DSEI 2021: Aeralis signs propulsion agreement with Rolls-Royce

by Gareth Jennings

A conceptual image of the family of jet aircraft being developed by Aeralis. (Aeralis)

UK-based Aeralis and Rolls-Royce have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) geared at meeting the propulsion needs of the former's modular jet aircraft.

Signed at the DSEI 2021 defence exhibition in London on 14 September, the MoU will see Rolls-Royce develop new “efficient and sustainable” power solutions to meet customers' operational requirements.

“Rolls-Royce Defence family of digital small propulsion system are being developed rapidly to deliver disruptive and innovative technologies whilst also being more cost-effective. Aeralis [is] keen to take advantage of these advances in propulsion system design for [its] digitally developed modular air system,” Aeralis said in a statement.

Aeralis revealed its common family of advanced jet trainer aircraft in late 2018, when it noted its aim of offering to the market in the early to mid-2020s a series of basic and advanced jet trainer aircraft that share airframe, cockpit, and engine systems. A further concept aircraft, Aeralis-X, is being developed for other possible roles, such as aggressor, aerobatics, and ground attack.

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UK to explore alternative PNT methods

by Richard Scott

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded a cluster of contracts under which industry will explore novel means of timing and navigation in the event of disruption to global navigation satellite systems (GNSSs).

The Alternative Navigation research initiative will investigate alternative techniques to provide a position, navigation, and timing (PNT) solution in order to improve resilience to GNSS denial.

GNSSs operate by computing signals broadcast from a constellation of synchronised satellites. Its use increasingly underpins precise and secure navigation for military users, but it is vulnerable to interference, spoofing, signal blockage or constellation failure that may result in GNSS denial.

Accordingly, the Space Delivery Team within the MoD's Defence Equipment and Support organisation has placed seven contracts, worth a total of about GBP3.8 million, with six companies. Three different approaches to PNT are being addressed.

Teledyne UK was contracted to explore a resilient timing source that is designed to maintain accuracy if GPS is not available. The focus is on atomic clock technology, particularly Quantum Clocks.

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UK to deploy more intelligence personnel to monitor Russia and China

by Tim Ripley

Additional UK military intelligence personnel are being deployed to overseas locations as part of growing strategic competition with Russia and China, according to the head of the UK's Defence Intelligence organisation.

During a rare public appearance at DSEI 2021 in London on 16 September, the organisation's chief, Lieutenant General Jim Hockenhull, said this was part of a wider revamp of how Defence Intelligence gives early warning of crises to political decision makers and monitors the build-up of Chinese and Russian military capabilities.

He said this involves a move away from reliance on traditional classified intelligence-collection methods towards the exploitation of open-source information and commercial services, as well as the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence to process the “deluge of information” now available to intelligence analysts.

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Indian Air Force hastens its plans to buy ex-French Mirage 2000s

by Rahul Bedi

The Indian Air Force (IAF) is fast-tracking its EUR27 million (USD31.78 million) plan to purchase 24 second-hand Dassault Mirage 2000 fighters from France in a bid to boost its declining combat squadrons.

Thirteen of the 24 aircraft are in “completed condition”, needing only “servicing and basic maintenance” before becoming fully operational for squadron service, official sources told Janes on 17 September. They added that the 11 remaining Mirage 2000s, which are in a “semi-finished condition”, would be cannibalised for their subassemblies and spare parts to sustain the IAF's two upgraded Mirage 2000H squadrons, which comprise 49 aircraft that entered service from mid-1985 onwards.

The IAF refers to this endeavour as ‘reduce to produce'; in 2018 it obtained SEPECAT Jaguar airframes, assorted spares and subassemblies from France, Oman and the United Kingdom to support its ageing fleet of over 100 of these Anglo-French ground attack aircraft to improve their operational serviceability.

The IAF spokesman in New Delhi declined to comment on the intended Mirage 2000 buy, but industry officials indicated that the deal could be signed “soon”.

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UK-based Aeralis and Rolls-Royce have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) geared at meeting t...

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