April 12, 2021

Art & Lifestyle:

Stealthy F-35B Tests Weaponry Follow-up

F-35B Lightning II out of NAWCAD VX-23 is loaded with inert missiles as it prepares for the first ski jump short takeoff from ITS Cavour, with external weapons aboard. (US Navy photo by Dane Wiedmann)

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.

The Aviationist waxes eloquent about the F-35Bs from NAWCAD Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23 at Naval Air Station Patuxent River currently testing compatibility with the Italian aircraft carrier ITS Cavour. The non-stealth weapon configuration pictured above is informally called “Beast Mode” or the “Third Day of War.”

Although it has largely cleared, the blockage of the Suez Canal by a grounded ship will likely impact the global energy supply chain, reports gCaptain. The “Mega Ship” grounded Tuesday and blocked the canal in both directions. AIS data shows the MV Ever Given stuck sideways toward the south end of the canal near Suez, Egypt, preventing ships from passing in either direction. The grounding occurred at 7:40 am local time March 23 after the vessel suffered a black out while transiting.

To find ways America’s manufacturing base can stay competitive as it intersects with national security, the Ronald Reagan Institute has assembled a new task force of lawmakers and business leaders, including Lockheed Martin’s former CEO, reports Defense News. The task force arrives as the US prioritizes competition with China amid a focus on reviving US manufacturing. Senate Democrats have in recent days reached out to Republicans for a bill to counter China and invest in US manufacturing.

A coalition of 25 organizations identified $80 billion in savings in DoD’s FY 22 budget in a line-item list sent to key congressional committees, reports Win Without War. The full letter here.

Veterans Affairs received over $17 billion as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to add to its $243 billion FY21 budget running through Sept. 30, reports Military.com. Of the new funds, $10 billion is earmarked directly for health care and homeless programs.

Sens. Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) have reintroduced a bill to reform how veterans exposed to toxins receive health care and benefits and requires the use of new scientific evidence to establish whether some health problems are connected to toxic exposures, reports Stars and Stripes.

Unaccompanied children arriving at the US-Mexico border could be housed at two bases in Texas, reports Military Times. Joint Base San Antonio and Fort Bliss have been tapped to accommodate them.

 

 

A Military Times call-out finds mixed reactions and uneven implementation of the military-wide stand-downs to address extremism. Every unit in the military has until April 1 to sit down with its troops and talk about what extremism is and why it’s incompatible with military service, but that training has proven to look very different across formations. Some troops were disappointed by check-the-block extremism stand-downs, others laud their commanders.

The White House confirms a new round of talks with Iraq on US troop presence is to begin in April, reports The Hill. The two countries are slated to discuss mutual security, culture, trade, and climate interests, and would “further clarify that coalition forces are in Iraq solely for the purpose of training and advising Iraqi forces to ensure that ISIS cannot reconstitute,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

Military Times reports Iraq wants a new round of talks over the withdrawal of remaining US combat forces. So far, two sessions of strategic talks have been held — in June and August. Relations remain tense following the US January 2020 airstrike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis just outside the Baghdad airport.

Lockheed and Northrop clinch the massive missile defense deals as Boeing is passed over, reports The Washington Post. The finalized deals are worth up to $7.5 billion for a new interceptor that can shoot incoming missiles out of the sky, marking the first major defense procurement finalized under President Joe Biden.

Two Yemeni men who allege their relatives were killed in an American drone strike have appealed their case to Germany’s highest court, urging a ban on the US military’s use of a base southwest of Frankfurt to help control such attacks, reports Air Force Times.

A temporary bombing halt in Afghanistan, reports the LA Times, is one of several ideas Biden administration officials are discussing if Taliban militants agree to sharply reduce attacks and assassinations ahead of high-level peace talks planned for early next month in Istanbul. US officials call the idea merely a concept on paper, dependent on steps by the Taliban to reduce violence first.

With new documents coming to light, The Drive further explores the July 2019 evenings when as many as six drones repeatedly swarmed Navy warships off Los Angeles. The UAVs flew for prolonged periods in low-visibility conditions, performing brazen maneuvers over the Navy warships near a sensitive military training range.

The F-35’s software that aims to ensure rapid receipt of fresh code to meet emerging threats is deploying too slowly. Defense News reports production of new software is still lagging behind schedule, according to a US Government Accountability Office March 18 report.

The Navy doesn’t need another carrier right now says the admiral nominated to lead Pacific Ops, unless “additional challenges show themselves,” ADM John Aquilino said during his Senate confirmation hearing, reports Military.com. USNI News reported this month that Pentagon leaders are again considering a reduced carrier force structure as part of the DoD’s upcoming 2022 budget submission to Congress.

The US spent more than $34 billion to maintain military presences in Japan and South Korea between 2016 and 2019, reports Military.com. The Government Accountability Office report finds the two allies combined provided more than $18 billion in financial support for the US military presence during that time.

The White House confirmed North Korea conducted short-range missile tests, reports Military Times. They come as North Korea has ignored offers from the new administration to resume negotiations, and StateSec Antony Blinken last week pressed China to use its “tremendous influence” to convince North Korea to abandon its nuclear program.

Contracts:

Huntington Ingalls Inc. – Newport News Shipbuilding, Newport News, Virginia, is awarded a $194,474,563 cost-plus-fixed-fee modification to previously awarded contract N00024-15-C-4301 for continued execution of the fiscal 2018 USS Columbus (SSN 762) engineered overhaul. Work will be performed in Newport News, Virginia, and is expected to be completed by December 2022. Fiscal 2021 operation and maintenance (Navy) funding in the amount of $190,963,313 will be obligated at time of award and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, DC, is the contracting activity.

Raytheon Co., Dulles, Virginia, is awarded a $35,870,745 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract. This contract provides for the procurement of follow-on software system architecture and design, software analysis, coding, integration and testing, and associated software and systems engineering in support of the MQ-8 tactical control system. Work will be performed in Dulles, Virginia (94%); and Redondo, California (6%), and is expected to be completed in March 2026. Fiscal 2021 research, development, test and evaluation (Navy) funds in the amount of $5,587,615; and fiscal 2021 operation and maintenance (Navy) funds in the amount of $628,637 will be obligated at the time of award, $628,637 of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to 10 US Code 2304(c)(1). The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity (N0001921C0018).

Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems, Manassas, Virginia, was awarded a $34,705,748 cost-plus-incentive-fee and cost-only modification to previously awarded contract N0002418C5218 to exercise an option for the procurement of engineering services as well as provide funding in support of the continued AN/SQQ-89A(V)15 development, integration, manufacture, production, and testing. Work will be performed in Manassas, Virginia (83%); Lemont Furnace, Pennsylvania (10%); Syracuse, New York (6%); and Hauppauge, New York (1%), and is expected to be completed by March 2022. Fiscal 2021 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy) funding in the amount of $12,088,734 (34%); fiscal 2021 research, development, test, and evaluation funding in the amount of $8,369,561 (24%); Foreign Military Sales Japan funding in the amount of $7,600,822 (22%); fiscal 2020 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy) funding in the amount of $3,831,049 (11%); fiscal 2021 other procurement (Navy) funding in the amount of $2,208,430 (6%); fiscal 2021 operation and maintenance (Navy) funding in the amount of $221,281 (1%); fiscal 2019 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy) funding in the amount of $196,372 (1%); and fiscal 2018 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy) funding in the amount of $189,499 (1%) will be obligated at time of award; funds in the amount of $221,281 expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, DC, is the contracting activity. (Awarded March 22, 2021)

Professional Contract Services Inc., Austin, Texas, is awarded a $32,735,339 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity modification for the exercise of Option Number One under a contract for base operations support services at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, Virginia, and its outlying support sites. After award of this option, the total cumulative contract value will be $65,489,803. The work to be performed provides for all labor, supervision, management, tools, materials, equipment, facilities, transportation, incidental engineering, and other items necessary to provide facilities maintenance and equipment repair services. Work will be performed in Portsmouth, Virginia, and the option period is from April 2021 to March 2022. No funds will be obligated at time of award. Fiscal 2021 operation and maintenance (Navy) contract funds in the amount of $30,395,007 for recurring work will be obligated on an individual task orders issued during the option period. Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Virginia, is the contracting activity (N40085-20-D-0040).

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