Airshow China 2021: Chinese air force displays upgraded JH-7A fighter-bomber
05 October 2021
by Andreas Rupprecht & Alessandra Giovanzanti
A PLAAF JH-7 aircraft, presumed to be the JH-7A2 variant, photographed in early August 2019 during the Aviadarts competition of the International Army Games held in Russia. The upgraded variant was displayed to the public at Airshow China 2021 in Zhuhai. (Russian Ministry of Defence)
The People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) has, for the first time, displayed to the public an upgraded variant of the Xi'an Aircraft Corporation's JH-7A fighter-bomber.
Known as JH-7A2 (also spelled JH-7AII), the new variant was showcased at the outdoor exhibition area of Airshow China 2021, which was held from 28 September to 3 October in Zhuhai.
The aircraft was seen carrying several pods, including the KL700A (also known as the KG700) electronic countermeasures (ECMs) pod on an outer wing pylon and the bigger and heavier KG800 ECM/jammer pod on the inner wing pylon. These pods had previously been seen on the JH-7A aircraft, however, they had not yet been displayed to the public.
The JH-7A2 was also shown carrying a targeting pod designated K/JDC03A, which is similar in appearance to the standard K/JDC01 laser targeting pod used to designate targets for LS-500J laser-guided bombs.
NATO publishes ‘Overarching Space Policy' document
19 January 2022
by Olivia Savage
NATO headquarters. (NATO)
On 17 January NATO published its ‘Overarching Space Policy', setting out the fundamental aspects of the space domain and its importance in preserving the alliance's security and prosperity.
It is an acknowledgement of NATO's increasing reliance upon space-based capabilities and their importance in supporting the delivery of communications, navigation, intelligence, and situational awareness, among other operational necessities.
The policy document started with a framework agreement in June 2019, when the alliance decided to formulate and adopt a specific space policy.
The document outlines in detail the space-related threat environment, noting that “potential adversaries are developing, testing, and operationalising sophisticated counter-space technologies that could threaten allies' access to and freedom to operate in space”. These threats vary from non-kinetic systems such as jamming of communications or Global Positioning System (GPS) to kinetic capabilities such as “direct-ascent anti-satellite missiles, on-orbit anti-satellite systems, and laser and electromagnetic capabilities”, it adds.
The policy includes a core set of principles, the most important one being the recognition that space is vital for deterrence and defence, ensuring free access to space, and collaborating with allies to avoid the duplication of efforts.
Philippines progresses plan to procure 32 new S-70i Black Hawk helicopters
18 January 2022
by Ridzwan Rahmat
Manila has made further progress with its plan to procure 32 additional new Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk combat utility helicopters for the Philippine Air Force (PAF).
Philippine Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana disclosed on 16 January that a notice of award (NOA) was issued to PZL Mielec of Poland on 28 December 2021 for the airframes.
The indicative contract value for the project is PHP32 billion (USD624 million) and it will include a logistics and training package for pilots and maintenance crew.
The Philippines ordered an initial batch of 16 S-70is in 2019 for USD241 million.
The airframes were first delivered to the PAF's 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing in November 2020 with the last five helicopters inducted in December 2021. One of the airframes was lost in a June 2021 crash.
Airframes that are in service are for roles such as close-air support operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions, and medical evacuations.
A contract agreement for the 32 additional airframes is being drafted, after which a notice to proceed will be issued to PZL Mielec to officially mark the commencement of the programme, said Lorenzana on his official social media channel.
Thales Alenia Space to build two SDS satellites for Intelsat
13 January 2022
by Olivia Savage
Thales Alenia Space has been contracted to deliver two Space Inspire software-defined satellites. (Thales Alenia Space )
Intelsat has contracted Thales Alenia Space – a joint venture between Thales and Leonardo – for the production of two software-defined satellites (SDSs).
The satellites, IS-41 and IS-44, will be based on the Space Inspire product line and are scheduled to be in service by 2025.
SDSs are more flexible than traditional types of satellites as they enable the user to reconfigure and reprogram on demand and in orbit. More traditional types are commonly launched for a single purpose and although they can be upgraded, this often takes longer to implement.
Instelsat general manager Dave Micha told Janes, “We're at the forefront of the move to SDS, which will allow us to design beams of different shapes and sizes and reconfigure coverage plans on-the-fly. For example, satellite beams could track particular planes or ships and dynamically allocate capacity precisely where it's needed.”
Thales Alenia Space said its Space Inspire satellites provide seamless telecommunications mission and services reconfigurations and immediate in-orbit alterations to broadband connectivity.
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