Here's a look at how the Defense Department is being impacted by and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) has already evolved so far beyond its original aim—to replace the aging E-8 JSTARS plane for surveillance and C2—that Air Force acquisition czar Will Roper is seriously considering changing the program’s name. “I think Skynet is out,” he said with a sigh and a grin, “as much as I would love doing that as a sci-fi thing. I just don’t think we can go there. … I do think that we do need to change the name. I don’t think ABMS is primarily a battle management system. It’s an Internet.”
"People have an assumption that we're asserting that [we're building] twice as good a pilot in half the time; that was never the plan," said Maj. Gen. Craig Wills, 19th Air Force commander, referring to the service’s Undergraduate Pilot Training 2.5 program. "The plan was to build just as good a pilot in about half the time, and that experiment has been largely successful."
The General Atomics-built MQ-9 Reaper—a medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle with millions of hours of operation under its belt—has had a ubiquitous presence over battlefields in the Middle East. But with the Pentagon preparing for future fights in contested, non-permissive environments against peer adversaries, the service is beginning its search for the aircraft’s replacement.
Israel has concluded it can’t block the sale of American-made F-35 stealth fighters to the United Arab Emirates, and will ask the White House for other weapons so it can maintain its regional military superiority, Yedioth Ahronoth reported, without saying where it got the information.
The new multi-band, multimission antenna is under development to address a serious problem: As the military puts an ever-increasing number of satellites on orbit, where will the services put all of the antennas needed to connect to them?
Gov. Laura Kelly said in a news release that she has directed her Cabinet to use all resources necessary to support the selection of Kansas as the headquarters for U.S. Space Command, which is responsible for military operations in outer space.
A recent $62 billion contract to build 90 F-16 fighter jets is being touted as an important win for Lockheed Martin’s campus in Greenville, S.C., which had just a handful of planes left in its order book after losing a bid in 2018 to build a next-generation trainer jet for the U.S. Air Force. Aerospace analyst Dhierin Bechai said the order—66 jets for Taiwan’s military and 24 for the Royal Moroccan Air Force—provides “significant chances for follow up orders for more fighter jets and services.”
U.S. defense contractor Northrop Grumman put out a short video on Facebook showing optionally-piloted Firebird multi-mission aircraft execute intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance demos from the company’s North Dakota facility. The Firebird is an intelligence-gathering aircraft with autonomous mission capability. Available in manned, autonomous and optionally piloted configurations, Firebird is designed to provide ISR payload and cockpit flexibility through truly open architecture and plug-and-play payload integration.
The video has one of the most dramatic backdrops we have ever seen and a very relevant soundtrack, as well.