New Joint Venture. Germany’s Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) said on June 8 they have established a new joint venture in Lithuania aimed at providing comprehensive logistical support for Lithuanian armed forces’ combat vehicles as well as those of NATO nations also stationed in the Baltics. The two companies each hold a 50 percent stake in the joint venture, known as Lithuania Defense Services, according to Rheinmetall. Logistical support offered by the new venture will include support for Lithuania’s Vilkas armored fighting vehicle, its version of the Boxer, as well as other nations’ Boxers, the Puma infantry fighting vehicle, the Bergepanzer 3 Büffel/Buffalo armored recovery vehicle, various versions of the Leopard 2 main battle tank, and the PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzer. “As the original equipment manufacturers of all these platforms, Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann possess unsurpassed expertise here. The presence of the partners on location means that NATO units will benefit from shorter reaction times and improved supply chains thanks to expanded capacity in the region,” Rheinmetall wrote in a statement.
Travel Limit Directive.
The House Armed Services Cyber, Innovative Technologies, and Information Systems included a provision in its markup for the next defense policy bill that would limit available travel funds for the Office of the Secretary of Defense until the Pentagon submits to Congress official joint lexicon for information operations. “The impetus here is that information operations have been a real focus area for our members, particularly with what’s been going on in Ukraine. Right now, each service defines information operations differently…which makes synchronizing these capabilities often very difficult,” committee staff told reporters. “That hasn’t occurred yet. So as a nudge and a push, we’re doing a funding limitation of the Office of the Secretary of Defense travel, is it how shakes out, to encourage and push the department to do that work.” The FY ‘20 NDAA included a requirement for DoD to develop joint lexicon for information operations.
UAS Lethality. The House Armed Services Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee included a directive in its markup for the next defense policy bill that would require the Secretary of Defense to brief the full committee by the end of next January on the department’s plans for providing increased lethality capabilities for unmanned aircraft systems. “The committee recognizes that recent events in Europe have demonstrated the need for greater lethality, expeditionary capability, and precision targeting at the tactical unit level. The committee notes that providing smaller units and lower echelons greater organic capability to detect and target threats and support precision munitions could produce significant effects on the modern battlefield,” the panel writes in its mark. The briefing would specifically cover current and future plans to provide “tactical units unmanned aircraft systems with designating and marking capability to enable the use of precision targeting and munitions,” according to the mark.
Taiwan FMS. The State Department said on June 8 it has approved a potential $120 million deal with Taiwan for ship spare parts. “The proposed sale will contribute to the sustainment of the recipient’s surface vessel fleet, enhancing its ability to meet current and future threats. The proposed sale will contribute to the recipient’s goal of maintaining its military capability while further enhancing interoperability with the United States and other allies,” the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement. The DSCA noted the equipment for ship spare parts will be from approved U.S. Navy vendors or from existing U.S. Navy stock.
New Parsons Lab. Parsons Corp. last week opened a new 9,700-square foot innovation laboratory, PALADIN Lab, at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland to focus on the rapid research and development of operational solutions for the Defense Department, intelligence community and federal civilian customers. The new lab is also the company’s first Parsons X innovation center of excellence, which it says is its central approach, “unifies digital organization, and moves to a new delivery model that reinforces a data-driven focus to delivering digital-enabled solutions.” Ricardo Lorenzo, Parson’s chief technology officer, said, “PALADIN represents an industry and technology-agnostic approach to collaboration and innovation, where the sole focus is on rapidly delivering operational technology to the end user.”
Lockheed Martin People. Lockheed Martin’s board of directors has elected Evan Scott as vice president and treasurer, and H. Edward Paul, II as vice president and controller, effective immediately. Scott succeeds John Mollard and Paul is following Brian Colan, both of whom are retiring later this year. Mollard and Colan remain as strategic advisers until their retirements. Scott has been vice president and assistant treasurer since August 2021 and Paul has been vice president of accounting since 2015.
DoD C-UAS Spending. The Congressional Research Service on May 31 issued an updated brief that says the Department of Defense is requesting in fiscal year 2023 $668 million for research and development and at least $78 million for procurement of counter-unmanned aircraft systems (C-UAS). The research brief also outlines C-UAS efforts by each military service.
NAVEUR. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said on June 8 that President Biden nominated Vice Adm. Stuart Munsch to be appointed to full admiral and assigned as commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe (NAVEUR) and Africa as well as serve as commander of Allied Joint Forces Command in Naples, Italy. Munsch has been serving as director for Joint Force Development, J-7, at the Joint Staff, since 2020. In his career, Munsch commanded the USS Albuquerque (SSN-706); commanded Submarine Group 7 and Task Forces 74 and 54; in 2018 became the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Operations, Plans and Strategy; and in 2019 established and served as initial Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfighting Development, N7. If confirmed, Munsch will succeed Adm. Robert Burke, who has been in the role since July 2020.
DDG-138. Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro said on June 10 that a future Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer will be named USS J. William Middendorf (DDG-138). The ship will be named after the former Secretary of the Navy and U.S. Ambassador, J. William Middendorf II. Previously, former Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer said he intended to name a ship after Middendorf but did not assign it to a specific hull number. DDG-138 was appropriated in the fiscal year 2022 budget. “I am pleased to honor Secretary Spencer’s previous decision to name a ship after Ambassador J. William Middendorf and I am incredibly proud to announce it here, at the Naval War College, during the commencement of our future leaders,” Del Toro said.
MH-60S Crash. An MH-60S Seahawk helicopter crashed near El Centro, Calif, during a “routine training flight” out of Naval Air Facility El Centro, the Navy said on June 9. All four crew aboard survived, with only one suffering non-life threatening injuries and transported to a hospital. The Seahawk was assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 3, based at Naval Air Station North Island, Calif. This comes after five Marines died in an MV-22B Osprey crash near Glamis, Calif., during a training mission on June 8 and an F/A-18E Super Hornet crashed near Trona, Calif., during a training mission on June 3.
72 SABRs. Northrop Grumman says that the U.S. Air Force has completed installation of the company’s AN/APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) on 72 Air National Guard (ANG) F-16s at nine ANG bases in the U.S. to meet a 2017 Northern Command Joint Emergent Operational Need for homeland defense. The advanced electronically scanned array SABR is to improve detect and track against Russian cruise missiles. Northrop Grumman says that SABR provides fifth-generation radar features, akin to those on the F-35 and F-22, for the F-16, which first flew in 1974.
Meta-Lasers. The Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) Directed Energy Directorate at Kirtland AFB, N.M., has awarded an $80 million contract to Arlington, Va.-based BlueHalo to build a directed energy modeling and simulation virtual range over the next decade. “The virtual range will host directed energy utility concept events that familiarize joint warfighters with DEWs (directed energy weapons) by providing the opportunity to face adversarial forces in a simulated environment,” AFRL said. “These events, along with other military utility analysis studies, will provide AFRL with necessary tools to minimize capability gaps, better serve joint warfighters and focus future efforts to bring needed systems to operational activities.”