July 22, 2024

Pax F-35 Pilot Makes 1st Night SRVL on UK Carrier

F-35 Pilot
US Marine Corps test pilot MAJ Paul Gucwa performs the first night shipborne rolling vertical landing (SRVL) in an F-35B Lightning II during the evening’s flight period aboard the UK aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales. Gucwa also performed the first shipborne rolling VL during the day’s flight period. Gucwa is one of three test pilots embarked with a team from the Patuxent River F-35 Integrated Test Force to conduct flight tests during the ongoing developmental test phase 3 (DT-3) flight trials. ([email protected] photo)

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An US Navy F-35 Lightning II test pilot from NAS Pax River performed the first night shipborne rolling vertical landing, or SRVL, aboard HMS Prince of Wales, the United Kingdom’s newest aircraft carrier, in Atlantic waters just after 9pm Oct. 29, reports AeroTech News. This came after MAJ Paul Gucwa had performed the first SRVL early that day.

The aircraft carrier Prince of Wales recently sailed for her deployment to the East Coast of the United States – her longest yet, pushing the limits of aircraft carrier operations with drones, fifth-generation stealth fighters, tilt-rotors, and helicopters, reports UK Defence Journal.

The US Senate confirmed ADM Lisa Franchetti as chief of naval operations, reports Task & Purpose. Franchetti is the first woman to serve in that role.

Two other top military nominees were confirmed, breaking through a blockade on confirmations by Alabama Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville, reports Breaking Defense. Air Force GEN David Allvin was promoted as the service’s next chief of staff, which fills the ranks of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for the first time since July 10. Senators also voted to promote Marine Corps LT GEN Christopher Mahoney to general and confirm him as the Marines’ assistant commandant. Mahoney’s confirmation was pushed following news that the Marine Corps commandant was hospitalized.

Corps commandant GEN Eric Smith is in stable condition after having a heart attack, reports USNI News. Smith is recovering in a “leading hospital in our nation’s capital,” according to the service.

The US House passed an Israel military aid bill on Thursday, reports Defense News. The $14.3 billion aid bill passed mainly along party lines, with most Democrats objecting to the Internal Revenue Service cuts in the bill as they push to take up a larger package that also includes Ukraine assistance.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) said the House GOP will consider Ukraine funding and US-Mexico border security together, reports The Hill. “We can’t be expected to take care of other countries and other conflicts if we can’t seal our own border,” he said.

A recent Gallup poll finds that the US public’s support for Ukraine is beginning to wane, Axios reports. The share of Americans who say the US is doing “too much” to help Ukraine defend itself from Russia aggression jumped to 41% in October.

Israel said that it used F-35I Adir fighter jets to shoot down a cruise missile, the first known cruise missile intercept by the American-made stealth fighter, reports Breaking Defense.

The Israeli Defense Force also said its Arrow air defense system intercepted a ballistic missile, believed to have been launched from Yemen, reports Breaking Defense.

Breaking Defense reports that as tensions continue to rise in the Middle East, US defense firms will still attend the Dubai Airshow. Industry groups as well are sticking to their plans, even though there might be some hesitation. The show is slated to start Nov. 13, and plans could always change.

Lockheed Martin announced that Switzerland has become the newest customer of most advanced Patriot missile, reports Defense News. The company did not detail the number of Patriot Advanced Capability-3 Missile Segment Enhancement weapons Switzerland plans to buy.

The USS Ronald Reagan begins a port call in the Philippines, reports Navy Times, a visit that comes amid tensions between China and the US ally over territorial claims in the South China Sea. The aircraft carrier last visited Manila in October 2022.

Taiwan said last week that China sent dozens of military aircraft and seven ships near the island, the latest sign that Beijing plans no let-up in its campaign of harassment, threats, and intimidation, reports Military Times.

The Royal Canadian Navy said that Chinese jets made “unsafe” passes at one of its helicopters late last month, reports The Maritime Executive. A pilot from the Canadian frigate HMCS Ottawa told CNN that a Chinese PLA Navy J-11 fighter jet had blown past his antisubmarine warfare helicopter twice, creating high risk for the aircrew. The incident occurred near the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea.

China and Russia are leading the race for hypersonic missiles, reports Wall Street Journal, while the US is struggling to develop them.

The US wants to build more arms with its Pacific allies such as Japan and Australia, reports Defense One. DoD is also looking for new ways to manufacture things closer to China to keep supply lines flowing during a conflict. Pentagon acquisition chief Bill LaPlante cited 3D printers, which Ukrainian soldiers use to create replacement parts near the front lines, as an example of how important near-the-battlefield manufacturing can be.

The latest statistics from the US Labor Departments show that veterans unemployment rates decreased in October despite a slight uptick in national jobless rates, reports Navy Times. That translates into about 45,000 more young veterans working in October than in September, according to the report.

Career and technical education are a vital focus of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future education reform plan, reports Maryland Matters. The Blueprint plan sets a goal to increase the number of apprenticeships for high school juniors and seniors to 60,000 in seven years, and to ensure at least 45% of high school students complete a high-school level apprenticeship program by the 2030-31 school year.

US Environmental Protection Agency officials gathered at the former Nansemond Ordnance Depot in Suffolk, VA, in September to acknowledge the progress that has been made since it was first listed on the agency’s Superfund National Priority List in 1999, reports Bay Journal. A portion of a site was once home to thousands of pounds of discarded munitions debris. and now houses a warehouse and distribution center that employs 300 people.

The US Navy Blue Angels performed at the Homecoming Show in Pensacola, FL, last weekend, marking the final performance for 2023. The squadron has announced its 2024 schedule that includes appearances in Annapolis in at the US Naval Academy Air Show and flyover at the USNA graduation in May.

Contracts:

Applied Technology Inc., King George, Virginia, is awarded a $90,502,527 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (N0017324D2001) for research and development support for Tactical Electronic Warfare. The contract does not include options and has a cumulative value of $90,502,527. A $9,037,624 time-and-materials task order (N0017324F2001) was issued concurrently. Work for the initial task order will be performed at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), Washington, DC, and is expected to be completed by November 2024. Fiscal 2023 research, development, test and evaluation (Navy) funds in the amount of $244,000; fiscal 2023 research, development, test and evaluation (Air Force) funds in the amount of $45,000; and fiscal 2024 working capital funds (Defense) in the amount of $175,000, will be obligated at time of award and funds in the amount of $289,000 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured with one offer received via Contract Opportunities on SAM.gov. The NRL, Washington, DC, is the contracting activity.

BAE Systems Land & Armaments LP, Sterling Heights, Michigan, is awarded a $211,477,415 firm-fixed-price modification to a previously awarded contract (M67854-16-C-0006) for Amphibious Combat Vehicles (ACV). The total cumulative face value of the contract is $2,552,695,877. This contract modification provides for the exercise of options for the procurement of 40 full rate production ACV Personnel variants and associated production, fielding and support costs, and support & test equipment. Work will be performed in York, Pennsylvania (60%); Aiken, South Carolina (15%); San Jose, California (15%); Sterling Heights, Michigan (5%); and Stafford, Virginia (5%), with an expected completion date of February 2026. Fiscal 2024 procurement (Marine Corps) funds in the amount of $211,477,415 will be obligated at the time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Virginia, is the contracting activity (M67854-16-C-0006).

Atlantic Fabrication & Boiler Services Inc., Portsmouth, Virginia (N3220524D0005); Auxiliary Systems Inc., Norfolk, Virginia (N3220524D0006); Bay Marine JV LLC, Chesapeake, Virginia (N3220524D0007); Bluepoint Engineering LLC, Portsmouth, Virginia (N3220524D0008); Colonna’s Shipyard Inc., Norfolk, Virginia (N3220524D0009); Confluence Corp., Honolulu, Hawaii (N3220524D0010); East Coast Repair & Fabrication LLC, Portsmouth, Virginia (N3220524D0011); EMS Industrial Inc., Chesapeake, Virginia (N3220524D0012); Epsilon Systems Solutions Inc., Portsmouth, Virginia (N3220524D0013); Fairlead Boatworks Inc., Newport News, Virginia (N3220524D0014); G I Industrial Marine LLC, Portsmouth, Virginia (N3220524D0015); Gulf Copper & Manufacturing Corp., Port Arthur, Texas (N3220524D0016); JAG Welding, Fab, & Services Inc., Milton, Georgia (N3220524D0017); KD Shipyard LLC, Virginia Beach, Virginia (N3220524D0018); Lyon Shipyard Inc., Norfolk, Virginia (N3220524D0019); Mid Atlantic Engineering Technical Services Inc., Chesapeake, Virginia (N3220524D0020); Neal Technical Innovations LLC, Daphne, Alabama (N3220524D0021); Q.E.D. Systems Inc., Virginia Beach, Virginia (N3220524D0022); Standard Inspection Services, San Diego, California (N3220524D0023); TECNICO Corp., Chesapeake, Virginia (N3220524D0024); and Walashek Industrial & Marine Inc., Norfolk, Virginia (N3220524D0025), are awarded a combined, maximum-value $140,000,000, firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for a broad range of ship repair for Military Sealift Command vessels. Each awardee will be awarded a $3,500 minimum contract guarantee at contract award. This contract includes a five-year base period and a six-month option period. Work will be performed at government and commercial facilities located on the east coast continental US and is expected to be completed by March 30, 2029. Working capital funds (Navy) in the amount of $3,500 per contract, for a total of $73,500, will be obligated on the initial delivery orders for the minimum guarantee for fiscal 2024, and will expire at the end of the fiscal year. This contract was a small business set-aside solicited via the Government Point of Entry website and 22 offers received. Military Sealift Command, Norfolk, Virginia, is the contracting activity.

Professional Analysis Inc., Alexandria, Virginia, is awarded a $74,392,335 firm-fixed-price contract (N3220524C4140) to provide worldwide logistics services in the following eight functional areas: lifecycle logistics support, special materials type desk support, material handling equipment and ordnance handling equipment support, ships acquisition support, consolidated maintenance and logistics system support, combat logistics force support, ordnance management support, and supply chain support. The contract contains a phase-in period of one month and 14 days, a base period of 10 months, and four option years, plus Federal Acquisition Regulation 52.217- Option to Extend Services for a total of 60 months. The contract will be performed on a worldwide basis beginning Nov. 6, 2023, and will conclude on Oct. 19, 2028. This contract was a consolidated and bundled full and open with proposals solicited via the Government Point of Entry website and two proposals received. Military Sealift Command, Norfolk, Virginia, is the contracting activity.

Huntington Ingalls Inc., Newport News, Virginia, is awarded an $8,791,995 cost-plus-fixed-fee modification to previously awarded contract N00024-22-C-2105 to exercise options for planning and design yard activities for Standard Navy Valves installed in commissioned nuclear-powered submarines, submersibles, and aircraft carriers. Work will be performed in Newport News, Virginia. No funding will be obligated at time of award. Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, DC, is the contracting activity (N00024-22-C-2105).

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