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  • Inside SecDef Jim Mattis’ $2.5 Billion Plan to Make the Infantry Deadlier

    August 6, 2018 | International, Land

    Inside SecDef Jim Mattis’ $2.5 Billion Plan to Make the Infantry Deadlier

    By Matthew Cox Retired Marine infantry officer Joe L'Etoile remembers when training money for his unit was so short "every man got four blanks; then we made butta-butta-bang noises" and "threw dirt clods for grenades." Now, L'Etoile is director of the Defense Department's Close Combat Lethality Task Force and leading an effort to manage $2.5 billion worth of DoD investments into weapons, unmanned systems, body armor, training and promising new technology for a group that has typically ranked the lowest on the U.S. military's priority list: the grunts. But the task force's mission isn't just about funding high-tech new equipment for Army, Marine and special operations close-combat forces. It is also digging into deeply entrenched policies and making changes to improve unit cohesion, leadership and even the methods used for selecting individuals who serve in close-combat formations. Launched in February, the new joint task force is a top priority of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, a retired Marine Corps infantry officer himself. With this level of potent support, L'Etoile is able to navigate through the bureaucratic strongholds of the Pentagon that traditionally favor large weapons programs such as Air Force fighters and Navy ships. "This is a mechanism that resides at the OSD level, so it's fairly quick; we are fairly nimble," L'Etoile told Military.com on July 25. "And because this is the secretary's priority ... the bureaucracies respond well because the message is the secretary's." Before he's done, L'Etoile said, the task force will "reinvent the way the squad is perceived within the department." "I would like to see the squad viewed as a weapons platform and treated as such that its constituent parts matter," he said. "We would never put an aircraft onto the flight line that didn't have all of its parts, but a [Marine] squad that only has 10 out of 13? Yeah. Deploy it. Put it into combat. We need to take a look at what that costs us. And fundamentally, I believe down at my molecular level, we can do better." Full Article: https://www.military.com/daily-news/2018/08/04/inside-secdef-jim-mattis-25-billion-plan-make-infantry-deadlier.html

  • US Navy awards major contract to Huntington Ingalls for its newest class of amphibious vessels

    August 3, 2018 | International, Naval

    US Navy awards major contract to Huntington Ingalls for its newest class of amphibious vessels

    By: David B. Larter WASHINGTON — The U.S. Navy awarded shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls a $165.5 million contract to procure long lead-time materials for the LPD-17 Flight II, according to a contract dated Aug. 2 and released Friday. The amphibious transport dock, designated LPD-30, is the first of the 13-ship LPD-17 Flight II class that will replace the current dock landing ships. The program, which was until April known as LX(R), is expected to be built exclusively at HII's yard in Pascagoula, Mississippi. “This is a significant milestone as we embark toward a new flight of LPDs,” Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias said in a statement. “The Flight II LPDs will be highly capable ships meeting the requirements and needs of our Navy-Marine Corps team. We look forward to delivering this series of affordable LPDs to our nation's fleet of amphibious ships.” The Navy is anticipating awarding a detailed design and construction contract either late in 2018 or early 2019. The Navy's cost goal for the program is $1.64 billion for the first ship and $1.4 billion for each subsequent ship, according to the Congressional Research Service. LPD-30 is going to come equipped with Raytheon's Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar, an upgrade over the AN/SPS-48 currently on the LPD-17 class. https://www.defensenews.com/breaking-news/2018/08/03/us-navy-awards-huge-contract-to-huntington-ingalls-for-its-newest-class-of-amphibious-vessels

  • Army, NASA Want Laser Micro-Satellites For 50 Times The Bandwidth

    August 3, 2018 | International, C4ISR

    Army, NASA Want Laser Micro-Satellites For 50 Times The Bandwidth

    By SYDNEY J. FREEDBERG JR. It was hard enough keeping the data flowing to the far mountains of Afghanistan, but at least the Taliban didn't have the technology to attack the network. Russia and China, however, are investing heavily in capabilities to eavesdrop on or jam the radio transmissions and to blind or outright shoot down the satellites. ASSOCIATION OF THE US ARMY, ARLINGTON: War zones, it turns out, get crappy reception. But the Army, NASA, and multiple private companies are looking to optical communications — that means lasers — off affordable micro-satellites that could dramatically increase bandwidth. Just this morning, the federally funded Aerospace Corporation announced a successful test for NASA that provided bandwidth 50 times higher — an almost 5,000 percent increase — than current military satellites that use radio waves. Bassett: Military Necessity Not three hours before the Aerospace Co. announcement, Maj. Gen. David Bassettwas getting excited about optical satellites at the Association of the US Army's annual cyber and networks conference here. That matters because, after a successful tour in charge of armored vehicle programs, Bassett is now the Army's Program Executive Officer for Command, Control, Communications – Tactical (PEO-C3T). Currently, Bassett said, during a typical exercise at the Joint Readiness Training Center, meant to depict realistic combat conditions, an Army brigade HQ gets a satellite link that can transmit two megabits a second. By comparison, he said, one of his fellow panelists, Forcepoint Federal CTO George Kamis, had just clocked his smartphone at 70megabits per second. That's 35 times the power the 4,000-soldier brigade gets, for just one person. “We have to provide more bandwidth to a headquarters than Mr. Kamis has in his pocket,” said Bassett. Full article: https://breakingdefense.com/2018/08/army-nasa-want-laser-micro-satellites-for-50-times-the-bandwidth

  • General Dynamics wins Army IT contract worth billions

    August 3, 2018 | International, C4ISR

    General Dynamics wins Army IT contract worth billions

    By: Daniel Cebul WASHINGTON — The Army awarded General Dynamics Mission Systems a contract worth as much as $3.9 billion for commercial off-the-shelf IT hardware that could be purchased quickly during the next three years. In an Aug. 1 announcement, the Department of Defense said the contract would be used for the Army's common hardware systems 5th generation (CHS-5) program. The three-year indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract has a possible $3.9 billion ceiling, that includes two one-year options. The CHS-5 funding will serve as a kind of piggy bank for the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and more than 100 DoD program offices to draw from for the rapid acquisition and delivery of tactical commercial-off-the-shelf IT hardware. The contract also covers technical assistance support services and logistics support, including repair and replacement of equipment. It accounts for between 75,000 to 100,00 pieces of hardware. “The buying power and rapid execution of COTS IT hardware procurements and services are what makes CHS valuable to the Army,” Breck Tarr, the program's product lead, said in an Sept. 2017 press release. “We want to see proposals with innovative techniques to reduce timelines without compromising quality. The ability to deliver the exact configuration when the Government needs hardware is critical to supporting fielding schedules and sustainment.” CHS-5 builds on the previous contract, the unsurprisingly named CHS-4. The new contract was expected to include a pre-negotiation pricing schedule for the life of the contract; additional warranty options; incentives to provide the lowest price hardware; and the ability to procure technical data packages based on competitive pricing, according to an Army press release. Full article: https://www.c4isrnet.com/it-networks/2018/08/02/general-dynamics-wins-army-it-contract-worth-billions/

  • L3 Announces Business Segment Realignment

    August 3, 2018 | International, C4ISR

    L3 Announces Business Segment Realignment

    Aerospace Systems and Sensor Systems Combine to Form ISR Systems Segment Mark R. Von Schwarz to Retire NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 2, 2018-- L3 Technologies (NYSE:LLL) announced today that the company is realigning its business segments to maximize growth and improve its integration and collaboration across the enterprise. Effective immediately, Aerospace Systems will combine with Sensor Systems to form the new Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR) Systems segment, which will heighten L3's focus on developing and delivering best-in-class global ISR and signals intelligence (SIGINT) solutions. The segment will be led by Jeffrey A. Miller, corporate Senior Vice President and President of Sensor Systems, and have combined estimated 2018 sales of $4.7 billion. Mark R. Von Schwarz, President of Aerospace Systems, will retire from the company after the transition is complete. L3's Electronic Systems and Communication Systems segments remain unchanged. “We are rapidly transforming L3 for integration and growth by strengthening our technological alignments, which enables us to more effectively build upon our competitive advantages,” said Christopher E. Kubasik, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President. “The increased scale of our new ISR Systems segment highlights our attractive position as a Global ISR prime contractor and accelerates our ability to address our customers' increasingly complex needs.” Mr. Kubasik continued, “This business realignment action supports our objective to improve operating margin to 12% for 2019.” The company reaffirms its consolidated 2018 financial guidance provided on July 26, 2018. Commencing in the third quarter of 2018, L3 will report its results under the realigned business segments. L3 Technologies is an agile innovator and leading provider of global ISR, communications and electronic systems for military, homeland security and commercial aviation customers. With headquarters in New York City and approximately 31,000 employees worldwide, L3 develops advanced defense technologies and commercial solutions in pilot training, aviation security, night vision and EO/IR, weapons, maritime systems and space. The company reported 2017 sales of $9.6 billion. To learn more about L3, please visit the company's website at www.L3T.com. L3 uses its website as a channel of distribution of material company information. Financial and other material information regarding L3 is routinely posted on the company's website and is readily accessible. Safe Harbor Statement Under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 Except for historical information contained herein, the matters set forth in this news release are forward-looking statements. Statements that are predictive in nature, that depend upon or refer to events or conditions or that include words such as “expects,” “anticipates,” “intends,” “plans,” “believes,” “estimates,” “will,” “could” and similar expressions are forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements set forth above involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from any such statement, including the risks and uncertainties discussed in the company's Safe Harbor Compliance Statement for Forward-Looking Statements included in the company's recent filings, including Forms 10-K and 10-Q, with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The forward-looking statements speak only as of the date made, and the company undertakes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements. View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180802005210/en/ Source: L3 Technologies L3 Technologies Corporate Communications 212-697-1111 https://www.l3t.com/press-release/l3-announces-business-segment-realignment

  • These Baltic nations could build Europe’s next ground drone

    August 3, 2018 | International, Land

    These Baltic nations could build Europe’s next ground drone

    By: Aaron Mehta WASHINGTON — As European Union nations look to step up their defense-industrial projects, a trio of states on the Baltic Sea are looking to make a breakthrough in unmanned ground systems. Estonia, Latvia and Finland are pushing to develop land-based drones under the EU's Permanent Structure Cooperation framework, or PESCO, the nations announced Thursday. Between €30-40 million (U.S. $35-47 million) has been earmarked for use from the European Defence Fund to work on the project, while each of the three countries will contribute additional funds. The start date for the planned project is the first half of 2019. Launched in late 2017, PESCO seeks to help develop European-wide defense industries. Groups of nations can pitch the EU on different developments in order to secure initial funding from pooled resources. Although in its early stages, PESCO has been the topic of American concernover the potential of protectionist actions taken by the European defense market that could lock out American firms. EU nations are now looking to carve out market areas that could benefit their domestic defense-industrial bases, something acknowledged directly by Kusti Salm, director of the Estonian Defense Ministry's Defence Investments Department. Full article: https://www.defensenews.com/global/europe/2018/08/02/these-baltic-nations-could-build-europes-next-ground-drone

  • Coast Guard Commandant Schultz Optimistic Congress Will Fund New Heavy Icebreaker Program

    August 3, 2018 | International, Naval

    Coast Guard Commandant Schultz Optimistic Congress Will Fund New Heavy Icebreaker Program

    By: Ben Werner WASHINGTON, D.C. – Fiscal Year 2019 money for a Coast Guard heavy polar icebreaker is frozen on Capitol Hill, but the service's commandant is optimistic the project will ultimately be funded. The Senate's Fiscal Year 2019 Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill includes $750 million for the heavy icebreaker but the House version zeroed-out the heavy icebreaker money for the year to make additional funds available for building a barrier along the U.S. southern border. The department's border wall budget request was for $1.6 billion, but House appropriators recommended spending $5 billion on border security infrastructure, according to the Homeland Security Funding bill approved last week by the House appropriations committee. However, there is still time to make the case for restoring polar icebreaker funding, Adm. Karl Schultz, the new Coast Guard commandant, said on Wednesday at a Maritime Security dialogue hosted by the U.S. Naval Institute at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “The Senate marked up their version of the project and the $750 million (for a heavy icebreaker) was still in. That bill has to be conferenced,” Schultz said, referring to the process where members of both the Senate and House iron out differences in their appropriations bills before each chamber votes on the new unified version. The process is long and because of some of the contentiousness surrounding funding for Department of Homeland Security programs, Schultz said there's a strong chance a final bill will not be considered until after the fall midterm elections. Along with overseeing the Coast Guard, DHS is in charge of several agencies governing immigration, customs and border control. Building a heavy polar icebreaker has strong support inside the Trump administration, Schultz said. His superiors – both the secretary of Homeland Security and President Trump – support the project. Trump even mentioned the project during his remarks at the June 1 change of command when Schultz took charge of the Coast Guard. Full article: https://news.usni.org/2018/08/01/35453

  • Planes could give heads-up when part is about to break

    August 3, 2018 | International, Aerospace

    Planes could give heads-up when part is about to break

    By: Charlsy Panzino What if an aircraft could tell you a part needs maintenance before it actually breaks? That's the kind of technology that the head of Air Mobility Command is hoping to install on the command's aircraft as one way to deal with its older fleet. The goal is to outfit the planes with instruments that will monitor specific equipment and relay information back to the maintainers, giving them a heads up if a part is worn out and needs to be repaired or replaced. “As the airplane is beeping and squeaking ... as it's passing its zeros and ones, we can do an algorithm on the data that is received and we can say, predictability means this is going to fail at that time, go check that part,” Gen. Carlton Everhart told Air Force Times at the Pentagon on Thursday. Everhart said instruments have been installed on one of AMC's C-5M Super Galaxy transport aircraft to begin testing the idea of predictive maintenance. Full article: https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/your-air-force/2018/08/02/planes-could-give-heads-up-when-part-is-about-to-break

  • GAO report: $1 billion to dismantle Navy’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier

    August 3, 2018 | International, Naval

    GAO report: $1 billion to dismantle Navy’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier

    By CLAUDIA GRISALES | STARS AND STRIPES WASHINGTON — It could cost more than $1 billion to dismantle the Navy's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the former USS Enterprise, according to the Government Accountability Office, an investigative arm for Congress that routinely reviews U.S. agencies and programs. The GAO estimate was unveiled as the Navy is assessing its options to dismantle and dispose of the carrier, which has been inactive since 2012 and was decommissioned in 2017 after more than 50 years of service. The carrier's “dismantlement and disposal will set precedents for processes and oversight that may inform future aircraft carrier dismantlement decisions,” the GAO report said in a 56-page report released Thursday. The GAO wrote it found the Navy's typical budget and reporting on the effort doesn't give enough information to support oversight for a project of this size and cost. A Senate report accompanying the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2018 included a provision for the GAO to review the Navy's plans for the former carrier. Full article: https://www.stripes.com/gao-report-1-billion-to-dismantle-navy-s-first-nuclear-powered-aircraft-carrier-1.540771

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