News Briefs – September 7, 2016


Navy’s Zumwalt leaving Bath Iron Works this week

The stealthy Zumwalt destroyer is ready to leave Maine for good.
The 610-foot-long destroyer is due to leave Bath Iron Works Sept. 7 en route to its formal commissioning ceremony next month in Baltimore. It’ll be making port calls along the way.
The futuristic-looking Zumwalt is the largest and most technologically sophisticated destroyer ever built for the U.S. Navy. It’s also the most expensive.
The first-in-class destroyer features an angular shape to minimize its radar signature, new guns to boost the Navy’s land attack capability, electric propulsion, and an unusual hull with a wave-piercing bow. It’ll eventually be homeported in San Diego, Calif. AP

Mayport, Fla., under consideration for Naval drone program

Residents near the Mayport Naval Station in Florida have until Oct. 1 to file comments on a draft study that says there will be no significant environmental impact on the area if Mayport becomes a home base for a drone program.
The Florida Times-Union reports that Mayport is one of three bases under consideration for the basing and maintenance of the MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System. According to the Navy, a launch and recovery site for four drones on the base, as well as a maintenance hub for up to four more unmanned aircraft, would be established.
The MQ-4C Triton drones can fly about 24 hours at a time and survey 2.7 million square miles in a single mission.
Key West Naval Air Station, Fla., and the NASA Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Va., are also under consideration. AP

Ownership change voids Lockheed unit contract at Nevada site

Federal officials have rescinded a $5 billion contract awarded to a firm that had been a subsidiary of defense contractor Lockheed Martin, just days after announcing the company would manage a vast former nuclear proving ground north of Las Vegas.
National Nuclear Security Administration officials declined Sept. 2 to provide details about the Department of Energy announcement that it’s renewing the process to award a 10-year contract to operate the Nevada National Security Site.
After declaring Aug. 26 that the contract went to Nevada Site Science Support and Technologies Corp., the government said, it learned the company was no longer a Lockheed Martin subsidiary but had been sold to Virginia-based Leidos Innovations Corp.
The statement said failure to notify the contracting officer about the ownership change raised “substantial questions” about the bid and award.
Leidos spokeswoman Melissa Koskovich said in an email that her firm was disappointed but stands behind its contract proposal and hopes to resolve the issue. She noted the award announcement called the winning bid the “best value to the government.”
Managing the 1,360-square-mile facility has interest from major firms including Bechtel and the current operator, National Security Technologies LLC. That’s a Northrop Grumman joint-venture with three partners.
The award statement had said the Lockheed Martin affiliate was partnering with a subsidiary of engineering and construction company Fluor Corp., and with Las Vegas-based Longenecker & Associates.
Officials with National Securities Technologies declined to comment.
Its contract had been set to expire Sept. 30, but it will continue managing the site until a new manager is picked, the Energy Department said.
As the Nevada Test Site, the area hosted more than 1,000 nuclear detonations from 1951 to 1992. It is now used for experiments and safety training related to the nation’s nuclear stockpile. AP

Maryland lawmakers want to discuss Northrop Grumman $20 million

Maryland lawmakers want to discuss a plan to allocate $20 million to Northrop Grumman as an incentive to keep the defense contractor in the state.
Leading lawmakers on Tuesday invited Gov. Larry Hogan to testify before a panel that would need to approve the money. They note the legislature approved a separate $37.5 million tax credit for Northrop Grumman.
Still, the $20 million from the Sunny Day Fund needs Legislative Policy Committee approval.
Doug Mayer, Hogan’s spokesman, says the package was strongly supported by the House and Senate months ago. He says it’s unclear why legislative leadership is “waffling,” and “the ball is in their court.”
The House speaker and Senate president say they have a responsibility to make sure taxpayers are getting a good deal out of $57.5 million. AP