Tag Archives: Northrop Grumman

The Charlie Takes Off

pgL_MQ-10027_017

By George Jagels

As the only DoD Program of Record for unmanned vertical takeoff and landing, and one tied to a major but downsizing Navy acquisition project, the Littoral Combat Ship, the Fire Scout is under quite a bit of performance and budgetary pressure. The Navy has purchased 17 of the new MQ-8C variant, but zeroed out acquisition from 2014-2019 in its most recent budget request.

Admiral Mathias Winter, the Navy’s Program Executive Officer for Unmanned Strike Weapons, said that his service’s budget still requests procurement funding for ground control stations (GCSs) and other essential equipment to operate the C variant. “The reason you see zero quantities in [the budget] is because with the 23 MQ-8Bs and 17 MQ-8Cs we already purchased, based on LCS deployments that is enough air vehicles for now,” he said. An LCS can hold two MQ-8Cs and an MH-60S Seahawk.

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Defense CEOs Address Looming Sequestration

On 3 December 2012, the Press Club in Washington, DC, hosted four defense industry CEOs for a discussion on sequestration and national security. The speakers included Wes Bush (Northrop Grumman), David Hess (Pratt & Whitney), Dawne Hickton (RTI International Metals, Inc.), and David Langstaff (TASC). As the capitol buzzes with endless talk over the politics behind the fiscal cliff, the speakers, all of whom are associated with aerospace, gave some much-needed specifics to the years-old anxiety surrounding defense sequestration.

If the definition of defense policy is matching force structure to strategy, then according to the panel of CEOs, the Budget Control Act of 2011, which enacted sequestration, will severely inhibit this policy. No one spared a breath to defend the legislation; sequestration was variously described as “a peanut butter approach” (Hess), “a meat axe” (Bush), and “indiscriminate” (Langstaff). Though deficit reduction appeared to be a priority for the group, the quick and dirty defense cuts possibly coming in 2013 would make current U.S. national security strategy unworkable in their view.
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