Afghan Aviation Support. The Army awarded Leidos Innovation Corp. a $727 million firm-fixed-price contract to provide support for the Afghan Air Force and Special Mission Wing  helicopter and fixed-wing fleets. Leidos was the only bidder. The work will be performed in Kabul, Afghanistan, and is expected to be completed by May 2020. The Army is obligating $126.7 million in fiscal year 2017 operations and maintenance funds at the time of the award.

More Missiles. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control took home a $548 million contract modification for a Hellfire II missile production requirement that consists of 7,358 Hellfire II tactical missiles in containers, in various air-to ground missiles models. The contract is slated to finish in Sept. 2020. The Army obligated $548 million in procurement funds at the time of the award.Pentagon_anddowntown_

Airborne C2. The Air Force and Navy plan to kick off an analysis of alternatives (AoA) in early 2018 to look at options for using a common platform to replace three aging planes: the Air Force E-4B command-and-control aircraft, a militarized version of the Boeing 747; the Navy E-6B command-and-control aircraft, a derivative of the Boeing 707; and the Air Force C-32A VIP transport, a specially configured version of the Boeing 757. An AoA normally lasts 12 to 18 months. Adm. Bill Moran, vice chief of naval operations, and Air Force Gen. John Hyten, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, have both publicly expressed interest in such a joint study.

Low Cost Terminal. A Lockheed Martin-Northrop Grumman team says it recently demonstrated that the industry-funded Low Cost Terminal (LCT) can connect with an on-orbit Air Force Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) protected-communications satellite. The team says LCT would allow more warfighters to use AEHF and that it is “seeking government partners to help champion the final production-version LCT for government certification.” The terminal could be available for fielding as early as late 2018. AEHF “can potentially support many more users than there are terminals available today,” the team says. “LCT can enable more tactical warfighters to be able to use protected satellite communications, so they can have assured connectivity in contested environments.”

Commercial Drones. Spreading its wings well beyond defense, Lockheed Martin has signed up to be a platinum sponsor for the upcoming Drone World Expo, which will focus on the commercial application of unmanned aircraft. Lockheed Martin’s commercial drone offerings include Hydra Fusion Tools, which fuses maps, images, video and intelligence into three-dimensional formats, and Commercial Aviation Inspection Services, which uses the fixed-wing, eight-hour-endurance Stalker XE drone to collect imagery. The third annual Drone World Expo takes place Oct. 3 and 4 in San Jose, Calif.      

Ending Cassini. NASA plans to intentionally plunge the Cassini orbiter into Saturn’s atmosphere Sept. 15, causing the spacecraft to burn up and ending an exploration mission of nearly 20 years. Built by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Cassini was launched on a Lockheed Martin Titan IVB/Centaur in 1997 to study the ringed planet and its moons. Cassini began orbiting Saturn in 2004.

Drone Assist. The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) USS Coronado (LCS-4) conducted a successful live-fire test of the Harpoon Block 1C missile near Guam on Aug. 22, hitting a surface target beyond the ship’s visual range. The Navy says an MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned aerial system (UAS) and MH-60S Seahawk helicopter, part of the LCS-4 detachment, provided targeting support to the Harpoon test. This is the second LCS-4 Harpoon live fire test, with the first occurring during the July 2016 RIMPAC exercise. The Navy says the Harpoon test shows an LCS can fire an over-the-horizon missile while deployed overseas.

Fitzgerald Transport. The Navy’s Military Sealift Command awarded Patriot Shipping a $3.1 million contract for the heavy lift of the severely damaged USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62). The contract calls for Patriot Shipping to move DDG-62 from Yokosuka, Japan, to Pascagoula, Miss., where it will be repaired by Huntington Ingalls Industries. The heavy lift work will be completed by November.

LCS-18 Christening. The Navy plans to christen the future USS Charleston (LCS-18), the newest Independence-variant littoral combat ship (LCS), during a ceremony on Aug. 26 in Mobile, Ala. Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer will deliver the principal address and Charlotte Riley, wife of the former longtime mayor of the ship’s namesake of Charleston, S.C., Joe Riley, will serve as ships’ sponsor.

ESB-4 Launch. The Navy launched the USNS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams (ESB-4) at the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard on Aug. 19. After launch, the ship completed construction and final outfitting before going out to sea for tests and trials before delivery in early 2018. The Navy plans to power many ship systems by September. The Williams will support aviation mine countermeasures and special operations forces missions with a flight deck, a hangar, work spaces, ordnance storage, and a reconfigurable mission deck area.

New Enterprise. Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding cut a 35-ton steel plate at a ceremony to start advance construction of the future USS Enterprise (CVN-80), the expected third Ford-class aircraft carrier. The plate will be part of the ship’s foundation. The ship’s sponsors are U.S. Olympic gold medalists Simone Biles and Katie Ledecky, who ceremoniously gave the order to cut the steal. The company expects a CVN-80 detail design and construction contract in 2018 and is performing this initial work under an advance fabrication contract awarded in 2017.

LMT F-35. The Naval Air Systems Command awarded Lockheed Martin a $427 million order for procurement of ancillary military equipment (AME) and pilot flight equipment (PFE) for low rate initial production Lot 11 F-35 aircraft. The order against a previously issues basic ordering agreement (BOA) covers F-35s for the Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, non-Department of Defense (DoD) participants, and foreign military sales (FMS) customers. AME includes equipment like aircraft-mounted missile launchers, pylons, and missionized gun pods while PFE includes pilot interface connectors, pilot cooling units, and data cartridges.

…More F-35. NAVAIR also awarded the company a $53.5 million delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement that provides for supplies and services in support of the F-35 milestone event capabilities. This includes retrofit modification kits and installation services for the Marine Corps, Air Force, Navy, and non-DoD participants. 

DoD Appointments. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis announced the appointments of a cadre of folks to the Department of Defense Senior Executive Service, including Addison D. Davis IV as the principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for Energy, Installations, and Environment. Davis is the former chief executive officer for the Army Reserve and served as deputy assistant secretary of the Army for Environment, Safety, and Occupational Health. Davis is a former Army Ranger, and is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy and Harvard University. Matthew Shipley, a former military legislative assistant to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), was selected as the deputy assistant secretary for Force Readiness.

…Other Appointees. Charles Fred Drummond was selected as deputy assistant secretary of defense for Force Education and Training. He is a former naval flight officer and former branch head of Navy Education Strategy and Policy. Richard Landolt was selected as the defense advisor to the NATO ambassador. Landolt is a former executive director of public safety for the city of Mobile, Ala. He is a retired Navy rear admiral. Finally, John Stopher was appointed director of the Principal Department of Defense Space Advisor Staff. He is a former budget director for the House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. 

Harris Dividend. Harris Corp. says its board has approved an 8 percent increase in its quarterly dividend to 57 cents per share, up four cents from the current shareholder payment, and bringing the annual dividend to $2.28 per share. Harris says the dividend hike is its 16th consecutive annual dividend increase and demonstrates it confidence in generating strong cash flow and commitment to shareholders.

New TSA HQ. The General Services Administration has decided to relocate the Transportation Security Administration’s headquarters from Arlington County, Va., to Springfield, Va., in Fairfax County, providing the agency with up 625,000 square feet of office space over the next few years. GSA has awarded real estate developer Boston Properties $316 million to develop the Springfield site, according to the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority.

Navy Aircraft Support. The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division awards DynCorp International LLC a $54 million contract for aircraft maintenance, modification, and aircrew support for the Naval Test Wing Pacific. This includes organizational-level aircraft maintenance and logistics support on aircraft, systems/subsystems aircrew systems, search-and-rescue equipment, and support equipment for P-3 Orion, C-130 Hercules, F/A-18 Hornet, E/A-18 Growler, AV-8B Harrier II, H-60 Black Hawk, and T-39 Sabreliner aircraft. Most of the work will occur in China Lake, Calif. and Point Mugu, Calif. with an expected completion date of Oct. 2018. The contract is competitively procured via electronic request for proposals with four offers received.

Newport News CFO. Huntington Ingalls Industries announces the appointment of Don Godwin as vice president of business management and Newport News Shipbuilding’s chief financial officer (CFO). Godwin succeeds Mike Helpinstill who is joining HII’s corporate staff as vice president of strategic transactions. Godwin begins the role on Sept. 5 and will report to shipyard president Jennifer Boykin. He previously served as CFO of Hitachi Data Systems Federal and of Harris Corp.

PACOM Philippines. Adm, Harry Harris Jr., commander of U.S. Pacific Command, visited the Philippines to meet with military and government leaders including President Rodrigo Duterte; Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana; Gen. Eduardo Año, chief of staff of the Philippine armed forces; and Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano. Harris and Duterte discussed ongoing efforts to end the conflict in Marawi, interoperability between their militaries, and regional threats. Meetings also focused on upcoming bilateral engagements, recent aid and military assistance the U.S. has provided the Philippines, and opportunities for further U.S. support in Marawi, where ISIS-affiliated militants are battling the army

McCain Cyber Speech. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) offered strong criticism of the Trump administration’s slow approach to forming a cyber security policy at an Aug. 23 speech to the Arizona State University’s Cybersecurity Conference. “Unfortunately, leadership from the executive branch on cyber security has been weak. As America’s enemies seized the initiative in cyberspace, the last administration offered no serious cyber deterrence policy and strategy. And while the current administration promised a cyber policy within 90 days of inauguration, we still have not seen a plan.” McCain believes the cyber responsibilities of federal agencies remain poorly defined and the U.S. capability to defend against complex attacks will become insufficient if the status quo remains in place.

…More McCain Cyber. In his speech, McCain detailed his committee’s plan to deliver a coherent cyber security policy. “We have been working to ensure that the Department of Defense and our military have the resources, personnel, and capabilities necessary to deter, defend against, and respond to our adversaries in cyberspace.” McCain points to the FY ‘18 defense authorization bill, currently awaiting Senate approval, as important for establishing a national cyber security policy for defining threats and requiring the Department of Defense to conduct a full cyber posture review. “Our progress continues in the most recent National Defense Authorization Act. Since successive administrations have failed to produce a cyber security policy, the NDAA establishes one. It requires that the United States should employ all instruments of national power, including the use of offensive cyber capabilities, to deter and respond to cyber attacks.”