RIMPAC 2022. The Navy began the 28th biennial international Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise on June 29. This year’s event includes 26 countries, 28 surface ships, four submarines, nine national land forces, more than 30 unmanned systems, about 170 aircraft and over 25,000 personnel operating in and around the Hawaiian islands and Southern California. RIMPAC is set to last from June 29 through Aug. 4.  Commander of U.S. 3rd Fleet Vice Adm. Michael Boyle is commander of the overall RIMPAC 2022. South Korea Rear Adm. Sangmin An will serve as the Commander of Combined Task Force (CTF) 176, RIMPAC’s amphibious task force with Royal Canadian Navy Rear Adm. Christopher Robinson as deputy commander of the CTF, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Rear Adm. Toshiyuki Hirata as the vice commander, and the Fleet Marine Force will be led by U.S. Marine Brig. Gen. Joseph Clearfield. Other leadership positions in the exercise are held by officials from Singapore, Australia, and Canada.


The exercises in this RIMPAC will include gunnery, missile, anti-submarine, air defense, amphibious, counter-piracy, mine clearance, explosive ordnance disposal, diving and salvage operations. RIMPAC will also introduce space and cyber operations for all partner nations.

Navy Climate Exercise. The Department of the Navy (DoN) hosted its first Climate Tabletop Exercise in Washington, D.C., on June 29 to look at the impacts climate change has on mission, readiness and warfighting capacity. It selected role players from the Department of Defense, federal agencies, Congress, think tanks, non-governmental organizations and the private sector to test how elements of the DoN Climate Action 2030 strategy come into practice. The strategy was released in May. The strategy aims to focus the Navy on “building a climate-ready force by building climate resilience and reducing the climate threat,” the service said in a statement. The exercise scenario was set in October 2030 and focused on a Navy Amphibious Ready Group and an embarked Marine Expeditionary Group preparing for an amphibious exercise with a partner nation in the Western Indo-Pacific area of operations when a typhoon impacts the exercise, causing cascading effects on operations. In the scenario, the storm followed other storms that made the land and local populations less resilient and more susceptible to stronger damage from environmental and infrastructure disruptions. The Navy said the takeaways were the importance of incorporating climate predictions and considerations into planning and resourcing.

MQ-25. The Navy’s Unmanned Carrier Aviation program office (PMA-268) conducted the first lab integration event to demonstrate how the MQ-25 Ground Control Station (GCS) will command the unmanned carrier-based tanker on an aircraft carrier. The government team included prime industry partner Lockheed Martin’s GCS controlling the Boeing Hardware-in-the-Loop (HITL) air vehicle for the first time at the Patuxent River, Md., MQ-25 System Test and Integration Lab. The service said the HITL uses aircraft hardware and software to provide a “realistic surrogate” for the vehicle. The team had the goal to send a basic command between the GCS and HITL. “The team met the initial goal ahead of schedule and used the remaining time to exercise more functionality like sending taxi commands. They also simulated a lost link that verified the proper GCS display indicators,” TJ Maday, MQ-25 labs and integration manager, said in a statement. Next, in the fall the team plans to simulate a complete flight using the HITL air vehicle and demonstrate switching connections links to the aircraft and adding other hardware and software. 

New Army Vice Chief. Lt. Gen. Randy George is officially set to serve as the Army’s next chief of staff, according to a June 28 announcement from the service’s office of the chief of staff. George, who is currently a senior military assistant to Secretary of Defense Austin, will succeed Gen. Joseph Martin and receive his fourth star with the promotion. The Senate previously voted in late April 28 to confirm George for the new position. The Army has also announced that Maj. Gen. Ross Coffman, director of the Next-Generation Combat Vehicle Cross-Functional Team, has received his third star and is set to take over as deputy command general of Army Futures Command. Coffman in his previous role led the Army’s effort to develop programs such as the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle and Robotic Combat Vehicle.

Army Aviation. The Army Aviation Center of Excellence said on June 28 it will host the ninth annual Army Aviation Industry Days on Aug. 2-4 at Fort Rucker in Alabama. The event is expected to provide updates on the latest Army readiness and modernization initiatives, to include briefings and engagement opportunities with officials leading those efforts. The Army noted the event will include allowing industry partners to showcase their capabilities and information on the latest opportunities to help contribute to Army aviation modernization efforts.

New Business Line. ICEYE, the Finnish operator of a commercial synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite constellation for various markets, has established a new business line selling radar imaging satellites to customers that want to operate their own spacecraft or have the company manage the satellites exclusively for them.  “We have pioneered advances in electronics, spacecraft engineering and on-orbit computation so that we can manufacture high performance, smaller and less expensive SAR satellites to meet the imaging requirements for international customers,” says Rafal Madrzewski, ICEYE’s CEO and co-founder. “We have been listening carefully to the market and are responding to the strong need for this unique offering.” The company has already sold two satellites to the Brazilian air force for environmental and national security missions and will supply MDA Ltd. with a spacecraft for its new commercial Earth observation system.

Executive News. Larry Culp, chairman and CEO of General Electric, is also taking on the CEO role for GE Aviation, which is scheduled to become the sole remaining GE business in 2024 after the company spins off its healthcare division in 2023 and its power and renewable business in 2024. John Slattery, who was running GE Aviation, is now its chief commercial officer. Rahul Ghai, who was chief financial officer at Otis Worldwide Corp., is the new CFO at GE Aviation, succeeding Shane Wright, who is retiring as CFO and chief operating officer. Amy Gowder continues as president and CEO of Military Systems Operation at GE Aviation. At Science Applications International Corp., Hilary Hageman has been appointed general counsel and corporate secretary effective July 11, taking over for Steven Mahon who is retiring. Hageman previously held the same roles at Cubic Corp. and before that was deputy general counsel at SAIC.

JADC2. The U.S. Air Force said that Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown met with his fellow chiefs on June 24 to coordinate the military services’ approaches to Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2). The latter incorporates the Air Force’s Advanced Battle Management System, the Navy’s Project Overmatch, and the Army’s Project Convergence. JADC2 is to use artificial intelligence and other technologies to speed information sharing across the military services to accelerate sensor-to-shooter timelines. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin approved DoD’s JADC2 strategy in May last year. The Air Force said that “after a year of baseline activities in support of the JADC2 Strategy and Implementation Plan, the [service] chiefs [on June 24] discussed the need for a more developed Concept of Operations, or CONOPS, for a future joint fight against a peer competitor, which is currently fraught with challenges when forces become disconnected from global communications networks” and that “the creation of a CONOPS for command and control of the joint force is an essential step forward in creating decision advantage.” The House Armed Services Committee wants the Government Accountability Office to evaluate the cost and schedule of the services’ JADC2 initiatives.

Change of Command. Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael Schmidt is to take the reins of the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) from Air Force Lt. Gen. Eric Fick at a ceremony at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C., on July 5. Fick has headed the F-35 JPO since July 2019. Since 2018, Schmidt has been the program executive officer (PEO) for command, control, communications, intelligence and networks for the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Hanscom AFB, Mass. Schmidt has had a number of jobs since he graduated with a degree in industrial engineering from Iowa State University as an ROTC student in 1990–positions that have included work for Lockheed Martin in Orlando, Fla., in 1995-1996, as the F-35 lead program element monitor from 2003-2005, and as Air Force Materiel Command’s PEO for fighters and bombers at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio from 2016 to 2018.

LMT MSIL. Lockheed Martin broke ground on a new Missile System Integration Lab (MSIL) at its Huntsville, Ala., campus on June 27. The company said this new 25,000 square foot facility is a $16.5 million company investment meant to first be used exclusively on development for the company’s Next Generation Interceptor (NGI) program work. “The new facility adds to our advanced portfolio to ensure engineering rigor through ground testing and integration, validating our approach well before we flight test. The facility will be equipped with key infrastructure and communication capabilities, integrating the digital thread in all that we do and maturing the All Up Round as we prove out our design,” Sarah Reeves, vice president of the Next Generation Interceptor Program at Lockheed Martin, said in a statement.