US Air Force Launches Bomber RFP Likely After Years of Classified Work
- The US Air Force asked for proposals for its new LRS-B strategic bomber, on which it plans to spend [PDF] more than $900M during the coming fiscal year, and more than $3B/year by FY18. A memo from the Congressional Research Office explains that there’s probably been classified funding for it for years. A Lockheed Martin-Boeing team will be competing with Northrop Grumman for the eventual production contract. Northrop said it would use its Palmdale, CA plant if they win.
- The Aerospace Industries Association published its recommendations [PDF] to improve defense procurement. The trade group pushes back against regulatory and audit creep as well as the Pentagon’s mounting requests for data rights, which they say defeat the aim of acquiring more commercial items.
- The US Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations might have a different take on how much procurement oversight is necessary, if their review [PDF] of all that went wrong with the Air Force’s botched Expeditionary Combat Support System (ECSS) is any indication.
- Leidos announced that construction of an Autonomous Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) is underway for delivery to DARPA next year, following a 2012 award (back when the company was known as SAIC).
- When Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos first talked late last year about using small UAVs to deliver parcels to your doorstep, some people thought he might just be pulling an elaborate prank for publicity purposes. It must be April Fools’ all year round at Amazon then, because they just asked the FAA for an exemption allowing them to perform outdoor UAS tests. The firm hopes to start their Prime Air service next year.
- Sergei Ivanov, Vladimir Putin’s chief of staff, has good hopes that China will be Russia’s first export customer for its S-400 anti aircraft/missile defense systems. Such as sale was approved in principle by President Putin back in April.
- The conservative Heritage Foundation wants the US to develop a holistic approach to counter China’s anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) capabilities. Earlier this month Evan Braden Montgomery from the more centrist Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) pondered whether changing the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty might help address China’s growing arsenal of missiles.
- Benin and Togo received patrol boats donated by the United States. The US also gave 2 Cessna aircraft to Mauritania, a country that also operates Super Tucanos.
- While the hashtag feelgood crowd moved on months ago, West Africa continues to face daunting challenges from Boko Haram and other criminal and terrorist groups.
- Today’s video from Stratfor discusses Boko Haram’s current activities and its strategy: