August 3, 2020

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Century-Old Briggs & Stratton Files Bankruptcy

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Small engine manufacturer Briggs & Stratton Corp., founded in Milwaukee in 1908, has filed for bankruptcy protection, reports USA Today. Briggs was the world’s largest manufacturer of small gasoline engines. It has sold more than 125 million of the engines. At one point, it employed about 11,000 people in the Milwaukee area.

Epirus, a venture-backed startup offering a counter-drone capability, has brought together key veterans of Microsoft, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon, reports Defense News, and landed a deal with Northrop to provide its software-defined electromagnetic pulse system. The Army recently selected Northrop as its interim supplier of a system to counter small drones. DoD’s FY21 budget request included $18.7 million for counter-drone enhancements for the system.

Legislation to slash authorized defense spending by 10% is expected to fail in the Senate this week, with uncertain prospects in the House. Defense News says progressive Democrats hope to advance an internal debate over defense spending, should Democrats take back the White House or the upper chamber.

The Air Force will buy eight F-35As originally built for Turkey as part of a $862 million contract modification, reports Defense News. Turkey had planned to buy 100 F-35As, but was ejected from the program last year after accepting the S-400 air defense system from Russia.

Subtracting Turkey’s 100 jets, 13 countries are committed to purchase 3,220 of the F-35s by 2046 and more counties are still considering. That’s the good news, says Aviation Week. The optimistic F-35 sales outlook is clouded by resource constraints, shifting priorities, and new technological advances that threaten a large portion of the planned orders in the F-35 program of record.

Inconsistencies in the account of a Fort Bragg paratrooper’s disappearance and homicide have his family asking for help and more information, reports Army Times. A group of Fort Bragg paratroopers called 911 on the evening of May 23 saying they’d spent all day searching for Spc. Enrique Roman-Martinez, after he disappeared during their camping trip in North Carolina’s Outer Banks. They did not, however, mention his disappearance earlier in the day to park rangers who asked them to move their vehicles farther from the dunes.

House Democrats vote to block funding for nuclear weapons tests, reports Defense News. The House Appropriations Committee passed a similar ban earlier this month amid reports the Trump administration is mulling a resumption of nuclear weapons testing.

House votes to curtail Insurrection Act powers, reports The Hill, on the heels of President Donald Trump’s threat to deploy active-duty troops against recent protests over racial injustice.

GPS interference crashed a survey drone in the UK, reportsC4ISRNET. A DJI M600 Pro was surveying a construction site when the mishap occurred. The mishap adds impetus to US opposition of the Federal Communications Commission allowing Ligado Networks to transmit on a frequency near GPS.

A new video shows Russian military vehicles harassing a US convoy in Syria in an undeclared road war that has largely escaped the rest of the world’s attention, reports Task & Purpose.

The aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) is no longer operating in the North Arabian Sea, reports USNI. Eisenhower deployed with its carrier strike group in February amid heightened tensions with Iran. and has now moved into the Red Sea, according to the USNI News Fleet Tracker, July 20, 2020.

 

 

The president’s defense secretary moves to shed his “yes man” reputation. Political reports Mark Esper is trying to prove he’s not a pushover.

WTOP reports Maryland defense contractor iNovex Information Systems Inc. has agreed to pay nearly $1 million in a settlement over claims that it overbilled the National Security Agency for contract work, according to federal authorities.

Federal officers in Portland break a former Navy Seabee’s hand, reports Military Times. Christoper David, 53, a resident and veteran who served in the Navy’s Civil Engineer Corps from 1988 to 1996, walked the line held by the officers because he wanted to ask them about the oath they swore to protect and defend the Constitution. Their response was to beat him with a baton leaving him with two broken bones and spraying him in the face with pepper spray.

Amid bipartisan criticism of his administration’s use of “secret police” and “paramilitary occupations” against Black Lives Matter protesters, President Trump pledged on Monday to send armed federal personnel into “Democrat cities” — including Baltimore, reports Maryland Matters. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) co-sponsored legislation with his colleagues from Oregon to curtail the use of unidentified federal officers and vehicles.

The Senate Armed Services Committee is eyeing a confirmation hearing for Anthony Tata, Trump’s embattled pick to lead DoD’s powerful policy shop, reports Foreign Policy. Mr. Tata was recently forced to walk back a series of offensive and conspiratorial tweets.

Iran executes a man convicted of spying on Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani for US and Israel, reports Defense News. Gen. Soleimani was killed by a US drone strike, state TV reported. The report said the death sentence was carried out against Mahmoud Mousavi Majd, without elaborating. The country’s judiciary had said in June that Majd was “linked to the CIA and the Mossad.”

Two sailors who helped fight Bonhomme Richard fire test positive for COVID-19, reports Navy Times. One sailor was part of a fire crew battling the blaze that decimated the amphib, while the second sailor was serving in a support function.

Three new cases of coronavirus have surfaced at US military bases in Japan, two on Okinawa and one in western Tokyo, reports Stars and Stripes.

The Army became the first military service to surpass 7,000 coronavirus cases as of Monday, reports Stars and Stripes. The Navy had 5,629 as of Monday, an increase of 349 more sailors becoming infected since Friday. As of Monday, the Air Force has 3,263 cumulative cases, the National Guard has 3,016, and the Marine Corps has 2,470 cases.

A Norfolk-based ship repair yard will likely resume maintenance work after a welding incident on Friday led the Navy to order them to stop work. UNSI reports that General Dynamics’ NASSCO-Norfolk in Virginia has paused work on the five surface ships it has at its repair yard and the two carriers it is supporting at Norfolk Naval Shipyard as part of a safety stand-down after the Navy was informed of a small fire aboard USS Kearsarge after a welding incident.

The Navy has taken delivery of the first AN/SPY-6 radar array for the Flight III Arleigh Burke-class destroyer Jack Lucas, built to accommodate the upgraded air and missile defense radar. Defense News reports the Raytheon-built system is about 30 times more sensitive than the SPY-1 arrays on the Navy’s cruisers and destroyers, but it requires much more power. Jack Lucas, being built at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Mississippi, is the first of the new builds. The ship is scheduled to be delivered in 2024.

Contracts:

Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., McLean, Virginia (W9124L-20-D-0006); Calibre Systems Inc., Alexandria, Virginia (W9124L-20-D-0007); Janus Research Group LLC, Evans, Georgia (W9124L-20-D-0008); Tec-Masters Inc., Huntsville, Alabama (W9124L-20-D-0009); and Yorktown Systems Group Inc., Huntsville, Alabama (W9124L-20-D-0010), will compete for each order of the $247,000,000 firm-fixed-price contract to provide support to the Fires Center of Excellence; all commands on Fort Sill, Oklahoma; and Army Futures Command, to develop and produce training strategies, doctrine, concepts, instruction and products for the current and future force. Bids were solicited via the internet with 12 received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of July 20, 2025. US Army Field Directorate Office, Fort Eustis, Virginia, is the contracting activity.

Transoceanic Cable Ship Co. LLC, Baltimore, Maryland, is awarded an $18,577,008 modification under previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract N32205-19-C-3506 to fund the second six-month option period. The option will continue to provide one cable ship (CS Global Sentinel) which will be utilized to lay and repair cable for the Department of Defense worldwide. This contract includes a 12-month base period, two six-month option periods, two 12-month option periods and one 11-month option period. Work will be performed worldwide and is expected to be completed by December 2023. Operations and maintenance (Navy) funds in the amount of $17,477,326 are obligated and will expire at the end of fiscal 2020. Other procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $1,099,681 are obligated and will expire at the end of fiscal 2022. The Military Sealift Command, Norfolk, Virginia, is the contracting activity (N32205-19-C-3506).

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