New Army ‘Triad.’ The leaders of Army Space and Missile Defense (SMD) Command, Army Cyber Command and Army Special Operations Command detailed a new “triad” effort this week that aims to integrate their respective entities’ capabilities in support of future multi-domain operations. “There is a great expectation that the first shots in combat are going to be fired with cyber or in space. It will greatly impact the outcome and impact the battlefield,” Lt. Gen. Daniel Karbler, commander of Army SMD Command, told attendees at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama. “When you look again at what the triad brings as part of integrated deterrence – being able to affect the adversary’s calculus – the triad will impact that.” The three components are now focused on developing a collective framework that will detail steps to institutionalize and operationalize the triad, with plans for a series of experiments and exercises to refine how the organizations will integrate their efforts.

JLTV. The 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit’s (MEU) logistics combat element helped perform a ship-to-shore and back to shore transport of a Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) using a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter, the service said on Aug. 10. The Marine Corps underscored this was the first time a JLTV was moved from shore to ship by air, which allowed the 31st MEU to practice Expeditionary Advanced Base Operation (EABO) concepts. The service said the planning and execution of this lift operation used every part of the 31st MEU Marine Air Ground Task Force with U.S. Navy Amphibious Squadron 11 and the USS

Miguel Keith (ESB-5). The helicopter lifted the JLTV from a beach in Okinawa, Japan, traveled over the water to ESB-5, conducted multiple lifts aboard the vessels, and went back to the pick-up spot. This aimed to simulate “the establishment of an expeditionary advanced base from naval amphibious shipping.”

CG-72. The Navy decommissioned the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf (CG-72) during a ceremony in Norfolk, Va., on Aug. 4. This Is the first of five cruisers the Navy is decommissioning in fiscal year 2022. The ceremony occurred months short of the ship’s 29th commissioning anniversary. CG-72 was built at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss., and commissioned in Norfolk in September 1993. Recently, the ship deployed with the USS Eisenhower Strike Group in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, spending 205 days underway without any personnel changing while the service sought to limit the spread of the virus. CG-72 is set to next get towed to the Navy’s Inactive Ship facility in Philadelphia, Pa.

DDG-54 Rota. The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Bulkeley (DDG-84) left Naval Station Norfolk on Aug. 4 and changed its homeport to Rota, Spain as part of the service’s plan to rotate the Rota-based destroyers. In Spain, DDG-84 will join the USS Arleigh Burke (DDG-51), Roosevelt (DDG-80), Paul Ignatius (DDG-117) and Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 79 as Forward Deployed Naval Force-Europe (FDNF-E) assets. The FDNF-E ships both support maritime operations in the region and ballistic missile defense. DDG-117 arrived earlier this year while both USS Ross (DDG-71) and Porter (DDG-78) will shift homeports from Rota back Norfolk later this year.

MQ-8C Test. The Navy’s MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter supported an Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations (EABO) exercise off the coast of California in June, the Navy said Aug. 8. The Fire Scout participated in Resolute Hunter exercise from June 21-July 1 by flying 23 total hours,  proving its ability to transition from shore to ships. In the exercise, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 23 successfully launched MQ-8C Fire Scout from Point Mugu and completed a hand-off to the detachment’s Portable Mission Control Station (MCS-P) at San Clemente Island. The MCS-P helps the MQ-8C base in austere locations as well as provides logistics support to land the aircraft on various ship flight decks. Fire Scout is currently deployed  aboard USS Jackson (LCS-6) in the Indo-Pacific region. 

CVN-80. HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding plans to hold a keel-laying ceremony for the future USS Enterprise (CVN-80) Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier on Aug. 27. Ship sponsors will include Olympic gold medalists Simone Biles and Katie Ledecky. CVN-80 will be the third carrier in the new class and the ninth vessel with the name Enterprise. HII noted it will be the first carrier both designed and built digitally.

SSN-798. HII Newport News Shipbuilding announced milestone work on the future USS Massachusetts (SSN-798) Virginia-class submarine marked pressure hull complete, which means all the hull sections were joined in a single watertight piece. This is the last major construction milestone before the vessel is launched into the water. SSN-798 will be the 25th Virginia-class submarine. Earlier this year HII also delivered the USS Montana (SSN-794) and launched the New Jersey (SSN-796).

Snakehead. A Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport, R.I., team demonstrated a milestone in sortie endurance testing with the Snakehead large displacement unmanned undersea vehicle (LDUUV) at the service’s Narragansett Bay Test Facility on July 21, the Navy said on Aug. 10. The test had the LDUUV perform a long distance ingress, sonar survey box, then egress back to the facility. The Navy said this sortie demonstrated “a new milestone in total sortie endurance.” The sortie was conducted with the Draper Laboratory-developed Maritime Open Architecture Autonomy that collected sonar data via technology that came from the Pennsylvania State University Applied Research Laboratory. The Navy called this an “end-to-end intelligence preparation of the operational environment (IPOE) mission.” The service said this mission success is a step toward the program gaining confidence in the vehicle software and hardware systems. With this mission, Snakehead has conducted 155 in-water sorties and over 78 hours of runtime.

Record Revenue. Rocket Lab, which launched two National Reconnaissance Office missions within less than a month of each other in July and earlier this month from New Zealand, said that the company achieved record revenue growth of nearly $56 million in the second quarter of this year. Rocket Lab’s Electron “retains its position as the industry’s reliable small launch vehicle, delivering satellites to orbit for a range of commercial constellation operators and NASA in the second quarter, quickly followed by back-to-back national security launches for the National Reconnaissance Office after the second quarter end,” says Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck. “We are encouraged by broad-based momentum that continued across our space systems business, which comprised 66 percent of our revenue in the second quarter. Space systems continues to be a significant growth area with construction of our satellite constellation production facility in Long Beach [Calif.] substantially complete.”

Private Sector. Michael Brown, who has headed the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) since 2018, plans to return to the private sector next month. Founded in 2015, the Silicon Valley-headquartered DIU aims to get start-ups and smaller companies involved in developing technologies for DoD in six areas of interest—space, artificial intelligence, autonomy, cyber, human systems, and energy. At DIU, Brown “led a major effort to counter adversarial technology transfer,” says Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), a member of the House Armed Services Committee. “The National Security Innovation Capital (NSIC) initiative is a new U.S. Department of Defense program charged with addressing the shortfall of private investment from trusted sources in technology startups developing dual-use hardware technologies—those which have both commercial and military applications. I was proud to work with Mike on this effort to reduce technical risk while attracting trusted private investments that might have otherwise sat on the sidelines.”

Chase Services. Textron’s Airborne Tactical Advantage Company (ATAC) said that it has received a five-year contract from the U.S. Navy to provide chase services for the F-35 program. ATAC said that it will provide three Mirage F1s for about 600 flight hours per year from Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Fort Worth. “Flight operations are expected to commence late in 2022 or in early 2023,” ATAC said. “ATAC crews will support new F-35 aircraft during their first flights, along with product assurance flights. Mirage F1s will be used to fly specific profiles and provide airspace clearance and aircraft systems checks.”

Peraton Win. Peraton last week said it won a potential $2 billion contract to provide information technology integration services for the Defense Health Agency’s Military Health System. The 10-year contract was awarded to Peraton’s Perspecta Enterprise Solutions subsidiary, which is teamed with Capgemini’s federal business for the work. Under the contract, Peraton will consolidate DHA’s IT services, reduce variation and increase standardization across the enterprise.

New Anduril Range. Anduril Industries says it has a new primary range to test out its technologies, the Department of Energy’s Nevada National Security Site near Las Vegas. The defense technology company says it will use NNSS’ land and airspace for most of its research and development and testing, complementing its existing testing facilities at the Capistrano and Apple Valley Test Sites in California. Anduril says the NNSS will allow testing of a variety of technology capabilities given its larger and more permissive airspace, including large unmanned aircraft, explosive and restricted payloads, electronic warfare platforms and classified programs.

Another FRC. The Coast Guard last week awarded Bollinger Shipyards $55.5 million to build one fast response cutter (FRC), which would bring the total number of FRC’s under contract with the shipbuilder to 65, one more than planned. The new Sentinel-class vessel will be delivered in 2025. So far, 50 FRCs have been delivered. The ships typically operate in the littorals and have a five-day endurance, performing multiple missions.

Taiwan Arms Policy. In arming Taiwan for a potential conflict with China, the Biden administration does factor in the evolving needs of the Taiwanese defense forces, Kurt Campbell, deputy assistant to the president and coordinator for the Indo-Pacific on the National Security Council, said last Friday. Asked during a conference call with media whether the administration is focused too much on a “full-scale invasion at the expense of, like a blockade scenario” of Taiwan, Campbell replied that the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act “requires us to provide appropriate defensive articles and capabilities to Taiwan. And those articles are designed to most effectively engage on those defense issues that are related to the evolving security circumstances that Taiwan faces.” He added that the scenarios mentioned in the question “are indeed taken into our calculus, and you will see that going forward.”