 request

The Air Force's fiscal year 2024 budget request will include further divestments from aging aircraft to make way for next-generation platforms and programs, service Secretary Frank Kendall said today.

The prospective head of Army Futures Command has been identified:

Army recommends Rainey for nomination to lead Futures Command

The Army will recommend Lt. Gen. James Rainey be nominated to serve as the next head of Army Futures Command, filling a position that has been led by an acting commander since December last year, service Under Secretary Gabe Camarillo said today.

Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategy, Integration and Requirements Lt. Gen. S. Clinton Hinote spoke this week at an Atlantic Council event:

Hinote: Key takeaways from Ukraine war include benefits of mutual denial and all-domain warfare

All-domain warfare with a focus on denial is going to be key to future conflicts around the globe, Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategy, Integration and Requirements Lt. Gen. S. Clinton Hinote said while reflecting on lessons learned during the ongoing war in Ukraine.

By Briana Reilly
September 7, 2022 at 2:18 PM

The F-35 Joint Program Office has suspended deliveries of the Joint Strike Fighter aircraft after officials found a component of the platform's turbomachine is sourced from China.

The Defense Contract Management Agency first notified JPO of the discovery of the sourced piece -- the alloy used in a magnet on the Honeywell-built turbomachine -- on Aug. 19, a spokesman said, leading to the pause as defense officials and executives at airframe prime contractor Lockheed Martin investigate.

No flight safety issues have been detected stemming from the discovery, and contractors say they have identified a new U.S. provider of the alloy.

“We have confirmed that the magnet does not transmit information or harm the integrity of the aircraft and there are no performance, quality, safety or security risks associated with this issue and flight operations for the F-35 in-service fleet will continue as normal,” the JPO spokesman added in a statement to Inside Defense.

First reported today by Politico, the stall in deliveries impacts customers ranging from the military services -- the Air Force, Navy and Marines -- to international customers who for the most part fly the conventional-takeoff-and-landing version of the aircraft.

While it’s unclear how long the suspension will last, a Lockheed spokeswoman wrote in an email that the company has delivered 88 jets thus far and remains on track to deliver the previously planned 148-153 aircraft this year.

The F-35 is made up of 300,000 parts from more than 1,700 suppliers. All supplier parts on the F-35 are inspected at every stage of production to ensure they meet strict program standards before delivery and present no risks to the F-35 aircraft. The company says it was notified by Honeywell in late August of the sourcing issue, while Honeywell was first informed of the issue by its lube pump supplier for the turbomachine.

“We are working with our partners and DOD to ensure contractual compliance within the supply chain,” Lockheed spokeswoman Laura Siebert said. “The magnet has no visibility or access to any sensitive program information. The F-35 remains safe for flight, and we are working with the DOD to resolve the issue as quickly as possible to resume deliveries.”

Honeywell spokesman Adam Kress said in a separate statement that the company is “committed to supplying high-quality products that meet or exceed all customer contract requirements.”

“We are working closely with DOD and Lockheed Martin to ensure that we continue to achieve those commitments on products Honeywell supplies for use on the F-35,” he added.

The notification kicked off an investigation surrounding the alloy’s non-compliance with the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations Supplement, the JPO spokesman said. The review is continuing “to understand the causal factors for the non-compliance and to establish corrective action.”

If officials determine there is a statutory compliance issue, Lockheed will need a National Security Waiver to restart deliveries, according to the company -- something that the under secretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, William LaPlante, would need to decide.

Meanwhile, executives are looking into “mitigation plans” that could allow deliveries to resume for now, per the company. As the investigation continues, completed production aircraft are slated to stay with Lockheed until deliveries restart.

By Shelley K. Mesch
September 7, 2022 at 9:35 AM

Air Force Global Strike Command launched an unarmed intercontinental ballistic missile early Wednesday morning, the second test in as many months.

The Minuteman III missile was launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base, CA, shortly after 1 a.m. local time, according to a news release from the base.

"These test launches demonstrate the readiness of U.S. nuclear forces and provide confidence in the lethality and effectiveness of the nation's nuclear deterrent," said Space Launch Delta 30 Vice Commander Col. Bryan Titus, who was the launch decision authority.

GSC last tested the Minuteman III on Aug. 16 after months of delays or cancellations. A test in March was canceled as Russia threatened nuclear strikes during the early days of the war in Ukraine, and a test earlier in August was postponed as China conducted military exercises in the Taiwan Strait following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) visit to Taiwan.

By Evan Ochsner
September 6, 2022 at 1:31 PM

The Army will return Chinooks back to service on a case-by-case basis after determining that a cataloging error caused mechanics to install the wrong O-rings on the aircraft during maintenance, creating the fuel leak issue that prompted the service to ground the entire helicopter fleet last week, the Army said.

Those O-rings installed on some aircraft did not meet heat specifications required for the Chinook, causing some to suffer fuel leaks and engine fires, the Army said, adding that the issue did not cause any injuries or deaths.

The service has since corrected the cataloging issue and established a new stock number for the O-ring that meets the heat standard, Army spokeswoman Cynthia Smith said in a statement.

“The Army has provided guidance to the Aviation enterprise that establishes inspection and maintenance procedures for replacing the improper O-rings and returning the fleet to normal flight operations on a case-by-case basis,” Smith said.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the cataloging issue and the Army’s initial decision to ground the fleet.

By John Liang
September 6, 2022 at 1:26 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the White House Office of Management and Budget proposing continued military aid to Ukraine, a potential pause in small business grants by the Defense Department and more.

Lawmakers are considering a new continuing resolution proposal for funding U.S. aid to Ukraine:

White House seeks $13.7B for Ukraine in new CR proposal

The White House is asking Congress to pass a stopgap continuing resolution before the start of the fiscal year on Oct. 1 that would provide $13.7 billion in emergency military aid to Ukraine, including more than $7 billion to help replenish U.S. weapons that have been transferred there, according to a proposal from the Office of Management and Budget.

Current Small Business Innovation Research awardees and small business lobbyists say even a short-term pause will hurt vendors participating in the decades-old effort that seeks to develop and commercialize new technologies and potentially deter companies from wanting to be involved going forward:

With expiration looming, DOD braces for potential SBIR program lapse

Defense Department officials are bracing themselves for a potential lapse in small business grant programs -- a key pillar of the military's broader innovation environment -- as lawmakers work to hammer out a deal ahead of a looming deadline.

The Navy recently held its first fleet experimentation event focused on sustainment and maintenance capabilities:

Navy testing technology on decommissioned destroyer to help keep ships at sea

The Navy is testing out innovative technologies from industry and academia to improve the service's approach to maintenance and potentially help sailors conduct repairs at sea.

The Army wants to strengthen its network and communication capabilities in the Asia-Pacific region:

The next big test for the Army network: taming the Pacific

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, MD -- When given the opportunity at think tanks, multinational conferences or congressional hearings, Army leaders consistently emphasize the service's ability to provide command-and-control capabilities in the Indo-Pacific as part of the joint force's effort to counter China's influence in the region.

An in-the-works proposal for defense contractor inflation relief was discussed last week at a meeting with senior Pentagon officials and industry executives:

Pentagon mulls inflation initiative after defense industry meeting

Senior Pentagon officials are considering an inflation relief proposal made by key defense industry associations that would have Congress expand military funding and allow alterations to fixed-price contracts that could help companies battered by surging prices.

By Tony Bertuca
September 6, 2022 at 1:04 PM

The Pentagon has announced an operational test launch of an unarmed Air Force Global Strike Command Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile early tomorrow morning out of Vandenberg Space Force Base, CA.

Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder, the Pentagon’s chief spokesman, said during a press conference today that the launch is a “routine test, which was scheduled far in advance.”

The Pentagon last tested an ICBM on Aug. 16. That launch was initially scheduled for Aug. 4 but was delayed following Chinese military exercises in response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) visit to Taiwan.

Tomorrow’s launch, Ryder said, is “consistent with previous tests” and intended to “validate and verify effectiveness and readiness of the system.”

The Pentagon, in accordance with treaty obligations, has notified the Russian government of the test.

By Evan Ochsner
September 6, 2022 at 12:41 PM

Anduril Industries will provide command-and-control software for American Rheinmetall Vehicles' bid to build the Army's Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle, the companies announced Tuesday.

Anduril’s software will provide formation maneuver and threat detection as well as targeting capabilities for the joint bid for the OMFV, dubbed “Team Lynx,” which in addition to Rheinmetall includes Textron, Raytheon Technologies, L3Harris and Allison Transmission.

The OMFV is one of the Army’s top modernization priorities and would replace the Bradley Fighting Vehicle.

Anduril’s software will “significantly reduce the cognitive burden of the OMFV’s two soldier crew and provide them with next-generation tactical awareness, C2, and decisive lethality to dominate future battlefields,” Anduril head of strategy Zach Mears said in the announcement.

Anduril uses a common artificial intelligence-based operating system known as Lattice OS in its products.

“The partnership with Anduril brings to Team Lynx’s next-generation OMFV solution exceptional, additional innovations in software development, command and control, sensor integration and counter [unmanned aerial system] systems, further enabling the Lynx OMFV to provide operators capabilities not available anywhere else in the world,” said Matt Warnick, managing director at American Rheinmetall Vehicles.

The Army last year selected Rheinmetall and four other bids for the concept design phase of the program. Bids are due Nov. 1 for the full and open competition, through which the Army will choose up to three companies to participate in phases three and four of the program: detailed design and prototype manufacturing.

American Rheinmetall Vehicles, a subsidiary of Germany-based Rheinmetall, is increasing its footprint in the United States, and had 75 employees in its Sterling Heights, MI, office, as of late last year, Warnick told Inside Defense in November.

The OMFV isn’t the only upcoming Army ground vehicle program that Rheinmetall is interested in: The company is partnering with GM Defense in a bid to provide the Army’s Common Tactical Truck.