22 mars 2021 | International, Aérospatial

Replacing Canada's Air Tanking Fleet - Second Line of Defense

The defence and space divisions of Airbus and Boeing are expected to go head-to-head as the Royal Canadian Air Force moves ahead with plans to replace its ageing fleet of CC-150 Polaris aircraft which have been fulfilling multiple roles, including executive transport as well as air-to-air refuelling platforms. They'll be responding to an Invitation to Qualify (ITQ) for the RCAF's Strategic [...]


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  • Von der Leyen says European Commission will seek to boost defence production - FT
  • Japanese acquisition officials reveal next steps in search for advanced fighter jet

    7 décembre 2018 | International, Aérospatial

    Japanese acquisition officials reveal next steps in search for advanced fighter jet

    By: Mike Yeo TOKYO — Japan is pushing ahead with research and development into advanced fighter jet technology, despite uncertainty over its acquisition strategy for a next-generation fighter and questions about the degree to which Japanese industry will be involved in the program. These technologies include a new fighter engine, thrust vectoring control, stealth shaping for low observability as well as the weapons carriage and release mechanism for internal weapons bays, according to representatives from Japan's Acquisition, Technical and Logistics Agency, or ATLA, who spoke at the Japan International Aerospace Exhibition in Tokyo, which ended Nov. 30. Several of these technologies were fitted on the Mitsubishi X-2, a technology demonstrator built by the Japanese and used to test and validate several of these features. Since then Japan has continued development work on the 15-ton thrust XF-9 afterburning turbofan. That turbofan displayed an improvement up to 70 percent during the time it took to spool up to full thrust from idle, when compared to the earlier XF-5 used by the X-2, said Lt. Gen. Hiroaki Uchimura, director general of aerial systems at ATLA. Japan is also working on an advanced active electronically scanned array radar, as well as manufacturing techniques to reduce or eliminate the need for fasteners in aircraft structures. Neither feature found its way to the X-2, but work continues on both fronts, with the radar having been tested in the laboratory and slated for flight tests onboard a Mitsubishi F-2 fighter jet test bed. The continuing R&D effort is reflected in the budget requests the Ministry of Defense made for next fiscal year, which begins in April 2019. This includes $194.6 million for research into fighter “mission system integration studies and manned-unmanned aircraft teaming technology,” and is on top of the $1.7 billion Japan has invested in fighter research since 2009. That first figure is also more than 10 times the amount spent on R&D for Japan's Mitsubishi F-2 fighter, according to Uchimura. Japan's next-generation fighter will replace the F-2 around the mid-2030s, and both Uchimura and ATLA Commissioner Nobuaki Miyama, who spoke at different conference sessions at the aerospace exhibition, touched on five critical attributes for Japan's next fighter program. These include its ability to secure air superiority over potential adversaries; the ease of upgrading as new technologies emerge; the latitude to domestically perform upgrades and sustainment without requiring overseas approval; the level of involvement of local industries in performing those upgrades and sustainment; and the need for the fighter and program as a whole to have a “realistic and feasible” cost. Japan is currently studying several different procurement strategies for its next-generation fighter, including a wholly domestically developed and manufactured design, an international collaboration, or what it calls a “spinoff” development of an existing design. Japan and the United Kingdom have agreed to exchange information with each other for their respective fighter programs. Reuters previously reported that both Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman responded to Japan's request for information on potential fighter offerings, with the former said to have an “F-22/F-35 hybrid” in mind. https://www.defensenews.com/digital-show-dailies/japan-aerospace/2018/11/30/japanese-acquisition-officials-reveal-next-steps-in-search-for-advanced-fighter-jet

  • The Space Force considers a new mission: tactical satellite imagery

    5 février 2021 | International, Aérospatial, C4ISR

    The Space Force considers a new mission: tactical satellite imagery

    Nathan Strout WASHINGTON — The U.S. Space Force is still in its early days, but leaders are already considering adding a new mission for Guardians: providing tactical satellite imagery for beyond-line-of-sight targeting. “That's something that we're thinking through as we speak. I've got a group of folks doing some work on what that design might look like,” Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, the chief of space operations, said Feb. 3 during a Defense Writers Group call. The Space Force, like Air Force Space Command before it, provides the GPS signal, missile warning information, and wideband communications with its on orbit satellites. Tactical satellite imagery, however, has not been part of its workload. “That's largely been more on the intelligence community side,” Raymond said. Specifically, satellite imagery is generally the responsibility of two intelligence agencies: the National Reconnaissance Office and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. While the NRO builds and operates the nation's spy satellites and contracts with commercial providers to access their imagery, NGA sets imagery requirements and transforms that raw satellite data into intelligence products. The military typically relies on NGA for geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) products. “I do think as technology has allowed for smaller satellites to be more operationally relevant and you can do so at a price point that is cheaper, that there is a role for operational level tactical satellites as you described and that the Space Force would have a role in that,” Raymond said “Again, it's early in the study efforts, if you will, and whatever we do we'll make sure that we do it in close partnership with our intelligence partners, because what we don't want to do is duplicate efforts,” he continued. “We want to save dollars and reduce taxpayer dollars, not duplicate.” The proliferation of small and relatively affordable small imaging satellites and the growing commercial satellite imagery market has sparked interest at the Pentagon in using satellites for beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) targeting. The U.S. Army has been at the forefront of that effort, launching its own small imaging satellite — Kestrel Eye — in 2017. More recently at the Project Convergence 2020 exercise, the Army used commercial satellite imagery to develop targeting data and shoot at BLOS threats. The Air Force and the Navy are also investing in tactical GEOINT products. The Air Force Research Laboratory is investing in commercial tactical GEOINT software to help them find moving targets with satellite imagery, while the Navy is paying for commercial synthetic aperture radar imagery and analytics. Elsewhere in the Department of Defense, the Space Development Agency has set BLOS targeting as one of the main capabilities it is pursuing for its new proliferated constellation in low Earth orbit, which will eventually be made up of hundreds of satellites. “That's where the Army is most affected and that's where we're working very closely with the Army to make sure that we're tied together. So this is the ability to detect and track and maintain custody of anything, say, larger than a truck and to be able to actually give a targeting fire control solution to a weapon in the field in real time anywhere on the globe,” SDA Director Derek Tournear said in 2019. “That's the goal. That's the capability.” The SDA is slated to become part of the Space Force in late 2022. https://www.c4isrnet.com/battlefield-tech/space/2021/02/03/the-space-force-is-considering-adopting-a-tactical-geoint-mission/

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