16 décembre 2022 | International, C4ISR

SES launches advanced broadband satellites as military demand grows

The network will offer more broadband capacity to meet growing demand for secure communications services in hard-to-reach locations.


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  • New bill could get Italy its own DARPA

    30 janvier 2020 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR, Sécurité

    New bill could get Italy its own DARPA

    By: Tom Kington ROME — As consensus grows in Italy that military planners need better access to civilian technology, a new law is being proposed to give the country its own version of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The new bill, which its authors claim has backing from the military and Italy's political parties, envisages the setup of a new agency able to stimulate and coordinate the development of civil technologies for military application. “We want to make the newest technology more accessible,” said Alessandra Maiorino, the Italian senator who is steering the bill through parliament. Established in 1958 in response to the Soviet Union launching its Sputnik satellite the year before, DARPA has since teamed with universities, corporations and government partners to fund research programs to improve America's defense capabilities. Technologies it has worked on have also fed back into civilian applications, notably the internet, voice recognition and small GPS receivers. “Thanks to the DARPA system, avangard civilian technologies are considered to have strategic value. This in turn has a cascade effect on the economy and on innovation in the U.S.,” according to the Italian bill. The bill calls for the new Italian agency to be based near Pisa at an existing military research facility. An eight-person management board would include a military director, three civilian researchers and representatives from the four government ministries involved — the Department of Treasury, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Economic Development, and the Ministry for Education, University and Research. The Joint Centre for Innovation and Strategic Technologies, known by its Italian acronym CINTES, will now be discussed in the Senate's Defence Committee, where representatives from the military, academia and industry will be invited to give their opinions, said Maiorino. The bill does not cite the required funding for the agency — a figure which has yet to be decided. However, it claims that Italy must quickly set up its own version of DARPA to keep up with France and Germany, who are already ahead in launching such an agency. The bill claims France's Innovation Défense Lab is now “allowing France's DGA procurement agency to map out and evaluate civilian technologies and acquire those which are of interest to the defense sector.” Germany's planned ADIC agency is cited in the bill as an example of the government investigating “disruptive” technologies in cybernetics and other key technologies. Maiorino, the senator backing the bill in Italy, is a member of the Five Star party, which has previously taken a unfavourable approach to defense investment. Before entering government in 2018, the party called for the cancellation of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. As such, the party's support for the new bill reflects a progressively more positive view of the defense sector since it entered government. https://www.defensenews.com/smr/cultural-clash/2020/01/29/new-bill-could-get-italy-its-own-darpa/

  • Textron Aviation announces furlough of thousands of workers

    19 mars 2020 | International, Aérospatial

    Textron Aviation announces furlough of thousands of workers

    By: Valerie Insinna WASHINGTON — Textron Aviation is furloughing more than 7,000 workers in the hopes of containing the spread of coronavirus, the company announced Wednesday. Textron Aviation mostly produces commercial business jets, turboprops and piston-engine aircraft through its Beechcraft, Cessna and Hawker brands. However, it also produces a number of military-specific aircraft, such as the Beechcraft T-6 Texan trainer used for basic pilot training by the U.S. Air Force and the AT-6 Wolverine, a weaponized version of that aircraft, and the Scorpion jet. News of the furlough was first reported by The Wichita Eagle, which also detailed number of workers slated to lose work. Textron has declined to specify how many workers will be furloughed or the functional areas of the business that will be impacted. Textron Aviation spokeswoman Sarah White said support for contracts would move forward, though with few details. The Air Force on Monday awarded Textron Aviation a $70 million contract for two AT-6 planes, training and support. That aircraft is manufactured at its plant in Wichita, Kan. “We are abiding by the requirements established by the DoD and our partner nations, as well as the protocols implemented across U.S. and customer bases worldwide,” she said in a written statement to Defense News. “We will continue to support our Defense customers according to our funded contract requirements.” More generally speaking, the furlough “will allow us to do our part in mitigating and containing the spread of the COVID-19 through social distancing, while continuing to support our customers,” White said. The company is also “limiting large group meetings, increasing daily cleaning of its facilities, restricting travel, and cancelling our participation in several global meetings and events” in response to the pandemic. The furlough will last from March 23 until May 29, but each impacted employees will only lose four weeks of work, she said. https://www.defensenews.com/coronavirus/2020/03/18/textron-aviation-announces-furlough-of-thousands-of-workers

  • COVID-19 Impacts Air Force One Replacement Bottom Line

    30 avril 2020 | International, Aérospatial

    COVID-19 Impacts Air Force One Replacement Bottom Line

    Lee Hudson Graham Warwick Boeing is facing a novel coronavirus-related setback to the VC-25B presidential transport program, causing the company to recognize a $168 million impact in the first quarter. The VC-25B effort faced “inefficiencies” because personnel were directed to work virtually because of COVID-19. This forced Boeing to re-evaluate its estimate, Greg Smith, the company's chief financial officer, told reporters April 29 following a first-quarter earnings call. “The reach-forward loss on VC-25B is associated with engineering inefficiencies from the COVID-19 environment,” according to Boeing's first-quarter earnings report. “We believe these inefficiencies will result in staffing challenges, schedule inefficiencies and higher costs in the upcoming phases of the program.” The U.S. Air Force acknowledged the VC-25B program is a victim of COVID-19 because of component delivery delays from overseas suppliers, the service's acquisition executive, Will Roper, told reporters April 29. However, the V-25B program is a fixed-price contract, meaning Boeing will take the financial hit, not the Air Force. Smith reiterated that despite the financial loss, the program remains on schedule. Boeing began structural modifications on the first 747-8 aircraft to become a VC-25B in March after removing the interior, engines, auxiliary power units and other subsystems. The Air Force acquired the 747-8s in 2017 after selecting Boeing to replace two VC-25As that now perform the role. The service anticipates spending $5.3 billion to complete modifications on both aircraft to begin operations at the end of 2024. https://aviationweek.com/defense-space/budget-policy-operations/covid-19-impacts-air-force-one-replacement-bottom-line

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