June 18, 2024

Local UAS Sets Continuous Flight Record

Vanilla Unmanned UAS, Photo from Platform Aerospace website.

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.

Hollywood, MD, company Platform Aerospace makes an aircraft called Vanilla Unmanned, which set the record in October when it flew eight days, 50 minutes and 47 seconds over 12,200 miles of continuous flight, reports Task & Purpose. The Air Force is interested, the Office of Naval Research has awarded Platform Aerospace a minimum five-year research grant, and there are plenty of civilian agencies who want the same long-endurance coverage. Greg Pappianou, Platform Aerospace’s chief growth officer, told Defense News that he’s been contacted by the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Department of the Interior, the State Department, and private companies. Platform Aerospace has also won contracts from Naval Air Systems Command and the Air Force Research Laboratory.

“Top Gun: Maverick” is set to open in theaters May 27 for Memorial Day weekend. Navy Fleet and Family announced that the service will get a chance to see the movie early at 31 on-base theaters around the country, including NAS Patuxent River, at 6pm May 21 at Center Stage Theater. Military.com advises to confirm the screening with the theater box office to find out what you’ll need to do to get tickets. Tom Cruise took 36 years to deliver a sequel to the Navy’s favorite movie, so anticipation is high.

After nearly 30 years, sarin is confirmed as the nerve gas sickening about 250,000 US troops who served in the 1990-92 Persian Gulf War, reports Military.com. Nearly one-third of all who deployed reported unexplained chronic symptoms such as rashes, fatigue, gastrointestinal and digestive issues, brain “fog,” neuropathy, and muscle and joint pain. Federal agencies dismissed the idea of exposure to chemical agents caused what came to be called Gulf War Illness. Many veterans experiencing symptoms were sent to mental health providers. Thousands of coalition troops likely were exposed when the US destroyed a bunker housing chemical weapons at the Khamisiyah Ammunition Storage Depot in southern Iraq, sending a plume of contaminants that spread across a 25-mile radius. Others may have been subjected to low levels of contaminants, as troops frequently reported that chemical weapons alarms went off in the absence of any apparent attack.

Whether — or not — the F-35 fighter will get new engines from the Air Force’s cutting-edge Adaptive Engine Transition Program is a question that needs to be resolved at the Defense Department level, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall told lawmakers May 17 — and he anticipates an answer in the 2024 budget, reports Air Force Magazine.

New Navy Unmanned Command will send four experimental large e USVs to RIMPAC. reports USNI. A quartet of experimental unmanned surface vessels will set sail for Hawaii this summer for a test of a new unit focused on ramping up the Navy’s use of drones to bolster the surface fleet’s lethality. RIMPAC 2022 will be a high-profile mission for Unmanned Surface Vessel Division 1, which includes the trimarans USV Sea Hunter and USV Seahawk along with two Ghost Fleet support vessels Nomad and Ranger.

Al Jazeera reports on the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. The fate of Ukrainian fighters evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol remains uncertain after some were transported to the Russian-controlled town of Olenivka near Donetsk, and some were taken to a prison colony. Russia’s defense ministry said more than 950 fighters at Azovstal have surrendered since Monday. The UN confirmed 3,752 civilians have been killed and 4,062 injured. At least 229 children have died and 424 injured since February 24, according to Ukraine’s human rights ombudsman Lyudmyla Denisova.

Truck exhaust, IT woes, and piles of rubble complicate Offutt’s uphill battle to rebuild, reports Defense News. Three years ago, floodwaters swallowed around one-third of the base in suburban Omaha. More than 130 facilities were affected, including buildings holding classified intelligence data and areas where the water reached 5 to 6 feet deep. More than 3,000 personnel were displaced from offices in a base that employs around 10,000 service members and civilians. Restoring the base — parts of which date back to the late 1800s — was originally slated to cost $350 million. That’s spiked to more than $1 billion as the replacement grew into a broader reimagining of the installation, according to Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE), who served as 55th Wing commander at Offutt from March 2011 to July 2012.



The new military suicide prevention study group is to begin work this summer, reports Military Times. DoD officials on Tuesday unveiled their 10-member panel and the nine military installations they’ll visit to evaluate what fixes need to be put in place. The Suicide Prevention and Response Independent Review, mandated by Congress last year, will include experts in substance abuse, mental health services, and lethal weapons safety, as well as a pair of retired military officers to provide insights into problems in the ranks.

The 20th anniversary of the intentional sinking of a former naval ship to become an artificial reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is being celebrated Tuesday in Key Largo, reports Navy Times. The 510-foot Spiegel Grove sank prematurely May 17, 2002, and landed with its upside-down bow protruding above the ocean’s surface about six miles off Key Largo. A massive remediation effort began, resulting in the former Landing Ship Dock being fully sunk on its starboard side June 10, 2002.

Target Corp.’s quarterly profit halved, and it warned this week of a bigger margin hit due to rising fuel and freight costs, in a clear sign there would be no immediate relief for US retailers from surging inflation, reports Reuters.

The Federal Reserve sees several routes for solving the inflation problem without falling into a recession but none of them will be easy, Chair Jerome Powell said this week. The central bank is entirely focused on a single objective: a “soft landing” for the US economy. The phrase describes the ideal scenario in which inflation returns to the Fed’s 2% target while unemployment remains low, reports Business Insider.

China is in talks with automakers about extending costly subsidies for electric vehicles that were set to expire in 2022, aiming to keep a key market growing as the broader economy slows, reports Reuters.

The Coast Guard graduates its first cybersecurity majors this week. Outgoing commandant ADM Karl Schultz told House lawmakers “a handful” will go to the Coast Guard’s Cyber Command headquarters for their initial assignment before heading to the field after a couple of years, reports FCW.

UFOs pose real danger, DOD says, but aliens aren’t to blame — probably, reports Military Times. DoD says unidentified flying objects are real and pose a potential serious threat to the country. However, they believe UFOs can be explained, if more encounters are reported and investigated.

The recent successful test of the Air-Launched Rapid Response could rally the Air Force hypersonics program, reports Military Times. The AGM-183A was tested off the coast of Southern California and broke a streak of three testing failures during launches last year. For this test, a B-52H Stratofortress released an ARRW, its booster ignited, and it accelerated to at least five times the speed of sound, the service said in a release.

The Pentagon finds no fault in 2019 Syria airstrike that killed civilians, reports UPI. A DoD investigation into dozens of people killed during a 2019 airstrike in Syria found no rules or laws were broken but a number of compliance deficiencies caused the initial reporting of the incident to be delayed. A two-page executive summary of the report made public Tuesday states that no Rules of Engagement or Law of War violations occurred March 18, 2019, when the US military conducted an airstrike targeting ISIS militants in Baghuz, Syria.

St. Clement’s Island and Piney Point Lighthouse museums will offer free admission to active military members and up to five family members through the Blue Star Museums Program, reports The Southern Maryland Chronicle. The Blue Stars Museum 2022 Program runs from Armed Forces Day, May 21, until Labor Day, September 5.


Vectrus-J&J Facilities Support LLC, Colorado Springs, Colorado, is awarded a $23,332,333 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity modification to previously awarded contract N62470-20-D-0011. This modification provides for the exercise of Option 1 for base operating support services at the U.S. Naval Academy complex. This award brings the total cumulative contract value to $48,089,383. Work will be performed in Annapolis, Maryland, and is expected to be completed by May 2023. No funds will be obligated at time of award. Fiscal 2022 operation and maintenance (Navy) funds in the amount of $15,040,778 for recurring work will be obligated on individual task orders issued during the option period. The Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Washington, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

BAE Systems Norfolk Ship Repair Inc., NORSHIPCO, Norfolk, Virginia, is awarded an $8,137,500 firm-fixed-price modification to previously awarded contract N00024-20-C-4446 to incorporate a request for a contract change for a 217-day extension for the accomplishment of the growth work on the USS Vicksburg (CG 69) modernization period availability. Work will be performed in Norfolk, Virginia, and is expected to be completed by March 2023. If awarded, this modification will bring the cumulative value of the contract from $206,428,095 to $214,565,595. Fiscal 2020 operation and maintenance (Navy) upward obligation funds will be utilized in support of this modification. The Mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center, Norfolk, Virginia, is the contracting activity.

General Dynamics Electric Boat Corp., Groton, Connecticut, is awarded a $313,949,471 cost-plus-fixed-fee modification to previously awarded contract N00024-17-C-2117 for additional United Kingdom (UK) Strategic Weapon Support System kit manufacturing, and submarine industrial base development and expansion, as part of the Integrated Enterprise Plan supporting Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines and the nuclear shipbuilding enterprise (Virginia-class and Ford-class). The industrial base development work is for the furtherance of the Fiscal 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (Public Law 117-81) which authorized, and the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2022 (Public Law 117-103) which appropriated, additional funds for submarine industrial base development and expansion to ensure second- and third-tier contractors are able to meet increased production requirements. Work will be performed in Quonset Point, Rhode Island (96%); Newport News, Virginia (4%); and is expected to be completed by September 2029. This is a joint U.S. / UK program. No funding will be obligated at the time of award. This is a sole source award in accordance with Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation 6.302-1(a)(2)(iii) — only one responsible source and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.


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