Ukraine Supplemental Passes. The Senate on May 19 voted 86 to 11 to pass the new $40 billion Ukraine emergency aid supplemental, sending the bill to President Biden’s desk for final signature. The new supplemental, which the House passed on May 10 with a 368 to 57 vote, is $7 billion more than the White House originally requested and includes nearly $20 billion for Pentagon-specific efforts. The bill specifically includes $6 billion for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative to procure military equipment to send to Kyiv to aid in its ongoing fight against Russia’s invasion, another $8.7 billion to help replenish stockpiles of U.S. weapons sent via drawdown authority and $3.9 billion to support European Command operations. All 11 ‘No’ votes were cast by Senate Republicans. The latest Ukraine aid supplemental follows the $13.6 billion emergency spending bill passed in mid-March. along with the fiscal year 2022 omnibus.
More Ukraine Military Aid. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also said on May 19 the State Department has approved sending another $100 million in military assistance to Ukraine, the 10th such drawdown of U.S. equipment. The U.S. has now committed approximately $3.9 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since Russia began its invasion of the country in February, Blinken noted. “The United States is committed to helping Ukraine continue to meet its defense needs and build its future capabilities, as well as to bolster Allies and partners across NATO’s Eastern Flank and the broader region,” Blinken said. The Pentagon noted the latest weapons package to Ukraine includes 18 155mm howitzers, 18 tactical vehicles to tow the howitzers and three AN/TPQ-36 counter-artillery radars.
Aerospike Missile. Israel’s Rafael unveiled its new Aerospike air-to-surface stand-off precision-guided missile (SOPGM) at this week’s Special Operations Forces Industry Conference in Tampa, Florida. Rafael said Aerospike is a lightweight solution designed to be fired off fixed-wing platforms and “offers a significant stand-off range of 30 km, all within a contested environment, independent of GPS.” “We believe the Aerospike can enhance the precision, lethality, and survivability of future SOCOM Armed Overwatch squadrons, providing the Air Force Special Operations Command an advanced tactical [close air support] (CAS) solution while keeping the warfighter out of harm’s way. Today’s battle arena is saturated with portable air defense threats – like MANPADs – that require CAS elements to operate with greater precision and longer ranges; that is precisely what Aerospike brings to the modern battlefield,” Alon Shlomi, vice president at Rafael and director of its air-to-surface directorate, said in a statement.
LAX UAS DTI Pilot. Transportation Security Administrator David Pekoske said his agency plans to begin its second counter unmanned aircraft system (UAS) pilot this July at Los Angeles International Airport. TSA last August began its first pilot of UAS detect, track and identify (DTI) technologies at Miami International Airport. Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the House Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee, told Pekoske last week that once the testbed at LAX is operational, she would like to visit. Pekoske also told her that Congress needs to reauthorize the Department of Homeland Security’s counter UAS authorities, which expire in October, or the DTI testbeds will have to stop.
APNT/Space CFT Director. Army Futures Command said on May 16 that Mike Monteleone will serve as the next director of the Assured Position, Navigation and Timing/Space (APNT/Space) Cross-Functional Team (CFT). As the director, Monteleone will lead the APNT/Space CFT’s efforts to develop the Army’s requirements for PNT, tactical space and navigation warfare requirements. Since October 2021, Monteleone has served as the director of the Army C5ISR Center’s engineering and systems integration directorate. Monteleone succeeds Willie Nelson, who was named as the Army’s new deputy assistant secretary for research and technology in early May.
Systems Engineering, International Affairs, and Commercial Services. As the U.S. Space Force aims over the next five years to rely more on commercial satellites and NATO allies’ satellites, the service is looking to beef up its work force in the areas of systems engineering, foreign military sales/international affairs, and commercial services—“three skill sets we traditionally didn’t have a lot of in space acquisition,” according to Lt. Gen. Michael Guetlein, the head of Space Force’s Space Systems Command. The latter has established a commercial services office.
…Deconfliction. Space Force has worked with other organizations to reduce program duplication, Guetlein said. A Space Acquisition Council, chaired by Frank Calvelli—the assistant secretary of the Air Force for space acquisition and integration, includes Missile Defense Agency (MDA), National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), DoD acquisition office, DoD research and engineering office, and front line forces’ participation. In addition, Guetlein said, Space Force is taking advantage of the Program Integration Council (PIC), which includes Guetlein and the directors of MDA, the Space Development Agency, the Pentagon Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO) and the Space RCO, as well as the NRO deputy, to deconflict space programs. As a result of the PIC’s work, those space organizations submitted fiscal 2024 Program Objective Memoranda that require less or no revision by DoD, Guetlein said. “I don’t think industry has ever seen us do that,” he said of such a space “unity of effort.”
Future of Autonomy. This month, the Air Force Association’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies launched its Center for UAV and Autonomy Studies to analyze the strategy, operations, technology, and organization for the use of autonomous drones in future conflicts. Retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. David Deptula, the dean of the Mitchell Institute, said that “after more than two decades of constantly employing unmanned aircraft in combat, the U.S. Department of Defense is approaching a critical decision point regarding the future of UAVs and autonomous systems.” Caitlin Lee, a former RAND Corp. manager and analyst, is to lead the new research center.
Arkansas Boom. Lockheed Martin and Airbus have announced that they will build the aerial refueling boom for the companies’ proposed LMXT tanker in western Arkansas. The U.S. Air Force has been mulling whether to move forward on a KC-Y tanker competition to fill the gap between the planned acquisition of 179 KC-46s by 2029 and a future KC-Z tanker. The design of LMXT, which is to offer a fly-by-wire refueling boom, is based on the Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport used by U.S. allies. The companies have yet to designate a western Arkansas location to host the Airbus plant that will build the LMXT boom. While Lockheed Martin said that it opened its first plant in Arkansas in 1978—in Camden, where some 1,300 company employees work on Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control programs, the Airbus plant will be that company’s first Arkansas location. Airbus , has a work force across the southern United States—30 percent of whom are U.S. military veterans, per Airbus. The company said that it builds the A320 and A220 airliners in Alabama, H125 and UH-72 Lakota helicopters in Mississippi, and satellites in Florida.
Nice Dividend Boost. Northrop Grumman last week hiked its quarterly dividend by 10 percent to $1.73 per share, a 16 cents per share increase over the current dividend. Last year, Northrop Grumman boosted its quarterly dividend 8 percent to $1.57 per share. The new dividend is payable June 15 and represents the 19th consecutive annual increase.
Lichtenstein’s CEO Choice. If Aerojet Rocketdyne Executive Chairman and dissident shareholder Warren Lichtenstein wins an ongoing proxy battle with Eileen Drake, the company’s CEO, he would appoint Mark Tucker as CEO. Tucker is a former chief operating officer of the rocket company from 2015 to 2020 and also worked at Northrop Grumman. “I see a tremendous opportunity to help stabilize Aerojet Rocketdyne and oversee stronger results for the company’s shareholders,” Tucker said in a statement accompany a press release issued by Lichtenstein. “While I have no interest in commenting on the events that have led to this contest, I can say with great conviction that the status quo cannot persist and all of Aerojet Rocketdyne’s stakeholders deserve better.”
Withdrawn. The White House last week withdrew the nomination of William Valdez to be the Under Secretary for Management at the Department of Homeland Security. There were no major issues concerning Valdez during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in February. Valdez is chairman and co-founder of the Alliance for Latinx Leadership & Policy, which promotes Latinx policy professionals for careers in government and the private sector.
Indian Naval Repairs. Earlier this month, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday said the Navy aims to have a U.S. Military Sealift Command (MSC) vessel be repaired in India this summer, as first announced in an April 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue joint statement. Last month officials said the U.S. will explore supporting mid-voyage repair of MSC ships. During a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on May 12, Gilday said the Navy is currently sending a team to India for a more detailed survey of using shipyards there for repair and maintenance work after he visited recently. “I visited India and I specifically asked to go to Mumbai to take a look at their civilian shipyards, to see for myself what their capabilities are there. This is a quick win for the United States-India relationship,” Gilday said. He added that having a ship undergo repairs by the summer gives the Navy more flexibility and opportunities in the region to get ships fixed. “They have a high have a high degree of confidence in their ability to do that. I think we’re on the right track,” Gilday continued. MSC ships include vessels like the Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport ships (EPFs); Lewis-B. Puller-class expeditionary sea base ships (ESBs); Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo ships (T-AKE); and Navajo-class towing, salvage and rescue ships, among many others.
USVDIV. The Navy established Unmanned Surface Vessel Division (USVDIV) One during a ceremony that also included a change of command ceremony for Surface Development Squadron (SURFDEVRON) One on May 13. Cmdr. Jeremiah Daley assumed command of the new USVDIV One, which will oversee medium and large unmanned surface vessels (USVs) like the Sea Hunter and Sea Hawk experimental prototype vessels. USDIV is set to focus on experimentation and fleet advocacy for the surface force, helping build the knowledge for sailors to operate and maintain USVs. “USVDIV One will be a catalyst for innovation as we employ unmanned surface capabilities in the Pacific Fleet. The implementation of unmanned systems will increase decision speed and lethality to enhance our warfighting advantage,” Vice Adm. Roy Kitchener, Commander of Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, said during the ceremony.
LDUUV Team. The U.K. company MSUBS and U.S. company ThayerMahan announced they are teaming up for the new Minke Large Diameter Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (LDUUV). The new system is rated to 1,500 meters depth and “utilizes state of the art navigation and imaging tools as well as sophisticated autonomy developed over decades by MSUBS Ltd and Marine AI LTD.” ThayerMahan CEO Mike Connor said in the near term the companies will use Minke for commercial work and “expand to government work when the Navy’s LDUUV program is re-started.” The Navy’s FY ‘23 budget request said the Navy planned to eliminate the current Snakehead LDUUV program, canceling a phase 2 contract. Connor added that their design will scale to extra-large UUVs (XLUUVs) “when the defense market is ready for that capability.”
Columbia Mod. The Navy awarded General Dynamics’ Electric Boat a $314 million modification to the previous Columbia Integrated Product and Process contract. This was awarded on May 18. The integrated enterprise plan supports Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) and the larger nuclear shipbuilding enterprise, which covers Virginia-class attack submarines and Ford-class aircraft carriers. This mod covers additional U.K. Strategic Weapon Support System kit manufacturing, and submarine industrial base development and expansion. The contract announcement said this industrial base development work “ is for the furtherance of the Fiscal 2022 National Defense Authorization Act,” with appropriated additional funds for the submarine industrial base and expansion to ensure second and third-tier contractors are able to meet increased production requirements. GD noted this mod will support submarine industrial base development and expansion for the construction of the Columbia-class SSBNs and support the manufacturing, procurement and delivery efforts for U.K. Strategic Weapon Support System kits. Work will largely occur in Quonset Point, R.I., and is expected to be finished by September 2029. No funding is obligated at award time.
OTH Missiles. The Navy awarded Raytheon Technologies a $103 million modification, exercising an option to build and deliver the Over-the-Horizon-Weapon System (OTH-WS). This consists of Naval Strike Missiles (NSM) inside canisters that are loaded into launching mechanisms with a single fire control suite. The Navy is using OTH-WS for long range anti-ship anti-surface warfare capability based on Littoral Combat Ships (LCSs), the future Constellation-class guided-missile frigate (FFG-62s), and San Antonio-class amphibious warships (LPDs). The Marine Corps is also procuring the OTH system to use on the Navy/Marine Expeditionary Ship Interdiction System, which places an NSM launcher on an unmanned Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV)-based platform. The OTH-WS includes an operator interface console, NSMs, and missile launching system. Work will be split among Kongsberg, Norway (75 percent), where Kongsberg builds the missiles; Tuscon, Ariz. (15 percent); and various other U.S. and international locations. The work is expected to be finished by May 2024. While Kongsberg builds the missiles, Raytheon is the prime contractor for the U.S. on the project. The announcement said the contract was competitively awarded but did not disclose if there were any other offerors.
DDG-139. Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro said on May 19 a future Arleigh Burke-class destroyer will be named the future Telesforo Trinidad (DDG-139). The ship is named in honor of Fireman 2nd Class Telesforo De La Cruz Trinidad, the only Filipino in the Navy to be awarded the Medal of Honor for rescuing shipmates in 1915.
LCS-21. The Navy plans to commission the future USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul (LCS-21) in Duluth, Minn., on May 21. LCS-21 was built by Fincantieri Marinette Marine in Marinette, Wis., for prime contractor Lockheed Martin. The ship was first launched and christened in June 2019, finished acceptance trials in August 2020 and delivered to the Navy in November 2021. Following the commissioning ceremony, LCS-21 will sail to its homeport at Naval Station Mayport, Fla.
Secret Department. Raytheon Technologies’ Intelligence & Space segment last week introduced a secretive business unit, Department 22, that is developing advanced warfare capabilities including multi-function systems, miniaturized sensors and systems, cross-domain capabilities, autonomous mission systems, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, synthetic biology and other emerging technologies. Paul Meyer, president of Department 22, said the company is “opening up” a little about the business unit in an effort to attract the best talent in the U.S. Previously known as Advanced Concepts and Technology, Department 22 is headquartered in McKinney, Texas. The strategic business unit plans to hire more than 400 engineers, scientists and technologists by the end of 2022.