June’s top news stories

5 July 2018 (Last Updated June 12th, 2020 12:18)

Northrop Grumman completed the acquisition of Orbital ATK for $9.2bn, Google decided to stop continuing the artificial intelligence (AI) work for the Pentagon and the US suspended its plan to conduct Exercise Ulchi Freedom Guardian with South Korea. Army-Technology.com wraps up the key stories from June 2018.

June’s top news stories
US Army’s Stryker vehicle. Credit: PRNewsfoto/General Dynamics Land Systems.

Northrop Grumman completed acquisition of Orbital ATK for $9.2bn

Northrop Grumman completed the acquisition of aerospace and defence technologies company Orbital ATK for $9.2bn.

Orbital ATK will now operate as a new fourth business sector under the name Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems. This will ensure a strong focus on operating performance and a smooth transition of Orbital ATK into Northrop Grumman.

Orbital ATK chief operating officer Blake Larson will function as the corporate vice-president and president of Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems.

US Army selected Raytheon for $2.4bn training support services contract

The US Army Contracting Command Orlando (ACC-ORL) awarded a contract to Raytheon for the delivery of training support services to the military arm.

Raytheon is one of the contractors for the Enterprise Training Services Contract (ETSC).

With a maximum ceiling value of $2.4bn, the multi-award indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract will continue for five years.

India requested $930m in support for AH-64E helicopters sale from US

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress of a possible foreign military sale (FMS) of items in support of a proposed direct commercial sale of AH-64E Apache attack helicopters to India.

With an estimated cost of $930m, the potential deal involves the acquisition of six AH-64E aircraft, 14 T700-GE-701D engines, four AN/APG-78 fire control radars, four radar electronic units (REU) Block III and four AN/APR-48B modernised radar frequency interferometers (M-RFIs).

Lockheed Martin, Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors, General Electric Company, Longbow Limited Liability and Raytheon will serve as the principal contractors for the potential deal.

Leonardo DRS won $841.3m MFoCS II contract for US Army

The US Army awarded $841.3m to Leonardo DRS for the production of the next-generation mission command computing system, the Mounted Family of Computer Systems (MFoCS) II.

The contract was awarded by the Defense Information Technology Contracting Office of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) on behalf of US Army Program Manager, Mission Command and US Army Program Executive Office–Command, Control and Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T).

The five-year award can be extended and is part of an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract.

US Army awarded $391m contract to L3 for ENVG-B goggles

The US Army Contracting Command awarded a three-year contract, valued at $391m, to L3 Technologies for the delivery of the latest, next-generation binocular night vision goggles.

The night vision goggles will help increase mobility, targeting and manoeuvrability for the US ground forces.

L3 Technologies chairman, chief executive officer and president Christopher E. Kubasik said: “These advanced night vision capabilities reflect L3’s intense focus on developing and providing innovative technologies that make our customers better and more effective in the field.”

US Army awarded $258m contract for Stryker vehicle upgrade

The US Army awarded a $258m contract modification to upgrade the service’s Stryker flat-bottom vehicles to the Stryker A1 configuration.

Under the deal, General Dynamics (GD) Land Systems will be responsible for modifying and modernising 116 of the Stryker vehicles.

Built upon the combat-proven Double-V Hull (DVH) configuration, the Stryker A1 configuration will help to provide unprecedented survivability against mines and advanced explosive devices.

Google to withdraw from Pentagon’s AI contract

Google decided not to extend its contract with the US Department of Defense (DoD) next year, according to reports.

Company sources said that it will stop continuing the artificial intelligence (AI) work for the Pentagon.

Known as Project Maven, the contract uses AI to interpret video images, in addition to enhancing the targeting of drone strikes, reported The Business Times.

US suspended plan to conduct Exercise Ulchi Freedom Guardian

The US Department of Defense (DoD), together with South Korea, suspended all plans to conduct this year’s defensive war game, the Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise, which was stated to be carried out in August.

The decision was taken by the US military and is consistent with President Donald Trump’s commitment to North Korea to promote mutual confidence between the nations and support the de-nuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.

In a statement, Pentagon chief spokesperson Dana W White said: “We are still coordinating additional actions. No decisions on subsequent war games have been made.”

Australia introduced defence call-out bill for counter-terrorism

Australia’s Government introduced a defence call-out bill to enable states and territories to easily get support from the ADF for counter-terrorism and handing other violent incidents.

Dubbed ‘Call Out of the Australian Defence Force’, the Defence Amendment Bill 2018 was created in close consultation with state and territory governments in order to strengthen the country’s ability to combat terrorism.

As an amendment to the Part IIIAAA of the Defence Act 1903, the new bill will make it easier for states and territories to request ADF support wherever necessary.

US Army’s first CH-47F Block II Chinook helicopter entered final assembly

The US Army’s CH-47F Chinook Block II programme reached a major milestone with the loading of the first helicopter model into its final assembly phase.

Developed by Boeing, the first of three engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) helicopters is nearing completion and will be used by the US Army and special operations forces.

US Army Cargo Helicopters project manager colonel Greg Fortier said: “The CH-47F Block II represents tomorrow’s heavy lift readiness for the US Army and her allied partners.