Open Skies RFP. The Air Force expects to release a final RFP for the OC-135 Open Skies recap program in late June, according to an April 18 notice on FedBizOpps.

The program includes two new commercially derived aircraft to replace the service’s current OC-135B planes, with a contract award expected in February 2020.

F-35 to Middle East. The Air Force’s F-35A arrived in the Middle East for its first deployment April 15, Air Force Central Command said Monday. The F-35A Lightning IIs are from active duty 388th and reserve 419th Fighter Wings at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, and will be based at Al-Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates. “We are adding a cutting-edge weapons system to our arsenal that significantly enhances the capability of the coalition,” said Lt. Gen. Joseph T. Guastella, commander of U.S. Air Forces Central Command. “The sensor fusion and survivability this aircraft provides to the joint force will enhance security and stability across the theater and deter aggressors.”

F-35 Engines. United Technologies Corp.’s Pratt & Whitney said a recent $202 million modification for long-lead material for F-35 engines covers Lot 14 F135 engines overall and not a specific subset (Defense Daily, April 16). A Pratt & Whtiney spokesperson told Defense Daily that the Lot 14 engine advanced procurement is expected to support delivery of up to 153 engines, which will be built in 2021-2022. The spokesperson added the award supports acquisition of long-lead material to support overall engine build, and is not tied to a specific number of engines. Each F-35 Joint Strike Fighter features one F135 engine.

A 380th Air Expeditionary Maintenance Group crew chief meets an F-35A Lightning IIs pilot at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, April 15, 2019. The F-35A Lightning II is deployed to the Air Forces Central Command Area of Responsibility for the first time in U.S. Air Force history. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Chris Thornbury)

Munitions. The Air Force on April 15 awarded Boeing a $65 million indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (ID/IQ) contract for Small Diameter Bomb Increment I miniature munitions for sale to more than 12 countries. The contract provides for integration, sustainment and support of SDB Increment I miniature munition and carriage system on various Foreign Military Sales aircraft platforms, including Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Greece, Israel, South Korea, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Singapore and any other future country with an approved letter of offer and acceptance. Work will be performed in St. Louis, Missouri, various Air Force test ranges, and in each respective country, and is expected to be complete by April 15, 2029. FMS funds in the amount of $2.5 million were obligated at time of award.

2020 House Race. Marie Newman announced April 16 she would challenge Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) in the 2020 primary elections, following her close defeat against the incumbent in the 2018 midterm elections. Lipinski, who assumed office in 2005, is a member of the House Science, Space and Technology’s Research and Technology and Energy Subcommittees, and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, to include the aviation subcommittee.

KC-135 LAIRCM Hits Milestone. Northrop Grumman announced April 17 that its Generation 3 Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) pod for the KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft has achieved Milestone C, leading to the beginning of production and deployment. LAIRCM is an infrared countermeasure system to detects, tracks and jams incoming missiles. Earlier versions are deployed on the Air Force’s C-130 and C-17 military transport aircraft.

Air Force Support Contract. The Air Force on April 16 awarded Lockheed Martin an $879 million ID/IQ contract for Reentry System/Reentry Vehicles (RS/RV) subsystem support. The contract provides for sustainment engineering, maintenance engineering, aging surveillance, modification of systems and equipment, software maintenance, developmental engineering, production engineering, and procurement of the Minuteman III RS/RV subsystem and related support equipment. Work will be performed primarily in King of Prussia, Pa. and Hill Air Force Base, Utah, and is expected to be complete by June 4, 2030. The award is the result of a sole-source acquisition. Fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $7.8 million are being obligated on the first task order at the time of award.

NGAD AoA. Vice Chief of Naval Operations (VCNO) Adm. William Moran said last week at an event at the Center for Strategic and International Studies that the Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) analysis of alternative (AoA) is due in the next month or two. Moran underscored NGAD is about replacing the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet capabilities once its service life ends, but not in any specific way. “It’s a capability replacement. So we’re not defining NGAD as a thing, as in another airplane. It might be. But it might be a series of things that contribute to an effective capability from the carrier that can operate forward,” Moran said. The VCNO was recently nominated to become the next CNO. His nomination hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee is scheduled for April 30.

DDG-117 PSA. Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) awarded BAE Systems Jacksonville (Fla.) Ship Repair a $24 million modification to exercise options for the guided-missile destroyer USS Paul Ignatius (DDG-117) post-shakedown availability (PSA). The Navy said the PSA occurs within 16 weeks between the time a ship is transferred to the Navy and the shipbuilding and conversion obligation work limiting date. DDG-117 was delivered in February and is set to be commissioned in July. The work will cover correction of government responsible trial card deficiencies, new work identified between transferring custody of the ship and the time of the PSA, and incorporating approved engineering changes not incorporated during the construction period. Work is expected to be finished by May 2020.

…RAM Work. NAVSEA awarded Raytheon a $72 million modification to exercise an option for Design Agent and Engineering Support Services for the Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) MK-31 Guided Missile Weapon System Improvement Program. The MK-31 system is a cooperative development and production program between the U.S. and Germany. This award support “is required to maintain current weapon system capability as well as resolve issues through design, systems, software maintenance, reliability, maintainability, quality assurance and logistics engineering services,” the contract announcement said. Work will mostly occur in Tuscon, Ariz. and is expected to finish by Sept. 2022.

Army Ammo Order. Northrop Grumman announced on April 16 its Alliant Techsystems Operations subsidiary received $194 million in small-caliber ammunition orders from the Army. The orders include 5.56mm, 7.62mm and Cal. 50 cartridges to be supplied to the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Independence, Mo. Alliant Techsystems Operations is the largest manufacturer of small-caliber ammunition for the U.S. military, according to the company, and has produced over 18 billion rounds at the Lake City plant since 2000.

Florida County Hacked. The 448-page report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller released on April 18 detailed new information on Russia’s campaign to attack U.S. voting systems during the 2016 election, including the first acknowledgement that government-backed hackers successfully compromised a Florida county’s election infrastructure. This is the first detailed instance of a cyber attack successfully penetrating voting systems, while previous intelligence community reports provided details on Russia’s campaign to influence the election through information operations. Mueller’s report does not name the county in Florida. Hackers sent spearphishing emails to election administration officials and employees working at companies that provided the county’s voting equipment. “We understand the FBI believes that this operation enabled [Russian intelligence services] to gain access to the network of at least one Florida county government,” Mueller wrote in his report.

DARPA Proposal Day. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Tactical Technology Office plans to host a proposal day next month to provide information to potential responders for the anticipated Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites (RSGS) program. An April 18 notice on FedBizOpps states that the proposal day will be held May 22 at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C. The long-term vision of the RSGS program is “to enable a persistent, reliable, cost-effective cooperative robotic servicing capability in GEO, beginning with the robotic servicer developed under the RSGS program and operated by a commercial entity,” the notice said. Advance registration is required.

New DHS Office. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan on Friday announced the establishment of a new office at DHS that will focus on countering domestic and international terrorism, including racially motivated violence. The Trump administration had previously eliminated a small office focused on countering violent extremism and related grants to states and localities to help prevent domestic terrorism. “This new office supports the direction of the President outlined in the National Strategy and will enable DHS to more effectively coordinate our resources and capabilities to better serve the needs of state and local communities,” McAleenan said in a statement. DHS said the Office for Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention “widens the scope of previous Departmental efforts to ensure all forms of violence, regardless of the ideological motivation, are being addressed.”