Counter UAS. Customs and Border Protection awarded Citadel Defense a $1.2 million contract for six of the California-based company’s Titan counter-drone systems for border security applications along the U.S. boundary with Mexico. The company said the counter unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) will be used to address increasing drone threats in Texas, Arizona, and California. It said cartels are using UAS to transport illegal contraband across the border and to help migrants illegally enter the U.S. A CBP spokesperson told Defense Daily
the Titan systems will be used for “both pilot evaluation and operations.” Titan is a smart jamming system that uses adaptive frequency jamming technology to detect, track, identify and defeat potential drone threats without disrupting other electronic signals nearby. Citadel recently received a $1.5 million contract from the Air Force to provide Titan to the service’s Special Forces communities.
Export Violation Settlement. L3Harris Technologies has agreed to a $13 million settlement with the U.S. State Department over alleged export violations of the Arms Control Export Act and International Traffic in Arms Regulations related to technical data for radios, violating authorizations, and improperly managing temporary export licenses. The State Department said that L3Harris voluntarily disclosed most of the alleged violations and cooperated with the review, leading the government to decide against administrative debarment of the company for now. Terms of the three-year consent agreement include suspension of $6.5 million of the payment on the condition that the funds will be used for department-approved remedial measures for compliance. L3Harris must conduct two external audits of its compliance and use a Special Compliance Officer to oversee the compliance agreement.
Capital Deployment. Lockheed Martin’s board has authorized the additional purchase of up to $1 billion of the company’s stock under its share repurchase program, which puts the remaining repurchases under the program at around $3.3 billion. The number of shares to be purchased and related timing are at the discretion of management.
People. Rep. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.), winner of a special election in North Carolina earlier this month, will join the House Homeland Security Committee, replacing Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas), who is stepping off. He says “securing the border and ensuring the prompt and effective distribution of disaster relieve and capacities to respond to future disasters are top priorities.” Drone maker AeroVironment said Teresa Covington, the company’s chief financial officer, will resign effective Oct. 18 to become CFO of a private company. Brian Shackley, AeroVironment’s controller, will become the interim CFO. Systems Planning and Analysis has named retired Navy Vice Adm. Terry Benedict to its board. Benedict retired as the director of Strategic Systems Programs.
Updated Emergency Comms Plan. The Department of Homeland Security has released an updated National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP) following two-years of collaboration with stakeholders at all levels of government and the private sector. The strategic plan is used for coordinating emergency communications and to maintain operability, interoperability and continuity during emergencies. The department’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said that “Key updates to the NECP include the addition of a cybersecurity goal, an emphasis on formal and flexible governance, and a focus on integrating new technologies.”
NGI RFP 2. The Missile Defense Agency plans to release a second draft Request for Proposals for the Next Generation Interceptor on Oct. 1, but only to interested prime offerors. This is part of MDA’s effort to replace the canceled Redesigned Kill Vehicle for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system. According to an updated FBO notice, the agency also intends to hold a virtual Industry Day via classified video tele-conference with prime offerors on Sept. 30. Ninety-minute one-on-one sessions will also be conducted via tele-conference on Oct. 1. MDA will provide interested offerors with a list of questions to be answered during the one-on-one sessions. The final RFP release date will be determined based on industry feedback on the updated draft RFP.
CNAS Study. The Center for a new American Security (CNAS) said Sept. 25 it was selected by the Defense Department to conduct a study on the future of U.S. policy in the Indo-Pacific region. “CNAS will provide a whole-of-government strategy that includes dozens of specific and actionable recommendations, with a particular focus on how the United States can more effectively compete with China,” the organization said. Congress mandated this study to assess geopolitical conditions needed in the Indo-Pacific to successfully implement the national defense strategy and the national security strategy. The final CNAS report will be presented to the House and Senate Armed Services and Foreign Affairs/Relations Committees in both houses of Congress before the end of the year. CNAS will present its findings in public and private forums throughout the year before releasing a comprehensive public report in early 2020.
MQ-4C Triton. The Defense Department awarded Northrop Grumman a maximum $376 million delivery order for Multi-Function Active Sensor Radar Systems for the MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system on Sept. 23. This order was against a five-year basic ordering agreement. This was a sole source acquisition in accordance with federal acquisition regulations. This is a six-year contract with no option periods. The work will occur in California and is expected to be finished by December 2025.
F-35 Displays. Naval Air Systems Command awarded Lockheed Martin a $353 million modification to procure Lot 12-14 Generation 3 helmet mounted displays for the F-35. This award specifically increases the ceiling and scope of a previous contract. Work will occur in Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be finished by December 2020. Funds will only be obligated on individual orders as they are issued, with no funds obligated yet.
NavalX Event. The Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport hosted the first national NavalX Tech Bridge coordination meeting on Sept. 13. The event aimed to coordinate activities, discuss the status of programs and contracting mechanisms, and highlight challenges so each Tech Bridge can progress together. They discussed the strategic focus of Tech Bridges over the next two to three years and how to best execute it.
F-35 MDA. Last week, the Missile Defense Agency, Air Force and Lockheed Martin said they connected an F-35, U-2, and multi-domain ground station in a demonstration of multi-domain operations that could share missile defense information across platforms. The demonstration, designated project Riot, had an F-35 detect a long-range missile launch using onboard sensors, then shared the information through the U-2 to an air defense commander on the ground, allowing the commanders to decide to target the threat. Lockheed Martin said this connectivity “reduces the data-to-decision timeline from minutes to seconds.” The team demonstrated four critical data points in under four months of work with the project: the ability to use F-35 sensor data for missile defense, leveraged U-2 payload capacity and modular design/open architecture to provide beyond line of site communications between the F-35 and a ground station, established new data paths to transmit 5th generation sensor data, and disseminated 5th generation data using the Air Force’s Universal Command and Control Interface and Open Mission Systems standards.
DDG-95 SM-2. The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS James E. Williams (DDG-95) launched two Standard Missile-2s (SM-2) at the first series of aerial targets during a missile exercise as part of Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training (SWATT) held from Sept. 10-12, the Navy said Sept. 24. In SWATT, Navy ships are coordinated through the Surface and Mine Warfare Development Center (SMWDC). In this case surface ships assigned to Carrier Strike Group 10, like DDG-95, participated in an Atlantic Ocean exercise to maintain readiness, proficiency and lethality. Over two days., this test had four ships fire supersonic and subsonic missiles at aerial targets. The DDG-95 targets were specifically launched from the Wallops Flight Facility.
LCS-28. The U.S. Navy held a keel-laying and authentication ceremony for the future USS Savannah (LCS-28) at the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Ala., on Sept, 20. LCS-28 will be an Independence-variant LCS. There are currently four other similar LCSs undergoing various phases of construction at the Mobile facility, with another five ships in pre-production planning.
House 2020 Race. Former GOP Rep. Darrell Issa said Thursday that he plans to primary current Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) in 2020. Issa served in the House from 2001 to 2019, representing several districts around the San Diego area. He was nominated by President Trump to become the next director of U.S. Trade and Development Agency until the nomination stalled in Congress. He is the former chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Hunter, a former Marine, was a member of HASC until his committee assignments were stripped following his 2018 indictment for campaign finance fraud.
Senate 2020 Race. Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.) announced Sept. 21 his intent to primary Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) in 2020. Before becoming a senator in 2013, Markey served in the House beginning in 1976. He is currently the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation’s Science and Space Subcommittee, and the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations’ East Asian and Pacific Affairs subcommittee. Kennedy, a grandson of former U.S. Attorney General and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, assumed office in 2013 and represents Massachusetts’ 4th district.
SDB-I. The Air Force on Thursday awarded Boeing a not-to-exceed $280 million IDIQ contract for Small Diameter Bomb I (SDB) integration and engineering support for the fielded SDB I weapon system. The contract provides for SDB weapon integration on selected weapon platforms and support of the fielded weapon system, per the award notice. Work will be performed in St. Louis and is expected to be completed by September 2024. This award is the result of a sole source acquisition.
AF Explore. The Air Force is seeking “disruptive ideas that can create remarkable new capabilities for the future force” through a new initiative called AF Explore. A collaboration among the Air Force Acquisition Executive, AFRL and the Air Force Warfighting Integration Capability (AFWIC), AF Explore seeks ideas related to global persistent awareness; resilient information sharing; rapid, effective decision-making; complexity, unpredictability, and mass; and speed and reach of disruption and lethality, per a Thursday release. The challenge statements should pertain to in-flight re-arming and refueling, personnel recovery kit delivery, and vehicle tracking in commercial imagery. The Air Force anticipates four to seven awards, each in the $1 million to $2 million range. Submissions are due Nov. 11 with funding invitations announced by March 2020. More information is available via AFRL.
XQ-58A. The Air Force plans to perform its next test of the XQ-58A “Valkyrie” UAV in October, AFRL told Defense Daily Sept. 24. It will be the third test of a planned five in 2019 of the long-range, high subsonic UAV built in partnership with Kratos Defense and Security Solutions under AFRL’s Low Cost Attritable Aircraft Technology (LCAAT) portfolio. The Air Force has called the Valkyrie aircraft an example of ongoing efforts under its “Skyborg” initiative, which seeks to develop ways to use AI to control low-cost aircraft for use in congested airspace.
SSA Partnerships. The Air Force expects to sign a memorandum of understanding with Japan for a hosted payload agreement by the end of the year, new U.S. Space Command and ongoing Air Force Space Command Commander Gen. John “Jay” Raymond said Friday at a Mitchell Institute breakfast event on Capitol Hill. The service first revealed in August its plans to host a space situational awareness sensor payload on a Japanese QZSS space vehicle. Under the planned MoU, U.S. payloads would be orbited in 2023. Raymond added that progress is ongoing on the Air Force’s hosted payload partnership with Norway under the Enhanced Polar System Recapitalization (EPS-R) project. Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor for the program, which would put two Air Force protected satcom payloads on Norwegian systems for Arctic coverage.
DoD IG/Hypersonics. The Pentagon’s inspector general’s office announced plans this week to begin gathering data for potential audits of the department’s hypersonic weapons programs. The DoD IG said research into the hypersonic efforts will begin this month. Audits could arrive as the department has committed to investing billions in major hypersonic development projects, with the Army planning to field a residual combat capability in FY ’23. The DoD IG said it plans to contact senior officials with the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, DARPA, the Missile Defense Agency and each of the services “to solicit their views on hypersonic weapon issues that could warrant future audit and evaluation coverage.”
Quantum Computing. The Army and researchers at the University of Innsbruck in Austria announced this week a successful test for quantum network distribution, moving the service a step closer to quantum computing breakthroughs. The Army’s Center for Distributed Quantum Information funded the effort which led to a record transfer of quantum entanglement between matter and light, a distance of 50 kilometers using fiber optic cables. “This [50 kilometers] is two orders of magnitude further than was previously possible and is a practical distance to start building intercity quantum networks,” Ben Lanyon, the principal investigator for the project, said in a statement. The Army said successfully distributing entanglement is an essential step for establishing a quantum internet. Quantum computing could allow next-generation security and sensing capabilities not possible with traditional networks, according to the Army.
Army IT Awards. The Army on Sept. 27 awarded the first three contracts for its new effort to modernize its enterprise information technology with “as-a-serve” capabilities. The deals included $18.2 million to Microsoft, $9.8 million to Verizon and $5.6 million to AT&T for each company to handle an Enterprise IT as a Service pilot program at a different test site. EITaaS is the Army’s program to fix a lagging modernization approach by bringing in vendor-owned and operated capabilities at select installations, before eventually scaling up new IT across bases over the next several years. Lt. Gen Bruce Crawford, the Army CIO, previously said pilot programs would begin at Futures Command headquarters in Austin, Texas, Ft. Polk in Louisiana and Ft. Benning in Georgia.