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F-35s: Too Expensive to Fly?

Major Milestone

Morning Coffee is a robust blend of links to news around the internet concerning the Naval Air Station Patuxent River Morning Coffee logoeconomic community. The opinions expressed here do not reflect opinions of the Leader’s owners or staff.

House Armed Services Committee Chair Adam Smith (D-WA) continued his criticism of Lockheed Martin and other contractors over the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and its exorbitant lifecycle costs, reports Defense News. Smith said sustainment costs are “as high as $38,000 an hour, and that is incredibly expensive ― it’ll make the plane so that you don’t really want to operate it any more than you absolutely have to.”

House Democrats want to spend more on weapons procurement than included in President Joe Biden’s Pentagon spending request for next year, reports Defense News. House appropriators have proposed $1.7 billion more for weapons procurement and $1.6 billion less for development and testing of cutting-edge technologies meant to deter China.

FCW reports federal employee work-life satisfaction still lags behind the private sector, according to the latest Best Places to Work in the Federal Government rankings, although feds did indicate approval of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and 17 other Democrats want federal employees to get a 3.2% pay raise in 2022, reports FCW. In a letter to leaders of the House Appropriations Committee they urged the 3.2% raise in the FY 2022 appropriations bill that covers federal employees’ pay rates.

House appropriators have backed a 2.7% pay raise for all troops next year and agreed to White House plans to trim military end strength under a $706 billion proposed  defense spending plan for fiscal 2022. The 2.7% raise would be slightly below the 3.0% pay raise troops saw this past January, but is in line with the federal formula estimating the growth in private sector wages next year. The $706 billion proposal does not include military construction funds.



A pill that may inhibit or reduce some of the degenerative affects of aging and injury will move into clinical trials next year, reports Breaking Defense. Work on the pill is  part of a broader Pentagon push for “improved human performance,” said Lisa Sanders, director of science and technology for Special Operations Forces, acquisition, technology and logistics.

Fifteen US soldiers — 12 athletes and three coaches — are heading to the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, next month where they’ll be representing the US  in wrestling, boxing, shooting, and swimming, among other sports. Task & Purpose introduces them.

The US military appears just days away from completing its withdrawal from Afghanistan, well ahead of the Sept. 11 deadline set by Biden, reports Reuters.

GEN Austin S. Miller, the top US general in Afghanistan, gave a sobering assessment as America withdraws its troops, saying districts were rapidly being lost to the Taliban and cautioned that the militias deployed to help the beleaguered national security forces could lead the country into civil war.

The future of the Afghan air force, one of Kabul’s chief advantages over the Taliban, may depend on calls via Zoom, reports Stars and Stripes. (Paywall.) Afghans who maintain the country’s military aircraft have been learning to fix damaged aircraft over the past two months via video conferences with US-funded contractors just a few rooms away. It’s practice for the day when the American contractors will leave the country, said COL Abdul Fatah Ishaqzai, head of maintenance for the Afghan air force.

The Pentagon is suggesting that Monday’s rocket attack against US forces in Syria was launched by Iranian-backed militia forces, reports VOA.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem plans to use a donation from a Republican donor to deploy up to 50 South Dakota National Guard troops to the US border with Mexico, reports, Military Times. Noem joins Republican governors from Arkansas, Florida, Nebraska, and Iowa who have committed to sending law enforcement officers to Texas as the GOP ramps up a political fight over border security. Former President Donald Trump is expected to travel to the border this week.

The US Navy and partners proceed with Black Sea drills over Russian objections, reports Stars and Stripes, including helping clear a sunken Soviet vessel from a Ukrainian pier. Navy officials say conducting drills during an international exercise in the Black Sea sends a message that the strategic waterway can’t be dominated by Russia.

Sanctions are crushing Russia’s efforts to counter American space superiority, reports Air Force Magazine, but analysts have a rising concern that Russian President Vladimir Putin may link up with China’s wealth to develop the weapons that could stop American warfighters in their tracks.


Rockwell Collins Simulation and Training Solutions, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is awarded a $64,878,541 firm-fixed-price contract. This contract provides for the procurement of one E-2D Hawkeye Integrated Training Systems IV weapons systems trainer, technical refreshes and E-2D system software configuration (DSSCs) concurrency updates to the distributed readiness trainers, technical refreshes and DSSCs concurrency updates to the simulated maintenance trainers, power plant trainer, personal computer simulations, associated technical data for each device, maintenance, user, cyber security/software support training, and interim contractor support. Work will be performed in Sterling, Virginia (65%); Binghamton, New York (20%); and Tampa, Florida (15%), and is expected to be completed in December 2024. Fiscal 2021 aircraft procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $62,593,241; and fiscal 2020 aircraft procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $2,285,300 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to 10 US Code 2304 (c)(1). The Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division, Orlando, Florida, is the contracting activity (N6134021C0017).

ARS Aleut Demolition Services LLC, Port Allen, Louisiana (W912DY-21-D-0027); Bhate Environmental Associates Inc., Birmingham, Alabama (W912DY-21-D-0026); BSC-ESA JV LLC, Anchorage, Alaska (W912DY-21-D-0028); Central Environmental Inc., Anchorage, Alaska (W912DY-21-D-0047); EnviroVantage Inc., Epping New Hampshire (W912DY-21-D-0048); Neuber Environmental Services Inc., Gilbertsville, Pennsylvania (W912DY-21-D-0067); and Target Contractors LLC, Ladson, South Carolina (W912DY-21-D-0072), will compete for each order of the $95,000,000 firm-fixed-price contract for demolition and abatement of excess facilities at multiple Department of Defense installations and other federal agency locations throughout Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, Missouri, and Iowa. 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 June 29, 2026. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Huntsville, Alabama, is the contracting activity.

ECS Federal LLC, Fairfax, Virginia, was awarded a $68,952,654 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to design and develop novel approaches to artificial intelligence algorithms. Bids were solicited via the internet with 999 received. Work will be performed in Fairfax, Virginia, with an estimated completion date of June 30, 2024. Fiscal 2021 research, development, test and evaluation, defense-wide funds in the amount of $16,250,000 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, is the contracting activity (W911QX-21-C-0022).

Textron Systems Corp., Hunt Valley, Maryland, was awarded a $38,937,171 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide sustainment level repair services for the AN/GLM-11(V)2 Universal Test Set. Bids were solicited via the internet with one received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of Aug. 21, 2031. US Army Contracting Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, is the contracting activity (W56KGY-21-D-0008).

Planned Systems International Inc., Arlington, Virginia, was awarded a $35,594,605 hybrid (cost-plus-fixed-fee and firm-fixed-price) contract to provide technical, analytic and operational integration skills across Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate core competencies. Bids were solicited via the internet with nine received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of June 29, 2026. US Army Contracting Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, is the contracting activity (909MY-21-D-2000).

Science Applications International Corp., Reston, Virginia, has been awarded a $12,948,503 cost-plus-fixed-fee modification (P00034) to a previously awarded contract (FA8810-19-F-0001) for systems engineering and integration for remote sensing mission programs. This contract modification provides for continued systems engineering and integration support for remote sensing mission capabilities. The location of performance is El Segundo, California, and work is expected to be completed by Oct. 31, 2021. Fiscal 2021 Space Force research, development, test, and evaluation; space procurement; and operations and maintenance funds are being obligated at the time of award. The total cumulative face value of the contract is $96,723,258. Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, California, is the contracting activity.

Stonewin LLC, Miami, Florida (SPE605-21-D-8521, $40,091,578); Sprague Operating Resources LLC, Portsmouth, New Hampshire (SPE605-21-D-8520, $30,437,804); Papco Inc., Virginia Beach, Virginia (SPE605-21-D-8514, $16,543,240); Global Montello Group Corp., Waltham, Massachusetts (SPE605-21-8509, $15,938,496); Petroleum Traders Corp., Fort Wayne, Indiana (SPE605-21-D-8515, $13,258,158); All American Express Solutions LLC, Indianapolis, Indiana (SPE605-21-D-8501, $10,500,474); and Broco Oil, Haverhill, Massachusetts (SPE605-21-8503, $10,442,701) have each been awarded a fixed-price with economic-price-adjustment contract under solicitation SPE605-21-R-0206 for various types of fuel. These were competitive acquisitions with 39 responses received. These are four-year, six-month base contracts with one six-month option period and a performance effective date of Oct. 1, 2021. Locations of performance are Florida, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Indiana, Virginia, and Vermont, with a Sept. 30, 2026, performance completion date. Using customers are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, National Guard, Defense Logistics Agency, Department of Defense, and federal civilian agencies. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2021 through 2026 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Energy, Fort Belvoir, Virginia. (Awarded June 29, 2021)

Aurora Flight Sciences Corp., Manassas, Virginia, has been awarded a $12,365,672 modification (P00004) to cost-plus-fixed-fee contract HR001120C0119 to exercise the Phase 1 option of the Control of Revolutionary Aircraft with Novel Effectors (CRANE) program. The modification brings the total cumulative face value of the contract to $19,480,800 from $7,115,128. Work will be performed in Manassas, Virginia (50%); Tucson, Arizona (26%); St. Louis, Missouri (15%); and Los Angeles, California (9%), with an estimated completion date of April 2022. Fiscal 2021 research and development funds in the amount of $8,313,272 are being obligated at the time of award. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Arlington, Virginia, is the contracting activity.

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