The Insider

By Dan Schere
March 31, 2023 at 4:13 PM

The U.S. Army has awarded Raytheon Technologies a $1.2 billion contract to provide a Patriot air defense system to Switzerland.

The Defense Department announced in a March 28 contract notice that $1.2 billion in fiscal year 2023 foreign military sales were obligated at the time of the award.

The contract is for five Patriot fire units and Guidance Enhanced Missiles (GEM-T), which are designed to defeat tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and enemy aircraft, according to a Raytheon press release.

The offer includes projects for “local industry participation” in Switzerland, and Raytheon will work with Swiss companies to deliver the system “to meet Switzerland’s air defense needs and safeguard its sovereignty,” according to the company.

Switzerland will become the 18th nation to use the Patriot, according to Raytheon.

By Shelley K. Mesch
March 31, 2023 at 3:55 PM

Unspecified problems on Thursday delayed the first launch of the Space Development Agency's satellites until Saturday morning at the earliest, according to the agency.

Contractor SpaceX was set to launch 10 of SDA’s communications and missile warning and tracking satellites into low-Earth orbit Thursday morning, but that launch was aborted and rescheduled for Friday morning, according to an SDA post on LinkedIn.

The launch for Friday morning was also postponed, according to the agency.

SpaceX is “working quickly to resolve issues discovered during yesterday’s launch attempt,” the post states.

The launch, from Vandenberg Space Force Base, CA, will mark the first of dozens to go on orbit for SDA’s Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture.

By John Liang
March 31, 2023 at 2:13 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news from this week's AUSA Global Force Symposium, Oshkosh's ongoing protest of a Joint Light Tactical Vehicle contract award, the Air Force's T-7 trainer aircraft and a lot more.

Let's start off with the latest on Oshkosh's protest of a multibillion-dollar Joint Light Tactical Vehicle contract award to AM General:

In JLTV protest, Oshkosh alleges problems with AM General's production process, corrosion testing

In protesting the recent award of the follow-on contract of the Army’s Joint Light Tactical Vehicle to AM General, Oshkosh claims that the government ignored problems related to AM General’s production process, corrosion testing and the cost evaluation.

Here's more coverage from this week's AUSA Global Force Symposium:

New-start counter-drone budget proposed for FY-25 to align with Army strategic priorities

HUNTSVILLE, AL -- Army leaders drafting the service's fiscal year 2025 budget proposal are considering establishing a dedicated program element for counter-drone technology, a move that if adopted would stake out a consolidated place in long-term spending plans for projects currently dispersed across multiple air defense research and development funding lines.

PAC-3 armed with new software intercepts advanced medium-range ballistic missile target

HUNTSVILLE, AL -- The Army last week executed a live-fire test of the Patriot air defense system -- pitting a developmental PAC-3 software upgrade to address more advanced threats -- against a medium-range ballistic missile target at a test site in the Western Pacific.

Army executes prototype cannon-launched, hypervelocity guided projectile, sets record

HUNTSVILLE, AL -- The Army achieved record-setting distance when demonstrating a cannon-launched hypervelocity projectile prototype -- a munition capable of maneuvering in flight and striking moving targets -- in an event that points to a future where artillery units will be able to reach targets at ranges that today require missiles at a fraction the cost.

BAE making room to ramp up AMPV production by moving other combat vehicle lines

HUNTSVILLE, VA -- BAE Systems today announced a major realignment of its combat vehicle manufacturing operations -- including repositioning significant industrial capacity -- as part of a long-term plan to increase manufacturing rates and speed delivery of fighting vehicles to the Army and Marine Corps.

The U.S. military's top uniformed officer spoke this week about a potential new combatant command:

Milley highlights plans for new joint futures 'command' or 'entity' for innovation

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley said the Defense Department is preparing to stand up a new joint futures "command" or "entity" sometime this summer to focus on military innovation.

News on Army night-vision goggles:

Lawmaker questions Army secretary over night-vision goggle funding

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) questioned Army Secretary Christine Wormuth during a congressional hearing Thursday about the service's lack of funding for one night-vision goggle program, and its faith in another program that has had challenges.

Air Force acquisition chief Andrew Hunter was on Capitol Hill this week:

Hunter says Boeing will proceed with T-7 production at company's 'own risk'

Air Force acquisition chief Andrew Hunter told lawmakers on Wednesday that Boeing has notified the service of its intent to begin production of the initial T-7 aircraft without a formal contract and the company will assume all risk if the initial aircraft do not meet service requirements.

Hunter: Air Force not planning ARRW procurement

The Air Force isn't planning to procure more Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon hypersonic missiles, service acquisition chief Andrew Hunter told lawmakers Wednesday.

Hunter: Air Force aiming to field CCAs in late 2020s

The Air Force plans to field its uncrewed Collaborative Combat Aircraft concept by the end of the decade, service acquisition chief Andrew Hunter told lawmakers Wednesday.

The Navy's top civilian official talked about a dispute between the government and Boeing over Super Hornet intellectual property rights:

SECNAV weighs in on Super Hornet IP dispute

Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro defended the service's push to acquire intellectual property related to 20 F/A-18 Super Hornets that have yet to be put on contract with Boeing, saying the Navy needs this data package to perform repairs in the field.

The lead boat of the Columbia-class submarine program is facing delays:

Del Toro: Lead Columbia sub is 10% behind schedule

The lead Columbia-class submarine is now 10% behind schedule, trailing its 84-month timeline by roughly 8.4 months, Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro told lawmakers at today's House Appropriations defense subcommittee hearing.

Lawmakers want the Army to speed up replacing the weapons it's giving to Ukraine:

Some on House Appropriations defense subcommittee want faster Army weapons procurement

Some members of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee during a hearing Tuesday pushed the Army to replenish its weapons stock faster as it continues to send aid to Ukraine.

Last but by no means least, the latest cyber defense news from our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity:

DOD CIO acknowledges CMMC launch challenges, commits to rollout as program review continues

DOD Chief Information Officer John Sherman assured lawmakers at a Thursday hearing on the rollout of the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program, acknowledging it has faced delays following an internal review while committing that it will be carried out successfully.

By Dan Schere
March 31, 2023 at 1:33 PM

The Army found that the operation and support costs for the CH-47F Block I Chinook helicopter increased nearly 27% from 2004 to 2021 and the costs for the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System increased 136% from 2007 to 2021, according to a Government Accountability Office report.

Congress included a provision in the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act that requires each military service to conduct sustainment reviews for major weapon systems within five years of declaring initial operational capability. The FY-21 NDAA amended the provision to require that the secretary of each military branch provide sustainment reviews for weapon systems to the congressional defense committees.

The Army conducted reviews of the CH-47 Block I, Mine Resistant Ambush Protected MAXX Pro, Bradley Fighting Vehicle and GMLRS, and found there was “critical” O&S cost for the Chinook and GMLRS.

“Critical” is defined either as O&S cost growth at least 25% more than the most recent cost estimate of a system, or at least 50% more than the original baseline cost estimate of the system, according to the report.

The CH-47 Block I O&S cost increased from $16.2 billion in 2004 to $20.6 billion in 2021, the review found. The increased costs were largely due to the fleet of aircraft increasing by 31 over the 17 years, and because of installation and maintenance costs of the Common Avionics Architecture System, or digital cockpit.

GMLRS O&S costs increased from $160.7 million in 2007 to $379.2 million in 2021, according to the review. The Army attributed the boost to an increase in the number of rockets from 44,000 to 118,000, and an upgrade to the steel casing on the original rocket that did not meet safety requirements.

The GAO report, released Thursday, was submitted to both the House and Senate Armed Services committees, as well as House and Senate Appropriations defense subcommittees.

By Nick Wilson
March 31, 2023 at 11:34 AM

The Navy has awarded Raytheon Technologies a $650 million low-rate initial production contract for its next-generation airborne electronic attack jamming system, which will replace the legacy ALQ-99 jamming pod carried by the service's fleet of EA-18G Growlers.

The Lot III LRIP contract funds the production and delivery of 15 Next Generation Jammer Mid-Band (NGJ-MB) ship sets -- with two pods per ship set -- including 11 sets for the Navy and four for the Australian government, according to a Thursday Navy release.

Work is expected to conclude in April 2024, the announcement states.

The Navy’s fiscal year 2024 budget request contains $40.5 million for NGJ-MB research and development and forecasts funding to climb to more than $87 million in FY-25 and continue through FY-28.

FY-24 R&D will focus on “delivering pod operational flight program software builds that address deficiencies identified during completion of developmental flight testing,” budget documents state.

According to the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation’s annual report, the program is still working to remedy reliability and performance issues that were identified prior to milestone C -- which was achieved in May 2021, enabling LRIP procurement to begin.

The NGJ-MB pods have not proven mature enough to conduct operational test flights, the report states, although it notes that some progress has been made to improve system performance through software updates. Due to these lingering issues, test flights were postponed until after the start of initial operational test and evaluation.

The program is slated to begin operational testing in May 2023, budget documents state.

Although the Navy’s budget request predicts the program will achieve initial operational capability before the end of FY-23, the DOT&E report warns that the service should prepare to extend IOT&E due to “uncertainty around the availability and reliability of operational test ready LRIP pods.”

By Tony Bertuca
March 30, 2023 at 3:14 PM

The Senate has voted 63-27 to confirm Laura Taylor-Kale to be an assistant secretary of defense for industrial base policy.

Taylor-Kale was first tapped for the job in May 2022, but her nomination stalled for months amid partisan protests from Senate Republicans.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon has said strengthening the defense industrial base has become one of its top priorities, citing capacity vulnerabilities highlighting ongoing U.S. military aid to Ukraine.

Taylor-Kale is currently the Fellow for Innovation and Economic Competitiveness at the Council on Foreign Relations. She previously served in the Obama administration as the deputy assistant secretary of commerce for manufacturing in the International Trade Administration.

By Tony Bertuca
March 30, 2023 at 1:02 PM

The Defense Department has launched a new website to accompany its long-running "Hack the Pentagon" program.

The department began the HtP program in 2016 using “bug bounties” as “innovative way to secure critical Department of Defense (DOD) systems and assets,” according to DOD.

The program invites “vetted, independent security researchers, known as ‘ethical hackers,’ to discover, investigate and report vulnerabilities, which DOD can then remediate,” DOD said.

The new website is intended to be a resource for other DOD organizations, vendors and “ethical hackers” wanting to learn how to conduct similar “bug bounty” programs.

"With the HtP website launch, [DOD] is scaling a long running program, which historically offered services on a project-by-project basis, by offering the Department better access to lessons learned and best practices for hosting bug bounties," said Craig Martell, DOD’s chief digital and artificial intelligence officer.

The Pentagon also said it intends for the website to recruit new talent.

"Through Hack the Pentagon, we're building a global talent pipeline for cybersecurity experts to contribute to our national defense outside of traditional government career paths," said Jinyoung Englund, acting director of CDAO’s Directorate for Digital Services.

“Since HtP's initial launch in 2016, DDS has run 40+ bug bounties with over 1,400 ethical hackers who have collectively flagged 2,100+ vulnerabilities for remediation,” DOD said.

By Nick Wilson
March 30, 2023 at 10:52 AM

The Navy awarded Raytheon Technologies a $619 million contract option to continue producing the AN/SPY-6(V) family of radar systems, according to a Wednesday company announcement.

The award marks the second option exercised by the Navy on a contract that could be worth as much as $3.2 billion over five-years.

Raytheon was awarded the initial contract in March 2022 to produce SPY-6 radar variants for seven different types of Navy ships.

If all options are exercised, the company would outfit a total of 31 ships with SPY-6 variants, including Flight III Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, Constellation-class frigates and both Ford- and Nimitz-class carriers.

SPY-6 was designed to simultaneously defend against aircraft, surface ships and ballistic and cruise missile threats. According to Raytheon’s announcement, the system improves upon legacy radar systems with greater range, increased sensitivity and improved accuracy.

A separate Navy contract announcement states that work is expected to conclude by September 2026.

By Dan Schere
March 29, 2023 at 2:18 PM

The Army will hold an industry day focused on "Soldier 2030 and Beyond" May 17-18 in Springfield, VA, which will focus on future technologies for soldiers.

Those attending the event will include representatives from the Army’s Program Executive Office Soldier, Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation and Program Executive Office for Command Control Communications Tactical, according to a notice posted Tuesday.

Among the programs to be discussed will be the Integrated Visual Augmentation System, Soldier Maneuver Sensors and Soldier Precision Target Devices, according to the notice. DOD contractors, product managers and the Technology Management Directorate will discuss the technologies.

Interested attendees are asked to reply to the notice by May 5.

By John Liang
March 29, 2023 at 1:20 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news from the Association of the United States Army's Global Force Symposium in Huntsville plus the Navy's amphibious warship procurement plans and more.

We start off with coverage from AUSA's Global Force Symposium:

Lockheed, Raytheon advance in multibillion-dollar contest to develop Stinger replacement

HUNTSVILLE, AL -- The Army has selected Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Technologies to develop competing prototypes of a next-generation short-range interceptor, a move that knocks Boeing from an expected multibillion-dollar competition to design and build a follow-on to the Stinger missile.

AFC to target near-term S&T funding with an eye to shape two FYDPs, force of 2040

HUNTSVILLE, AL -- Army Futures Command's fledgling project to begin to design the force of 2040 will target science and technology funding with a focus on two future five-year budget planning windows: 2030 to 2034 and 2035 to 2039, the first indication for how near-term spending plans could be influenced by early drafts of a very long-term blueprint.

Army estimates MYP authority for PAC-3, GMLRS will easily clear statutory savings requirement

HUNTSVILLE, AL -- The Army is making the case to congressional appropriators that multiyear procurement authority for two major munition programs -- the PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement and Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System -- will yield substantial savings compared with an annual purchase and provide crucial stability for second-tier suppliers.

Army raises future monthly 155mm artillery shell production target from 70K to 85K

HUNTSVILLE, AL -- The Army is raising the planned future monthly procurement target of 155mm artillery shells to 85,000 by 2028 -- a goal 20% higher than the 70,000-rounds-a-month goal by 2025 previously set by service Secretary Christine Wormuth -- by building more North American production capacity.

The Army's top civilian official was on Capitol Hill this week:

Wormuth: Funding for Army modernization programs could be 'reduced' if DOD goes to FY-22 levels

Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said during a House Appropriations defense subcommittee hearing that funding for some "big ticket" Army modernization programs could be "reduced" if the Defense Department is forced to return to fiscal year 2022 levels in its FY-24 budget request.

In Navy news, senior service officials were grilled by lawmakers this week on amphibious warship procurement plans:

Lawmakers drill down on amphibious warship debate

The Senate Armed Services seapower subcommittee questioned Navy officials on the lack of amphibious warships in the service's most recent budget request, drilling down on an issue that has put Navy and Marine Corps leadership at odds and left industry uncertain.

The Navy is also looking into additional development of hypersonic missile defense:

Navy R&D looks to fill gaps in missile defense

The Navy lacks the ability to defend against "complex raids" of hypersonic missiles and other threats, according to the service's newest budget request, which includes funding for the development of a more advanced interceptor system.

As for the Air Force, the service's secretary spoke this week about cruise missiles and the prospects of U.S. Space Command switching headquarters locations:

Kendall 'more committed' to HACM, questions ARRW

The Air Force is "more committed" to the Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile than the Air-launched Rapid Response weapon, service Secretary Frank Kendall said Tuesday, adding that the future of ARRW is still undecided.

Kendall: No decision yet on SPACECOM basing

No decision has been made yet regarding whether U.S. Space Command will be moved from Colorado Springs to Huntsville, AL, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall told lawmakers Tuesday.

By Nick Wilson
March 28, 2023 at 4:06 PM

Lawmakers on the Senate Armed Services seapower subcommittee are disappointed with the Navy's failure to deliver its 30-year shipbuilding plan, which they expected to receive before today's budget hearing.

“I will start with just throwing something down on the table that I’m a little bit not happy with, which is we don't yet have the 30-year shipbuilding plan,” subcommittee Chairman Tim Kaine (D-VA) said at the top of the hearing.

“When we know the hearing like this is going to be about seapower investments in shipbuilding and ship repair, of course the idea is, we get the plan first,” Kaine said. “That plan was supposed to come over with the president's budget on March 9, today is the 28th. We don't have it. We talked last week with Navy leadership [who] said that we would have it on Friday or Monday.”

During a Monday roundtable, Kaine told reporters he expected the plan would be delivered “in the next day or so.” But with no sign of the document at today’s hearing, Kaine said he now anticipates it will arrive at some point before the Senate Armed Services Committee convenes for the full Navy posture hearing. The committee has not yet announced a date for the hearing.

Ranking member Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) echoed Kaine’s comments and suggested the committee should reconvene for additional questioning once the plan is delivered.

Acting Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition Frederick Stefany, who testified before the committee, apologized but offered no explanation for the delay. Stefany told lawmakers he would reappear at a future hearing once the 30-year plan is delivered.

By Jason Sherman
March 28, 2023 at 3:51 PM

HUNTSVILLE, AL -- The Army has locked in dates for two remaining major acquisition milestones for the Army Integrated Air and Missile Defense (AIAMD) program: full-rate production is April 10 and initial operational capability declaration is April 24, according to Brig. Gen. Frank Lozano, program executive officer for missiles and space.

The full-rate production review will be led by Bill LaPlante, under secretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, and the operational declaration decision is in the hands of Brig. Gen. David Stewart, head of the 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command, Ft. Bliss, TX, and Gen. Andrew Poppas, head of Forces Command, Lozano said.

Lozano said he is unaware of any issues that could derail a full-rate production decision.

“I’m hoping for a successful review,” he told Inside Defense March 28 on the sidelines of an Association of the U.S. Army conference here.

IBCS is the main part of the Army's Integrated Air and Missile Defense program which aims to integrate Army and joint sensors and weapons across a modular open systems architecture to provide a single, integrated air picture -- allowing soldiers to both see more threats and destroy them faster and more effectively.

The baseline IBCS system integrates Patriot and Sentinel radars. That configuration has been operated during developmental testing by the 3rd Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery Regiment and is expected to be handed over to that unit to when initial operational capability is declared.

By John Liang
March 28, 2023 at 1:03 PM

This Tuesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the future of the Pentagon's unfunded priorities lists, the Navy's shipbuilding plans, the Sentinel LGM-35A nuclear missile program and more.

Looks like Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D-MA) efforts to outlaw unfunded priorities lists are bearing fruit:

DOD supports repealing law requiring unfunded priorities lists

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin supports an ongoing effort by some lawmakers to repeal a law requiring that military leaders send annual "unfunded priorities lists" to Congress outside the regular budget submission, according to a new letter from Pentagon Comptroller Mike McCord.

The Navy's shipbuilding plans have come into question by at least one lawmaker:

Collins questions proposed ship buying levels for FY-24

Contrasting projections for the U.S. fleet of 291 ships by 2028 to forecasts for China to have 440 ships, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) told naval officials Tuesday she is concerned about the Navy's shipbuilding plans in the fiscal year 2024 budget.


Kaine: Classified study affirms 31 amphibious warships; seapower subcommittee remains supportive

The Navy's classified amphibious warship study supports the need for 31 L-class ships, according to Senate Armed Services seapower subcommittee chairman, who said he is "mystified" by the lack of amphibs in the Navy’s budget request.

The successor to the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile could be facing a delay:

House panel questions potential delay in Sentinel nuclear missile

House lawmakers expressed concern Tuesday over a schedule slip in the Sentinel LGM-35A nuclear missile program, which faces a potential two-year delay.

Some funding news for the Army's Future Unmanned Aircraft System program:

Army includes $53 million in FY-24 request for new-start FUAS

The Army's fiscal year 2024 request includes $53 million for the procurement of the Future Unmanned Aircraft System family of systems.

Last but by no means least, a look at the Space Force's FY-24 budget request:

Space Force seeks $30B in FY-24 to combat emerging space threats

The Space Force is requesting $30 billion in its fiscal year 2024 budget, an increase of $3.4 billion over the FY-23 enacted figure. This funding is a critical step to combat emerging space threats and meet pacing challenges, according to an FY-24 budget overview document.

By Tony Bertuca
March 28, 2023 at 9:56 AM

The Senate Armed Services Committee voted today to advance the nominations of two key Pentagon officials.

Prior to a hearing on the fiscal year 2024 defense budget, the committee voted to advanced the nominations of Nickolas Guertin to be Navy assistant secretary for research, development and acquisition, and of Ronald Keohane to be assistant secretary of defense for manpower and reserve affairs.

The nominations now advance to the full Senate, where many of President Biden’s Pentagon picks have been blocked for months by some GOP lawmakers.

By John Liang
March 27, 2023 at 4:19 PM

HII has announced that Julie Jarrell Gresham has been named vice president and chief counsel of the company's Ingalls Shipbuilding division.

Gresham will succeed George Simmerman, who will retire at the end of this month after 32 years with the company.

Gresham, who has been with HII since 2014 and previously served as deputy chief counsel and director of compliance and privacy, will report directly to Chad Boudreaux, HII’s executive vice president and chief legal officer, and indirectly to Ingalls Shipbuilding President Kari Wilkinson.