Defense Business Brief: Vax deadline, clarified; Microchip moves; GE to split up; And more...
JUST IN: The Biden administration has clarified the key dates for the federal contractor vaccine mandate. All contractors must be fully vaccinated by Jan. 18—meaning they must receive their final dose on Jan. 4, which was previously announced last week.
That means that if you want the Moderna vaccine, you must get your first shot by Dec. 7. If you want the Pfizer vaccine, you must get your first shot by Dec. 14. And if you want the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you must get your single dose by Jan. 4. My GovExec colleague Courtney Bublé has all the details for you here.
The global microchip shortage is part of the supply chain woes facing defense companies. This week, Bloomberg reports that the Pentagon could soon buy up to $2 billion in specialized GPS semiconductors used in a host of weapons, lest they lose the ability to do so later.
Late last month on a quarterly earnings call, L3Harris Technologies CEO Chris Kubasik said the chip shortage was hurting the company’s tactical radios business. “ In recent months, shortages of electronic components began adversely impacting our company at a time when our product is strong,” he said.
GE to split up: The company formerly known as General Electric will split into three companies focused on aviation, healthcare, and energy. It plans to spin off its healthcare business in “early 2023,” and the energy business in “early 2024.” At that point “GE will be an aviation-focused company shaping the future of flight.” More about GE Aviation: It’s a $22 billion business that makes military fighter engines and commercial engines for Boeing and Airbus jetliners. In 2020, military sales totaled $4.6 billion.
There will be plenty of opportunities for GE to sell military engines in the coming years both in the U.S. and overseas. In addition to the U.S. Air Force F-15EX, the Navy and Air Force both plan to buy new combat jets in the coming decade, Capital Alpha Partners Byon Callan points out.
“An open question is GE Aviation’s strategic direction/intent in the mid-2020s,” Callan wrote in a note to investors. “There could be a path similar to United Technologies, which merged Pratt & Whitney and Collins Aerospace with Raytheon in 2019. GE Aviation could merge with, or acquire other defense firms, though part of this course may be determined by U.S.-China relations and how China reacts to civil-military fusion by U.S. aerospace, but it may also be shaped by Raytheon Technologies’ competitiveness.”
More M&A: Arlington Capital Partners’ BlueHalo acquired counter-drone company Citadel Defense. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Satellite communication firm Viasat announced it would acquire Inmarsat in a deal valued at $7.3 billion.
Lockheed Martin has formed another 5G partnership with Keysight Technologies. The collaboration is intended “to advance 5G in support of mission-critical communications for aerospace and defense applications,” the companies said. “Keysight’s end-to-end 5G test platforms, widely used commercially, provide an opportunity to develop customized solutions that meet the stringent requirements of the defense industry,” Dan Rice, who oversees Lockheed’s efforts to digitally connect its weapons, said in a statement. Last week Lockheed announced a 5G partnership with telecom giant Verizon.
Also: Lockheed and NVIDIA “are building the world’s first AI-centric lab dedicated to predicting and responding to wildfires.” More on that here.
Next week: The Dubai Air Show begins on Sunday. As usual, a large number of U.S. military aircraft are scheduled to be there including the F-16, C-130J, HC-130J, E-11A, KC-46, MV-22B, and P-8A. Also, Northrop Grumman CEO Kathy Warden is scheduled to speak on Monday about the industrial base at Brookings.
From Defense One
What Worked, What Didn't at Army's Second Connect-Everything Experiment // Patrick Tucker
Drone-shooting helicopters, robot reconnaissance teams, and a lot more people mark Project Convergence's second year.
Air Force-Backed Startup Reveals Hypersonic Aircraft Prototype // Marcus Weisgerber
The company fired the drone's afterburning engine during a ceremony in Atlanta.
Joint Chiefs' Information Officer: US is Behind On Information Warfare. AI Can Help // Patrick Tucker
Concerns mount about how quickly the Pentagon can respond to global influence campaigns.
Australia Seeks 'More Proactive' Role In Indo-Pacific // Jacqueline Feldscher
The ambassador says Australia can no longer be a "passive recipient" in today's strategic environment.
Lawmakers Push DOD to Share its Data to Help U.S. Make AI Gains // Brandi Vincent
New legislation to pilot easy-access data libraries could be included in the fiscal 2022 NDAA.
Milley's Hypersonic Hyperbole May Have Been His 'Missile Gap' Moment // William D. Hartung
The United States must avoid another arms race based on untested or distinctly false premises.
Defense One Radio, Ep. 90: Project Convergence and the Louisiana Maneuvers // Defense One Staff
This episode we explore the future of the U.S. Army's Project Convergence, and its relationship to the early days of the Second World War.
70 percent of Americans surveyed said they have "never" or "rarely" talked to a veteran about the war.