Capitol Hill Week Ahead. The House returns this week, and the SASC pushes ahead with several hearings with top officials. On Tuesday, all of the service chiefs will be on the Hill to talk about their role in the acquisition process—a role that is expanding due to provisions in the 2016 defense authorization bill that give them more authorities. The next day, the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer Frank Kendall and Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James are scheduled to testify on the use of Russian-made rocket engines, such as the RD-180 that powers United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V.
Earnings Season. The Big Five defense primes all report 2015 earnings results this week beginning with Lockheed Martin on Tuesday followed by Boeing and General Dynamics on Wednesday and then wrapping up with Raytheon and Northrop Grumman on Thursday. Boeing is warning analysts and investors that it will take a $569 million, 84 cents earnings per share, after-tax charge in the fourth quarter due to a decision the company made to reduce the production rate of its 747-8 cargo plane because the two-year recovery in the air cargo market has stalled. Boeing says the charge won’t impact revenue or cash flow in the fourth quarter that ended Dec. 31.
…Sikorsky through September. Last week Lockheed Martin filed a form with the Securities Exchange Commission detailing financials and operations at Sikorsky Aircraft, which the company acquired from United Technologies Corp. early last November for $9 billion. According to the SEC filing, Sikorsky had $4.3 billion in sales for the first nine months of 2015, down 19 percent from $5.4 billion in the same period in 2014. Sikorsky posted $52 million in net income through September 2015 versus a $38 million loss in the first nine months of 2014.
Homestretch Plans. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson says that with one year left in the Obama administration, “I intend to get a lot done and I have given our senior staff very specific goals and timelines for accomplishments.” Speaking at a Homeland Security Advisory Council meeting, Johnson says his “principal priority” is to leave the department better than when he became secretary in December 2013.
…Einstein Update. Johnson tells the council that his department’s cyber security program that helps protect all federal civilian agencies from cyber attacks currently covers “about half of the federal civilian .Gov” networks and is ready for adoption by all federal civilian agencies and departments. The program is called EINSTEIN 3 Accelerated, or E3A, and “I’ve let my cabinet counterparts” know that the capability is available to them, he says. “And we’ve challenged them to get online with E3A as quickly as possible.” E3A monitors, detects and can block unwanted cyber intrusions, Johnson says.
Army GMLRS AW. Lockheed Martin awards Orbital ATK a $14 million contract to produce its Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) Alternative Warhead (AW) for the Army, according to an Orbital ATK statement. The GMLRS AW engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) team recently completed all developmental test/operational test flight tests, demonstrating the full functionality of the lethality enhanced ordnance (LEO) design and ability to meet the GMLRS requirements. In tests, the Orbital ATK warheads with LEO technology achieved the Army’s stated requirements for area effects, but left behind no unexploded ordnance.
F-16 SLEP. The Air Force issues a request for information (RFI) to determine industry interest supporting a future F-16 legacy structural service life extension program (SLEP), according to a notice posted on Federal Business Opportunities (FBO). The Air Force expects an industry day in third quarter FY ’16, a preliminary draft request for proposals (RFP) in second quarter FY ’17, a final RFP in fourth quarter FY ’17 and a contract award in third quarter FY ’18. For this RFI, the Air Force seeks to identify companies interested in supporting one, or more, of the following activities: manufacturing or supplying F-16 structural components; modifying tooling components; providing consumables like bolts, nuts, screws, rivets or serving as a prime integrator. The Air Force says it has a responsibility to advance the possibility for competition for hits requirement at the earliest possible juncture.
SBIRS Ground System. The Air Force completes the Space-Based Infrared System’s (SBIRS) Block 10 Integrated Test and Evaluation (IT&E) Readiness Soak, according to a service statement. This is the final Block 10 Increment 2 system test before formal evaluation by the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center. The 14-day test demonstrated total system readiness and stability for IT&E to begin, including complete command and control (C2) and mission management of the full constellation and full operational crew posture and execution of operations.
MDA Maine. The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) eliminates Maine as a candidate for a possible additional missile interceptor site, according to an agency statement. The MDA surveys, conducted in coordination with federal and state agencies, included infrastructure, water resources, transportation access and other areas for assessing the suitability of a potential site. Previously announced sites in New York, Ohio and Michigan will continue to be considered. DoD has not made a decision to deploy or construct an additional interceptor site. The FY ’13 NDAA requires MDA to evaluate candidate sites for potential future deployment of additional ground-based interceptors for homeland defense.
Orbital ATK Combustor. Orbital ATK successfully tests a 3D-printed hypersonic engine combustor at NASA Langley Research Center, according to a company statement. The combustor, produced through an additive manufacturing process known as powder bed fusion (PBF), was subjected to a variety of high-temperature hypersonic flight conditions over the course of 20 days, including one of the longest duration propulsion wind tunnel tests ever recorded for a unit of this kind. Orbital ATK and its technology partners are exploring PBF as one of several manufacturing methods.
Mayorkas To Israel. Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas is set to travel to Israel from Jan. 25-27 to deliver remarks on department cybersecurity initiatives and promote public-private partnerships at the CyberTalk 2016 Conference. Mayorkas also plans to meet with cybersecurity industry representatives, his Israeli counterparts and representatives from the Israeli National Cyber Bureau. Mayorkas and Israeli officials will discuss continued cooperation in cybersecurity, collaboration in law enforcement, and efforts to enhance border security.
Marine Corps Drone. The Navy and Marine Corps’ RQ-21A Blackjack unmanned aerial system hit initial operational capability earlier this month, meaning the first Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron is manned, trained and ready to deploy the system, says Marine Lt. Gen. Jon Davis, deputy commandant for aviation. The Blackjack, manufactured by Boeing-Insitu, is a larger cousin of the company’s ScanEagle, with a 16-foot wingspan and 25-pound payload capacity. “Achieving IOC designation means the fleet can now deploy using this critical piece of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance architecture to enhance mission success,” says Col. Eldon Metzger, program manager for the Navy and Marine Corps Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program Office (PMA-263).
…More Blackjack. The Marine Corp’s first shipboard deployment with Blackjack is scheduled for the summer, Naval Air Systems Command states in a release. A single RQ-21A system is made up of five air vehicles, two ground control systems and equipment used to launch and recover the drone. The aircraft does not need a runway to take off and land.
Weapon Upgrades. Raytheon picks up a $12 million modification to a previously awarded contract for about 52,000 hours of advanced technology insertion and integration support of Navy weapons systems, including AIM-9 Sidewinder, AIM-120 advanced medium-range air-to-air missile (AMRAAM), AGM-65 Maverick, AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW), R/UGM-109 Tomahawk, XM982 Excalibur, BGM-71 tube-launched, optically-tracked, wireless-guided (TOW) missile, Standard missile, Evolved Sea Sparrow missile, Talon, Pyros and Griffin. The award also includes line of sight/non-line of sight technologies for seekers, multi-mode seekers, tube-launched unmanned aircraft systems, autonomous weapons employment and precision targeting. The funds will be obligated in individual delivery orders, the contract announcement notes, and work is expected to wrap up by April 2017.
F-35 Contract. The Navy awards Lockheed Martin a $9 million modification to a previously issued delivery order for procurement and installation of air vehicle retrofit kits. The kits support F-35 Block 3F and Navy initial operational capability-related engineering change proposals. Work is scheduled to be completed in August 2018, around the time the aircraft reaches IOC.
USNS Carson City Delivery. The expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Carson City (EPF 7) was christened in a Jan. 16 ceremony in Mobile, Ala. Built by Austal, the Carson City is the seventh of 10 planned ships in the class formerly known as the Joint High Speed Vessel. The 338-foot shallow draft aluminum catamaran will be used to transport troops and supplies. The first vessel in the class, USNS Spearhead, is currently on its fifth deployment, Austal says.
On Track In Iraq. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. They discussed recent progress in the counter-ISIL campaign, including Carter’s commitment that the U.S. military will intensify its fight against ISIL, working closely with the government of Iraq, according to a statement from the Pentagon. Carter congratulated the prime minister on the Iraqi Security Forces’ success in Ramadi but acknowledged there is still tough fighting ahead. They discussed the next steps in the campaign including the upcoming meeting of counter-ISIL coalition defense ministers in Brussels. They emphasized the importance of maintaining pressure on ISIL forces on multiple fronts. They also agreed that the training of local police forces will be a critical need as the fight against ISIL advances.
Audit Canceled. The Defense Department Inspector General (IG) announces the cancellation of an audit of the Army’s movement of sensitive cargo throughout Europe. Launched Nov. 10, the audit was aimed at finding whether the Army is accurately accounting for and safeguarding sensitive cargo transported within U.S. European Command. “We are terminating this audit because of ongoing work by the Government Accountability Office. We determined that performing the audit would result in inefficient use of resources,” the DoD IG says.