DoD issues new strategy for commercial space capabilities

by Carlo Munoz

A Falcon 9 rocket carrying a Starlink payload launches from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on 17 December 2022. (US Space Force)

The US Department of Defense (DoD), for the first time, has issued guidance on how the Pentagon will continue to and possibly accelerate integration of commercial, space-based technologies into the department's national security space architecture.

The 2024 Commercial Space Integration Strategy, released on 2 March, establishes the “foundational principles, priorities, and approaches” that the DoD will leverage as a way to adopt and integrate advanced space systems and platforms into the Pentagon's space-based toolkit, said US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

“Integrating commercial solutions, as opposed to mere[ly] augmenting existing government systems, will require a shift in approach within the department,” Austin wrote in the 2 March document.

DoD senior leaders and those “at all levels need to be aware of and work to eliminate the structural, procedural, and cultural barriers to overcoming legacy practices and preconceived notions of how the commercial sector can support national security” across all warfighting domains, but especially in the space domain, Austin wrote.

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UDT 2024: IAI/Aerotor unveil APUS 25 long-range endurance quadcopter

by Kate Tringham

The APUS 25 prototype on display at UDT 2024. (Janes/Kate Tringham)

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Aerotor Unmanned Systems have joined forces to develop a novel unmanned quadcopter designed for long-range endurance missions.

The new platform, named APUS 25, was showcased for the first time at the Undersea Defence Technology (UDT) 2024 conference and exhibition, which was held in London from 8 to 10 April.

Speaking to Janes at UDT 2024, an IAI spokesperson said the vehicle incorporates new technology developed by Aerotor that promises greater flight endurance, payload carrying capacity, and manoeuvrability than comparable unmanned quadcopters on the market.

Existing multirotor unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) typically have electric motors for each rotor that enable them to independently change their revolutions per minute (RPMs) for manoeuvres.

The Apus concept developed by Aerotor, however, introduces a new steering method based on a central heavy fuel internal combustion engine that powers the four blades working at a fixed RPM with a variable pitch rotor system.

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Navy League 2024: Bell targets V-280 manned, V-247 unmanned platforms as replacement for USN MH-60R/S helicopters

by Jeremiah Cushman

A V-280 Valor in flight. Bell is modifying the V-280 and pairing it with the V-247 drone to compete for the US Navy's Future Vertical Lift-Maritime Strike programme. (Bell)

The US Navy (USN) is starting to look for its next-generation maritime strike platform. Bell is offering a variant of its V-280 Valor tiltrotor teamed with its V-247 Vigilant unmanned aircraft for the navy's Future Vertical Lift-Maritime Strike (FVL-MS) capability, building off the V-280's selection for the army's Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) programme.

The selection of the V-280 for the FLRAA programme has increased interest from the other services on the possibilities of the platform for their requirements, Tyler Harrell, manager of Military Sales and Strategy Advanced Systems at Bell, told Janes on 9 April at the Navy League Sea-Air-Space 2024 global maritime exposition in National Harbor, Maryland.

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FIDAE 2024: Brazilian Air Force signs MOU with Embraer to study special mission C-390

by Zach Rosenberg

An artist's conception of the C-390 in a maritime role. (Embraer)

The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) announced a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Embraer on 10 April at the FIDAE 2024 airshow in Santiago, Chile, to study adapting the C-390 transport aircraft for special missions.

Potential uses under study include maritime patrol and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. The C-390 is primarily a transport and air-to-air tanker aircraft, with no additional variants in service.

Embraer has delivered six C-390 to the FAB, Bosco da Costa Jr, president of Embraer Defense and Security, told Janes at the FIDAE airshow. The service has 13 more on order, according to Janes World Air Forces . Studying the C-390's adaptability would “maximise commonality and technological autonomy”, FAB Commander Lieutenant-Brigadier Marcelo Kanitz Damasceno said in a statement.

Brazil operates a fleet of Lockheed Martin P-3s, Embraer C-95s, Airbus C-295s, and other aircraft types in maritime surveillance roles. The country has an extensive coastline and significant offshore interests.

For more information, please seeEmbraer C-390 Millennium .

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The US Department of Defense (DoD), for the first time, has issued guidance on how the Pentagon will...

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