KC-46 meets F-35A KC-46A Pegasus connects with an F-35 Lightning II in the skies over California Jan. 22, 2019.

KC-46 meets F-35A KC-46A Pegasus connects with an F-35 Lightning II in the skies over California Jan. 22, 2019. U.S. Air Force / Ethan Wagner

Defense Business Brief: Industry giants, ranked; Donations, suspended; New contracts, and more...

Many defense giants have suspended political donations following last week’s insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Lockheed Martin recently joined Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Boeing, BAE Systems, and Leidos in the move. Among the top U.S. primes, only General Dynamics and L-3Harris Technologies have declined to say whether they have stopped or continued contributions.

Speaking of contractors, a new Pentagon report says Lockheed, unsurprisingly, received $45.6 billion, the most Pentagon cash of any contractor in fiscal 2019. Boeing was second at $25.7 billion, followed by Northrop ($19.5 billion), General Dynamics ($18.6 billion) and Raytheon ($15.7 billion). Look for this ranking to change next year: the newly merged  Raytheon and United Technologies have a combined total of $26 billion.

The report also said that California received the most defense dollars of any state: $66.2 billion, followed by Virginia ($60.3 billion), Texas ($54.8 billion), Florida ($29.8 billion), and Maryland ($26.1 billion).  

M&A deals continue as AeroVironment announced it would acquire drone maker Acquire Arcturus UAV for $405 million. Leidos announced it completed the acquisition of IT and cloud provider 1901 Group for $215 million in cash.

Meanwhile, Boeing received two key contracts. A $1.7 billion deal for 12 KC-46 tankers and a nearly $1 billion deal to design a “next-generation seeker” for the PAC-3 missile interceptor. L3Harris Technologies also scored a $122 million deal to build a prototype for the Missile Defense Agency’s “Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor Phase IIa effort.”

Who’s in charge at the Pentagon come next week? Since congress has yet to confirm Lloyd Austin, the retired Army general nominated by President-elect Biden to be SecDef, the moneymen will remain as acting leaders, Politico and Defense News reported Thursday. Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist will be acting defense secretary; Thomas Harker, acting Navy secretary; John Roth, acting Air Force secretary; and John Whitley, acting Army secretary.

From Defense One

Roper Makes His Pitch To Biden Team: 'I Want to Be Part of the China fight' // Marcus Weisgerber

The Air Force acquisition chief says he keeps politics out of his work at the Pentagon — and that the U.S. will lose against China without agility.

Former Air Force Chief Goldfein Joins Blackstone // Marcus Weisgerber

The retired general picked the investment firm over opportunities at defense companies.

Air Force Recommends Space Command Move to Alabama // Marcus Weisgerber and Patrick Tucker

With one week left on the job, Secretary Barrett picked Huntsville. The decision, however, is not final.

New Destroyer, Armed With Lasers and Hypersonic Missiles, Envisioned as Navy's Future Centerpiece // Marcus Weisgerber

U.S. admirals made the case for the new ship during a virtual conference this week.

US Space Force Becomes 18th Member of U.S. Intelligence Community // Patrick Tucker

Growing threats to U.S. space assets require more intelligence collaboration, senior official says.