The Weekly Debrief: Biden Taps DIU Director To Lead Pentagon Acquisition
President Joe Biden has announced his intent to nominate former Silicon Valley executive and Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) Director Michael Brown as under secretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment. Brown does not have experience managing major defense acquisition programs, but is no stranger to the Pentagon or Washington. He has led DIU since 2018, where he has doubled the number of projects and transitioned 26 new capabilities to the field. From 2016-2018, Brown served as White House Presidential Innovation Fellow at the Defense Department. Credit: Department of Defense
BAE Tests Software-Defined Radio Upgrade For Compass Call
Mars Helicopter Deployed For Flight Test
NASA’s Mars Ingenuity helicopter has been deployed from the Perseverance rover, kicking off a 31-day test campaign to demonstrate powered flight on another planet. Ingenuity’s first hurdle was to survive the frigid Martian night unprotected by the rover, which completed a six-day deployment process at 1:38 a.m. EDT on April 4. The helicopter is now in the middle of a 33-sq.-ft. test field, while the rover is en route to an observation spot that will be at least 200 ft. away. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
USAF Could Make KC-46 Into Comms Node, AMC Says
Although the requirement is not approved, the U.S. Air Force could convert the KC-46 into a communications node within three years, according to Air Mobility Command (AMC). The idea is for military tankers and airlifters to act as communications nodes, sending and processing data, adding a layer of resiliency and providing aircraft with a beyond-line-of-sight capability—a link to improved logistics and awareness. Credit: USAF
Pipistrel Taps Honeywell For Nuuva Cargo EVTOL Systems
Honeywell is to supply more systems for Pipistrel’s Nuuva V300 unmanned cargo aircraft. In additional to the fly-by-wire system, the company will provide key navigation sensors for the long-range, large-capacity autonomous aircraft. Slovenia’s Pipistrel plans to begin deliveries of the Nuuva V300 in 2023. Credit: Pipistrel
XQ-58 Demonstrates Weapons Bay Release In Sixth Flight Test
A Kratos XQ-58A Valkyrie launched an Area-I Altius-600 small unmanned aircraft system (UAS) to demonstrate the first release of a munition or air vehicle from the former’s internal weapons bay, the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) said on April 5. The March 26 test at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, marked the sixth flight test of the XQ-58A, which also increased the speed and altitude flight envelope for the large UAS. Credit: AFRL
Lockheed Makes 58-Flight Block Buy With Small Satellite Launcher ABL
Lockheed Martin is doubling down on investments in small satellite launch service companies, signing a block buy with startup ABL Space Systems for up to 58 missions through 2029. An early investor in the El Segundo, California-based ABL, Lockheed said on April 5 it will purchase up to 26 of the company’s RS1 small satellite launchers through 2025 and an additional 32 launches through 2029. Terms of the contract were not disclosed. Credit: ABL Space Systems
Lockheed names new F-35 leadership team, Mars helicopter deployed for flight test, USAF could make KC-46 into comms node, XQ-58 demonstrates weapons bay release in sixth flight test and more. A roundup of aerospace, space and defense news powered by Aviation Week Intelligence Network (AWIN).
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