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February 21, 2024 | International, Aerospace

US Army to test missile defense command system with THAAD weapon

The Army originally developed the Integrated Battle Command System as the brains of a future air and missile defense system.

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  • Eutelsat, Maxar Selected for NASA Study

    May 22, 2019 | International, Aerospace, C4ISR

    Eutelsat, Maxar Selected for NASA Study

    By Annamarie Nyirady Maxar Technologies and Eutelsat were selected to participate in NASA's Space Relay Partnership and Services Study. This studies future systems that could revolutionize NASA's space-based communications architecture through innovative technologies and commercial partnerships. The future architecture would be used for scientific and human exploration missions in Earth orbit, at the Moon, and throughout the solar system beginning in the mid-2020s. NASA's Space Communications and Navigation Program currently offers space-based radio frequency communications services for all of the agency's space communications activities via its Space Network. The Space Network consists of a constellation of geosynchronous satellites called TDRS and ground systems that operate as a relay system between satellites. Leveraging current and planned commercial communication and navigation infrastructure, Maxar will study concepts to augment the Space Network with more advanced optical communications capabilities and enhanced radio frequency services. Maxar will also study a framework that allows for a transition from government-owned and managed space services to commercially developed and operated services. This future architecture could unlock the promise of human exploration, new and greater scientific discovery, and reduce development and operations costs for future missions through improved communication and navigation services. More specifically, Eutelsat was selected for NASA's Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships-2 (NextSTEP-2) as part of the NASA Space Relay Partnership and Services Study. The NextSTEP-2 program seeks to establish partnerships with U.S. companies to evaluate the incorporation of commercial elements into the future space relay services that will be provided by the agency's Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) Networks.

  • New US sanctions target Russia's multibillion-dollar defense sector

    March 7, 2022 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    New US sanctions target Russia's multibillion-dollar defense sector

    The measures, triggered by Moscow's war against Ukraine, target both Russia and its ally Belarus, which has been a staging ground for the invasion.

  • Will U.S. Defense Cuts Delay Next-Gen Combat Aircraft Programs?

    August 18, 2020 | International, Aerospace

    Will U.S. Defense Cuts Delay Next-Gen Combat Aircraft Programs?

    August 17, 2020 Many nations have suffered significant financial losses as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Will next-generation combat aircraft programs be delayed by future defense budgets cuts? Aviation Week's Executive Editor for Defense and Space, Jen DiMascio, answers: Even though defense budgets are likely to remain stable in the U.S. during the coming year, relief funding to combat the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to put pressure on spending over time. As a result, projects such as the U.S. Air Force's Next-Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) program could be slowed. Pentagon spending was already predicted to level off in the next few years, and the economic drop-off caused by the novel coronavirus and the torrent of debt the government is taking on to combat the pandemic adds even more pressure. The situation today is even more extreme than during the 2008-09 global economic crisis, according to Craig Caffrey, senior aerospace industry analyst for forecast and MRO at the Aviation Week Network. Caffrey forecasts that COVID-19 could shrink the global economy by 4-6% over the next five years, sending worldwide defense spending down 5%, or $70-80 billion. What all that means for next-generation fighter programs is difficult to say. The U.S. is already sacrificing NGAD funding for near-term needs. A bill to provide $700 billion for defense in fiscal 2021 in the House of Representatives would approximately halve funding for NGAD by $500 million for fiscal 2021 to offset an Air Force shortfall in fighter availability. Could such cutbacks slow development of next-generation efforts? It is hard to say, but constraints on spending are unlikely to ease. In Europe, the UK is aiming to field its next-generation Tempest in 2035. So far, £2 billion ($2.6 billion) has been allocated for technology development and maturation, but Caffrey foresees strong economic headwinds over the next five years. “I don't see where the money comes from for the full scope of Tempest as currently envisaged,” he says. The French-German Future Air Combat System (FCAS) may have more breathing room because the program is not expected to enter service until 2040. In the near-term, France, Germany and their new partner, Spain, are providing government aid to such high-tech programs to retain jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The real test will be whether funding can be sustained in 2022-23. Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury is lobbying for efforts such as EuroDrone and FCAS to continue, saying they will be required in the future. “We have the DNA to make them successful,” Faury told Aviation Week's Jens Flottau recently. “Europe feels the need to prepare for the sovereignty of the future, which includes the air and space power to protect your territory from the skies. I am very happy and optimistic that this is moving forward.”

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