Eagle Eye Radar. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) on April 5 detailed the new Eagle Eye multi-mode radar, which the company noted has flown on an Army-operated Gray Eagle drone. “Eagle Eye is a high-performance radar system that delivers high-resolution, photographic-quality imagery that can be captured through clouds, rain, dust, smoke and fog at multiple times the range of previous radars,” the company wrote in a statement. “Eagle Eye radar can deliver precision air-to-surface targeting accuracy and superb wide-area search capabilities in support of Long-Range Precision Fires.” GA-ASI said the first flight with the Eagle Eye radar was in December. “[Eagle Eye]a ‘drop-in solution’ for Gray Eagle ER and is designed to meet the range and accuracy to Detect, Identify, Locate & Report stationary and moving targets relevant for Multi-Domain Operations with Enhanced Range Cannon Artillery.”
The State Department on April 5 approved a potential $95 million deal with Taiwan to provide contractor support and equipment for the country’s Patriot air defense systems. “The proposed sale will help to sustain the recipient’s missile density and ensure readiness for air operations. The recipient will use this capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen homeland defense,” the Defense Security Cooperation Agency wrote in a statement. The deal would cover contractor technical assistance for training, planning, fielding, deployment, operation, maintenance, and sustainment of Taiwan’s Patriot systems as well as ground support equipment and spare parts. Raytheon Technologies is the prime contractor for the foreign military sale.
LaPlante, Raven In. The Senate last Thursday confirmed by voice vote the nominations of William LaPlante to be under secretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment and Erik Kristopher Raven to be under secretary of the Navy. LaPlante is a former Air Force procurement chief and president and CEO of Draper Laboratory. He will now be the Defense Department’s top acquisition official. Raven, who at one time was the legislative director and national security adviser to the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W. Va.), is the majority clerk on the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee.
Elbit in South Carolina. Elbit Systems of America is expanding into South Carolina, having broken ground last week on a new, 135,000 square-foot facility in Charleston that will house the company’s Ground Combat Vehicle Assembly and Integration Center of Excellence, providing more capacity. Elbit America, part of Israel’s Elbit Systems Ltd., said the new center will support contracts awarded to it by the Israeli Ministry of Defense for automatic self-propelled howitzer guns for Israeli Defense Forces. The facility will also be the home for assembly and integration efforts for future U.S. Department of Defense and Homeland Security programs. Elbit America is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas.
Space Flag Cyber Training. For the first time, the readiness and training arm of U.S. Space Force has introduced cyber threats as part of its marquis virtual training and exercise event, Space Flag, which began last week and concludes this week at Schriever Space Force Base in Colorado. “We have space cyber intelligence professionals all together in a room facing challenging scenarios against an adversary, really to prepare them for competition and conflict should they face that when they go to operations,” Maj. Gen. Shawn Bratton, commander of Space Readiness and Training Command, said last week at the Space Symposium. “It is the one place where we bring the disciplines together and run them through their paces.”
State Department Cyber. The U.S. State Department’s new Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy (CDP) last week began operations and will focus on cyberspace, digital technologies and digital policy. The CDP bureau has three policy units, including International Cyberspace Security, led by acting deputy Michele Markoff, International Information and Communications Policy, led by acting deputy Stephen Anderson, and Digital Freedom, led by acting coordinator Blake Peterson. The bureau initially will be led by Jennifer Bachus, a Senior Foreign Service officer, until a Senate-confirmed Ambassador-at-Large is in place.
F-35 Materials. The Navy awarded Lockheed Martin a not-to-exceed $261 million modification on April 7 increasing the scope of a contract for the procurement of long lead-time materials, parts, components and efforts for production of various F-35s. The contract covers nine Lot 17 F-35Cs for the Navy, 13 Lot 17 F-35As and two Lot 17 F-35Bs for non-Defense Department participants. Work will be split among Fort Worth, Texas (57 percent); El Segundo, Calif. (14 percent); Warton, U.K. (nine percent); Cameri, Italy (four percent) and several other locations inside and outside the U.S. and is expected to be finished by May 2026. Funding was obligated at the time of award and is split into $75 million in FY ‘22 Navy aircraft procurement funds and $186 million in non-DoD participant funds.
Patriot For S-300. The U.S. government on April 8 said it provided a Patriot missile system to Slovakia to help facilitate Slovakia transferring of an S-300 air defense system to Ukraine to help it amid the Russian invasion. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said at his direction and the invitation of Slovakia, U.S. European Command will reposition one Patriot missile system to Slovakia, to compensate for losing the S-300. The Patriot will arrive within days and be manned by U.S. service members. Austin said the deployment length has not been fixed “as we continue to consult with the Slovakian government about more permanent air defense solutions.” Austin argued the Patriot battery deployment complements a NATO multinational battlegroup currently in eastern Slovakia, which includes air defense elements from Germany and the Netherlands. “I want to thank the Slovakian government for providing an S-300 air defense system to Ukraine, something President Zelenskyy has personally raised with me in our conversations,” President Biden said in a statement.
SecNav Budget. During an April 45 speech at the Navy League’s Sea Air Space Expo, Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro said he is asking Congress to provide tools needed to execute long term Navy plans without forcing them to retain legacy platforms. “As we enter this budget season, I will ask Congress to provide the tools we need to execute the Navigation Plan and Force Design 2030, without burdening us with unnecessary legacy platforms that cost a lot to maintain and operate and perhaps don’t meet current threats.” The Navy’s FY ‘23 budget request notably asks to divest of 24 ships while procuring eight new vessels.
Aggressive Schedule. Following upon U.S. Space Force’s operational acceptance of Palantir Technologies’ Warp Core tech stack last October to allow the 18th Space Control Squadron to access legacy data feed, as previously done by the decommissioned Joint Space Operations Center Mission System (JMS) Service Pack 9 (SP-9), Space Systems Command (SSC) is moving to field applications for the L3Harris Advanced Tracking and Launch Analysis System (ATLAS) for improved space domain awareness. “We’ve been on a very aggressive schedule to deliver [ATLAS] capability this year,” said Brig. Gen. Tim Sejba, SSC’s program executive officer for space battle management command, control, and communications and space domain awareness and combat power. “The first application from L3Harris is in soak, and it’s about to begin developmental test.”
NATO Handover. Northrop Grumman said that its RQ-4D Phoenix Global Hawk drone is now in operation with NATO’s Alliance Ground Surveillance Force in Sigonella, Sicily. “The specially-designed AGS system is uniquely suited to NATO requirements and is providing critical joint ISR situational awareness to the 30 NATO member countries,” Northrop Grumman said on Apr. 7. The handover to NATO includes five aircraft, ground and support segments, and advanced sensor technologies. Northrop Grumman said that since the first RQ-4D arrived in Sigonella in 2019, “operational flight hours have steadily increased, including the recent first 24-hour mission.”
BIW Lesko Resigns. Dirk Lesko abruptly resigned as president of General Dynamics’ Bath Iron Works (BIW) on April 7, according to an internal employee memo. The memo and the company did not disclose the reason for Lesko’s resignation. Robert Smith, General Dynamics executive vice president for marine systems, is assuming responsibility for BIW pending the appointment of a permanent replacement. The largest union at the shipyard, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers’ Local S6 chapter, said on April 7 it reached an agreement with BIW management on a midterm wage adjustment. BIW builds Arleigh Burke-class destroyers and recently finished the three-ship class of Zumwalt-class destroyers.
Airbus Deal. Airbus Group last Friday said its defense and space division has agreed to acquire Germany’s DSI Datensicherheit, which provides cryptography and communication systems for space, airborne, naval and ground applications. Airbus said that once the acquisition is completed, DSI will be renamed Aerospace Data Security GmbH. The deal will strengthen Airbus’s existing cryptography capabilities and help it develop end-to-end secured systems. “Cyber protection is critically important for any system supporting critical infrastructure,” said Andreas Lindenthal, head of Airbus Space Systems Germany. “Space-based systems are no exception.” Terms of the deal were not disclosed.