Boeing MQ-28 Ghost Bat in United States for testing

by Zach Rosenberg

The MQ-28 Ghost Bat prototype aircraft in flight over Woomera, South Australia. (Australian Department of Defence)

The Boeing MQ-28 Ghost Bat, which has been flying in Australia since 2021, is in the US for testing. The aircraft was displayed to reporters at Mid-America Airport outside St Louis, Missouri.

Boeing declined to disclose the nature of testing, but Krystle Carr, Boeing's director of autonomous collaborative platforms, said that testing would include internally funded Boeing testing and hinted at but declined to confirm other testing.

“We got it here in partnership with the [Royal Australian Air Force],” said Carr. “It is here to do a number of different sets of testing, we can't really go into the details of those right now. But it's a great opportunity for everyone to learn what a platform of this kind of capability can do and how we can partner together to advance that. And a lot of that is because the programme itself is still evolving.”

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Industry sees troposcatter technology as CJADC2 enabler

by Carlo Munoz

A Comtech COMET troposcatter system set up for a BLOS network demonstration at SOF Week 2023 in Tampa, Florida. (Comtech)

Industry officials are looking to leverage Cold War-era tactical communications technologies as a potential enabler for the US Department of Defense's (DoD's) Combined Joint All-Domain Command and Control (CJADC2) capability.

Programme officials with satellite communications (satcom) development company Comtech in May conducted a multivendor demonstration that blended satcom, tropospheric scatter links, and local area networks (LANs) to blend “multiple connectivity types, multiple connectivity bubbles” as a means to stand up a viable, beyond-the-line-of-sight (BLOS) combat communications network for a satcom-denied environment, said Dan Gizinski, chief strategy officer for defence at Comtech.

The demonstration – carried out during the inaugural SOF Week 2023 conference in Tampa, Florida – consisted of a satcom link via commercial provider Kymeta, combined with two troposcatter links connecting a small unit element with a forward-deployed command post 13 miles away.

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LIMA 2023: Malaysia orders three TAI Ankas

by Akhil Kadidal

Acquisition of the TAI Anka unmanned aircraft system will enhance Malaysia's surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities over the country's maritime zones. When armed, the UAS will also provide the military with a credible attack or point-defence capability. (Janes/TAI)

The Malaysian government has announced a contract with Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) for three Anka multirole unmanned aircraft systems (UASs). The Anka (Phoenix) is a medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UAS that is capable of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), electronic warfare (EW), and combat operations.

The Malaysian Ministry of Defense (MINDEF) announced the contract on 25 May during the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (LIMA) Exhibition 2023 held from 23 to 27 May.

The MINDEF said in its announcement that the value of the contract is MYR423.8 million (USD91.6 million) and that the aircraft would support the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) and the Royal Malaysia Police (RMP) operations. The MINDEF added that these aircraft comprise Phase 1 of the acquisition.

A spokesperson from TAI added that the contract value includes the three aircraft and the control station. The RMAF will operate the aircraft.

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UK weighing up options for Prometheus 2 satellite successor

by Olivia Savage

The Prometheus 2 CubeSats were scheduled to be launched from Cornwall onboard Virgin Orbit's LauncherOne rocket before an anomaly in the launcher resulted in the two satellites being destroyed. (Crown Copyright)

The UK is investigating several options to replace the Prometheus 2 satellites destroyed during the failed Virgin Orbit launch in January 2023.

Speaking with Janes on the Prometheus 2 successor, Head of Space Capability at UK Space Command Commodore Dave Moody said one possible option would be to repeat the project as before. The other option would involve developing satellites with more advanced instruments.

Developing a successor would depend on whether the project receives additional funding as well as all the necessary approvals and support from international partners. If this is achieved, he expects the new satellites will be more advanced versions of their predecessors, considering technology has progressed.

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The Boeing MQ-28 Ghost Bat, which has been flying in Australia since 2021, is in the US for testing....

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