Dissent Continues. In the wake of Lockheed Martin’s failed bid to acquire Aerojet Rocketdyne, Steel Partners, which owns about 5.2 percent of Aerojet’s outstanding shares and controls four of the company’s eight board seats, has outlined its vision to boost shareholder returns. This vision includes returning a majority of existing cash through share and debt repurchases, divesting real estate and non-core assets and businesses, boosting performance and sales at the “underperforming” defense and space business units, aligning executive compensation to shareholder returns and away from “nebulous non-GAAP and adjusted metrics,” and instituting a new operating plan for long-term growth and profitability while “reviewing strategic alternatives that could maximize shareholder value in the immediate-terms.” Strategic alternatives typically refer to putting the company up for sale. Steel Partners wants shareholders to vote for its slate of seven board members so that it can implement its strategy. Aerojet hasn’t set a date for its 2022 annual shareholders meeting. The 2021 meeting was in May. Steel Partners charges Aerojet’s leadership with failing to prepare for the possibility that the acquisition by Lockheed Martin could be derailed.
Raytheon Technologies has named Barbara Borgonovi senior vice president of corporate strategy & development, effective April 1, reporting to RTC Chairman and CEO Gregory Hayes. She currently is president of the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Systems unit within the Raytheon Intelligence & Space sector. Michael Dumais, RTC’s chief transformation officer and who also led strategy and development, is transitioning to an outside strategic adviser to the company. CGI Federal has promoted Horace Blackman to senior vice president and head of the company’s Defense, Intelligence and Space business unit, reporting to Stephanie Mango, who is the president of CGI Federal.
Cyber Exercise. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency earlier this month held its eighth biennial Cyber Storm exercise, which includes more than 2,000 private sector, government and international participants from about 200 organizations. CISA bills Cyber Storm, which assesses preparedness and incident response processes and information sharing, as “the most extensive cybersecurity exercise of its kind. The three-day Cyber Storm VIII stressed operational and enterprise systems via impacts such as ransomware and data exfiltration. CISA is following up with participating organizations to identify and share lessons learned.
Cyber Secure? The Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) version of the Pentagon Director of Operational Test and Evaluation’s (DOT&E) fiscal 2021 report says that the U.S. Air Force’s KC-46A Pegasus tanker by Boeing “is vulnerable in a cyber-contested environment” and that specific vulnerabilities and their effect on the KC-46A mission will be available in the classified initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) report annex. IOT&E began in May 2019. The end of IOT&E and a full-rate production decision for the KC-46A are not expected until fiscal 2024 because of problems with the aircraft’s Remote Vision System (RVS) and the refueling boom’s actuator. The tanker has also had interface problems with the modified ALR-69A radar warning receiver (RWR) by Raytheon, and the Collins Aerospace Tactical Situational Awareness System (TSAS).
…Aircraft Susceptibility. The KC-46A’s susceptibility reduction equipment “is immature and does not currently support KC-46A survivability due to significant system problems,” per the CUI version of DOT&E’s fiscal 2021 report. “The Air Force recently accomplished sprint software development to solve aircrew interface problems with the TSAS and RWR, but the updated systems are currently undergoing troubleshooting tests to resolve further anomalies.”
Space Force Innovation. The Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) space vehicles directorate and the U.S. Space Force Space Systems Command’s (SSC) innovation and prototyping directorate hosted the second annual Delta Innovation Summit at Kirtland AFB, N.M., last month to spark new space technology fielding through discussions among Space Force science and technology/acquisition personnel and the Space Force’s Delta operators. Col. Eric Felt, the director of AFRL’s space vehicles directorate, said that AFRL and SSC wanted to gain an appreciation of Delta operators’ “pain points, so that AFRL and SSC can help solve them” and that “we want the Delta teams to help us so that we are innovating in high priority areas and building the technology you need.” Canadian Brig. Gen. Kevin Whale, the deputy commanding general of transformation at Space Operations Command, told summit attendees that “we are great at operations, but not as great in innovation, which is “not part of our airmen and guardian DNA…We want to help our Airmen and Guardians to better understand innovation and how to navigate their pain points through the space ecosystem to effect change.”
Japanese Global Hawks. Northrop Grumman said that it ferried the first of the company’s three RQ-4B Global Hawk high altitude reconnaissance drones to Japan on March 12. The aircraft took off on March 10 in Palmdale, Calif., and landed nearly 19 hours later on March 12 at Misawa Air Base, Japan. Jane Bishop, the vice president of global surveillance at Northrop Grumman, said that the Global Hawk “will provide the Japan Air Self-Defense Force with persistent, high-altitude surveillance of the Indo-Pacific” and that Global Hawk’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance “will provide invaluable support to Japanese national security and to the security of allies across the region.” Northrop Grumman said that the Global Hawk “will change the way allies monitor threats and provide humanitarian assistance and disaster response day or night” and that “combined with other Japanese intelligence assets, the advanced UAV will provide solutions to monitor and deter regional threats, contributing to Japan’s national security well into the future.”
AN/TPY-2. The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) issued a Request For Information (RFI) to conduct market research to determine interest and capabilities for companies that can support the operation and sustainment of the Army Navy/ Transportable Radar Modle-2 (AN/TPY-2) radar family, with potential requirements set for execution from FY 2024-2030. The notice said Contractor Logistics Support (CLS) is required to support the AN/PY-2 family of radars and equipment. The support includes integration and support for the deployments, site facilities planning and operation and sustainment of radar systems, facilities and equipment. RFI responses are due by May 9.
MDA Summit. MDA announced a rescheduled 2022 Industry Innovation Summit (IIS) that aims to share with industry the agency’s strategic vision, capability gaps and needs for development of missile defense technology priorities. The notice emphasized this is just an information exchange and not a commitment to make any contract awards. The summit will occur at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala., from April 25-29. Presentations will consist of the classified and prerecorded motion media productions on each day. Registrations must be received by April 3.
Battle Problem. U.S. Fleet Forces Command began Fleet Battle problem (FBP) 22-1 running from March 16-21 around Camp Lejeune, N.C. The exercise aims to develop integrated maritime capabilities with the Marine Corps and Naval Special Warfare community. FBP training scenarios are the “primary mechanism” for generating standardized and actionable data to assess operational concepts and their validity for using advanced warfighting capabilities, the Navy said. The service said FBP 22-1 will test homeland and self-defense concepts both ashore and at sea, special operations integration, and using unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs). More specifically, it will develop Expeditionary Advanced Base (EAB) capability to support UUV operations, integrate underwater and airborne passive and active sensors, and test anti-swarm and point defense at the EAB and aboard an Amphibious Ready Group-Marine Expeditionary Unit (ARG-MEU).
Shipyard Connectivity. The Navy marked the use of a new Wireless Connectivity Bridge (WCB) to add high-speed connectivity to piers and barges of several commercial shipyards in the Norfolk, Va. area. This commercial off the shelf (COTS) system uses a combination of upgraded wired and wireless systems to provide accelerating data capability for ships undergoing maintenance availabilities in private shipyards, the Navy said. “It’s the fastest internet I’ve ever seen in the Navy. Once the Wireless Bridge came online we began producing an output two to three times that of what we were realizing previously,” Capt. Kevin Zayac, USS Wasp (LHD-1) commanding officer, said in a statement. The service noted the USS Pinckney (DDG-91) has a similar WCB testing currently in progress at a commercial shipyard in San Diego. This was a project of both the Commander of Naval Surface Force Atlantic (SURFLANT) and Commander of Navy Regional Maintenance Center (CNRMC).
ICEX Ends. The Navy finished the three-week long Ice Exercise (ICEX) 2022 this month, the service said on March 17. The exercise entailed both a temporary encampment built on an ice sheet, Ice Camp Queenfish, and two fast attack submarines plus a support team at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. “By training in this extreme cold-weather environment, we’re best prepared to rapidly respond to any crises in these regions and ensure common domains in the far north remain free and open,” Rear Adm. Richard Seif, commander of the Navy’s Undersea Warfighting Development Center and ranking officer at ICEX 2022, said in a statement. Other ICEX participants included personnel from Canada and the U.K. militaries.
OPC 2 Bid In. Bollinger Shipyards last Friday said it has submitted its final proposal for Stage 2 of the Coast Guard’s multi-billion-dollar offshore patrol cutter (OPC) program, hoping to build on its work for the service building and delivering the fast response cutters (FRCs). Stage 2 of the OPC program is for 11 medium-endurance ships, and will follow the first stage that covers the first four ships that Eastern Shipbuilding Group is building. The original contract to Eastern Shipbuilding was for up to 11 OPCs, but a devastating hurricane in the fall of 2018 severely damaged the company’s shipyards in the Florida panhandle, causing the company to seek relief from its contract. The Department of Homeland Security granted cost and schedule relief but decided to recompete the program, beginning with the fifth ship. The Coast Guard plans to buy 25 OPCs. Bollinger said it would build the OPCs at its facilities in Houma, La., which is strategically placed within a 100-year hurricane risk reduction system. Bollinger has delivered 48 of the originally planned 64 FRCs under contract. Congress has appropriated funds for two more of the short-range vessels beyond the program of record.
…Eastern in Too. Eastern Shipbuilding told Defense Daily on Friday that is also submitted its bid for Stage 2. The bids were due in by the end of last week. Production of the first Heritage-class OPC, the Argus, is 70 percent complete, the company posted on LinkedIn last week. The ship is scheduled to be delivered this year. Eastern is under contract to build the first three ships and has received long-lead time materials funding for the fourth vessel.
McKinsey/Army Ammo. The Army has awarded consulting firm McKinsey & Co. a $16.4 million contract to develop a model to evaluate “the bottlenecks and capacities” of the ammunition industrial base, the Pentagon said on March 17. Under the deal, McKinsey is also tasked with assessing the Army’s level of dependency on foreign suppliers for its ammunition supply chain and to develop financial assessments of government-owned, contractor-operated ammunition facilities. McKinsey was the sole bidder for the work, which is expected to be completed by March 15, 2024.
JADC2 Implementation. Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks on March 15 signed the Pentagon’s implementation plan for the new Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) strategy. “Command and control in an increasingly information-focused warfighting environment have never been more critical. JADC2 will enable the DoD to act at the speed of relevance to improve U.S. national security. JADC2 is delivering capabilities beginning now, and it will continue to be funded in the coming years,” Hick said in a statement. JADC2 is the Pentagon’s far-reaching plan to bring in joint technologies, ranging from artificial intelligence to new advanced computing tools, to build a cross-service digital architecture for future multi-domain operations.
Implementation Priorities. The implementation plan arrives nearly a year after the Pentagon published its larger JADC2 strategy in May 2021. The implementation plan, which is a classified document, “details the plans of actions, milestones, and resourcing requirements” for the strategy, according to the department. Marine Lt. Gen. Dennis Crall, director of command, control, communications and computers/cyber and CIO for the Joint Staff, J6, told reporters a key area of focus for the JADC2 implementation over the next year is delivering baseline capabilities for enabling agile software development and creating the new mission partner environment, which he cited as critical “minimum viable products.”