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30 Dec 22. Airbus to sign for Spanish C295 MPA in early 2023, also pitches MSA variant. Airbus is close to finalising a C295 maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) development contract with Spain, at the same time as pitching a maritime surveillance aircraft (MSA) variant to the country. Speaking at Airbus’ annual Trade Media Briefing, held in Madrid in mid-December, Jean-Brice Dumont, head of Military Air Systems, said that, with the C295 MPA scheduled to replace the Lockheed P-3 Orion that is being retired by the Spanish Air Force (Ejército del Aire Español: EdAE) at the end of 2022, a contract is anticipated in the first quarter of 2023. Separately, he said Airbus is proposing a C295 MSA to replace the service’s CN235 MSA platform. (Source: Janes)
29 Dec 22. RoK stages drills simulating downing of North Korea drones.
South Korea staged large-scale military drills Thursday to simulate shooting down drones as a step to bolster its readiness against North Korean provocations, three days after the North flew drones into its territory for the first time in five years.
South Korean warplanes and helicopters failed to bring down any of the five North Korean drones spotted south of the border Monday before they flew back home or vanished from South Korean radars. One of them traveled as far as northern Seoul. That caused security jitters among many people in the South, for which the military offered a rare public apology Tuesday.
Thursday’s training involved land-based anti-air guns, drones playing the role of enemy drones, and a total of 20 fighter jets, attack helicopters and unmanned assets. While there was no actual live-fire, it was still the country’s first set of major anti-drone drills since 2017, according to military authorities.
The drills near Seoul set up diverse scenarios of border infiltrations by small enemy drones, under which the mobilized South Korean military assets practiced how they could detect, track and shoot them down, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.
Also on Thursday, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol reiterated his push to build a stronger air defense and get tough on North Korean provocations. The North’s drone flights followed its record number of missile tests this year that some experts say is part of an effort to pressure the United States and its allies to make some concessions like sanctions relief.
“Whether they have nukes or whatever weapons of mass destruction they have, we must send a clear message to those who repeat provocations. We must not be frightened of (their nukes) and we must not hesitate,” Yoon said during a visit to a weapons development agency. “To obtain peace, we must prepare for a war that (we can win) overwhelmingly.”
Yoon said Tuesday his government will advance the planned establishment of a military drone unit and introduce high-tech stealth drones.
North Korea’s state media hasn’t commented on South Korea’s announcement of its reported drone flights. But some observers say North Korea likely sent those drones to test South Korean and U.S. readiness. They say North Korea also likely assessed that drones could be a cheap yet effective method to trigger security concerns and an internal divide in South Korea.
In response to the North’s drone flying, South Korea said it sent three of its surveillance drones across the border in a rare tit-for-tat measure. North Korea didn’t make any reaction, according to South Korean defense officials.
This week, North Korea is under a key ruling party meeting to review past projects and determine policy objectives for 2023. During its third day Wednesday, leader Kim Jong Un expressed hopes that local Workers’ Party officials would report successes on their jobs and duties to live up to the party’s trust in them, state media reported Thursday, without elaborating what their tasks are. In an earlier session, state media cited Kim as setting forth new goals to solidify his country’s military power, an indication that he would continue his run of weapons tests. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
30 Dec 22. AESA Radar Modernizes Bulldog F-16s for the Next Generation of Airpower. Nine Block 50 F-16CM Fighting Falcons from the 148th Fighter Wing received the new active electronical scanned array (AESA) radar that allows pilots to “find targets in the air and on the ground more easily,” said Maj. Michael Kuzmuk, Chief of Wing Weapons for the 148th Fighter Wing.
“The new AESA radars are a huge leap in technology that will make the F-16more lethal and survivable against potential near peer threats,” said Col. Nathan Aysta, 148th Fighter Wing Commander.
The 148th Fighter Wing is a multi-purposed Suppression/Destruction of Enemy Air Defense (SEAD/DEAD) and a NORAD Aerospace Control Alert-trained (ACA) flying Air National Guard unit located in Duluth, Minnesota. The 148th is one of five F-16 SEAD/DEAD units in the entire U.S. Air Force and one of two SEAD/DEAD units in the Air National Guard.
The SEAD/DEAD mission seeks to disrupt or destroy enemy air defenses, to include surface to air missiles and integrated air defense systems (IADS). The 148th most recently conducted SEAD/DEAD during their 2022 deployment to the 378th Air Expeditionary Wing, Prince Sultan Air Base, Saudi Arabia.
NORAD’s ACA mission requires flying units, like the 148th, to intercept temporary flight restriction violators, investigate aircraft that are out of radio contact and scrambling against unknown aircraft when ordered by NORAD. Since 9/11, the 148th has supported NORAD ACA from several U.S. locations to include Duluth and Minneapolis, Minnesota, the National Capitol Region, Carswell Air Reserve Station, Texas; Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii; Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska; Fresno Air National Guard Base, California and more.
The radar upgrades, funded by Air Combat Command, began in in early September and wrapped up in December. “Each jet took approximately seven-days with technicians from both the 148th Fighter Wing and Lockheed Martin performing work,” said Staff Sgt. Scott Phillips, the lead 148th Fighter Wing avionics technician assigned to the project. “We took apart the front end of the jet, removing the antenna, computer and all other old radar components, then the Lockheed Martin technicians installed the new radar components and performed operational checks,” added Phillips.
“The AESA modernization is the biggest improvement to the F-16 since it came off the assembly line,” said Kuzmuk. “It allows us to see a much clearer picture of our targets in real-time.”
The 148th’s F-16s are amongst the newest and most capable F-16s in the U.S. Air Force fleet. Despite being built in the early 1990s, these F-16s are part of the advanced combat fleet (ACF) and are programmed to be in the Air Force through the mid-2040s. In addition to the AESA radar upgrade, the 148th fleet is undergoing a dozen structural and strengthening modifications through the F-16 service life extension program (SLEP). (Source: ASD Network)
28 Dec 22. US Minnesota ANG receives upgraded AESA radars for F-16 jets.
The new radars will boost airpower of F-16 aircraft, making them more lethal against potential adversaries. US Minnesota Air National Guard’s (ANG) 148th Fighter Wing (FW) has received new active electronical scanned array (AESA) radars for nine Block 50 F-16CM aircraft. The new radars will allow F-16 Fighting Falcon pilots to easily identify targets both on land and in the air. This radar upgrade initiative was funded by the US Air Combat Command (ACC). The associated work commenced in early September and continue until December.
A team of technicians from 148th FW and Lockheed Martin were deployed to carry out the related work on a total of nine fighter jets.
148th FW avionics technician lead staff sergeant Scott Phillips said: “Each jet took approximately seven-days with technicians from both 148th FW and Lockheed Martin performing work.
“We took apart the front end of the jet, removing the antenna, computer and all other old radar components, then Lockheed Martin technicians installed new radar components and performed operational checks.”
Based at Duluth ANG Base in Minnesota, the 148th FW serves both as a Suppression/Destruction of Enemy Air Defence (SEAD/DEAD) and a North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) Aerospace Control Alert-trained (ACA) flying unit.
It is one of the five F-16 SEAD/DEAD units in the US Air Force (USAF), while one of two SEAD/DEAD units in the ANG. Apart from recent AESA upgrade, the F-16 fleet is also expected to receive various other structural and strengthening modifications under F-16 service life extension programme (SLEP) to continue supporting the USAF missions until mid-2040s. 148th FW Weapons chief major Michael Kuzmuk said: “The AESA modernisation is the biggest improvement to the F-16 since it came off the assembly line. It allows us to see a much clearer picture of our targets in real-time.” (Source: airforce-technology.com)
28 Dec 22. South Korea to spend $440m until 2027 to counter North Korea drones. South Korea plans to spend 560bn won ($441.26m) over the next five years to beef up its ability to fend off North Korean drones, Seoul’s defence ministry said on Wednesday.
The plan was included in South Korea’s midterm defence blueprint for 2023-27 after North Korean drones crossed into the South in the first such intrusion since 2017.
The ministry earmarked the funds for four projects aimed at bolstering counter-drone capabilities, including an airborne laser to destroy drones and a jammer to neutralise smaller devices.
The blueprint also included a plan to add another drone unit in the army, which operates two squadrons.
“The laser weapon programme is in a testing phase and expected to begin deployment in 2027,” a ministry official said. “The ‘soft-kill’ type jamming system would improve our response capability against small drones.”
Monday’s incident triggered criticism over South Korea’s air defences as it tries to curb the North’s evolving nuclear and missile threats.
President Yoon Suk-yeol chastised the military’s handling of the incursion, urging it to hasten the reinforcement of the drone units.
The military apologised for its response, and said it could not shoot down the drones because they were too small.
As part of efforts to counter North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats, the ministry seeks to procure more stealth jets, which it said would bolster real-time strike capabilities against moving targets.
The ministry will also secure additional ballistic missile submarines and accelerate the development of systems to intercept artillery rockets.
“We will strengthen our overwhelming massive punishment and retaliation capability to be able to destroy key facilities anywhere in North Korea in case of its nuclear attack or use of weapons of mass destruction,” the ministry said in a statement.
In total, the ministry aims to spend 331.4 trillion won ($261 bn) on defence over the next five years, with an average annual increase of 6.8%. This year’s budget stood at 54.6 trillion won.
Defence expenditures are subject to parliamentary approval. ($1 = 1,269.1000 won) (Source: Reuters)
23 Dec 22. L3Harris and IAI Enter Teaming Agreement to Deliver Advanced Threat Detection and Response System for Australia Combat Vehicles
- L3Harris will lead team to deliver sovereign industrial capability for combat vehicles
- Detects, responds to hostile threats across the battlespace using fire protection radar system
- Harnesses IAI’s tactical sensors for Australia’s current and future armored fighting vehicles
L3Harris Technologies (NYSE:LHX) entered into a teaming agreement with advanced defense and intelligence electronics specialist IAI-ELTA Systems Ltd. to deliver a sophisticated fire detection and response capability for Australian armored fighting vehicles.
The new system will enable a combat vehicle – when it encounters live fires – to immediately detect incoming rounds and initiate self-defense responses, which include a combination of electronic warfare measures and kinetic effects.
“Manufactured by L3Harris Micreo in Brisbane, the system sensors are easily deployed and integrated onto any vehicle. They will not only rapidly detect live fires, but will be intuitive for operators in any battlespace to employ,” said Sarah Earey, managing director of Intelligence and Cyber International – APAC at L3Harris.
The vehicle protection systems are considered a mission-critical sovereign industrial capability in Australia, and a goal of the partnership is to ensure all current and future combat vehicles could be outfitted with the system that will enable each vehicle to defend itself against incoming attacks. The advanced tactical sensors for the system were developed by ELTA, including the StormGuard Tactical Multi-mission Radar System, Othello Optical Threat Locator and Othello-P Opto-Acoustic Hostile Fire Location System.
“IAI looks forward to working with L3Harris Technologies to provide these unique sensors for armored vehicles in Australia,” said Zvi Yarom, IAI-ELTA’s vice president and general manager, Land Systems. “Together IAI and L3Harris have a superior combined knowledge and capability in this field. Further trials are ongoing with very positive reports, so we are confident that the full system will meet the local requirements.”
L3Harris’ decade-long relationship with trusted partner ELTA has led to the defense systems innovator becoming the prime contractor for the delivery of the solution.
“Our strong partnership with ELTA has ensured they see us as a safe pair of hands, which is why we were approached to provide Australian Industry Capability and act as prime for local projects,” Earey said. “We look forward to working with ELTA to ultimately deliver a truly sovereign capability for Australian service members.” (Source: ASD Network)
21 Dec 22. Geospatial-intelligence agency to expand capacity amid ‘data deluge.’
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency expects to field an expanded delivery capability as soon as fiscal 2024 to better handle a “deluge” of data, according to NGA Director Vice Admiral Frank Whitworth.
The agency, which processes and analyzes satellite imagery for the U.S. intelligence community, is developing the Joint Regional Edge Node, or JREN, to give more users access to the information, Whitworth said last week at the Department of Defense Intelligence Information System Worldwide Conference in San Antonio, Texas.
“JREN will increase resiliency and reduce transport latency and it will facilitate the rapid movement of critical intelligence and data sharing,” Whitworth said.
The agency relies on what’s called the National System for Geospatial Intelligence, or NGS, to send information to users around the globe. Since 2018, it has relied on the Odyssey GEOINT Edge Node to process sensor data and help operators on the ground use that data to make real-time decisions.
Odyssey has a growing number of users at U.S. European Command, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, U.S. Africa Command and U.S. Central Command, Whitworth said, and while it is providing key targeting information, the agency needs more capacity to sift through what he called “a deluge of data.”
That deluge equates to nearly a petabyte of data that NGA distributes each day. That’s enough information to fill about 20m filing cabinets. In recent years, Whitworth said, the NGA has increased its bandwidth capacity “by an order of magnitude of 10″ and JREN will push that growth even further.
“That’s where the concept was developed for the future of GEOINT access and delivery, the Joint Regional Edge Node,” Whitworth said. “JREN will enhance the NSG by widening the dissemination delivery pipe, working alongside Odyssey, giving our warfighters an even greater level of access, which increases resiliency.”
The added resiliency and higher bandwidth will allow the agency to share intelligence more quickly, particularly in disconnected regions. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
26 Dec 22. Close combat ‘mixed reality’ goggle fielding in 2023.
After a few technical difficulties and delays, some soldiers in operational and training units will finally see the Army’s new “mixed reality” goggle in their hands in 2023.
The nearly $22 bn program to put the situational awareness of a fighter pilot on the lowest level grunt, the Integrated Visual Augmentation System, or IVAS, is headed to troops.
The device merges night vision, augmented reality tools for training and missions, weapons site wireless linkage and target acquisition in one piece of kit.
Working off the base unit of the Microsoft HoloLens virtual reality goggle, the Army has spent the past three years tinkering with advanced technology to get a field-worthy piece of gear to do all of the high-tech work officials believe future combat will need for even the dismounted soldier.
The Army will deliver 5,000 IVAS 1.0 and another 5,000 IVAS 1.1 versions to troops in undisclosed operational and training units this coming year.
That’s a delay from their initial fielding planned for late 2021 and a subsequent deadline of September 2022. Delays were needed, officials said, to work out new ways to approach night vision quality while also having the advanced mixed reality features crucial to the goggle’s success. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Army Times)
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