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April 16, 2020 | International, Aerospace

USAF Monitors COVID-19 Impact On Space Industry

Lee Hudson

The Department of the Air Force has conducted its first-ever Space Acquisition Council (SAC) meeting and discussed the need for integration and synchronization across the national security space community, current and projected threats to U.S. interests in space, and the impact of the COVID-19 environment on the aerospace industry.

Congress directed the Pentagon to establish the nascent council in the fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act.

Air Force acquisition executive Will Roper is the SAC chairman. Additional members include Chief of Space Operations Gen. John Rayment; Shon Manasco, performing the duties of the undersecretary of the Air Force; Stephen Kitay, deputy assistant secretary of defense for space policy; Derek Tournear, Space Development Agency director; National Reconnaissance Office Director Christopher Scolese; Lt. Gen. JT Thompson, Space and Missile Systems Center commander; and Shawn Barnes, performing the duties of the office of the assistant secretary of the Air Force for space acquisition and integration.

The SAC will hold a second, out-of-cycle meeting within the next two weeks to focus on required actions to stabilize the aerospace industry and identify how best to focus additional stimulus funding during the spread of the novel coronavirus, Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said.

“Our aerospace industrial base is particularly at risk as commercial markets recede and defense markets slow during COVID-19 uncertainty,” Roper said in an April 14 statement. “The Space Acquisition Council will hold an emergency session to converge on a plan of action to stabilize our industrial base. Working with Congress, we can ensure the nation’s space superiority does not become a cornonavirus victim.”

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  • US military buys additional Trophy APS, Rafael pushes light version for Bradley and Stryker

    January 9, 2019 | International, Land

    US military buys additional Trophy APS, Rafael pushes light version for Bradley and Stryker

    Ashley Roque, Washington, DC - Jane's Defence Weekly In the US military's bid to protect troops inside its M1 Abrams main battle tanks from incoming threats such as anti-tank guided missiles and rocket-propelled grenades, the army and US Marine Corps (USMC) are purchasing additional Israeli-built Trophy active protection systems (APSs). Leonardo DRS, Rafael's US-based partner, announced on 8 January that it has received a contract initially worth up to USD79.6 million to provide the services with additional Trophy systems. The latest contract pushes the programme's funded value more than USD200 million. "Leonardo DRS is proud of the confidence shown by the army in deciding to field Trophy to even more US combat brigades," said Aaron Hankins, vice-president and general manager of the Leonardo DRS Land Systems division. "Together with our Rafael partners, we are fully committed to meeting our customers' demands and are working in parallel to further address the urgent protection needs of other US platforms." The company declined to discuss the specific number of APSs acquired under the latest contract or how they will be split between the army and USMC. With a proliferation of anti-tank guided missiles and the Pentagon preparing for a potential ground conflict with Russian forces, the army evaluated three APSs: Rafael's Trophy on the Abrams tank, IMI Systems' (now owned by Elbit Systems) Iron Fist on the M2 Bradley, and Artis' Iron Curtain on the Stryker. Trophy was the first system flagged to proceed. Then, in November, the Army's Requirements Oversight Council (AROC) decided Iron Fist will move into the next phase of urgent qualification testing, and plans to urgently field "at least a brigade's worth of capability", according to Ashley John, the army's public affairs director for the Program Executive Officer - Ground Combat Systems.

  • The Pentagon has spent 23% of its COVID-19 response funds. Congress is asking why not more.

    June 1, 2020 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    The Pentagon has spent 23% of its COVID-19 response funds. Congress is asking why not more.

    By: Joe Gould  Updated 5/29/20 with response from the Pentagon. WASHINGTON ― The Pentagon has spent less than a quarter of the $10.6 billion Congress gave it in March to protect military personnel and marshal American industry to procure face masks, ventilators and other products hospitals need in their fight against the coronavirus. Citing the Trump administration’s most recent reports to Congress, Democratic senators say the Pentagon has placed on contract 23 percent of the funds it was provided nine weeks ago as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act of 2020. It’s the latest criticism in a sharp back and forth between congressional Democrats and the Pentagon over the latter’s response to the global pandemic. As the nation surpassed 100,000 deaths from COVID-19, nine Senate Democrats wrote to Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Thursday, calling for him to provide Congress with a spending plan for the remaining funds. 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Though the coronavirus rescue package included more than $1 billion for National Guard deployments requested by the administration to support state authorities, the Guard didn’t need the money because the Federal Emergency Management Agency has since taken responsibility for reimbursing states. “We do not understand why the Department requested these funds … nor do we know what they will be used for now,” the lawmakers wrote. The Pentagon has thus far obligated $167 million of the $1 billion Congress granted under the Defense Production Act, a Korean War-era law that the president recently invoked, to have industry produce key items such as N95 respirator masks and swabs needed for coronavirus testing, ventilators and other items. “Lacking further information from the Department on its plans for these funds, we are unable to answer simple questions such as whether the U.S. Government is doing everything in its power to address shortfalls in supplies which are not only needed at this moment, but also in preparation for a predicted second wave of coronavirus infections,” the lawmakers wrote. In a statement, chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Rath Hoffman said the department “remains committed to legally and responsibly executing these funds on the highest priorities to protect our military and their families and safeguard our national security capabilities. As we have seen, this is an evolving and dynamic situation where priorities and requirements change, which is why it is so important that we remain faithful and accountable stewards of the taxpayer dollar.” “As the Members know, the spend plan is due per the CARES Act in four weeks, on June 26th. The plan is currently in final review and approval, and we expect it to be on the Hill by close of business [May 29], a full month prior to the required due date,” Hoffman added. “In the interim, the Department has shown its commitment to transparency through daily and weekly updates from senior DoD leaders to multiple Congressional committees — both staff and members. In addition, DoD has provided hundreds of responses to Congressional COVID queries, and will continue to do so.” The Department of Defense announced its first use of the Defense Production Act on April 13 in the form of $133 million in contracts to 3M, O&M Halyward, and Honeywell to boost domestic production of N95 respirator masks. On Thursday, the DoD announced its latest: $2.2 million to Hollingsworth & Vose for 27.5 million N95 ventilator filters and 3.1 million N95 respirators per month, starting in August ― all to “relieve manufacturing bottlenecks and will expand N95 mask production and ventilator use.” The letter comes just weeks after the Pentagon made a surprise decision to move its point person for the Defense Production Act, Jen Santos, into a new job. But it’s also as Democrats have urged President Donald Trump to dramatically increase domestic production of personal protective equipment and testing supplies. “Throughout this crisis, you have continued to lay blame for the public health response on others, from members of the previous administration to those who report to you now,” Schatz, Durbin, Tester and Baldwin wrote in a letter to Trump on May 15. “Your dismissal of the Pentagon’s senior industrial policy official appears to be the latest example of removing a knowledgeable and well-regarded technocrat for no reason but to cover for your failure to fully invoke and utilize the DPA authorities.” In early May, Esper clapped back at accusations the DoD had not been transparent in its response to COVID-19. A letter from Senate Armed Services Committee member Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and nine Democratic colleagues, which accused the Defense Department of failing to adequately respond to the pandemic, contained “a number of misleading, false, or inaccurate statements,” Esper said. “Our commitment is to ensure that we provide Congress complete, accurate and timely information which we are doing on weekly basis,” he said, adding that he speaks with committee leaders on a weekly basis. “We recognize Congress has an important oversight role, but it should be an informed oversight role, and we are committed to doing that.” Aaron Mehta contributed to this report.

  • Brève note sur la guerre des avions de combat de nouvelle génération

    October 9, 2018 | International, Aerospace

    Brève note sur la guerre des avions de combat de nouvelle génération

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