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Daily News

April 23, 2021

The Army is delaying the last two acquisition milestones for the $8.2 billion Joint Air-to-Ground Missile program, pushing target dates for integrating the next-generation, airborne-launched weapon -- originally slated to be accomplished last year -- into 2022, changes driven by technical difficulties encountered while attempting to integrate the new missile onto Marine Corps helicopters.

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The four bids from major defense contractors the Army has received for the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle are a sign that the new competition is going well, multiple analysts told Inside Defense this week.

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The Pentagon's acquisition office has given its approval for the first contract solicitations with cyber certification requirements, and the rollout of the requests for proposals is expected in the summer, according to a Defense Department spokeswoman.

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The Navy will have to spend $34 billion per year on shipbuilding, 10% more than service estimates, to enact its recent shipbuilding plan to grow the fleet, according to an analysis the Congressional Budget Office released Thursday.

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Two top Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee said this week they won't support any proposal to add F-35s to the Defense Department's fiscal year 2022 budget request, suggesting the practice -- which has become tradition over the last seven years -- has harmed the program and contributed to the services' mounting sustainment costs.

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April 22, 2021

Turkey's removal from the F-35 program is increasing the engine cost and requiring contractors Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Whitney to find and certify new suppliers, company representatives said Thursday.

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The Air Force has grounded 20 F-35s due to engine issues, leading contractor Pratt & Whitney to take steps to address the engine maintenance backlog at Tinker Air Force Base, OK.

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The Government Accountability Office is recommending the Air Force reconsider its F-35 requirements, including the number of aircraft it plans to buy, in light of concerns around long-term affordability.

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The F-35 program executive officer told House lawmakers today the program has implemented a "strategic pause" in its transition away from the Autonomic Logistics Information System, driven by "underestimated complexity" and a significant research and development funding reduction in fiscal year 2021.

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The head of U.S. Strategic Command issued stark warnings to lawmakers this week about the risks of extending the Minuteman III system further or abandoning intercontinental ballistic missiles altogether.

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House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smtih (D-WA), who will help shape the upcoming defense policy bill, said today he wants the Pentagon to change the way it does business with defense contractors, especially with intellectual property arrangements, so the government can lower costs and promote greater competition.

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Defense industry analysts say the selection of Michael Brown, who previously headed Symantec and, more recently, the Defense Innovation Unit, to lead Pentagon acquisition signals a continued emphasis on software modernization and faster innovation.

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April 21, 2021

The Air Force is facing continued challenges developing an upgraded version of the AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile and is now eyeing a production delay of up to one year.

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The Space Force wants to expand its use of commercial services beyond satellite communications to other mission areas, including remote sensing and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

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The Army recently completed an operational assessment of Capability Set 21 during a Joint Readiness Training Center Rotation at Ft. Polk, LA, marking the largest-scale assessment with an entire brigade for the effort, Army officials said yesterday.

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Lt. Gen. Dennis Crall, the director for command, control, communications and cyber, and the chief information officer for the joint chiefs of staff, said earlier today that the joint all-domain command and control strategy is undergoing final revisions and should move "quickly" through the chain of approval.

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April 20, 2021

The Missile Defense Agency is breaking up the Ground-based Midcourse Defense development and sustainment contract into five smaller projects, with plans to compete two and sole source three under a new project branded GMD Futures, capping an overhaul process that began in October 2019 that explored numerous alternative contract structures.

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The Pacific Fleet's Integrated Battle Problem 21 will include three so-called "vignettes" over the course of the next week off the coast of San Diego in order to integrate manned and unmanned capabilities "into the most challenging operational scenarios."

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The National Spectrum Consortium has launched joint working groups involving government and industry members to recommend best practices and potential standards for spectrum sharing and other fifth-generation wireless networking issues.

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The head of U.S. Strategic Command today revealed that his organization will take the reins of the new triad of non-nuclear, long-range offensive hypersonic weapons programs slated for fielding this decade.

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