Defense Watch: Hurd Wins, SASC Hearing, Global Hawks For Japan

A Hurd-Won Victory. Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas.) won his reelection race after his challenger, Air Force veteran Gina Ortiz-Jones, conceded in a statement issued Nov. 19. Their race ended with one of the tightest vote margins in the state, with Hurd receiving 49.2 percent of the votes and Ortiz-Jones getting 48.6 percent, according to reports. A former CIA agent, Hurd currently serves as the chairman on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s Information Technology Subcommittee and as the vice chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security’s Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee. He also serves on Homeland Security’s Counterterrorism and Intelligence Subcommittee, as well as on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He is a member of the Congressional Caucus on the Air Force.

Japan to Receive New Global Hawks. The Air Force Nov. 19 awarded Northrop Grumman a nearly $490 million definitization and increase in scope fixed-price-incentive-fee and cost-plus-incentive-fee contract for Japan’s Global Hawk program. The contract includes three RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 30i air vehicles, each containing an enhanced integrated sensor suite payload, two ground control elements, spares and support equipment, system engineering and program management tasks required to execute, manage, control, and report on all program activities, and a site survey, according to the contract release. Work will be performed in San Diego and is expected to be completed by Sept. 1, 2022.

SASC Hearing. The Senate Armed Services Committee has scheduled a hearing to review the findings and recommendations of the Commission on the National Defense Strategy on Nov. 27 at 9:30 a.m. The bipartisan commission, created by Congress in 2017, released a report earlier this month titled “Providing for the Common Defense,” that assessed the U.S. security environment and wellbeing “are at greater risk than at any time in decades,” and that the country’s military superiority “has eroded to a dangerous degree.”

Setting Sail. The Coast Guard’s seventh National Security Cutter, Kimball, sailed away earlier this month from shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls Industries’ shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss., for its homeport in Honolulu, Hawaii, where it will be commissioned in January. The 418-foot cutter was delivered to the Coast Guard in September. It will be the first NSC stationed in Hawaii.

…New Member. Meanwhile, the Coast Guard also earlier in November commissioned its 29th Fast Response Cutter, Forrest Rednour, in San Pedro, Calif., the first of four FRCs that will be stationed in the Pacific Ocean port just south of Los Angeles. So far, shipbuilder Bollinger Shipyards has delivered 31 of the 154-foot FRCs. The Coast Guard has ordered 50 of a planned buy of 58 FRCs.

MDA Simulator. The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) awarded Lockheed Martin a $240 million maximum contract to support development, deployment, and sustainment of the Objective Simulation Framework Modeling & Simulation framework on Nov. 19. MDA said this framework leverages existing or mature missile defense modeling and simulation capabilities with a modular, scalable, reconfigurable, and composable architecture. At the time of award, Lockheed Martin won a $45 million task order. The work will occur in Huntsville, Ala., and has an order period running through November 2023.

Landing Backward. A British pilot landed an F-35B backward for the first time on the U.K.’s new aircraft carrier the HMS Queen Elizabeth during Westlant 18 trials off the East Coast of the U.S., the Royal Navy said on Nov. 19. The landing involved a Royal Air Force test pilot flying an F-35B facing the stern rather than the bow before bringing it to a hover, moving over to the flight deck, then setting down. The Royal Navy said this maneuver, akin to driving the wrong way down a one-way street, aims to give pilots and the flight deck more options to land to F-35B in an emergency. U.K. pilots had previously conducted conventional landings and rolling landings. This test occurred at the end of nine weeks of intensive jet trials with the new carrier, which is due back to the U.K. in Mid-December.

T-AGS. Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) awarded VT Halter Marine Inc. a not-to-exceed $9 million undefinitized contract action for the functional design engineering, procurement of long-lead time material and limited advanced production for Oceanographic Survey Ship T-AGS-67.  The work will mostly occur in Pascacougla, Miss., and is expected to be finished by May 2019. The contract was not competitively procured.

UAV LoI. The French Naval Group signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) with the Netherlands’ Atmos UAV to test and evaluate its fixed-wing Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) product. The agreement, made public on Nov. 15, occurred during the 30th Netherlands Industries for Defense and Security (NIDV) exhibit. This LoI seeks to explore the preliminary phase of the technology within a larger comprehensive UAV testing and integration program, the Naval Group said. “New capabilities such as UAVs, will play a key role in future operational requirements, and we believe that by testing them at a very early stage, Naval Group will be able to offer cutting-edge solutions to its international customers”, Mark van Rooij, Naval Group Netherlands CEO, said in a statement.

EU Defense Projects. The European Union’s new defense group on Monday formally agreed upon 17 new projects, including the development of new unmanned ground systems and the creation of an intelligence operations training center. The Permanent Structured Cooperation, established in December 2017, announced its member nations would work collectively toward developing a modular unmanned ground system capable of carrying ISR and tethered drone payloads, as well as building new Beyond Life of Sight Land Battlefield Missile systems. The group also settled on creating a Joint EU Intelligence School and standing up two Test and Evaluation Centers in Sweden and France. Other projects include upgrades to European Attack Helicopters TIGER Mark III, development of a counter unmanned aerial system and the creation of a Deployable Military Disaster Relief Capability Package. The new projects join an additional 17 the group officially adopted in March.

$4B Army Marketing. Omnicom’s global advertising firm DDB Worldwide has received a 10-year, $4 billion Army marketing contract, the Pentagon said Tuesday. Five bids were solicited for the work. The contract arrives after an acquisition process marked by two protests from advertising agency McCann. McCann’s first protest was sustained, and led to the Army amending the initial request for proposals to include compliance reviews in the evaluation process. GAO announced last week the second protest, originally filed in August, was denied. McCann argued the Army eliminated its proposal from consideration without a full evaluation.

ISR Aircraft/Morocco. Seeker Aircraft has announced a new partnership with IT company Nevo Technologies to expand the market for its signature intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance light observation aircraft into Northern Africa, specifically Morocco. The aircraft is now available to be purchased through Nevo, which has offices in Morocco. “Nevo Technologies is well suited to represent Seeker in our efforts to expand marketing, sales and services into Morocco,” Ed Lundeen, president of Seeker Aircraft, said in a statement. “We are pleased to have formalized this relationship, knowing Nevo’s expertise in providing the best in class customized national security solutions, the Seeker is a perfect match for Nevo to market the unique and highly-specialized qualities of the aircraft.”

Angstadt SCW-9. Gun manufacturer Angstadt Arms announced it has submitted its SCW-9 weapon for the Army’s submachine gun competition. The Army announced the competition over the summer, and Angstadt is one of six companies to have delivered prototype weapons to the Army in October. The company describes the SCW-9 as “designed to meet the strict requirements of the U.S. Army Sub Compact Weapon Program.” The gun is described as 14.7” long and weighing 4 pounds, while offering fully ambidextrous controls, including magazine release and safety selector. Officials also said the SCW-9 is capable of firing 1,110 rounds per minute.





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