The Insider

By Tony Bertuca
September 6, 2022 at 5:00 AM

Senior Pentagon officials are slated to speak at several public events this week.

Tuesday

The Atlantic Council hosts a discussion on the future of air warfare.

Wednesday

Senior defense officials speak at the Defense News Conference.

Senior officials also speak at the Billington Cybersecurity Conference, which runs through Friday.

Air Force Special Operations Command Commander Lt. Gen. Jim Slife speaks at an in-person and virtual Air Force Association "fireside chat."

Senior Army leaders speak at Defense One's virtual "State of Defense" event.

By Michael Marrow
September 2, 2022 at 5:45 PM

The Air Force's CV-22 Osprey fleet will resume operations after a temporary stand-down order grounded the aircraft for two weeks due to a "high clutch engagement" issue that caused a total of four known incidents, according to a statement released by Air Force Special Operations Command.

The standdown was lifted today by AFSOC Commander Lt. Gen. James Slife, AFSOC spokeswoman Lt. Col. Rebecca Heyse wrote in the statement, though the Air Force has yet to identify the root cause of the problem.

The Osprey fleet was grounded indefinitely on Aug. 16 after officials grew increasingly concerned about the high clutch engagement issue, where the clutch would fail to connect the rotor and engine. The clutch would subsequently re-engage, causing a jolt in the aircraft. Aircrews would then be forced to land immediately.

According to Heyse, the Air Force has established “near-, mid- and long-term goals to address high clutch engagement (HCE) incidents.”

The near-term goal consists of three efforts, Heyse wrote. For the first, CV-22 crews have participated in briefings to learn how to respond to HCE incidents. The second line of effort included surveys distributed to aircrews to allow officials to evaluate their understanding of the problem and offer possible solutions.

The third effort entails one-time inspections completed by CV-22 maintainers to compare the maintenance information system with components installed on the aircraft, Heyse wrote, adding that the process will “ensure we are tracking the most accurate information in regards to drivetrain component operating times,” which are then provided to government and contractor engineering teams.

For the mid-term goal, AFSOC is evaluating the replacement of drivetrain components after a certain number of flight hours, though specific numbers were not disclosed. The long-term goal, Heyse stated, is to identify the root cause and implement a material solution.

News of the resumed operations for the fleet was first reported by Breaking Defense, which also broke the news about the stand down.

Built by a joint Bell Textron and Boeing team, the Air Force and Marine Corps both fly variants of the Osprey.

The Marine Corps previously announced that it would not be standing down its Osprey fleet, opting instead to train aircrews how to respond if a high clutch engagement issue occurred.

By Tony Bertuca
September 2, 2022 at 3:43 PM

President Biden intends to nominate Nickolas Guertin, who was confirmed as director of operational test and evaluation less than a year ago, to be the Navy's new assistant secretary for research, development and acquisition, according to a White House announcement.

Guertin was confirmed as DOT&E in December 2021.

“He has an extensive four-decade combined military and civilian career in submarine operations, ship construction and maintenance, development and testing of weapons, sensors, combat management products including the improvement of systems engineering, and defense acquisition,” the White House said.

The Pentagon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Some lawmakers criticized Guertin’s office earlier this year for releasing a package of annual weapons evaluations that restricted information previously available to the public.

Bryan Clark, an analyst at the Hudson Institute, commented on how unusual it is for the Pentagon’s DOT&E to switch jobs in the middle of an administration.

“It is unusual,” he said in an email. “DOTE is a pretty thankless job and not one that sets you up to be an innovator like the Navy needs in the ASN(RDA) position. The DOTE job is very much about operating within the traditional acquisition process and not seeking shortcuts or creative ways to speed fielding.”

Still, Clark said, “Guertin is much more of an innovator than the usual DOTE, and I think he will bring a background in the existing acquisition process and a desire to make it work better. And DOTE is where a lot of new programs, especially unmanned and commercially-derived systems, have trouble. His background in test and evaluation may set him up well to reform it from the outside as ASN.”

The Navy RDA for which Guertin has been nominated has been vacant since James “Hondo” Guerts left the job at the start of the Biden administration.

By John Liang
September 2, 2022 at 1:28 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on a proposed continuing resolution for funding U.S. aid to Ukraine, the Pentagon's small business grant programs and more.

A new continuing resolution proposal for funding U.S. aid to Ukraine is out:

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.

The latest on the Pentagon's troubled small business grant programs:

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.

Repair Technology Exercise -- or REPTX -- was the Navy's 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 is working to bolster 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, backed by the Aerospace Industries Association, National Defense Industrial Association and Professional Services Council, was discussed at an Aug. 26 meeting with Pentagon Comptroller Mike McCord and Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Bill LaPlante:

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.

What's next for the Pentagon's Defense Innovation Unit now that its longtime leader is leaving? Inside Defense has the story:

DIU poised to chart new course as Brown exits

The Pentagon's Defense Innovation Unit will be left to chart a new course following the departure of the outfit's longest-serving leader this week.

By Shelley K. Mesch
September 2, 2022 at 12:08 PM

The Air Force is requesting input on its Surveillance Radar Program in Taiwan to extend the range of the Early Warning Radar.

The service wants to hear by Tuesday from industry and research institutions how they would address extending the EWR range in Taiwan, according to an online posting.

The Air Force posted the request just weeks after China ran a military demonstration near Taiwan that coincided with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) visit to the island.

To extend the range, modifications would be made to the Precision Acquisition Vehicle Entry Phased Array Warning System, or PAVE PAWS, which Taiwan installed in 2013, according to the Federation of American Scientists.

The questions pertain mostly to a business’ or institution’s capability in extending the range, such as what software and hardware it has available and its experience working with EWRs, Taiwan and foreign military sales.

Responses should also include whether the business or institution has the facilities, equipment and personnel to test and validate modifications to the SRP software and the anticipated hours it would take to design a solution and install it.

By Evan Ochsner
September 2, 2022 at 12:03 PM

The Army this fall will deploy a Stryker brigade combat team to replace an armored brigade combat team in Korea, following through on a change in unit type the service announced earlier this year.

The 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division will deploy to South Korea from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA, this fall, replacing the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, the Army announced Friday.

The Army earlier this year announced that the Korea Rotational Force would transition to a Stryker brigade combat team rather than an armored brigade combat team. Friday’s rotational announcement marks the transition from armored units to Stryker units on the peninsula.

Stryker units offer greater speed and mobility than their armored counterparts. “By design, we are equipped to rapidly deploy around the globe to fight and win in key or restrictive terrain -- hills, mountains, valleys and urban environments alongside our partner nations,” Col. Chad M. Roehrman, commander of 2-2 SBCT, said in the announcement.

Also on Friday, the service announced the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division will deploy from Ft. Riley, KS, to Europe and replace the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. The Army said the rotation would continue to support allies in Europe.

By Briana Reilly
September 2, 2022 at 10:55 AM

The outgoing head of the Pentagon's Silicon Valley outreach team announced he'll be taking on two new roles where he'll be continuing "to cheer for" the Defense Innovation Unit following his departure today.

Director Mike Brown wrote in an email to DIU staff Thursday, which was later shared with Inside Defense, that he’ll be a visiting scholar at the Hoover Institution and a member of the Center for a New American Security’s Board of Advisors next year.

“I will continue to cheer for you all in pursuing our shared mission: ensuring technology is a force for good supporting our military and providing our warfighters every advantage,” he wrote.

Brown, DIU’s longest serving leader and a key advocate for the small-budget unit, has been at its helm since fall 2018. His replacement has not yet been named, though Deputy Mike Madsen will serve as acting director in the interim, a Defense Department spokesman confirmed to Inside Defense this week.

In his email, Brown touted the work the unit has done over those years, including transitioning 50 prototype projects, bringing 100 first-time vendors into the national security base “and influencing policy and practice to fight adversarial capital, fund deep tech and make it easier for vendors to succeed at DOD.”

“We have more momentum than at any time in our history and DIU will continue to be a force for disruptive change in the department,” he added.

Still, he cautioned the military must move faster to transition commercial solutions to warfighters and help non-traditional suppliers achieve success.

In addition to the need to change DOD processes -- likely a reference to his so-called “fast follower” strategy -- Brown touted the need for “an effective, well-funded approach to adopt commercial technology,” which he stressed “is critical to modernizing DOD.”

By Michael Marrow
September 1, 2022 at 5:36 PM

Boeing will build 15 new KC-46A Pegasus tankers for the Air Force and four for Israel for a total contract value of approximately $3.1 billion, according to an award announcement posted by the Defense Department yesterday.

The award for the Air Force tankers totals $2.2 billion for Production Lot 8 aircraft, the contract announcement states, and the sale to Israel has a ceiling of $927 million.

The Air Force aims to procure up to 179 Pegasus tankers by fiscal year 2027, though the program has been beset by delays.

Officials recently announced a deal with Boeing to fix a significant problem with the aircraft’s Remote Vision System, which boom operators use to guide refueling. The fix, labeled RVS 2.0, will be part of the Israeli production deal and will include “non-recurring engineering design and test,” according to the award announcement.

Despite numerous challenges with fielding the Pegasus, including a recent admission by Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall that the service “didn’t look closely enough” at the aircraft’s design, Kendall and other officials have recently downplayed the possibility of a follow-on tanker.

The Air Force is formulating requirements for its KC-Y tanker that will serve as a bridge to next-generation refueling platforms. The requirements are expected to be released this fall, a top program official recently stated, which would inform an acquisition decision sometime in spring 2023.

Officials are weighing whether to hold a competition for the KC-Y contract, with Boeing’s Pegasus and Lockheed Martin’s LMXT positioned as competitors. However, officials have so far emphasized that the likelihood of a competition has decreased, suggesting that the service would opt to gradually modify the KC-46A rather than field a new aircraft.

Work on the Air Force tankers is expected to conclude by Nov. 30, 2025, the award announcement reads, whereas work on the Israeli refuelers is scheduled to finish by the end of 2026.

By John Liang
September 1, 2022 at 2:00 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on an upcoming Air Force Scientific Advisory Board study, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter sustainment costs, an Army counterforce radar program and more.

The Air Force Scientific Advisory Board is due to release a study on Next Generation Air Dominance in October:

Collective combat aircraft for NGAD study due next month

An influential Pentagon advisory panel is readying recommendations on uncrewed, intelligent combat aircraft that can fight semi-autonomously alongside piloted weapon systems, specifically technologies and concepts of operation needed for swarming, attritable capabilities to support the Air Force's vision for next-generation air dominance.

Lockheed Martin executives held a media briefing on F-35 Joint Strike Fighter sustainment this week:

Lockheed touts efforts to bring down F-35 sustainment costs

Lockheed Martin executives say their efforts to leverage digital tools, boost efficiency and a focus on the supply chain have driven a drop in the company's portion of sustainment costs across all three F-35 variants -- a decrease the fighter's prime contractor predicts will continue over the next few years.

Document: Lockheed briefing slides on F-35 sustainment

The Army is working on integrating the AN/TPQ-53 Counterfire Target Acquisition Radar with larger efforts to identify, track and defeat all airborne adversary activity:

Army eyeing integration of counterfire target acquisition radar with air defense systems

The Army is exploring the potential of linking a radar designed to warn friendly forces of incoming indirect fire with sensors built to track aircraft, ballistic and cruise missiles -- as part of an effort to provide as comprehensive as possible a picture of air threats to ground forces, according to a senior service official.

Sierra Nevada Corp. is working on a project, called RAPCON-X, a modified Bombardier 6500 that can be configured to provide radar, signals intelligence and surveillance capabilities:

Sierra Nevada bets big on ISR jet as Army shows sustained interest in the capability

Sierra Nevada Corp. is making a $200 million bet on a modified corporate jet that can provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities from afar, as the Army continues to demonstrate a high level of interest in the capability.

The Pentagon's No. 2 civilian spoke virtually at an event hosted by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency this week:

Hicks signals cloud, AI as top priorities to increase 'speed of decision'

Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks, who oversees many of the Pentagon's technology development and budgeting decisions, said today that among her top innovation priorities are enterprise cloud computing and artificial intelligence capabilities aimed at increasing the U.S. military's "speed of decision."

Army CH-47 Chinook helicopters have temporarily stopped flying:

Army grounds entire Chinook fleet after fuel leaks cause fires in some aircraft

The Army has grounded its fleet of CH-47 Chinooks after it discovered fuel leaks that caused engine fires in multiple helicopters.

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

CMMC accreditation body plans to provide more detail on managed service providers in future assessment guide update

The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification Accreditation Body CEO Matthew Travis says he plans to update the CMMC assessment process guide, known as "the CAP," as more details come out from the Defense Department and partners at the National Institute of Standards and Technology on their plans for managed service providers and addressing reciprocity.

By Audrey Decker
August 31, 2022 at 4:53 PM

After the U.S. Navy stopped an Iranian naval support ship from capturing one of 5th Fleet's unmanned surface vessels in the Arabian Gulf, the Pentagon said the incident is indicative of Tehran's ongoing disruptive activity in the region.

Late Monday night, the coastal patrol ship Thunderbolt (PC-12) observed the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps navy’s support ship Shahid Baziar towing a Saildrone Explorer USV, “essentially stealing” the vessel, according to Defense Department Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder.

Thunderbolt “immediately responded” and 5th Fleet launched an MH-60S from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 26, based in Bahrain, according to 5th Fleet.

When the U.S. Navy asked the IRGCN to release the USV, Ryder said that it did.

The Iranian vessel disconnected the towing line and departed the area approximately four hours later, according to 5th Fleet.

“It just showcases the challenge that Iran presents in terms of the threat to the region -- another reason why we'll continue to work very closely with our partners and our allies in the region to help provide the stability that's important to keep not only the sea lanes open, but the health and safety of those that are operating in that area,” Ryder said during a press briefing today.

Ryder said he wouldn’t speculate on how often an incident like this could happen to unmanned vessels, but added that the U.S. Navy has the region under control.

“Clearly, 5th Fleet has it well in hand in terms of patrolling the waterways there and maintaining situational awareness in terms of their capabilities and assets in the region and again, as was evidenced by the USS Thunderbolt, the ability to respond quickly, should something like that happen again in the future, which hopefully it will not,” Ryder said.

The Pentagon spokesperson said he could not say for sure if the Iranian Navy knew this vessel belonged to the U.S. Navy.

Commander of 5th Fleet Vice Adm. Brad Cooper said in a statement that “IRGCN’s actions were flagrant, unwarranted and inconsistent with the behavior of a professional maritime force.”

“U.S. naval forces remain vigilant and will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows while promoting rules-based international order throughout the region,” Cooper said.

The Saildrone Explorer is equipped with sensors, cameras and radars to perform above- and below-surface detection.

The vessel is part of Naval Forces Central Command’s Task Force 59, which was launched last year to integrate unmanned systems and artificial intelligence into the fleet and enhance maritime domain awareness.

Saildrone told Inside Defense that the company can’t officially comment on the incident.

By John Liang
August 31, 2022 at 4:26 PM

Lockheed Martin announced today that Tim Cahill will be the new executive vice president of the company's Missiles and Fire Control (MFC) business area, effective Nov. 1.

Cahill is currently senior vice president of Lockheed Martin's Global Business Development & Strategy. Before that, he was senior vice president for Lockheed Martin International and vice president of Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Systems for MFC.

Cahill joined the company in 1995 following a career as an Air Force officer. He succeeds Scott Greene, who will retire at the end of the year after more than 41 years of service to the company, according to Lockheed.

By John Liang
August 31, 2022 at 1:40 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Navy's Constellation-class frigate program, missile defense radars and interceptors, a Defense Information Systems Agency document and more.

Work on building the Navy's newest frigate has begun this week:

Frigate construction begins, ship's conditions-based maintenance to inform surface fleet

Construction on the Navy's first Constellation-class frigate officially begins today as the Navy looks to the small combatant to model conditions-based maintenance for the rest of the surface fleet.

Missile defense news:

Boeing nabs potential $5 billion GMD contract; retains key role on homeland defense system

The Missile Defense Agency has awarded Boeing a potential $5 billion contract to support the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, allowing the company -- which fended off two competitors -- to maintain a key role in the GMD program which the Pentagon has broken into smaller parts and which Boeing has been prime contractor for more than a decade.

MDA awards Lockheed $732M to begin work on Homeland Defense Radar-Guam

The Missile Defense Agency has tapped Lockheed Martin to "design, develop and deliver" what is being dubbed the Homeland Defense Radar-Guam, utilizing technology at the core of the Long Range Discrimination Radar, the SPY-7 and a large sensor planned for Hawaii as a central component of a new air and missile defense capability for the western U.S. territory.

The Defense Information Systems Agency this week released a new plan to improve the state of the agency's data integration and utilization, information technology and network capabilities:

DISA outlines steps to better manage, leverage data in new implementation plan

The Defense Information Systems Agency has developed a four-pronged approach to improve its methods for harnessing and employing data, part of a broader "transformation effort" officials are undertaking to bolster their network capabilities and information technology.

Document: DISA's data strategy implementation plan

Earlier this month, the Navy published a draft environmental impact statement identifying commercial dismantlement -- one of three alternatives under consideration -- as the service's preferred method of disposal for the retired aircraft carrier Enterprise (CVN-65):

Navy to tap NRC requirements in CVN-65 commercial dismantlement

The Navy plans to utilize requirements and advice from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission if the service selects a commercial shipyard to perform the first-ever dismantlement of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. The NRC overseas the commercial nuclear industry.

News from our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity:

Defense industry group raises concerns over terminology for 'managed service providers' in CMMC assessment guide

The National Defense Industrial Association is seeking clarity from the accreditation body behind the Pentagon's cyber certification program on how managed service providers can be used to help companies reach compliance and address reciprocity.

Small business leader sees value in federal resources helping companies reach CMMC compliance

Defense Department and NIST initiatives aimed at small businesses are playing a part in helping companies prepare for the Pentagon's Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program, according to CyberRx CEO Ola Sage, a leading advocate on SMB cyber issues.

By John Liang
August 31, 2022 at 12:07 PM

BAE Systems' U.S. subsidiary has named Guy Montminy as its senior vice president for finance, the company announced today.

In his role, Montminy will be responsible for the financial operations of the company’s U.S.-based businesses, which employ more than 34,000 employees in the United States, United Kingdom, and Sweden, and generated 2021 sales of nearly $12.5 billion, according to BAE.

Montminy will report to BAE Systems President and CEO Tom Arseneault and serve as a member of the company's senior leadership team. This is a role he held previously, from 2014 to 2016.

Montminy succeeds Scott Howat, who has served as senior vice president for finance since 2016. Howat is leaving the company to spend more time with his family, according to BAE.

By Audrey Decker
August 31, 2022 at 11:36 AM

The Navy canceled Raytheon Technologies' Dual-mode Array Transmitter program for Littoral Combat Ships and frigates earlier this year due to technical challenges with the sonar.

Raytheon’s AN/SQS-62 Variable Depth Sonar, called DART, was selected for the LCS program and the service planned to bring it to the Constellation-class frigate as well, said Rear Adm. Casey Moton, program executive officer for unmanned and small combatants.

That plan was driven by the desire for commonality between the two ship classes and DART’s piece in conducting anti-submarine warfare, Moton told reporters on Monday.

“As the work proceeded with the Raytheon sonar, there were some technical challenges that arose principally in the area of hydrodynamics, in the sort of stability flowing through the water of the array, and also some issues with transducers, both in reliability and performance,” Moton said.

The program’s team conducted a significant amount of work to retire those risks, but in the end, the Navy decided not to pursue DART, Moton said.

Instead, the Navy selected the Combined Active Passive Towed Array Sonar, or CAPTAS-4, which is produced by Advanced Acoustics Concepts.

“The shipbuilder had concerns, we certainly had concerns and we made the hard decision to stop that effort and to switch frigate to the CAPTAS, but I still certainly think that that was the right decision,” Moton said.

The Navy is familiar with the sonar since it’s also fielded on the FREMM-class frigate -- the parent design for the future Constellation class, Moton said.

“I think it's going to prove to be a good choice and I think CAPTAS is going to give a great ASW capability to [the] frigate when it delivers,” he said.

Construction on the lead Constellation-class frigate begins today, with delivery aimed for 2026.

By Michael Marrow
August 31, 2022 at 11:26 AM

The Air Force has awarded Ursa Major, a private rocket propulsion company, a Tactical Funding Increase contract to provide an oxygen-rich staged combustion engine, the company announced yesterday.

The $3.6 million award will support a qualification campaign, Ursa Major Chief Executive Officer Joe Laurienti wrote in response to questions from Inside Defense, which is slated to conclude by year’s end.

TACFI is an Air Force program to help small and mid-size companies bridge the “Valley of Death,” where research initiatives fail to transition to major acquisitions. The awards are also aimed at strengthening the industrial base by propping up competitors to major contractors.

Officials have recently raised alarm about the state of the space industrial base, warning that the lack of an overarching space development strategy could allow China to gain an edge over the United States. Key to that strategy will be fostering innovation and promoting competition for space technologies, officials say.

The Biden administration has also taken aggressive steps to combat consolidation of the propulsion industrial base and diversify suppliers, asserting that increased concentration of vendors could pose a risk to the Defense Department. Earlier this year, Lockheed Martin abandoned a planned merger with Aerojet Rocketdyne after the Federal Trade Commission sued to block the deal.

The Ursa Major 5,000-pound thrust “Hadley” rocket can be used for both the booster and upper-stage launch phases, the company’s announcement says, and is intended to deliver satellites into low-earth orbit.

“These engines will be used to launch satellites into low-earth orbit, but isn’t specific to a launch service provider or launcher,” Laurienti wrote. “Importantly, our business necessitates common technology being usable across a range of missions and vehicles, so this qualification campaign will encompass a broad set of objectives.”

The qualification campaign will measure the performance of several engines through ground testing, according to Laurienti, which will measure technical requirements like starts, thrust vector control and impact of environmental conditions. Results of the campaign will then be provided to the Air Force Research Laboratory.

Ursa Major was founded in 2015 and employs over 200 people, Laurienti stated, and currently has 12 government contracts, though the company was not able to share additional details.

The Hadley engine is also qualified for hypersonics and space launches, Laurienti added, and will be used by aerospace companies Phantom Space and Stratolaunch for a two-stage expendable rocket and powering a hypersonic testbed vehicle, respectively.

According to the company’s release, Ursa Major plans to deliver 30 rocket engines to customers by the end of the year.