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Tuesday, Feb 20, 2024

Kratos Defense Marks Two Aviation Wins

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions Inc. (NASDAQ: KTOS) received a notable subcontract from defense-tech prime contractor Leidos to help develop a hypersonic missile.

A second award, also related to aviation, is from the U.S. Navy, which is spending R&D funds on two of Kratos’ unmanned Valkyrie jet aircraft originally designed for the U.S. Air Force.

The business, which has its corporate headquarters in Scripps Ranch, announced on Jan. 10 that it received a contract from its prime teammate and partner Leidos to support the Expendable Hypersonic Multi-Mission ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) and Strike Program, known as Mayhem. This new contract award will support the Air Force Research Laboratory’s development of an air-breathing hypersonic weapon system over its initial 51-month period of performance. The initial task order will conduct the System Requirements Review and Conceptual Design Review in a Digital Engineering environment.

Kratos said that in partnership with Leidos, it will serve as a member of the System Design Agent (SDA) team for the Mayhem program, which also includes Calspan and Draper. The SDA’s goal is to design a system that allows rapid relevant technology insertions utilizing the expertise and capabilities from a variety of industry partners. The role of the SDA for this program will also include bringing the best of industry together to perform research and development necessary for production of air-breathing multi-mission hypersonic system prototypes. The SDA will oversee designs, prototypes and tests to ultimately produce and deliver a technical data package for high performance, relevant hypersonic weapon systems.

Air-breathing hypersonic systems use scramjet engines to generate thrust, propelling the vehicle across long distances at speeds greater than Mach 5 (3,750 mph). The SDA team is tasked with designing and developing a large-class version that surpasses current air-breathing systems in both range and payload capacity and is responsible for delivering a hypersonic system design to include airframe, propulsion system, booster, avionics and vehicle subsystems.

“This opportunity will provide a unique capability for our war fighters, and we’re excited to be part of the new Mayhem program. As a critical part of the SDA team, Kratos will drive mission success by leveraging our flight-proven agile digital engineering principles and extensive experience in high performance propulsion, hypersonic and air vehicle design,” said Dave Carter, President of Kratos’ Defense & Rocket System Services Division, which is collaborating with Kratos’ Unmanned Systems Division.

“Kratos has successfully developed and flown several hypersonic ‘systems’ over the last decade, and our internally funded hypersonic investments in unique systems, including Zeus and Erinyes, are beginning to pay dividends in important national security solutions.”

Eric DeMarco, president and CEO of Kratos, said, “Kratos’ mission is to be a disruptive transformation agent to the U.S. national security industrial base and market, rapidly designing, developing, producing and fielding affordable systems and technology. The Mayhem Hypersonic Systems program award with our strategic partner Leidos is a recent representative example of our continued success.”

Navy to Test Valkyrie Aircraft

Separately, the U.S. Navy awarded Kratos a $15.5 million contract to procure and deliver two XQ-58A unmanned aerial systems with sensor and weapon system payloads to accomplish what the Pentagon called penetrating affordable autonomous collaborative killer portfolio objectives, including technical services, non-recurring engineering, system/subsystem integration, installation, testing, ground and flight operations, logistics, and maintenance for the aircraft as well as government-owned, contractor-operated operations for flight test and demonstration events at government test ranges. Work will be performed in Sacramento and is expected to be completed in September.

An aircraft such as the XQ-58A may someday accompany manned aircraft as an unmanned “wingman.”

The Navy is using research and development funds for the purchase. The contract was not competitively procured, as the government concluded no other contractor could meet its requirements. The Naval Air Warfare Aircraft Division at Patuxent River, Maryland awarded the contract, announced on Dec. 30.

Lockheed Martin Combat System Funded

The U.S. Navy awarded Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) a $64.1 million modification to a previously awarded contract to exercise options for Ship Self-Defense System combat system engineering support. Some 15% of the work, estimated at $9.6 million, will be performed in San Diego; the balance will be performed in Moorestown, New Jersey. Work is expected to be completed by December. The Naval Sea Systems Command of Washington, D.C. awarded the contract on Dec. 21. The deal was announced on Dec. 30.


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