June 19, 2019

US OKs Moon Shot by Firm Seeking Prize Money

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Moon Express is the first private outfit to get the OK from the US government to go where few have gone before: the moon, CNN reports. The upstart space exploration company is competing for Google’s Lunar XPrize, worth as much as $25 million. The first privately financed group to get to the moon before the end of 2017 wins. The only moon shots until now have been by national space programs of the United States, the former Soviet Union, and China. The approval for the flight, announced Wednesday, came from an assortment of agencies, including the FAA, the State Department, NASA and the White House.

Europe’s commercial and civilian space assets will increasingly be utilized for military activities, says professor Anne Glover, the EU’s former chief scientific adviser, Defense News reports. Professor Glover believes that European flagship space systems, such as the Galileo navigation and Copernicus Earth observation programs, are vital intelligence resources that will be used in planning and carrying out military missions. Glover’s comments come after reports emerged that the European Commission’s first-ever space policy, currently in draft form but to be finalized this fall, proposes more civil-military synergies in European space systems.

The Southeast Asian island state of Singapore is widely expected by analysts and defense watchers to be an eventual customer for Lockheed Martin’s fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, IHS Jane’s 360 reports. Singapore, with limited manpower resources for defense and no strategic depth to maneuver in the advent of conflict, embarked on a third-generation Singapore Armed Forces transformation in 2004 under which it is molding its three services into an advanced, networked force. Singapore also operates some of the most advanced fourth-generation combat aircraft in the world. President Obama hosted a state dinner Tuesday night for Singapore.

Speed up F-35 purchases, says Gen. Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle, head of USAF Air Combat Command, according to a Defense One report. “My problem is buy rate. I need more, faster to replace aging aircraft.” In June, Pentagon officials reaffirmed the need to buy a total of 2,443 of the warplanes for the Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy. Now Carlisle, along with other Pentagon officials and manufacturer Lockheed Martin, say buying more jets will lower their expensive per-plane price tag. The Air Force currently spends about $100 million (in 2012 dollars) to buy each F-35A; its goal is push that down to $85 million by the end of the decade.

Ten days into a two-week fleet battle experiment on an aircraft carrier off the California coast, the Navy is getting a good look at how the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor can fit into flight and deck operations of its carrier fleet. So far, the outlook is promising, USNI News reports. The Osprey is slated to replace the C-2A Greyhound as the carrier onboard delivery aircraft, doing the COD logistics mission of hauling cargo, mail, and passengers between aircraft carriers and beach detachments ashore.

The Defense Department amended its acquisition rulebook to clarify contractors’ roles in keeping counterfeit electronics out of critical defense systems, NextGov reports. A 2012 Senate Armed Services Committee investigation found 1,800 cases of counterfeit electronic parts in military equipment and named China as the dominant supplier. The Defense Acquisition Regulation Supplement final rule, posted and effective Aug. 2, focuses on the careful selection of suppliers and verifying the authenticity of electronic parts.

From The Washington Post: The inside skinny on “the football,” the briefcase that accompanies the US president everywhere so it is instantly accessible should he (or she) decide to launch a nuclear attack. To authorize an attack, the president would use a card of verification codes that is, ideally, on the president’s person at all times. Like much of the stuff in one’s pockets, the card has periodically not been where it’s supposed to be.


Parsons Government Services Inc., Pasadena, CA, is being awarded an $85,993,015 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract (including options) for advisory and assistance services for command, control, communications and battle management engineering (C3BM) support to the Missile Defense Agency’s Technical, Engineering, Advisory and Management Support. This contract will support the development of an integrated, fiscally sustainable C3BM system for the Ballistic Missile Defense System to be adaptable and responsive to intelligence based threats and to defend the homeland, regional interests, allies, and deployed forces against ballistic missile threats. Work will be performed at Huntsville, AL; Colorado Springs, CO; Fort Meade, MD; and the National Capital Region, with an expected completion date of August 2021. Fiscal 2016 research, development, test ,and evaluation funds in the amount of $2,600,000 are being obligated at time of award. Two offers were received and this contract was competitively awarded. The government selected for award the most advantageous proposal representing the best value to the government. The Missile Defense Agency, Huntsville, AL, is the contracting activity (HQ0147-16-C-0070).

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