The Insider

By Jaspreet Gill
September 1, 2020 at 10:59 AM

Northrop Grumman is developing two prototype ground stations for the Army's Tactical Intelligence Targeting Access Node system, or TITAN, the company announced today in a press release.

Northrop was selected by the Army and the Defense Innovation Unit to provide prototypes for the service's mobile intelligence ground station architecture that will provide access to low-earth orbit satellites.

"Our ground station prototypes will integrate existing software and hardware capabilities to showcase a unique ability to provide access to multi-domain actionable intelligence from commercial and military space systems," Troy Brashear, Northrop Grumman vice president for integrated national systems, said in a statement.

Northrop Grumman's TITAN prototypes "will demonstrate the value of space assets in improving battlefield awareness and tactical intelligence in anti-access/area denial environments," the press release states.

The system will provide real-time intelligence using artificial intelligence algorithms to deliver data to weapon platforms and will maximize the effectiveness of Long Range Precision Fires and reduce sensor-to-shooter timelines, according to the release.

The Army plans to award an other transaction agreement for TITAN and deliver the system in the FY-23 to FY-24 timeframe, Col. Thomas Nguyen, a project manager with the Program Executive Office for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors, told Inside Defense in April.

Northrop Grumman's prototypes will support upcoming exercises and experimentations in FY-22, which will incorporate soldier touchpoints to inform system development.

"A separate TITAN acquisition will provide mobile ground stations that link to terrestrial, high-altitude and airborne sensors to provide targeting data to the Army," the release states. "Northrop Grumman teams recently demonstrated a software architecture to the Army that is capable of fusing multi-domain sensor data and reducing the sensor-to-shooter timelines. This common software architecture is the basis of the Northrop Grumman space-to-ground TITAN prototype system, potentially enhancing the integration of space-based data systems with the mobile ground stations in later phases of the TITAN program."

By Ashley Tressel
August 31, 2020 at 2:31 PM

The Defense Logistics Agency has chosen Elbit Systems of America to supply the Army with gunner hand stations, commander hand stations and circuit cards for the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle, Elbit announced today.

The indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract includes an initial purchase order of $26 million followed by a second purchase order of $12 million, both executed over a three-year period.

The contract has a maximum value of $79 million over a five-year performance period, according to the company.

"The gunner hand stations enable crew members to target and fire accurately and work in collaboration with the commander hand stations that drive the IFV's turret and initiate signals to the turret fire control systems," a press release says. "The circuit cards provide processing and power supply to the hand station units."

"Elbit Systems of America is proud to offer critical ground vehicle modernization solutions for the U.S. Army to support accuracy and lethality for soldiers," President and CEO Raanan Horowitz said in the release. "Receiving this task order to support the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle means U.S. ground forces remain equipped at all times with the very best technology to complete their missions."

By John Liang
August 31, 2020 at 1:50 PM

This Monday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on AFWERX, the Marine Corps' presidential helicopter replacement program and more.

Inside Defense recently chatted with AFWERX Director Col. Nathan Diller:

AFWERX explores more programs while rushing eVTOL sector to market

AFWERX is considering launching more programs in dual-use technology sectors while also eyeing export options for its inaugural Agility Prime effort that's pushing to bring electric vertical takeoff and landing providers to market amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Marine Corps has delayed testing of the next-generation presidential helicopter program by six months:

Presidential helicopter testing pushed to January, IOC to July 2021

The Marine Corps has pushed back the scheduled start of testing for the VH-92A presidential helicopter by six months, which will allow the Marine operational squadron more time to familiarize itself with the aircraft and prevent overlap between testing and the busy presidential election cycle.

Both the House and Senate versions of the fiscal year 2021 defense policy bill direct the Pentagon to establish a threat intelligence sharing program for the defense industrial base:

DOD cyber official looks ahead to expansion of intel sharing with contractors

The Defense Department's initiatives for sharing cyber threat intelligence with contractors are set for a major expansion under the fiscal year 2021 defense policy bill currently being negotiated by House and Senate lawmakers.

Earlier this month, the Next Generation Jammer-Mid Band pod -- a planned replacement for the ALQ-99 jamming pod fielded in 1971-- flew on an EA-18G during a flight test at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, MD:

Raytheon's NGJ-Mid Band achieves first flight on EA-18G, advancing toward production review

The Next Generation Jammer-Mid Band program, the Navy and Marine Corps $8.7 billion maritime airborne electronic attack modernization effort, achieved an important developmental milestone this month when a prototype was flown for the first time on an EA-18G Growler, a key step for a project that suffered serious design setbacks three years ago.

The Navy earlier this summer awarded L3Harris a $35 million contract to develop and produce a Medium Unmanned Surface Vessel with options worth up to $281 million to deliver eight additional ships:

L3Harris partnering with Gibbs & Cox, Swiftships to deliver MUSV

L3Harris Technologies' new contract to build the Navy's Medium Unmanned Surface Vessel includes the maritime technology firm Gibbs & Cox as well as the Louisiana-based shipbuilder Swiftships as subcontractors, according to an L3Harris executive.

By Sara Sirota
August 31, 2020 at 1:17 PM

The Air Force Research Laboratory is looking for white papers on existing and emerging technologies that can help ground and aerial surveillance platforms detect electronic intelligence signals, according to a broad agency announcement the service released today.

AFRL is specifically interested in automated, real-time signal collection and processing as adversaries develop ELINT capabilities that use "low probability of intercept" signals in anti-access, area-denial environments, the notice states.

After reviewing submissions, AFRL may request formal proposals from vendors that are eligible to receive contracts. The Air Force anticipates spending about $10 million on multiple awards between FY-21 and FY-25. Interested contractors should share their white papers for each funding round before the end of the prior fiscal year.

By Marjorie Censer
August 31, 2020 at 12:34 PM

Constellis said today it has named Richard Hozik chief financial officer.

He succeeds Gordon Foster, who will leave the company Sept. 30.

"Prior to joining Constellis, Mr. Hozik held numerous positions including as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Executive Officer to a number of both publicly traded and privately held government contractors," Constellis said. "He has also served as CFO and CEO of a global firm with operations throughout North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific."

By Justin Katz
August 31, 2020 at 11:29 AM

The Navy this week provided an undated document which includes written answers to questions taken for the record from the Senate Armed Services Committee to then-Vice Admiral Michael Gilday as part of his July 2019 nomination hearing to become chief of naval operations.

Senators asked the admiral about a wide range of subjects including hypersonic weapons development, middle-tier acquisition, the Navy's 2019 Force Structure Assessment and threats from Russia and China.

Gilday's hearing took place in July 2019 and the Senate approved his confirmation in early August.

The document was recently provided to Inside Defense as part of a Freedom of Information Act request.

By Marjorie Censer
August 31, 2020 at 11:06 AM

Maxar Technologies' chief technology officer said the company's new acquisition of Vricon will improve the company's three-dimensional view of the world.

In an interview with Inside Defense earlier this month, Walter Scott said Vricon allows Maxar "to build out the entire planet in three dimensions."

"That enables a whole range of use cases," he added. "Whether it's doing blockage analysis for telecon or generating synthetic training environments . . . that was the motivation. We're taking basically a 2D set of images and we're turning them into a 3D world."

Vricon was started in 2015 as a joint venture between Maxar and Saab and focuses on satellite-derived 3D data for defense and intelligence markets. Maxar said in July that it had completed its acquisition for about $140 million.

Before the acquisition, Vricon had what Maxar referred to as a "library card," providing access to a certain amount of imagery from Maxar, according to Scott. Now, Vricon has unrestricted access, which allows Maxar to "increase the scale and the velocity with which we're able to build things out," Scott said.

As an example, Scott said the Vricon technology will be useful on the Army's Prometheus program, which seeks to apply artificial intelligence for automated target recognition. Vricon, he said, adds elevation information.

"You bring all that together and what you have is the ability to support precision fires in a time-dominant fashion," he said.

By Tony Bertuca
August 31, 2020 at 11:01 AM

Victoria Coleman, the former CEO of Atlas AI, has been named director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Pentagon announced today.

Now that Coleman has been appointed, acting DARPA Director Peter Highnam will return to his role as deputy director. DARPA had been without a director since the resignation of Peter Walker in January.

Coleman has "led cutting edge research and development across the technology sector, to include service as the Chief Executive Officer of Atlas AI; Senior Vice President at Technicolor; Chief Technology Officer of Connected Home Business; Vice President, Engineering at Yahoo!; Vice President, Software Engineering at Hewlett-Packard Palm Global Business Unit; and Director for Security Initiatives at Intel," according to a Pentagon statement.

Coleman has also served on the Defense Science Board and was the founding chair of DARPA's Microsystems Exploratory Council.

By Tony Bertuca
August 31, 2020 at 5:00 AM

Senior defense officials are slated to participate in several virtual events this week.

Monday

The Air Force Association hosts a webinar with the commander of the Joint-Global Strike Operations Center.

Tuesday

The American Enterprise Institute hosts a virtual discussion on the capabilities of the Chinese military.

Wednesday

The Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Center for a New American Security co-host a virtual discussion on nuclear proliferation.

Science Applications International Corp. executives are set to discuss quarterly earnings.

By Marjorie Censer
August 28, 2020 at 12:50 PM

Today’s INSIDER Daily Digest has the latest on the Missile Defense Agency’s plans for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense sustainment contract and the Navy’s unmanned systems campaign plan, among other news.

Earlier this month, MDA published a fourth request for information on future GMD, following three previous notices:

MDA tweaks notional GMD disaggregation concept again, now eyes four possible elements

The Missile Defense Agency is refining its plan to potentially disaggregate the Ground-based Midcourse Defense sustainment contract, setting the stage for a major realignment of industry participation.

The Air Force is considering how to adapt older platforms to work with an “Internet of Things” for the military:

USAF challenging legacy programs to integrate with ABMS, though uncertainty remains

The Air Force has directed legacy programs to quickly integrate with the Advanced Battle Management System, though it’s not necessarily clear to what extent aging platforms will play into the broader vision for joint all-domain command and control.

The Navy’s top weapons buyer said this week that its unmanned systems campaign plan will serve as an “alignment document”:

Geurts: Unmanned plan will synchronize efforts across the Navy

The Navy’s chief weapons buyer said yesterday the service’s new campaign plan for unmanned systems will strive to “align” various efforts across the operational fleet, developmental squadrons, warfare centers and the acquisition corps.

Meanwhile, L3Harris Technologies is sharing more details about the contract it won this summer to develop and produce a Medium Unmanned Surface Vessel:

L3Harris partnering with Gibbs & Cox, Swiftships to deliver MUSV

L3Harris’s new contract to build the Navy’s Medium Unmanned Surface Vessel includes the maritime technology firm Gibbs & Cox as well as the Louisiana-based shipbuilder Swiftships as subcontractors, according to an L3Harris executive.

By Marjorie Censer
August 28, 2020 at 12:48 PM

Lockheed Martin said today it is continuing to accelerate cash to suppliers to help them cope with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

In August, the company said, it accelerated $300 million to $500 million per week in payments “with a focus on small businesses and at-risk suppliers.”

Since March, Lockheed added, it has directed payments to more than 7,900 suppliers, including more than 4,800 small businesses.

“Lockheed Martin continues to assess COVID-19 impacts, working with our U.S. Government partners and suppliers, and will accelerate cash to at-risk suppliers and small businesses through the end of the year to ensure we continue to meet commitments vital to national security,” the company said.

Lockheed also announced it has met its 2020 goal to hire more than 12,000 new employees.

By Marjorie Censer
August 28, 2020 at 12:31 PM

Cubic said today it is consolidating its defense business segments and reshaping its defense leadership.

The company said it is combining its mission solutions business with its global defense unit to create a new segment called Cubic Mission and Performance Solutions.

“This new segment will continue to deliver technology-driven, market-leading solutions to Command, Control, Communication, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) and training customers worldwide to improve our customers’ effectiveness and operational readiness,” the company said.

The move is intended to leverage common technologies and cut costs while bolstering efficiency, according to Cubic.

The company said the new segment will be led by Michael Knowles, who has headed the global defense unit since 2018. He joined Cubic in 2014 after serving as an executive at Rockwell Collins and Lockheed Martin.

Michael Twyman, who led the mission solutions business, will depart the company, Cubic said.

By Courtney Albon
August 28, 2020 at 10:32 AM

The Space and Missile Systems Center is looking to modernize its information technology infrastructure, writing in a recent request for information that the move is necessary to support two major programs -- the Evolved Strategic Satellite Communications and Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared systems.

In order to meet changing security requirements, SMC has created a “significant number of disparate networks” within its legacy IT infrastructure that made information sharing, at classified and unclassified levels, inefficient. Because these programs in particular are looking to integrate with multiple government agencies -- a process complicated by new Defense Department requirements for increased security protections for nuclear command control programs -- the center is looking to modernize.

“Due to the [Next-Generation] OPIR and ESS program offices’ growth over the past few years, the network integration with industry and support contractors has become more complex, while the new National Command and Control Communications security classification guide drives significant increased need for classified network and system access for the SMC and its partners,” the RFI states.

Possible solutions should be agile and scalable at the secret, top secret collateral and top secret/sensitive compartmented information levels and should provide “a suite of administrative, collaboration and simulation/modeling tools and capabilities in support or NG OPIR and ESS,” the document states.

By Marjorie Censer
August 28, 2020 at 10:05 AM

Leidos has seen about 250 total coronavirus cases among its nearly 38,000 employees, according to the company's chief executive.

During a virtual conversation with Washington Technology today, Roger Krone said the company tracks its confirmed positive cases among employees. At the time of the pre-taped interview – about two weeks ago – the company had 100 active confirmed positive cases, he said. A spokesman said the company now has about 50 active cases.

Cumulatively, Leidos has seen about 250 cases, according to Krone.

He said the numbers are “amazingly low” and credited it to the company’s engineers and scientists adhering to medical advice.

“Our employees listened to what our chief medical officer” said, Krone added. “They follow the rules.”

He said Leidos has been able to bring some employees back to its building “on a limited basis.”

Now, the contractor is trying to decide the right timing for its “phase two,” which would allow for 50% occupancy.

“We hope to be able to do that in the fall timeframe, prior to a vaccine,” Krone said. “We hope that a year from now we will be to our new normal.”

By Sara Sirota
August 27, 2020 at 2:37 PM

The Air Force is considering purchasing a dozen commercial-off-the-shelf, intelligence-gathering drones for unidentified international partners, according to a sources-sought notice released Wednesday.

The unmanned aircraft should be able to reach a range of 800 km and loiter at an altitude of 18,000 feet for at least five hours. They should also have a maximum endurance of 20 flying hours, self-defense systems and be capable of runway-free take-off and landing.

The Air Force is seeking providers who can offer “technically sound and economical non-developmental qualified solutions,” the notices states.

Responses are due Sept. 28.