NGI. Northrop Grumman said it recently started fabricating “integral throat entrances” for the Missile Defense Agency’s Next Generation Interceptor solid rocket motors. The company said on June 16 that this marked the beginning of manufacturing of key components for the NGI program. These parts are built at Northrop Grumman’s Bacchus facility in Magna, Utah. The company noted the hardware uses several company advanced testing, inspection and development capabilities, including a specialized fiber weaving capability, which “enables rapid development, prototyping and production for NGI to achieve the motor performance supporting this critical mission.”

Space National Guard. HASC also adopted an amendment during its FY ‘23 NDAA markup from Rep. Jason Crow (D-Col.) to establish a Space National Guard. The measure directs the Secretary of the Air Force and Chief of the National Guard Bureau to begin the process of standing up a Space National Guard within 18 months of the NDAA’s passage. The amendment requires annual reports for the next five years on the progress implementing a Space National Guard, to include details on current missions, operations, activities and personnel and funding requirements.

People News. Boeing’s board has elected David Gitlin, 53, as a new member, joining the Aerospace Safety and Finance Committees. Gitlin is the chairman and CEO of Carrier and is a former president of UTC Aerospace Systems, and president and chief operating officer of Collins Aerospace Systems. J.F. Lehman & Company has appointed Will Roper to its Operating Executive Board to help the company as it puts more focus on high growth, technology driven companies aligned with the U.S. National Defense Strategy. Roper is former chief of Air Force acquisition and is professor of the practice at Georgia Tech’s Sam Nunn School of International Affairs. Parsons Corp. has promoted Tim Schmitt, who has been chief development officer since 2018, to its executive leadership team starting Aug. 1. He will continue as chief development officer and lead the company’s merger and acquisition program and oversee corporate strategy and market research. Enterprise artificial intelligence software company C3 AI has appointed retired Air Force Gen. John Hyten to its advisory board. Hyten retired after serving from 2019 to 2021 as Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

FMD Service Deal. Fairbanks Morse Defense, which has been acquiring companies with products and services to bolster its capabilities as a turnkey service provider to the Navy and Coast Guard, is expanding its services through an agreement with The Ideal Electric Company to be its exclusive naval field service provider. Under the agreement, FMD will provide maintenance and global field services for Ideal’s motors and generators that are already installed or will be installed on naval ships worldwide.

Guilty Plea. A former Army helicopter who later worked for defense contractors working with classified information last week pled guilty in federal court to acting as an unregistered agent of China’s government and intelligence agencies and making false statements during national security background checks. The Justice Department on June 23 said Shapour Moinian accepted between $29,000 and $32,000 to pass aviation-related technology to China. “This defendant took the aviation materials of his American employers and sold them to China,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman for the Southern District of California. “This conduct was an outrageous breach of trust by a former member of the U.S. military.” Moinian could be sentenced up to 10 years in prison, fined up to $250,000 for acting as an agent for a foreign government, and be sentenced up to five years and fined $250,000 for the false statements.

AUKUS In NDAA. The House Armed Services Committee’s FY ‘23 defense authorization bill, approved by the committee on June 23, included as an amendment a recent bill introduced to establish a training pipeline between the U.S. Navy and Royal Australian Navy to help prepare for the AUKUS nuclear-powered submarine deal. Under the bill, Australia could select at least two submarine officers to participate in U.S. training per year. They would train at the Navy Nuclear Propulsion School, enroll in the Submarine Officer Basic Course, and then be assigned duty on an operational U.S. submarine at sea. The bill was sponsored by House Armed Services Seapower Subcommittee Chairman Joe Courtney (D- Conn. ), Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.) and Rep. Blake Moore (R-Utah), all chairmen on the Congressional AUKUS Working Group, along with Seapower Subcommittee Ranking Member Rob Wittman (R-Va.), Rep. Donald Norcross (D-N.J.), and Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.).

Adversaries’ Capabilities. The House Armed Services Committee adopted an amendment from Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) to its version of the fiscal year 2023 NDAA that would direct the Pentagon, in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence, to publish annual reports on the military capabilities of China, Russia, North Korea and Iran. The directive, approved as part of an En Bloc package of amendments during HASC’s NDAA markup, calls for reports to cover an assessment of the covered countries’ military strategies and an estimate of funds spent on developing forces and the capabilities of those forces. The reports would be required by Jan. 30 every year through 2027.

Bloomberg Sworn In. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on June 22 swore in Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, as chair of the Defense Innovation Board. “As the chair of the Defense Innovation Board, Bloomberg will lead a group of renowned-experts and leaders from across the nation’s innovation base who will provide strategic insights and recommendations on technology and innovation to address the Department’s highest national security priorities,” the Pentagon wrote in the announcement. The Defense Innovation Board is tasked with providing recommendations to senior Pentagon leaders on efforts to accelerate innovation and technology development initiatives.

Australia FMS. The State Department on June 21 approved a potential $94 million foreign military sale with Australia for the sale of up to 15 AGM-88E2 Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missiles. “The proposed sale will improve Australia’s capability to meet current and future threats by suppressing and destroying land- or sea-based radar emitters associated with enemy air defenses. Destruction or suppression of enemy radar denies the adversary the use of air defense systems, thereby improving the survivability of its tactical aircraft,” the Defense Security Cooperation Agency wrote in a statement. The principal contractor for the proposed deal is Northrop Grumman Information Systems.

Precision Munitions FMS. The State Department has also approved a potential $22.7 million deal covering precision-guided munitions for the NATO Support and Procurement Agency. “The proposed sale will improve Australia’s capability to meet current and future threats by suppressing and destroying land- or sea-based radar emitters associated with enemy air defenses. Destruction or suppression of enemy radar denies the adversary the use of air defense systems, thereby improving the survivability of its tactical aircraft,” the Defense Security Cooperation Agency wrote. The deal would include 279 GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bombs, an additional 40 munitions over an original $1.9 million FMS case, as well as 204 FMU-152 fuzes, 204 MK-82 500LB General Purpose Bombs and 50 BLU-109 2000LB Hard Target Penetrator Bombs. The principal contractors for the proposed deal are Boeing and Raytheon Missile Systems.

Operator Input. U.S. Air Force acquisition chief Andrew Hunter says that a top priority is speeding the delivery of effective systems to personnel in the field. That desired acceleration entails a partnership between the acquisition community and field operators, and, while the service is already using the approach for the Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider future stealth bomber and Ground Based Strategic Deterrent programs, the Air Force also may soon use the partnership for the Advanced Battle Management System and Next Generation Air Dominance family of systems, Hunter says.

…Collaborative Combat Aircraft. The Air Force is developing an acquisition strategy and timeline for Collaborative Combat Aircraft (CCA), to be employed by “quarterback” F-35As, B-21s, or the manned NGAD fighter. The CCA wealth may spread to more than one company. “My inclination would not be to go to one company that does everything,” he says.

 GPS Contract. The Department of the Air Force has awarded a contract worth up to nearly $582 million to Lockheed Martin for on-orbit engineering support for the company’s GPS IIR, IIR-M, GPS III and GPS IIIF satellites. The GPS IIR and IIR-M satellites were launched between 1997 and 2009, while the GPS III satellites were launched starting in December, 2018; and the GPS IIIF satellites may be launched starting in 2026.

 $40 Billion. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson says that former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. John Hyten told him last year that competition from SpaceX, which is providing its Falcon 9 rockets for National Security Space Launch for the U.S. Space Force, has saved the military $40 billion in launch costs. Nelson has embarked on an effort at NASA to spark competition on the agency’s programs and to use milestone-based acquisition approach to reduce unnecessary spending.

SSN-794. The Navy planned to commission the future USS Montana (SSN-794) Virginia-class submarine during a ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk, Va., on June 25. SSN-794 was previously christened at Newport News Shipbuilding in September 2020.  This will be the second U.S. Navy ship to bear the name of the state after an armored cruiser commissioned in 1908 that served through 1921. Montana will be the third Block V Virginia-class vessel to enter service.

ESB-6. The Navy plans to christen the latest Lewis B. Puller-class expeditionary sea base, the future USS John L. Canley (ESB-6), during a ceremony on June 25 at the General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (GD-NASSCO) shipyard in San Diego. It is named after a Medal of Honor recipient for service in the Vietnam War. The ESBs include a four spot flight deck, mission deck and hangar, and are designed for aviation facilities, berthing, equipment staging and support and command and control assets.

African Lion. U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVAF) is participating in the annual Exercise African Lion 2022 with partners from 11 other countries from June 21-30. U.S. participants include the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Arlington (LPD-24), Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG-78), and one P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance aircraft assigned to Patrol Squadron (VP) 9. The Navy said this is U.S. Africa Command’s premier annual exercise with over 7,500 service members participating. The exercise takes place in Morocco, Ghana, Senegal and Tunisia with participants including those host nations, Brazil, Chad, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain the U.K. and U.S. This year’s exercise includes a joint task force command post exercise, a combined arms live fire exercise; a maritime exercise; an air exercise including bomber aircraft; a joint forcible entry with paratroopers into a field training exercise; a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear response exercise; and a humanitarian civic assistance program event. The maritime part of the exercise, led by NAVAF, also features a naval gunfire exercise, multiple sea-based maneuvers, maritime interdiction exercises, and simulated amphibious landings.