Afghan A-29s. The Afghan Air Force (AAF), which currently has 12 Embraer/Sierra Nevada Corp. A-29 Super Tucano light-attack aircraft, is expected to receive seven more A-29s by late 2018, as pilots and maintenance personnel finish their training, according to a recent U.S. Department of Defense report to Congress. The AAF is authorized to receive six additional A-29s, which would boost the fleet to 25 aircraft. The A-29s can carry bombs, rockets and machine guns. While technical glitches have delayed the use of laser-guided bombs, A-29 pilots are achieving high accuracy with unguided bombs, the report says.
Webb Telescope. The October 2018 launch of the James Webb Space Telescope may be delayed to avoid a conflict with BepiColombo, Europe’s first mission to Mercury, according to NASA. Both spacecraft are slated to be launched from the European Spaceport in French Guiana. The European Space Agency, which is involved in both missions, and launch vehicle provider Arianespace “will resolve the launch date conflict,” NASA says. “If BepiColombo is manifested for the October 2018 launch, Webb’s launch windows retain enough flexibility that it could launch only a few months later than originally scheduled.”
Landsat-9. NASA expects to pick a launch vehicle for Landsat-9 before year’s end, an agency spokesman says. Orbital ATK will build the Earth-imaging satellite for NASA, and the U.S. Geological Survey will operate the spacecraft. A late-2020 liftoff is planned. Landsat-8 was launched in 2013 on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas 5 rocket.
CRS-12. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to lift off Aug. 14 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to deliver more than 6,400 pounds of equipment and supplies to the International Space Station. It will be the company’s 12th commercial resupply services (CRS-12) mission to the orbiting laboratory.
TDRS-M. NASA’s newest Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-M), built by Boeing, is scheduled to lift off Aug. 18 on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas 5 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. A network of TDRS satellites sends data to and from Earth ground stations to support NASA missions, such as the Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space Station.
CVN-68 PIA Award. The Navy awards Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding [HII] a $36.4 million contract for maintenance and modernization onboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) during the fiscal year 2017 planned incremental availability (PIA) at Norfolk Naval Shipyard. Work will be completed by March 2018 at Portsmouth, Va. and Newport News, Va. The contract is not competitively procured in accordance with U.S. Code with only one responsible source can satisfy the service’s requirement to support certain nuclear ship alterations and propulsion plant maintenance during the planned incremental availability.
...And CVN-69 Too. The Navy awards General Dynamics [GD] a $24 million modification to a previously awarded contract for the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) fiscal year 2017 planned incremental availability (PIA). The PIA includes the planning and execution of depot-level maintenance, alterations, and modifications that will update and improve the ship’s military and technical capabilities. Work will occur in Portsmouth, Va. and is expected to be finished by March 2018.
SM-3 Block IIA. The Missile Defense Agency awards Raytheon a $66.4 million sole-source cost-plus-fixed-fee, cost-plus-incentive-fee modification for Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) integration, test, and Aegis Ashore support under the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA contract. Under this modification, Raytheon will continue efforts for engineering services, analysis, and material in support of the SM-3 Block IIA program efforts. This includes BMD 5.1 engineering, integration, certification and test efforts; post events assessment support; and flight terminations systems in support of the Aegis Ashore flight test mission for the SM-3 Block IIA program. This award brings the total contract value up to $2.073 billion. Work will occur in Tuscon, Ariz. with an expected completion date of Sept. 2018.
SM-6. The Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) awards Raytheon a $32 million modification to a previously awarded contract for procurement of long-lead material in support of fiscal 2017 Standard Missile-6 full-rate production requirements and spares. The work is expected to be finished by March 2020. Fiscal Year 2017 Navy weapons procurement funding of $7.7 million is obligated at award time and does not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.
DDG-1000. NAVSEA awards Rolls-Royce a $27 million firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee, cost only modification to a previously awarded contract to procure provisioned item orders, and an increase in engineering services and associated support ceiling for DDG-1000 class turbine-generator sets. The class main and auxiliary turbine generator sets provide the ship’s primary source of electricity. The sets include the gas turbine engines, generators, control systems, and mounting equipment necessary to generate power for the DDG-1000 class of ships. Work will be finished by Sept. 2022.
Trident II D5 Support. The Navy awards Lockheed Martin [LMT] a $22 million unpriced-letter contract for long lead material and the labor, planning and scheduling necessary to support the fiscal 2018 Trident II D5 missile production schedule. Work will occur in Sunnyvale, Calif. and is expected to be finished by Sept. 2022.
F-35 Support. Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) awards Lockheed Martin a $29 million delivery order issued against a previously issues basic ordering agreement (BOA) for supplies and services in support of F-35 milestone event capabilities. This includes retrofit modification kits and installation services for the Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, and non-Defense Department participants. The work will occur in Fort Worth, Texas and is expected to be finished by July 2020.
Air Force Hacking Program. HackerOne announces its Air Force bug bounty program resulted in the disclosure of 2,017 network vulnerabilities. The “Hack the Air Force” program ran from May 30 to June 23, and included 272 ethical hackers combing through the Air Force’s public IT domains in search of security vulnerabilities. This was the largest federal bug bounty program to data, and included international participation with hackers from the U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Air Force No. 2. Matthew Donovan was formally sworn in as Air Force undersecretary during an Aug. 11 ceremony at the Pentagon. Donovan, a former fighter pilot and congressional aide, was confirmed by the Senate Aug. 1 and administratively sworn in Aug. 3.
Navy PE Appointment. New Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer and Chief of Naval Operations John Richardson announce the assignment of Capt. Sara Joyner as the lead for the aviation physiological episodes (PE) effort in Washington, DC. The position is recommended in a June report by Adm. Scott Swift on the issue. Joyner currently serves as director of the Navy Senate Liaison in the Office of Legislative Affairs and in March is nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral (lower half). Joyner is known as the first woman to assume command of an operational fighter squadron in 2007 and the first woman carrier airwing commander in 2013.