A relief package recently passed by the US Senate includes $10.5 billion in funds for the Defense Department to help it deal with the coronavirus pandemic. DOD suppliers are in line for $2.4 billion in aid.
The impact of the coronavirus on the defense supply chain could mean delays when it comes to weapons deliveries, according to the Pentagon. "We're seeing a tightening on the supply base as smaller shops deal with their local situations," said James "Hondo" Geurts, head weapons buyer for the Navy.
Sikorsky has disclosed "unique modifications" it is making to MH-60R Seahawk maritime helicopters it is building for the Indian Navy. The helicopters are based on the latest configuration delivered to Saudi Arabia in 2018.
Flight operations for testing the F-35 at California's Edwards Air Force Base have temporarily been put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic. "The F-35 Test Enterprise is experiencing impacts across most major verification venues as various organizations respond to federal, state, and local COVID-19 restrictions," said Brandi Schiff, a representative for the F-35 joint program office.
Embraer is making ventilator parts for Brazil's medical industry in an effort to ease supply shortfalls during the coronavirus outbreak. The company also is working on providing filtration system technical support and developing portable respirators as part of its response to the crisis.
Etihad Airways is shifting some of its Boeing 787-10s to a cargo role during a temporary suspension of scheduled passenger flights in the United Arab Emirates. "Demand for air freight has gone through the roof," said Etihad's Tony Douglas.
The Space Force is moving ahead with a planned United Launch Alliance's Atlas V flight today, citing preparedness for "mission-essential operations." Currently no mission has been impacted even though much of the civilian workforce operates remotely.
NASA is reaching out to other US government agencies to find out how it can support the coronavirus response. "Your agency, NASA, is involved in providing solution sets for the nation, and we will be more and more involved as days go on because we do have an extremely talented, very bright workforce and a lot of capabilities that can help," said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.
A coronavirus-rescue bill passed by the US Senate on Wednesday includes $58 billion for the aviation industry. This includes $25 billion in grants and $25 billion in loans for airlines, $8 billion in loans and grants for cargo carriers and up to $3 billion in grants for airport contractors.
The Trump administration and the Senate have agreed on a $2 trillion stimulus package aimed at preventing a steep recession because of the coronavirus pandemic. The measure includes a $1,200 payment to Americans earning as much as $75,000 annually, tax rebates, four months of expanded unemployment benefits and business tax changes.