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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: June 14, 2019

Lockheed Martin says F-35 cost cuts a year ahead of plan

(KFGO) HELSINKI (Reuters) – Lockheed Martin is a year ahead of schedule with its plan to cut the cost of its F-35 A fighter jet variant to $80 million by 2020, the U.S. company said on Thursday. “We have beaten the goal by a full year,” Lockheed Martin campaign manager Mark Pranke told a news conference in Helsinki, where the company is seeking a deal worth an estimated 7-10 billion euros ($7.9-11.3 billion) to replace Finland’s ageing 64 Hornet fighter jets. Read More

Big Claims, Big Cost, for Surface-to-air Missile Systems

(AINonline) Short- and medium-range ballistic missiles and rockets continue to proliferate. New cruise and supersonic missiles are being developed, and hypersonic missiles may be only a few years away. Stealth aircraft can now be found on three continents. There’s no doubt that medium- and long-range air defense systems are more important than ever, and plenty of them are being touted at the Paris Air Show. But how effective can they be, and at what cost? Read More

House to include contractor back pay in 2020 spending bill

(Federal Times) For the first time federal contractors may see compensation for wages lost during a government shutdown, when previously only federal employees received such a return. The House Appropriations Committee announced Tuesday that a collection of five planned appropriations bills would also include the Fair Compensation for Low-Wage Contractor Employees Act, which was introduced as a standalone piece of legislation in the House and Senate in January 2019. Read More

Pentagon, Lockheed agree to ‘historic’ $34B F-35 deal

(UPI) June 11 (UPI) — Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Department of Defense have reached a “handshake agreement” on a $34 billion contract to produce three future lots of F-35 Lightning II fighter planes at the lowest cost in the program’s history. In the largest F-35 procurement yet, Lockheed Martin will produce 478 F-35s, with the company estimating that the F-35A expected to eventually cost less than $80 million per jet, according to a company news release Monday. Read More

Northrop Grumman awarded $958M contract for radar system

(C4ISRNET) The Marine Corps awarded Northrop Grumman a $958 million contract for an advanced radar system that will aid in air defense. The system, the Gallium Nitride-based (GaN) AN/TPS-80 Ground/Air Task-Oriented Radar known as G/ATOR, is a multi-mission radar that provides real time, 360-degree situational awareness to identify and track missiles, manned and unmanned aircraft vehicles, rockets, mortars, and artillery fire. Read More

Raytheon’s Tom Kennedy and UTC’s Greg Hayes on why they are uniting the companies

(DefenseNews) WASHINGTON — When Raytheon and United Technologies Corporation made a surprise announcement Sunday that they would be merging together, it sent shockwaves through the defense and aviation sectors. The combined firm will likely become the second largest player in the defense world, with major stake in the commercial aviation realm as well. Read More

House Armed Services Committee passes $733B defense authorization bill

(Inside Defense) The House Armed Services Committee early this morning voted 33-24 to approve its version of the fiscal year 2020 defense authorization bill, with all but two Republicans voting “no.” The marathon committee mark mark-up, which began 10 a.m. Wednesday and ended shortly before 7 a.m. Thursday, dealt several partisan defeats to Republicans, including a “no” vote on an amendment from Ranking Member Mac Thornberry (R-TX) to boost the $733 billion defense topline by $17 billion. Read More

Military spending is soaring in the Asia-Pacific region. Here’s why

(Los Angeles Times) The Asia-Pacific region is one of the fastest-growing markets for arms dealers. Economic growth, territorial disputes and long-sought military modernizations there propelled a 52% increase in defense spending over the last decade to $392 billion in 2018, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Read More

GAO: Some agencies with decades-old IT systems still have no plans for upgrades

(fedscoop) A Government Accountability Office checkup of legacy IT systems found that in some cases, agencies don’t have modernization plans for aging technology that performs critical functions. The departments of Education, Transportation and Health and Human Services were among the agencies with the most glaring examples. The GAO found that all three have not yet drawn up plans to upgrade specific IT systems that have been around for decades and rely on outdated hardware and software. Other departments didn’t fare much better — in many cases, they only met part of GAO’s “key elements” for documenting their modernization plans. Read More

Autonomous Ships of the Future: Run by AI Instead of a Crew

(aitrends)Efforts are underway especially by builders of cargo ships to use AI to deliver on the promise of autonomous ships. A fully autonomous ship would be considered a vessel that can operate on its own without a crew. Remote ships are those that are operated by a human from shore, and an automated ship runs software that manages its movements. As the technology matures, more types of ships will likely transition from being manned to having some autonomous capabilities, according to an account in Forbes. Autonomous ships might be used for some applications, but very likely some crew will still be onboard ships even if all hurdles to acquiring a fully autonomous fleet are crossed. Read More