December 6, 2023

SpaceX’s 1st Classified Payload Launched

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SpaceX launched its Falcon Heavy rocket with its first national security payload for DoD on Tuesday, reports Military Times. It is the Falcon Heavy’s first launch since 2019. The rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, hosting two classified satellites, part of the Space Force’s USSF-44 mission.

The Navy recommends reuse for the tanks left behind following a complete closure of the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, reports USNI.  The current timeline anticipates removal of all of the fuel by the end of June 2024 and the full closure in August 2027. Leaving the emptied tanks in place is the best alternative, according to the Navy’s closure plan, “because it would allow for beneficial non-fuel reuse of the tanks while minimizing impacts to the environment and local community, safety concerns, and schedule.”

US tech companies in China may soon be forced to ‘choose a flag’, says Despite China’s increasing authoritarianism and censorship, many American tech companies expanded their businesses in China which provides significant portions of the annual revenue of Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, and IBM.

Bid protests decline for the 4th consecutive year, reports The Government Accountability Office, which adjudicates bid protests, dealt with 1,658 protests in fiscal 2022, down 12% from the 1,897 filed in fiscal 2021, according to a report issued to Congress Nov. 1. Fiscal 2022’s total is the fewest protests industry has filed since fiscal 2008—with 1,652 protests filed—and represents a nearly 40% decrease in annual protests filed compared to fiscal 2018’s recent high-water mark of 2,607.

Dramatic video and analysis shows why Russian helicopters are sitting ducks in Ukraine, reports Military Times by way of Task and Purpose. A new video showing a Russian Mi-8 helicopter being shot down by Ukrainian forces underscores how the Russians have failed to gain air superiority more than eight months after launching their full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The damaged helicopter was able to keep flying for roughly a minute as a fire broke out aboard the aircraft and rapidly grew larger, engulfing everything inside of the helicopter until it crashed. Analysis suggests US-trained pilots would have acted differently and might have survived.

Iran is preparing to send additional weapons including ballistic missiles to Russia for use in Ukraine, reports Military Times. Iran is preparing to send approximately 1,000 additional weapons, including surface-to-surface short range ballistic missiles and more attack drones. The shipment is being closely monitored because it would be the first instance of Iran sending advanced precision guided missiles to Russia, which could give the Kremlin a substantial boost in its war against Ukraine.

Drone-killing Vampires are due in Ukraine next year, reports Defense News. The laser-guided-missile launcher can quickly be installed in a civilian truck bed. The Pentagon plans to send the counter-drone system by mid-2023 as part of a larger arms package, but hasn’t yet approved a contract to deliver the system.

US inspectors in Ukraine won’t be near the front, reports Military Times. The US defense personnel inspecting foreign weapons shipments inside Ukraine won’t be close to the front-line fighting. The Pentagon has not provided the number of personnel or information about site visits in the country, which are aimed at ensuring the immense flow of American and other allied military aid is not trafficked.



South Korea hits back as North Korea fires its most missiles in a day – at least 23 – including one that landed less than 60km (37 miles) off the South’s city of Sokcho, reports BBC. Seoul responded to the North’s barrage with warplanes firing three air-to-ground missiles over the disputed maritime demarcation line. Later North Korea fired six more missiles and a barrage of 100 artillery shells. The North says the launches are in response to large-scale military exercises current being held by South Korea and the United States, which it calls “aggressive and provocative.”

A first-of-its-kind exercise on a Michigan highway shows the aging A-10 Warthog can still make history, reports Business Insider. The Air Force landed A-10s and other planes, refueled and rearmed them, and took off from the highway. The exercise tested agile combat employment as the Air Force focuses on dispersed and austere operations amid rising geopolitical tension, particularly with China.

Chinese fishing boats defied the US Coast Guard during a confrontation in the Pacific, reports Fox News. An armed US Coast Guard cutter had a standoff with Chinese fishing boats off the coast of Ecuador over the summer, when the American boat looked to inspect the vessels on suspicion of possible illegal fishing, The incident took place around the same time that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan.

The attack on Paul Pelosi, intended for his wife, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, highlights the risks of online violence against women in politics, reports The Hill. The online abuse of women running for office, especially those of color, is more likely to be gendered, personal and invoke sexual violence than their male peers, research shows. Capitol Police cameras reportedly captured the Pelosi break-in, but nobody was watching it live, reports The Week.

The US Navy touts its hypersonic missile progress ahead of its 2025 fielding, reports Military Times. VADM Johnny Wolfe, head of the Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs, said “time is not our friend” as the Navy races to field hypersonic weapons on a Zumwalt-class destroyer in 2025 and on a Virginia-class submarine in 2029. The Navy’s goal is to finish hypersonic missile development alongside the Army by 2023.

Former sailor Christopher Toups, 43, from Georgia, pleads guilty in $2 million insurance fraud scam, reports Military Times. The ex-Navy chief petty officer pleaded guilty on Oct. 27 to participating in an insurance fraud scheme that stole $2 million from a program meant to aid seriously injured service members. Toups admitted to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. He personally obtained about $400,000 between 2012 and Dec. 2015 by making fraudulent claims to the Traumatic Servicemembers Group Life Insurance Program.

Virginia Beach ranked as No. 8 city for military members transitioning to civilian life, reports The Virginia Pilot.  Virginia Beach’s ranking allowed Hampton Roads to maintain its foothold in the top 10 of Navy Federal Credit Union’s Best Cities After Service, a nationwide survey the credit union has put out for the past five years.

US judge has sentenced Allison Fluke-Ekren, a Kansas woman who led an all-female ISIL battalion in Syria, to the maximum sentence of 20 years in jail, after she pleaded guilty to “terrorism” charges earlier this year, reports Al Jazeera. During a hearing in federal court in northern Virginia on Tuesday, Fluke-Ekren said in a lengthy speech that she took responsibility for her actions but spent most of the time rationalizing and minimizing her conduct.

United States on Tuesday issued weapons-related sanctions targeting ISIL in Somalia, designating members of the group and others it accused of being involved in a “terrorist weapons trafficking network” in Eastern Africa, reports Al Jazeera. The action comes as the US seeks to increase its focus on exposing and disrupting ‘terrorist’ financing networks in Africa.



Systems Application and Technologies Inc.,* Upper Marlboro, Maryland, is awarded a $17,939,039 cost-plus-fixed-fee, level of effort, cost reimbursable modification (P00028) to a previously awarded contract (N0042119C0023). This modification exercises an option to provide engineering, technical, project analyst, and administrative support services in support of research, development, test, and evaluation of aircraft instrumentation flight test for the Department of Defense and other government agencies. Work will be performed in Patuxent River, Maryland, and is expected to be completed in November 2024. Fiscal 2023 research, development, test and evaluation (Navy) funds in the amount of $1,759,000; and fiscal 2023 working capital (Navy) funds on the amount of $1,164,500 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.


Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Melbourne, Florida, is awarded a $24,955,241 firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee modification (P00001) to an order (N0001922F2530) against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N0001920G0005). This modification adds scope for fabrication and installation support to retrofit the Delta System Software Configuration 4.0 capabilities, to include tactical targeting network technology and the beyond line of sight in the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft. Work will be performed in Dallas, Texas (57%); Melbourne, Florida (11%); Boulder, Colorado (9%); Norfolk, Virginia (8%); Salisbury, Maryland (5%); Ronkonkoma, New York (3%); and various locations within the continental U.S. (7%), and is expected to be completed in September 2025. Fiscal 2023 aircraft procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $858,147; and fiscal 2022 aircraft procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $24,097,094 will be obligated at the time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.

Sikorsky Aircraft Co., a Lockheed Martin Corp., Stratford, Connecticut, is awarded a $21,354,094 firm-fixed-price modification (P00002) to an order (N6134022F7009) against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N0001919G0029). This modification exercises options to procure one CH53K containerized flight training device (2F243-3), as well as associated technical data based on low-rate initial production Lot 4 configuration in support of CH-53K phase II training system efforts. Work will be performed in Chantilly, Virginia (67%); Stratford, Connecticut (18%); and Orlando, Florida (15%), and is expected to be completed in February 2025. Fiscal 2023 aircraft procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $21,354,094 will be obligated at the time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division, Orlando, Florida, is the contracting activity.


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