Deal Updates. CACI International completed its $750 million acquisition of LGS Innovations from the private equity firms Madison Dearborn Partners and CoVant Management, giving it capabilities to rapidly add applications to fielded systems, something its customers want more of. LGS provides real-time spectrum management, C4ISR, and cyber security products and solutions to the intelligence community and Defense Department, and develops and manufactures custom lasers for remote-sensing systems. The acquisition of LGS “is the next step in our established strategy to invest in and expand our offerings in signals intelligence, electronic warfare, and cyber products and solutions,” said Ken Asbury, CACI’s president and CEO.

…Thales and Gemalto.

Thales’ pending $5.6 billion acquisition of Gemalto moved a big step toward closing after the companies reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division to divest Thales’ general purpose hardware security modules (GP HSM) business. The companies expect the transaction to close this month. Both companies are the “world’s leading providers of GP HSMs and are significant direct competitors in the United States,” accounting for 66 percent of the domestic market, the DoJ said the evening of Feb. 28. The GP HSMs are hardened, tamper-resistant devices that strengthen encryption. France-based Thales in December 2017 announced its intent to acquire Netherlands-based Gemalto to accelerate its strategy around digital solutions.

People. Boeing has nominated former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley to its board. Company shareholders will vote on the nomination at Boeing’s annual meeting on April 29. Haley is 47. The world’s largest aerospace and defense company also named Anne Toulouse as senior vice president of Communications, putting the 30-year Boeing veteran in charge of its global communications and branding. Toulouse, 60, has served in an interim capacity in the senior role since last September. Finally, the Senate Intelligence Committee unanimously approved the nomination of William Evanina to continue serving as the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center. The committee also reported out Evanina’s nomination last May but the Senate didn’t vote on it.

Space Force. The Pentagon has delivered its awaited Space Force legislative proposal to Congress, the Defense Department announced Friday. The 74-page proposal lays out administrative changes that will need to be made within the department to stand up the new branch within the Air Force over a period of five years from the proposal’s adoption, with a two-year optional extension. Lawmakers are now expected to evaluate the proposal ahead of deliberations over the FY ’20 budget request, slated to be released in mid-March.

Space Force Leaders. The new Space Force leadership team is expected to include two four-star level military officials and a civilian undersecretary, but Air Force Assistant Secretary of Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Will Roper will likely still be in charge of buying new systems, he told Defense Daily Friday. “My understanding is … acquisition will continue to be unified under one assistant secretary,” he said in an interview at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Florida.

F-35 EW Upgrades. BAE Systems has modernized the AN/ASQ-239 electronic warfare system installed on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the company announced Thursday at the AFA conference. The system now fits in a smaller footprint, leading to reduced volume and power requirements, which will help create space for the F-35’s forthcoming Block IV modernization upgrades. The system updates are also meant to solve manufacturing obsolescence issues that would otherwise make the EW platform costly to redesign, BAE said.

S&T. The Air Force is going through the final steps of its science and technology 2030 initiative study, Secretary Heather Wilson told reporters Thursday at the AFA conference. The study, which Wilson launched in 2017 and which is currently being led by the Air Force Research Laboratory, is expected to lay out new research priorities for the service to focus on over the next decade and shape investments in critical S&T areas.

Avionics. Collins Aerospace and Elbit Systems of America have delivered the 1,000th F-35 Helmet Mounted Display System as of December 2018, the companies announced Wednesday. The first system was delivered 10 years ago. The system integrates night vision and targeting information and projected it onto the helmet’s visor rather than on a traditional Head-up Display, reducing pilot workload. New capabilities are in the works, including additional color capabilities through the use of microdisplay technology, according to the companies. Collins Aerospace and Elbit Systems are currently working to change the name of the joint venture from Rockwell Collins ESA Vision Systems, LLC, to Collins Elbit Vision Systems, LLC, and expect the change will become final in 2019. About 360 new deliveries are planned for 2019, per a Collins spokesperson.

Portuguese C-130H Upgrades. The Portuguese Air Force will modernize its C-130H Hercules military transport fleet with Collins Aerospace’s Flight2 aftermarket avionics system, the company announced Feb. 27. Collins will upgrade the service’s C-130s from an analog system to a digital glass cockpit with new primary flight displays, a Required Navigation Performance/Area Navigation flight management system with high altitude release point, and computed air release point precision airdrop software. The modernization will put the aircraft in compliance with current International Civil Aviation Organization standards. OGMA – Industria Aeronautica de Portugalis the prime contractor.

OCO Skeptic. Rep Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) said at an American Enterprise Institute event on Feb. 28 that putting $174 billion in the overseas contingency operations (OCO) account to increase the defense budget for FY ’20 past the 20111 Budget Control Act limitations is not a good idea. While he agrees with the National Defense Strategy Commission Report recommendation to maintain three to five percent real budget growth means $750 billion to $780 billion in FY ’20, adding it to OCO is not productive. Increasing OCO from the FY 2019’s $68.8 billion to $174 billion is “like an order of magnitude change in the amount of OCO. Yeah, I think that’s going to create enormous problems and you’re going to make it harder to get a bipartisan budget deal done. So I think that’s going to be a huge problem.”

LCS-18. The U.S. Navy plans to commission the newest Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship, the future USS Charleston (LCS-18), during a ceremony on March 2 in Charleston, S.C. Austal USA builds these even-numbered Independence-variant ships while Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor and Fincantieri Marinette Marine builds the Freedom-variant odd-numbered ships.

LCS-15. Separately, Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer approved the commissioning site of the future Freedom-variant USS Billings (LCS-15) at Key West, Fla., in August. No specific date has been announced yet. The Billings will be the 17th LCS and eighth Freedom-variant LCS delivered to the Navy. The service previously accepted delivery of LCS-15 during a ceremony on Feb. 1 at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard in Marinette, Wis.

Mine-Hunting Sonar. The Navy announced it has finished developmental testing of Raytheon’s AN/AQS-20C mine-hunting sonar system at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City Division, on Feb. 26. AQS-20C is the next generation of the AQS-20 sonar that will be incorporated into the LCS Mine Countermeasures (MCM) Mission Package. Developmental testing verifies a system’s design meets technical specifications and all contract requirements are met. The system conducted 12 underway missions in several operational modules and at different depths, all conducted aboard the test vessel M/V Patriot. The system aims to provide simultaneous detection, localization and classification of bottom mines, close-tethered moored mines, and volume-moored mines, giving operators a 3-D image to identify mines. Test results next undergo scoring and performance assessments before a final developmental testing report that is expected in the spring. Report findings will be used for future AQS-20C performance improvements.

…Next Steps. Following developmental testing, the AQS-20C will next be integrated with and deployed from the semi-autonomous long-endurance MCM Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV). The MCM USV can host various mine countermeasures payloads and can be launched and recovered by LCSs, vessels of opportunity, or shore sites. The MCM USV is undergoing its own developmental testing as a component of the Unmanned Influence Sweep System (UISS) at the South Florida Test Facility in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Aegis Ashore. The Missile Defense Agency awarded Lockheed Martin a $10 million modification for engineering and design support services needed to support Aegis Ashore Japan Foreign Military Sales (FMS) work. This contract increased the total contract value to $2.961 billion. In January, the State Department approved a possible $2.15 billion FMS to Japan for its two Aegis Ashore sites. The missile defense sites will use Raytheon Standard Missile-2 Block IIA interceptors. This contracted work will occur in Moorestown, N.J., and is expected to be finished by October 2019. This was a sole source acquisition.

P-8A Work. Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) awarded Boeing a $429 million advanced acquisition modification for long-lead material and activities for 16 U.S, New Zealand, and South Korean Lot 11 P-9A aircraft. This Feb. 28 contract work is divided into six P-8As for the U.S. Navy, four for New Zealand, and six for South Korea. Work will largely occur in Seattle, Wash., and is expected to be finished by June 2020. FY ’19 Navy aircraft procurement and FMS funds of the full award are obligated at award time and will not expire at the end of this fiscal year. The modifications funds are divided into 42 percent/$180 million for the U.S. Navy, 37 percent/$161 million for South Korea, and 21 percent/$88 million for New Zealand.

Marine Corps JLTV. The Marine Corps has fielded its first Joint Light Tactical Vehicles, officials announced said last week, after delivering 12 vehicles to the School of Infantry (SOI) West at Camp Pendleton in California. A Marine Corps spokesperson told Defense Daily that the force is expected to field 300 JLTVs by the end of this fiscal year. The next group to receive vehicles will be the SOI East at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. The spokesperson also said the Marine Corps, like the Army, have had to double maintenance training for the JLTV to address users’ operational issues. The Army fielded its first JLTVs at the end of January.  A full-rate production decision for JLTV is slated for late April to early May.

Lockheed Martin/Army Biodesign. Lockheed Martin and the Army Research Laboratory have started a five-year, $10 million cooperative agreement to work on engineering biomaterials for defense technology. Lockheed Martin and Army scientists will study editing single-cell organism DNA to improve defense optical technology and coatings. “Cells efficiently create all sorts of materials, like a spider’s silk or a butterfly’s iridescent wings. We want to harness nature’s process to better protect people. Biodesign exists today, but it doesn’t exist at the scale and to the quality of defense standards,” Melissa Rhoads, Lockheed Martin’s lead for the project, said in a statement.

JTAARS RFI. The Army on Feb. 26 released a request for information to receive industry input on potential concepts for a Joint Tactical Autonomous Aerial Resupply System (JTAARS). The new system would be utilized across the services to autonomously deliver sustainment support during multi-domain operations. The capability is expected to transport a supply payload of up to 800 pounds and provide beyond line-of-sight command and control within a 100-mile radius. “The system should be rugged, lightweight, easily transported, and ready to use as delivered,” officials wrote in the RFI. The Army will host a three-day industry data exchange event from March 26-28 at the Army Logistics University at Fort Lee in Virginia to provide industry with a concept of operations for JTAARS.

Space R&D. The Air Force on Friday awarded Millennium Engineering and Integration Co. a $340,000,000 IDIQ contract in support of AFRL’s Space Vehicles Directorate. The Arlington, Virginia-based company will provide “research, engineering, and technical management for performing space technology concept development, analysis, development, integration, experimentation, demonstration, and evaluation” at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, and it is expected to be complete by April 30, 2026. Five offers were received. FY ’18 and FY ’19 research and development funds in the amount of $5,000,000 are being obligated on initial task orders at the time of award, according to the notice.