The U.S. Navy has awarded Kratos Defense & Security Solutions (NASDAQ: KTOS) a $49.6 million contract for target drones. The Navy announced the deal for the production and delivery of 55 target drones on Jan. 31.
Kratos has its headquarters in Scripps Ranch. Its division that builds drones is in Sacramento.
The 17-foot-long target drone imitates an advanced anti-ship cruise missile. It can travel at speeds approaching the speed of sound (0.95 Mach) at altitudes between 6.6 feet above the ocean’s surface and 40,000 feet.
The firm-fixed-price contract includes associated 55 Rocket-Assisted Takeoff Attachment kits, 277 mission kits, as well as associated technical and administrative data for the Navy, and the governments of Canada and Australia.
Work under the deal is expected to be completed in April 2024. The Naval Air Systems Command of Patuxent River, Maryland, awarded the deal.
The BQM-177A reached full operational capacity on Aug. 28 during exercises in the Philippine Sea. Target drones were launched from the Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo ship USNS Alan Shepard and engaged with missiles launched from the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Barry and Royal Australian Navy Anzac-class frigate HMAS Perth. The event was the first time the BQM-177A has been used in the Western Pacific region.
There is one more San Diego tie to the event: General Dynamics NASSCO built the Alan Shepard at its yard in Barrio Logan, launching it in 2006.
Viasat Gets Satellite Services Deal
Viasat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT) announced on Jan. 24 that the Department of the Navy awarded it a contract to provide end-to-end satellite communications (SATCOM) support through a fully managed service to the U.S. Marine Corps. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The contract is an extension following a successful pilot and follow-on service program in the government’s 2022 fiscal year. Viasat delivered a fully managed SATCOM as a Managed Service (SaaMS) solution to I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF), the Marine Corps’ largest war fighting organization. This is the first commercially developed SaaMS implemented by a U.S. Marine Corps command.
Under this fully managed SATCOM service, Viasat has provided I MEF with a resilient beyond-line-of-sight communications capability that is both scalable and rapidly deployable to meet contract and operational requirements. This commercially developed SaaMS capability has enabled I MEF to extend its command and control to the tactical edge, supporting Marine exercises, Marine Expeditionary Units and Stand in Force rotational deployments with on-demand satellite connectivity and data transport. The SaaMS is designed to provide greater flexibility to meet changing connectivity demands, support multi-domain operations, and increase the safety of deployed forces through reliable and resilient communications.
“Viasat is very excited to continue its partnership with the Marine Corps and provide a fully managed SATCOM service that offers a dynamic and scalable solution to meet the demands of expeditionary forces,” said Craig Miller, president of Viasat Government Systems. “This is a modern SATCOM service that is designed to deliver the performance, flexibility and rapid deployment capability Marine expeditionary forces need – supporting operational readiness and enabling the USMC to easily leverage surge capacity for specific mission needs. This SaaMS solution is a critical piece to achieving a decision advantage in a modern information and communications warfare environment.”
The fully managed SATCOM solution includes seamless roaming, always-on access across Viasat’s commercial high-capacity networks, offering the USMC a highly flexible service that can leverage Service Level Agreements to meet specified mission and operational requirements. This service will provide end-to-end, secure data custody from the edge back to the Marine Corps Enterprise Network via Viasat’s worldwide terrestrial network. The Viasat Unified Customer Experience Portal, included with the service, will deliver near real-time situational awareness for operational commanders and network managers alike, thus enabling greater, near real-time understanding across the entire network. Additionally, supported by a 24x7x365 network operations center and security operations center, this turnkey service will provide the USMC with terminal inventory management, network performance monitoring, cybersecurity and cyber defense, as well as engineering support, training and logistics support.