NASA Bids. A Dynetics-led team that includes Sierra Nevada Corp. has bid on NASA’s Human Landing System program, SNC officials said in a Thursday media call. The program would develop a lander system to transport astronauts to the Moon’s surface. A Dynetics spokesperson confirmed the bid to Defense Daily Thursday. A Boeing-Blue Origin team has also said they have submitted a proposal for the program.
AFRL Collaboration. AFRL has partnered with ABL Systems to test rocket propulsion components at Edwards AFB, California, the laboratory said Thursday. “In this collaboration, AFRL will be able to mature responsive launch operations with test data and studies that can be used for vehicle trajectory, sizing, payload performance and the overall launch system capability,” the release said. The three-year R&D cooperative agreement was signed in July 2018 but was not previously announced. ABL is developing a small launch vehicle that could place about 2,645 pounds into orbit for about $12 million.
New Navy Trainer. The Navy’s newest virtual combat simulator, the On Demand Trainer (ODT), launched its first training event by the Center for Surface Combat Systems at Naval Base San Diego and Naval Station Norfolk on Jan. 6. ODT is a portable Aegis trainer delivered to both the East and West coasts, aiming to double down on increasing “combat lethality across the waterfront.” The 40-foot mobile trainer aims to provide sailors high-end tactical training during extended maintenance availabilities when a ship’s Aegis system may be secured for upgrades. The first to use this new trainer were combat watchstanders from the USS Paul Hamilton (DDG-60) and USS Gettysburg (CG-64).
E-2D Sustainment. The Navy launched a new sustainment program baseline (SPB) pilot for the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft in FY 2020 the service said Jan. 7. The service achieved the Secretary of Defense’s goal of mission-capable F/A-18 Hornets by the end of FY 2019, but the Navy is trying to maintain those levels. That will involve trying to improve sustainment of weapon systems like the E-2D via a rigorous process with improved requirements, funding, and performance controls and governance. “This sustainment pilot will improve the accuracy of our requirements, funding, performance, and governance of weapon system sustainment,” Sean Burke, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Sustainment, said in a statement.
…Specifics. The Navy said a “key component” of this pilot process is specific performance requirements for supply, repair, support equipment, engineering, trainers, maintenance and technical data “unique for the E-2D that enables fleet squadrons to achieve readiness.” The SPB identifies and governs interdependencies and refines resource allocation risks across the sustainment system. While the fleet has traditionsaly reported mission capability, under SPB officials will also report quarterly on performance f the sustainment system to approved requirementrs directly to the Vice Chief of Naval Operations; Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development & Acquisition; and Commander of Naval Air Forces.
Remote ID Tested. Remote identification technology aboard an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) was successfully demonstrated last fall as part of a larger evaluation of counter-UAS capabilities at the Army’s Maneuver and Fires integration Experiment, according to Pierce Aerospace, a remote ID service supplier. In the test, Northrop Grumman’s integrated C-UAS system, successfully acquired Pierce’s Flight Portal ID broadcasting aboard a friendly UAS, to avoid attacking it and instead successfully defeat hostile aircraft. Northrop Grumman’s Sophisticated Counter Unmanned Systems Weapon Radio Frequency (SCUWR) system of systems, which included Liteye’s anti-UAS system that detects, tracks and classifies UAS and can mitigate threats from drones using RF disruption, and SCUWR’s 30mm x 113mm chain gun mounted on an Army Stryker armored vehicle, were not told which UAS was friendly, Pierce said. The gun was used to defeat the hostile UAS. The Federal Aviation Administration has a rule process underway to include remote ID on small drones used in the national airspace.
On the Job. Bryan Ware, President Trump’s appointee as the new Assistant Director for Cybersecurity at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, started in his new job Jan. 8, DHS said last week. Ware has been at DHS since 2017, first as a senior adviser to then Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and then as assistant secretary for Cyber, Infrastructure, and Resilience Policy in the department’s Office Strategy, Policy and Plans. Ware succeeds Jeannette Manfra, who departed her job at CISA at the end of December to work for Google Cloud.
Power Grid Cyber Security. The National Institute of Standards and Technology has selected eight companies to collaborate on cyber security best practices for Industrial Internet of Things devices and systems that make up emerging distributed energy resources as the power grid expands to include DERs such as wind and solar power. The eight industry partners are Anterix, BlackRidge Technology, Cisco, Radiflow, Spherical Analytics, Sumo Logic, TDi Technologies and Xage Security. The project is overseen by the NIST National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence.
SOCOM Terminals. L3Harris said on Jan. 6 the company recently received a $100 million deal from U.S. Special Operations Command to upgrade and extend the service life of about 550 of the company’s Very Small Aperture Terminals. Under the deal, L3Harris said it will provide software, hardware and warrant upgrades for the Hawkeye III Lite VSAT terminals it has previously delivered to SOCOM. “This agreement extends the service life of our customer’s existing terminals and highlights the priority USSOCOM places on ensuring their deployed users are equipped with the latest in VSAT technology,” Chris Aebli, L3Harris’ president of global communication systems, said in a statement.
Rheinmetall/Thales. Germany’s Rheinmetall and France’s Thales signed an agreement on Jan. 8 to work together on rocket offerings for German helicopter programs. The deal specifically focuses on future development and production of 70mm guided and unguided rockets, beginning with capabilities aimed for the MK3 upgrade of Tiger helicopters. Rheinmetall will lead the agreement, leveraging its experience working with the Germany military, to ensure programs meet future requirements while leveraging Thales’ experience building rockets, including the 70mm capabilities currently on UHT Tiger aircraft.
IBCS Software. Northrop Grumman announced on Jan. 8 it received a $70 million, 28-month deal in November from the Army to build out an agile software development framework for the service’s future air and missile defense command platform. The software development deal is in addition to the work Northrop Grumman is already completing as the prime contractor for the Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS) program. “This contract brings IBCS into a new era of software development, enabling the rapid integration of new capabilities and improvements to further IBCS’s survivable battle management architecture using an agile software development process,” Dan Verwiel, the company’s vice president of comat systems and mission readiness defense systems, said in a statement.
2020 Endorsements. Retired Navy Cmdr. Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.) has announced her support for former Vice President Joe Biden as the Democratic candidate in the presidential election later this year. “A proven leader, I believe Joe is the candidate with the experience to step in on day one and get to work,” said Luria, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, in a Jan. 5 tweet.
DDG-122. The Navy marked the ceremonial laying of the keel of the future Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS John Basilone (DDG-122) at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works (BIW) shipyard in Bath, Maine on Jan. 10. DDG-122 is named after a U.S. Marine Corps WWII Medal of Honor recipient who was killed during the Battle of Iwo Jima. The Basilone will be a Flight IIA destroyer with the Aegis Baseline 9 combat system. BIW is also currently building four other DDG-51 destroyers: the future Daniel Inouye (DDG-118), Carl M. Levin (DDG- 120), Harvey C. Barnum Jr. (DDG-124), and Patrick Gallagher (DDG-127) as well as the Zumwalt-class destroyer Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG-1002). BIW is under contract for six more DDG-51s, which will all be in the Flight III configuration.