July 14, 2024

Mercy’s New Flight Deck Put to the Test

Flight Deck Mercy Osprey
Sailors aboard USNS Mercy observe an MV-22B Osprey assigned to Air Test and Evaluation (HX) Squadron 21 of NAS Patuxent River land on the ship’s flight deck for the first time April 14. (US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jake Greenberg)

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The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy conducted its first-ever flight deck landing of a V-22 Osprey, reports Navy Times. The MV-22B Osprey is assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 21 at NAS Patuxent River. Watch the YouTube video here.

The Mercy had supported hospitals in Southern California in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic until major structural work began in July 2020, reports USNI News, to help it keep up with changes in naval aviation. “The overhaul work aboard Mercy is significant and includes a flight deck upgrade to operate with the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, lifeboat and boat davit upgrades, and substantial propulsion and structural work commensurate with her service life extension to 2036,” a Navy spokesman said earlier this year.

While Taiwan is developing its own long-range missiles, it is still looking to acquire the more advanced, long-range, air-launched cruise missiles from the US, reports Reuters.

The US Navy has commissioned the USS Oakland LCS 24 Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ship, reports Naval News. The ceremony was held Saturday in Oakland, CA, at its namesake port, reports The Mercury News.

Acting NavySec Thomas Harker was among those attending a Distinguished Visitor Day at Naval Base San Diego last week, cpf.navy.mil reports. The event showcased various Unmanned Integrated Battle Problem (UxS IBP) 21 systems and capabilities, including the MQ-8 Fire Scout, MQ-9 Sea Guardian, and the Medium Displacement Unmanned Surface Vessels Sea Hunter and Seahawk.

GEN Tod Walters, head of the US European Command, told the House Armed Services Committee last week that more Navy destroyers and Air Force strike fighters are needed to both deter and monitor Russia’s behavior from the Arctic waters to the Black Sea, reports Seapower Magazine.

Mara Karlin has been selected to serve as assistant secretary of defense for strategy, plans, and capabilities, reports Defense News. If confirmed, she would take the lead role in developing the next National Defense Strategy.

Seapower Magazine reports that President Joe Biden will nominate new commanders for the US 3rd, 5th, and 7th fleets. They are, respectively, RADM Stephen Koehler, RADM Charles Cooper, and RADM Karl Thomas.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told the “Fox News Sunday” show that no one can say with any certainty what will happen in Afghanistan once US troops are withdrawn, reports Voice of America. US President Joe Biden said last week that he would withdraw US troops before Sept. 11, ABC News reported.

Former President Donald Trump on Sunday called a withdrawal “wonderful and positive,” reports CBS News. But he says the deadline should be sooner. He had planned on a May 1 deadline to remove troops from Afghanistan.

The decision on the troop withdrawal is debatable. Two reporters address “Is Leaving Afghanistan Misguided or Overdue?” in an opinion piece in Foreign Policy. A former US Army officer in Afghanistan writes in an op-ed in The Washington Post that he believes America’s mission in that country hasn’t been accomplished.




A new Hill-HarrisX poll finds that 58% of registered voters say they approve of Biden’s performance on fighting terrorism while 38% disapprove, reports The Hill.

A USMC study found that 10% of the recruits whose blood tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies before training were re-infected with COVID while in basic training at Parris Island, SC, reports Marine Corps Times.

The US Navy has reported finding high concentrations of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, in groundwater beneath NAS Patuxent River and at Webster Field in St. Inigoes, reports Bay Journal News Service. PFAS, also known as forever chemicals, were detected in all 16 areas sampled last year at Pax and Webster Field, the Navy disclosed in a 50-page document.

The Biden administration wants the Supreme Court to let Congress resolve the potential constitutional problem of a male-only draft, reports Military Times.

The US Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration squadron kicked off its show season last weekend at the Cocoa Beach Air Show in Florida, reports KTNV13 in Las Vegas. The team was scheduled to return to Nellis Air Force Base on Monday, but not before a flyover in the skies above Las Vegas. A dramatic incident occurred during the show over the weekend when a World War II-era plane crash landed in the ocean, Newsweek reports. A mechanical error forced the pilot to land. He was not injured. Air show Chairman Bryan Lilley compared it to pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger’s emergency landing in the Hudson in 2009.

The US Navy Blue Angels made their first appearance of the season at the Sun ‘n Fun Aerospace Expo in Lakeland, FL, over the weekend, the demo team reports. It was the group’s first show with the F/A-18 Super Hornet. The team will be heading to Wings Over South Texas in Corpus Christi on May 1-2.

The new World War I Memorial in Washington, DC, opened to the public Saturday, reports Military Times. During a virtual ceremony, Biden paid tribute to the 4.7 million who served in the war, and the 116,516 Americans who lost their lives in it. It is located in Pershing Park on Pennsylvania Avenue near the White House, reports ABC News. DoD has video of the American flag being raised for the first time at the new memorial.

Military Times has a new platform for publishing obituaries for veterans and to memorialize their individual stories for future generations. The service will be offered free of charge.


Science Applications International Corp., Reston, Virginia, was awarded a $199,991,819, ceiling indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (HHM402-21-D-0149) to provide laboratory operations and support to the Defense Intelligence Agency. Work will be performed in Huntsville, Alabama, with an expected completion date of March 29, 2031. No funds will be obligated at time of award. The Virginia Contracting Activity, Huntsville, Alabama, is the contracting activity.

Huntington Ingalls Industries, Pascagoula, Mississippi, is awarded a $107,194,022 not-to-exceed, undefinitized contract action for long lead-time material (LLTM) in support of one Amphibious Assault Ship Replacement (LHA(R)) Flight 1 Ship (LHA 9). This action will be the fifth increment of LLTM awarded to Huntington Ingalls Industries under contract N00024-20-C-2437. Work will be performed in Pascagoula, Mississippi (50%); Kingsford, Michigan (15%); Saratoga Springs, New York (12%); Brunswick, Georgia (9%); Knoxville, Tennessee (5%); Chesapeake, Virginia (4%); Wellsville, New York (3%); and North Tonawanda, New York (2%). Work is expected to be completed by April 2024. Fiscal 2021 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy) funding in the amount of $80,395,516 will be obligated at award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The obligation amount represents 75% of the not-to-exceed price, in accordance with Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation 217.7404-4 limitations on obligations. In accordance with 10 US Code 2304(c)(1), this contract was not competitively procured — only one responsible source and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, DC, is the contracting activity (N00024-20-C-2437).

ARS Aleut Demolition Services LLC, Baton Rouge, Louisiana (W912DY-21-D-0029); Bhate Environmental Associates Inc., Birmingham, Alabama (W912DY-21-D-0031); Central Environmental Inc., Anchorage, Alaska (W912DY-21-D-0032); EnviroVantage, Epping, New Hampshire (W912DY-21-D-0033); Neuber Demolition and Environmental Services, Gilbertsville, Pennsylvania (W912SY-21-D-0034); and Ritz Construction Inc., Frederick, Maryland (W912DY-21-D-0035), will compete for each order of the $95,000,000 firm-fixed-price contract for demolition and abatement of excess facilities. Bids were solicited via the internet with 13 received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of April 18, 2026. US Army Corps of Engineers, Huntsville, Alabama, is the contracting activity.

Centauri LLC, Chantilly, Virginia, has been awarded an $11,113,428 ($12,112,649 cumulative) cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the Moving Target Recognition (MTR) effort. Contractor will develop algorithms and collection techniques to enable synthetic aperture radar (SAR) sensors to detect, geolocate, and image moving ground targets. Emphasis is on military vehicle targets, including slow moving vehicles whose SAR signatures are superimposed on clutter. Work will be performed in Ann Arbor, Michigan; and Navarre, Florida, and is expected to be complete by Jan. 30, 2024. This award is the result of a competitive acquisition. The Air Force Research Laboratory , Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8650-21-C-7115).

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