GAO Protest. Pratt & Whitney filed a GAO protest Feb. 7 against the Air Force, which announced Jan. 28 it plans to award a sole-source IDIQ contract to GE Aviation to provide new F110 engines for the Boeing-made F-15EX aircraft. GE Aviation would be awarded the opportunity to provide up to 480 F110 engines, engine monitoring system computers, integrated logistics support, support equipment, and tooling. The contract award and orders are anticipated starting May 2020, per the contracting notice.
Singapore F-16 Upgrades. The Air Force has awarded Lockheed Martin a $67.5 million firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee modification to upgrading Singapore’s F-16 fleet. The modification brings the contract’s total face value up to over $1 billion. Work will be performed at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, Fort Worth, Texas; and in Singapore, and is expected to be completed by June 30, 2023.
Three 2020 Dem Candidates Out. Entrepreneur Andrew Yang and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) announced Tuesday that they were suspending their campaigns for the Democratic nominee for president, following the New Hampshire primary results. On Wednesday, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick announced that he too was suspending his campaign. Eight candidates remain in the race for the nomination ahead of the November presidential election.
Air Force G.O. Announcements. Air Force leadership have selected Brig. Gen. Heather Pringle to become the next AFRL commander, replacing Brig. Gen. Evan Dertien, who has served as interim leader since Maj. Gen. Bill Cooley was removed from the post last month. Pringle currently serves as the Air Force’s director of strategic plans, Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and Programs at the Pentagon.
… And Space Force G.O. Announcements. The Space Force announced Thursday that Brig. Gen. Donald J. Cothern has been assigned the role of vice commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center, at Los Angeles AFB. Cothern currently serves in the Pentagon as a senior materiel leader under the Assistant Program Director for F-35 Development and Production, part of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at AFMC. The current SMC vice commander, Brig. Gen. Donna D. Shipton, has been assigned to become the director of strategic plans, programs, requirements and analyses for Air Force Materiel Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.
AWACS Contract. The Air Force on Thursday awarded Boeing a $99.9 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) Block 40/45 full rate production completion. The contract provides for the continued acquisition of supplies and services associated with the production of the E-3 AWACS Block 40/45 upgrade. Work will be performed at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, and is expected to be completed by fiscal 2024. Fiscal 2018 and 2019 aircraft procurement funds in the amount of $42.2 million are being obligated at the time of award.
Depot Work. The Air Force on Wednesday awarded Ottawa-based Canadian Commercial Corp. a $225 million firm-fixed-price IDIQ contract for F-138 engine and component depot repair. This contract provides the Air Force with the depot repair support required for the F-138 engine and components. Work will be performed at Richmond, British Columbia, and is expected to be completed by Feb. 11, 2030. The award is the result of a competitive acquisition.
Please, Fix the Site. Highlighting “numerous problems” with federal government’s new consolidate business opportunities portal, beta.SAM.gov, the Professional Services Council has asked the General Services Administration (GSA) to fix things. “The dissolution of FBO.gov and transition to Beta.SAM.gov has led to many reports of bidders who are potentially missing out on contract opportunities, thus reducing valuable competition,” Alan Chvotkin, executive vice president and Counsel of the Professional Services Council, wrote in a Feb. 7 letter to GSA. The four main challenges cited by the Council are access, search parameters, receive capabilities, and display difficulties. The GSA made the transition from the previous FBO site to the new one last November.
Mediocre Health. The health of the U.S. defense industrial base rates a “C” grade, which a new report by the National Defense Industrial Association and the data analytics company Govini said equates to “mediocre.” In their first of a planned annual study to assess the defense industrial base, the two organizations said, “Deteriorating conditions for industrial security and for the availability and cost of skilled labor and materials emerge from our analysis as areas of clear concern.” Between 2017 and 2019, the report, Vital Signs 2020, said the health of the industrial base declined in innovation, production inputs, industrial security, supply chain, and political and regulatory dimensions. The report said the industrial base improved in the areas of competition, demand, and productive capacity and surge readiness.
Cyber Warning over Coronavirus. The Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) is warning its stakeholders to expect cyber threat actors to take advantage of the coronavirus outbreak by conducting financial fraud and spreading malware. “Malicious actors are likely to post links to fake charities and fraudulent websites that solicit donations for relief efforts or deliver malware,” Thomas Duffy, chair of the MS-ISAC, wrote in the organization’s latest newsletter. He also warned that these actors use social media to post false links to malicious websites. The MS-ISAC, which receives funding from the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, helps state, local, tribal and territorial governments improve their cyber security posture.
Navy Osprey. The consortium of Boeing and Bell Textron delivered first CMV-22B, the Navy Osprey variant, on Feb. 10. This variant will be used to transport cargo on personnel to aircraft carriers at sea, replacing the legacy C-2A Greyhound aircraft. The Bell Boeing consortium will ultimately deliver 48 tiltrotors to the Navy. The CMV-22B first flew in flight operations in December. The aircraft will be based at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego and Naval Air Station Norfolk in Virginia.
LCS-22. The Navy accepted delivery of the future USS Kansas City (LCS-22) on Feb. 12 during a ceremony at shipbuilder Austal USA’s shipyard in Mobile, Ala. LCS-22 is the 21st Littoral Combat Ship and 11th Independence-variant joining the Navy. The ship’s commissioning is planned for later in 2020. Austal is currently building four other Independence-variant LCSs: the future USS Oakland (LCS-24), Mobile (LCS-26), Savannah (LCS-28) and Canberra (LCS-30). Four more ships are waiting for construction to start.
EMALS and AAG. The Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) and Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) were cleared for shipboard launch and recovery of all deployed Naval aircraft types aboard USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), system builder General Atomics said Feb. 11. This milestone comes after CVN-78 finished at-sea aircraft compatibility testing to assess that various aircraft can launch and land using EMALS and AAG on the Ford. The Navy expects to undergo CVN-78 flight deck certification within months.
Remus 300. Kongsberg Maritime’s Hydroid delivered the first REMUS 300 unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) prototype to the Navy via the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), the company said on Feb. 11. The Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) accepted and is characterizing the REMUS 300. Kongsberg said the UUV will be assessed over the year as a possible solution for the Navy’s Next Generation Small-Class UUV (SUUV) program. The company is also working on spiral upgrades to the modular commercial vessel as part of its prototype project agreement with DIU. The REMUS 300 is 7.5-inches in diameter, has a depth rating of 305 meters, and is two-man portable.
T-ATS 7. The keel laying ceremony for second Navajo-class Towing, Salvage and Rescue ship, the future USNS Cherokee Nation (T-ATS-7), was held on Feb. 12 at the Houma, La., Terrebonne Civic Center. The ship is being built by nearby Gulf Island Shipyards in Louisiana. Keel laying is the ceremonial start of a ship’s life and joining of its modular components. Gulf Island Shipyard is also building the future USNS Navajo (T-ATS-6) and is under contract for the future USNS Saginaw Ojibwe Anishinabek (T-ATS-8).
Trident Flight Test. The Navy’s Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Maine (CCBN-741) conducted a scheduled single missile test flight of an unarmed life-extended Trident II missile on Feb. 12. The test occurred in the Western Test Range off the coast of San Diego. The test was part of a Demonstration and Shakedown Operation, designated DASO-30. DASOs aim to evaluate and demonstrate the readiness of an SSBN’s weapon system and crew before operational deployment after an engineered refueling overhaul. This marked the 177th successful launch of a Trident II, the Navy said.
C5ISR Deal. Leonardo DRS announced February 10 the company has received an $808 million deal from the Defense Logistics Agency to provide a suite of electronic products designed to link C5ISR equipment to combat vehicles. Under the deal, capabilities will be provided across the armed services. Equipment in the contract includes wiring harnesses, installation kits, cable assemblies and connector devices. “The products are key components of U.S. military vehicle architectures and are used to connect vehicle C5ISR systems, tactical computer systems, networks, radio systems, and weapon systems,” the company wrote in a statement.
Bell/Japan. Bell signed a memorandum of understanding on February 11 with Sumitomo Corporation and Japan Airlines to explore ‘Mobility-as-a-Service’ opportunities in Japan. The deal specifically supports development of an on-demand air mobility ecosystem in Japan that would utilize Bell’s Nexus 4EX air taxi. “We are excited to take this substantial step to bring together an international airline, a major infrastructure provider, and a [Vertical Take-off and Landing] Original Equipment Manufacturer to work collaboratively on a more connected mobility future.” Scott Drennan, Bell’s vice president of innovation, said in a statement. The new agreement will cover developing policy and planning recommendations, identifying pilot programs and working on infrastructure requirements.
WMD Detection Tool. DARPA has selected BAE Systems to work on a project to develop advanced analytics technology that can assist in the detection and deterrence of weapons of mass destruction. BAE Systems’ FAST Labs research and development team will work on DARPA’s SIGMA+ program to create a new technology solution called MATCH, or Multi-info Alerting of Threat CBRNE Hypotheses. “MATCH will automatically populate a world graph using sensor and multi-source data to provide analysts visibility into threat activities in a metropolitan region.Using the graph, MATCH will create hypotheses that identify and characterize threatening [Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosive] activity,” the company wrote in a statement.
Army MUM-T. Persistent Systems has received a $5.4 million deal from the Army to develop a protected communications solution for future Manned-Unmanned Team (MUM-T) efforts. The program is specifically geared toward anti-jamming, cyber-hardened capabilities that can support the next-generation Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle’s ability to network with up to four unmanned Robotic Combat Vehicles. “The Army wants RCVs that can be remotely operated in groups over very long distances, in cities, forests, and open terrain. These manned-unmanned teams will also have to deal with the threat of enemy hacking and jamming,” Brian Soles, Persistent Systems’ vice president of business development.