US Army maintaining delivery schedule of new systems amid COVID-19 would be true feat for the service, says GlobalData

Following yesterday’s (27 May 2020) declaration by Bruce Jette, US Army acquisition head, on the delivery schedule of main acquisition programs amid the COVID-19 disruption;

Nicolas Jouan, Aerospace & Defense Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view on the current situation:

“At this stage, maintaining the deployment schedule of the US Army’s main ongoing acquisition programs would be a true feat for the service. The Interim Maneuver Short-Range Air Defense (IM-SHORAD) has been severely impacted by the pandemic and the closure of testing facilities. The IM-SHORAD was previously expected to finish development testing by June this year, a date it is now almost certain to miss with the disruptions of activities at White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) and Aberdeen Proving Ground. WSMR declared yesterday that it was renewing its public health emergency related to the COVID-19 outbreak, a situation that has been ongoing on since March 25.

“Ellen Lord, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, declared earlier this year that most acquisition programs would have to cope with a three month delay. But the fact that the US Army is trying to power through the crisis and deploy new equipment comes as no surprise for several reasons. The service wants to prevent the stranding of programs that were plagued by delays even before COVID-19, such as the Integrated Air-and-Missile Defense Battle Command System (IBCS). It is also wary of making European allies wait longer since short-range air defense was identified as a capability gap back in 2016. Finally, it is also committed to sustaining its supply-chain, reliant on final integrators such as General Dynamics or Raytheon.”

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