Tanker Sustainment. Boeing says that it has received an order from the Italian Air Force to continue “tip to tail,” performance based logistics (PBL) sustainment of the Italian Air Force’s four KC-767A tankers through December 2025. That sustainment is to include line and heavy maintenance, repair and overhaul; supply chain; engineering support, publications revisions; and flight and maintenance training, Boeing said. In a Boeing statement, Italian Lt. Gen. Giuseppe Lupoli, director of air armaments and airworthiness, said that the Italian Air Force “aims at having continued high mission readiness and success throughout the 41-month extended PBL agreement period of performance.” Boeing said that it has provided such sustainment for the Italian tankers since 2011 and that, “on average,” the Italian Air Force’s KC-767A tankers “operate at twice the utilization rate per aircraft of legacy military tankers.”
Lockheed Martin Retirement.
Scott Greene, a 41-year veteran of Lockheed Martin and current chief of its $11 billion Missiles and Fire Control segment, is retiring at the end of 2022. Greene has led MFC since August 2019 and before that was vice president of the segment’s Tactical & Strike Missiles business. Lockheed Martin said Greene will remain in his current role until a successor is named and then will serve as a strategic adviser to help with the transition.
Yee to GDIT. Retired Maj. Gen. Garrett Yee, who retired in late April as assistant to the director of the Defense Information Systems Agency, has been appointed vice president and general manager of General Dynamics’ Information Technologies division’s Army sector. GDIT’s Army business includes modernization and sustainment operations, simulation-based training, and logistics and supply chain management systems. Yee is charged with driving growth and innovation and meeting customer needs.
New CubeSat Factory. Blue Canyon Technologies has opened a new small satellite factory that can build 85 CubeSats a year, up from the current 50. The 31,000 square-foot facility consolidates Blue Canyon’s current manufacturing efforts with dedicated CubeSat employees. Blue Canyon, a subsidiary of Raytheon Technologies, has 38 CubeSats in various stages of design, assembly and test. The company has four divisions divided into CubeSats, Microsats, Components and Mission Operations.
Coast Guard News. Bollinger Shipyards has delivered the 50th Fast Response Cutter, the USCGC William Chadwick, to the Coast Guard. The 154-f00t vessel is the first of six FRCs that will be homeported in Boston. Currently, the Coast Guard plans to buy 65 FRCs. The service also recently accepted delivery of its 13th HC-144B Ocean Sentry upgraded medium-range surveillance aircraft, which is outfitted with modifications that include a new flight management system and the Minotaur mission system. Minotaur integrates installed sensors and radar and provides improved data fusion and information processing and sharing.
Quick Turnaround. On Aug. 4, the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) launched its second mission in less than a month from New Zealand aboard a Rocket Lab Electron rocket from the company’s Launch Complex-1. Both missions, NROL-199 on Aug. 4 and NROL-162 on July 13, were in partnership with the Australian military under the NRO’s Rapid Acquisition of a Small Rocket (RASR) contract. NRO Director Chris Scolese says such launches abroad are valuable, as they lessen U.S. reliance on Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif., and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Fla. NRO has launched four missions from New Zealand. Later this year, NRO plans to use VirginOrbit’s LauncherOne in NRO’s first horizontal launch. That mission is a partnership between the NRO and the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense and is to be the first commercial rocket to launch from the U.K.
Oilers. The Navy awarded General Dynamics’ National Steel and Shipbuilding Co. (NASSCO) an $890 million modification on Aug. 4 to perform detail design and construction on the next John Lewis-class fleet replenishment oilers, the future USNS Thurgood Marshall (T-AO 211) and Ruth Bader Ginsburg (T-AO 212). The award includes an option to do the detail design and construction of the unnamed T-AO 213, which if exercised would raise the total value of the mod to $1.6 billion. Work will primarily occur in San Diego (58 percent); Iron Mountain, Mich. (eight percent); Crozet, Va., (five percent) and several other locations in the U.S. and is expected to be finished by June 2027.
…And ESB-8. The Navy also awarded NASSCO a $535 million modification to procure the detail design and construction of the future Lewis B. Puller-class Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB) 8. Work will largely occur in San Diego (69 percent) and various other locations mostly within the U.S. and is expected to be finished by March 2026.
Microwave Tech. The Missile Defense Agency awarded Raytheon Technologies a $13 million modification on July 29 to complete the technology critical design review of the Microwave Technology Testbed system. MDA first disclosed it was beginning this effort in June 2020 to mature a non-kinetic defense capability to help very long range and extreme power levels. This latest modification increases the total contract value from about $14 million to $27 million. Work will occur in Tucson, Ariz., and is expected to be finished by February 2024.
TALSA. The Navy opened a new facility, Training and Logistics Support Activity (TALSA) East, at Joint Expeditionary Base (JEB) Little Creek-Fort Story in Virginia Beach, Va., on July 27 that is focused on training sailors who operate the Family of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (FoSUAS). This is the Navy’s first facility dedicated to helping unmanned aircraft operators complete SUAS training. The operators previously trained directly with the original equipment manufacturer, via contractor-led training, or at one of four Marine Corps TALSA facilities when space was available. The first official course at this TALSA will start on Aug. 8 for the FLIR SkyRaider R80D. It also supports training for the Skydio X2D and PD-100 Black Hornet 3.
New DoD Spox. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has appointed Air Force Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder as the next Pentagon press secretary. “Pat will fill a critical role, leading our efforts to provide timely, accurate information to the media, and through the media to the American people,” Austin said in his Aug. 4 announcement. Ryder currently serves as the Department of the Air Force’s director of public affairs. He is expected to take over his new role as the Pentagon’s top spokesperson later this month. Ryder will succeed John Kirby, who moved over to the White House to serve as spokesperson for the National Security Council.
Meijer Loses Primary. Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Mich.), a member of the House Homeland Security Committee lost his Republican primary race on Tuesday to John Gibbs, a former Trump administration official. Meijer, a freshman member of Congress representing Michigan’s 3rd district, is the top Republican on the Homeland Security panel’s Subcommittee on Oversight, Management, & Accountability. He is also a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Space, Science and Technology Committee. Gibbs, who was a senior official in the Department of Housing and Urban Development during the Trump administration, had the endorsement of the former president. Meijer was one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump in January 2021 for his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
GDIT Award. GDIT announced on Aug. 4 it was awarded the Guard Enterprise Cyber Operations Support (GECOS) contract, worth potentially $267 million, to support the Army National Guard’s IT infrastructure and networking needs. “Under this new work, GDIT will provide the Army National Guard with an integrated network and security operations center,” GDIT wrote in a statement. “From this site, GDIT will operate, maintain and secure the enterprise network, both in classified and unclassified environments, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. GDIT will leverage specific IT services and zero trust solutions to provide program management, cybersecurity, and IT operations and maintenance.”