US Military Awards HII Contract to Develop Tech that Addresses Urgent Needs

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When Huntington Ingalls Industries rebranded themselves as a global defense contractor a few months ago—as, American Shipbuilder HII—they may not have known they would have a Pentagon contract so soon. However, that is the story this week as the firm announced the development of a new Mission Technologies division that already has many exciting projects underway, which includes assisting the Pentagon in uniting several of their more urgent needs.

Previously the largest shipbuilders in the US, HII leaders very recently spoke about the need for the United States to strengthen their seafaring military presence beyond what exists with the Navy. In addition, they hope to effectively leverage the new division to update and fortify their Ingalls Shipbuilding and Newport News Shipbuilding programs.

American Shipbuilder HII CEO Chris Kastner recently spent some time among us Pacific Fleet leadership, in Hawaii in hopes of guiding new investments under a new Defense Department contract to demonstrate new technology. He explains there is a common them among all military leadership, which is a desire to comprehend what is available among various departments, including command, communications, computers, control cyber, intelligence, reconnaissance, and surveillance. They also want to gain the ability to integrate different nodes within the common, existing, operating environment with quick turnaround for the warfighter.

After this recent trip to Hawaii, Kastner is even more convinced the investments the agency has made are sensible since the tools customers would ask for are precisely the tools they have invested in Artificial Intelligence and machine learning, unmanned technology, and Intelligence, reconnaissance, and surveillance. Integrating all of these things in a common operating alignment is of utmost priority.

HII is uniquely positioned to succeed in this regard, thanks to several acquisitions over the past few years. Indeed, they now have real-world experience in all of the areas mentioned, as well as battle management tools, sensors, and autonomous technology.

However, many of these initiatives are barely in the prototype phase and the military would prefer to have these technologies immediately. This presents a novel opportunity to scale up development, as long as the armed services asking for them can find the budget to accommodate it.