May 20, 2018

US Revising Rules on Military Drone Exports

Military Drone Exports

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 White House is easing export restrictions on military-grade drone technology to allies to counter China’s growing global market share for the technology, reports Defense Systems. President Donald Trump signed a memorandum late last week that revises rules for export of military drones, including big target and long-range reconnaissance drones such as the Predator and Reaper aircraft.

A Chinese engineer says that China is working on drones capable of flying from aircraft carriers, reports Popular Science. The program would be China’s response to the US Navy’s UCLASS program, which proved drones’ ability to take off and land from aircraft carriers and the MQ-25 Stingray program, which will deploy refueling tanker drones to carriers in the coming years.

Aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) conducts flight operations in the Mediterranean Sea. (US Navy file photo by Mass Communication 3rd Class J.M. Tolbert/ Released)

The US is weighing whether to withhold the Truman Carrier Strike Group from deploying to the Middle East, opting instead to keep the carrier in the Mediterranean and the European theater, reports Defense News.

North Korea has said it would suspend nuclear tests and intercontinental ballistic missile launches ahead of summits with the US and South Korea, reports Military Times, though the White House is saying that country has agreed to “denuclearization.” Military Times also took a look at previous negotiations with North Korea.

South Korea’s purchase of F-35 fighter jets is under investigation by that country’s Board of Audit and Inspection of Korea, reports Defense News.

Australian leader Malcolm Turnbull has said his navy is within its rights to conduct freedom of navigation exercises in the South China Sea after a media report said three of his frigates had been challenged by Chinese forces, reports The Asia Straits Times.

The Air Force has targeted arming an F-15 fighter jet with a laser by 2021, reports Military.com. Facing increased competition from Russia and China, the Air Force launched an office at Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio to explore experimental technologies and bring them to combat operations faster.

The White House names Mira Ricardel as the new deputy national security advisor, reports Defense News. Ricardel is a former Bush era defense official who also worked for Boeing. She has been serving as undersecretary of commerce for export administration, where she had a hand in crafting the administration’s new weapon export policies.

Attracting new players to compete for national security and civil space contracts has been a longtime goal of the Congress, the Pentagon and NASA. But as the numbers show, only a handful of contractors command the bulk of federal dollars spent on space programs, reports Space News, the top four being Boeing, Lockheed Martin, United Launch Alliance, and Space X.

More than 40 years after the end of the Vietnam War, the helicopter pilots and crew members killed in action during the conflict were honored at Arlington National Cemetery with their own monument last week, reports Army Times. The Vietnam Pilot and Crewmember Monument was dedicated near the Tomb of the Unknowns at the Virginia cemetery.

A new tool is making it easier to safely dispose of unwanted prescription drugs, reports WBAL TV Channel 11. More than 90,000 disposal pouches are being distributed statewide by the Maryland National Guard. When prescription drugs are put in the pouch, water is added to the powder in the bag, and the resulting mixture neutralizes the drugs, making them safe to throw away.

To retain talented airmen, the Air Force should make it easier for them to move from active duty to the reserves and back again, AF Secretary Heather Wilson says. Old, legacy policies have made such moves unnecessarily difficult, reports Air Force Times.

Contracts:

The Whiting-Turner Contracting Co., Baltimore, Maryland, is awarded a $101,770,338 firm-fixed-price contract for construction of the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station Atlantic Communication Center at Naval Station Norfolk. The proposed new construction will consist of a multi-story, steel-framed building with a reinforced concrete exterior, brick façade, and secured area construction. The building roof will be constructed to accommodate radio frequency antennas and an antenna distribution system. The building interior will include administrative spaces, support spaces, equipment/operational spaces with open architecture, diverse building entries for telecommunication cables, maintenance/training spaces, and storage spaces. Work will be performed in Norfolk, Virginia, and is expected to be completed by October 2020. Fiscal 2016 military construction (Navy) contract funds in the amount of $101,770,338 are obligated on this award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website with three proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Virginia, is the contracting activity (N40085-18-C-1134).

The KeyW Corp., Hanover, Maryland, was awarded a $17,365,667 cost-plus-fixed-fee completion contract for a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency research project. Work will be performed in Hanover, Maryland, with an expected completion date of April 2022. Fiscal 2017 research, development, test and evaluation funding in the amount of $762,102 are being obligated at time of award. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Arlington, Virginia, is the contracting activity (HR001118C0085).

AT&T Corp., Columbia, Maryland, was awarded a firm-fixed-price modification to exercise Option Year 2 of a previously awarded, sole-source contract for the Northstar Long-Haul Telecommunications Network and associated transmission circuits for an Ultra-High Frequency/Line of Sight communications system network. The face value of this action is $13,708,765 and is funded by fiscal 2018 operations and maintenance funds. The total cumulative face value of the contract is $44,051,012 with a lifecycle value of $74,600,000. Performance will be at various sites geographically dispersed across the continental US. The performance period of this action is May 1, 2018, to April 30, 2019. The Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, is the contracting activity (HC1013-16-C-0001, P00011).

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