AMPV Update. The Army’s program to replace the Vietnam-era M113 troop transport took a step toward production this week when the first hull started down the weld line at BAE Systems’ York, Pa., manufacturing facility. The company announces the minor milestone for the armored multi-purpose vehicle (AMPV) on Twitter and Facebook.
… Audit. The Pentagon’s independent spending watchdog in March launched an audit of AMPV to “determine whether the Army is effectively managing the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle acquisition program.” The Defense Department Inspector General will inspect the books of the Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command in Warren, Mich. So far, the AMPV program has progressed, slowly but surely, in the background of more high-profile acquisition efforts.
… And Another. The DoD IG announced this week it is performing a deep dive on the Army’s basic financial statements from the past two years, as required by a 1990 law. “Our audit objective is to determine whether the Army General Fund Basic Financial Statements as of Sept. 30, 2016, and Sept. 30, 2015, taken as a whole, were presented fairly, in all material respects, and in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America. We will review the Army General Fund Consolidated Balance Sheet as of Sept. 30, 2016, and Sept. 30, 2015, and the related Consolidated Statement of Net Cost, Consolidated Statement of Changes in Net Position, Combined Statement of Budgetary Resources, and related notes. In addition, we will review internal controls related to the reliability of financial reporting and compliance with laws and regulations that apply to these financial statements,” the IG says in a letter to senior Army officials.
GPS Contracts. The Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center announces the award of three Global Positioning System (GPS) III Space Vehicles (SVs) 11+ Phase 1 production readiness feasibility assessment contracts to Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman. The three contracts are firm, fixed-price contracts not to exceed $6 million, with a base contract of $5 million, plus two $500,000 options. The periods of performance are 26 months for the basic contract, and six months each for the two options, for a total possible period of performance of 38 months. The scope of these contracts include insight into each of the contractor’s readiness efforts in preparation for the Phase 2 competition for production SVs and includes access to design artifacts as well as a demonstration of navigation payload capability. GPS III SV11+ will use the current GPS III SV01-08 requirements baseline with the addition of a redesigned Nuclear Detonation Detection System Government Furnished Equipment hosted payload, a Search and Rescue/GPS GFE hosted payload, a Laser Retro-reflector Array GFE hosted payload, Unified S-Band compliance capability, and a regional military protection capability.
Falcon 9 Launch. The JCSAT-14 satellite successfully launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 vehicle early Friday morning from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. JCSAT-14 is a communications satellite designed and manufactured by Space Systems/Loral for SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation in Tokyo, Japan. The satellite is expected to provide TV programming and broadband services in Japan, Asia, Oceania, Russia, and the Pacific region for upward of 15 years. The JCSAT-14 is replacing an older model, JCSAT-2A. SpaceX also successfully lands its first stage booster on its droneship, the company says on Twitter. This is the second time SpaceX has landed a first stage.
ULA Finds Anomaly. United Launch Alliance (ULA) determined the cause of a March 22 launch anomaly in the delivery of the OA-6 Cygnus spacecraft. After reviewing the data, the ULA engineering team found an anomaly with the RD-180 Mixture Ratio Control Valve (MRCV) assembly that caused a reduction in fuel flow during the boost phase of flight. All RD-180 engines are currently being inspected.
…Plus MUOS-5 Prep. ULA is preparing an Atlas V launch vehicle for the upcoming MUOS-5 launch by completing the Launch Vehicle on Stand (LVOS) operation. This erects the Atlas V into the Vertical Integration Facility at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. LVOS allows configuration of the vehicle to support RD-180 engine inspections and confirm components are ready for launch. The MUOS-5 launch is targeted for early summer 2016, however a new launch date is not yet secured. The impact of the remainder of the Atlas V manifest is in review with new launch dates being coordinated with customers. All missions set for 2016 are expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Airport Relief. The Senate Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee has approved a reprogramming request to shift $34 million within the Transportation Security Administration’s budget to increase the number of security officers at U.S. airports to help mitigate wait times at security checkpoints, says Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.), chairman of the panel. The approval on Wednesday came the same day that Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson requested the reprogramming “to allow TSA to expand the work hours of screening officers in peak periods at high volume airports.”
…Other Measures. Johnson says he has directed TSA to take a number of steps to improve the passenger wait time issue at the nation’s airports. One is to increase the number of screening officers at security checkpoints. A second is having the agency increase its outreach efforts to enroll flyers into the PreCheck trusted traveler program. A third effort is to collaborate with airports and airlines for support in non-security screening operations such as bin returns to the front of the line and other non-security related tasks.
Advanced Ammo. Orbital ATK President and CEO David Thompson says on his company’s earnings call that a strategic initiative begun this year to develop advanced precision ammunition and other munitions across its portfolio resulted in the demonstration of an initial version of a 30-millimeter air burst round that works with its medium caliber gun systems. If the development work goes as planned, he expects initial production deliveries of advanced precision ammunition and other munitions to begin in mid-2018. Thompson says the goal is to apply the precision ammunition to multiple calibers and “thousands of existing ground, sea and air gun platforms.”
Raytheon UAS. Raytheon is increasing deliveries of its small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and forming a new UAS directorate within the Advanced Missile Systems product line in Tuscon, Ariz. The directorate combines small UAS airframe/integration expertise with mission payload, command and control, and technology from the company. Company small UAS include the Coyote and SilverFox platforms.
New JPL Director. Michael Watkins is appointed the new director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and vice president at Caltech starting July 1. Watkins succeeds Charles Elachi, who retires on June 30 and moves to the Caltech faculty. Watkins previously serves as the Clare Cockrell Williams Centennial Chair in Aerospace Engineering and Director of the Center for Space Research at the University of Texas at Austin. Earlier, Watkins worked at JPL for 22 years, holding leadership roles on various high-profile NASA missions. Watkins was picked following a search conducted by a committee composed of Caltech trustees, faculty, senior administrative leaders, and a member of the JPL executive council.
Helicopter Design Review. Lockheed Martin says it has completed the Combat Rescue Helicopter Program (CRH) Air Vehicle Preliminary Design Review (PDR). The review signals the CRH program is proceeding with detailed design activities for the HH-60W Air Vehicle and Logistics system, the company says. During a five-day meeting in April, the review included government and industry collaborators to demonstrate the design meets system requirements. Participants include officials from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Air Force acquisition team, representatives of the Air Force operational combat rescue community, and the Lockheed Martin industry team. Sikorsky, which was bought by Lockheed Martin, won the $1.2 billion Air Force Combat Rescue Helicopter engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) contract in June 2014.
Air Force Cyber Wargame. The Air Force Cyber College conducted a two-day cyber wargame that has security experts analyze how they handle cyber threats independently and how they could team to improve combat cyber incidents of national significance. During the exercise at Maxwell AFB, Ala., three scenarios took place for agencies to act as they would in the real world: cyber attacks on the financial sector, against power supplies/grids, and transportation. Following the scenarios, participants looked at how to share information in time to stop attacks. Participants include the CIA, FBI, Goldman Sachs, and other military, government agencies, and private industry groups.
CloudPassage Award. CloudPassage was awarded as the Most Innovative Cybersecurity Company in the mid-size company category for the 2016 Cybersecurity Excellence Awards, voted on by over 300,000 security professionals participating in the LinkedIn Information Security Community. CloudPassage won among almost 200 vendors nominated. Mid-size companies included those with between 101 to 1,000 employees. The awards honor individuals, products, and companies that demonstrate excellence, innovation, and leadership in information security.
…And Skycure Too. Skycure also won in the Cybersecurity Excellence Awards in the mobile security product category for demonstrating product excellence and innovation in information security. “With a record of over 430 entries, the awards are highly competitive and reflect the dynamic pace of growth and innovation in the cybersecurity space,” Holger Schulze, founder of the Information Security Community on LinkedIn, says in a statement.
CRS Cyber. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) produced an updated report compiling legislation, hearings and executive branch document information related to cybersecurity vulnerabilities and challenges, R43317. In addition to listing the documents by category, the report also referred to CRS reports on various legislation and executive documents. The report updates information through April 20, 2016.
DIA Support. Booz Allen Hamilton won an indefinite-delivery/indefinite quantity contract with a maximum value of $400 million to support enterprise management services for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) Chief Information Officer (CIO) and other Intelligence Community/Defense Department elements. The contract will provide help desk support for community-wide Intelligence Community Information Technology Enterprise Desktop Environment implementation. Contract funding is set to be obligated on individual fixed-price and cost-type task orders, with the five-year ordering period ending on May 3, 2021. The full contract vehicle is solicited on the basis of a full open competition with five proposals received. Work is to be performed in the National Capital Region with additional global locations. The contracting activity is the Virginia Contracting Activity, based in Washington, D.C.