France launches first Syracuse IV telecommunications satellite

by Jean-Marc Tanguy

An Ariane 5 rocket launched from the Guiana Space Centre placed France's new Syracuse IV military telecommunications satellite (artist's impression) in low orbit on 22 October 2021. (Thales Alenia Space/Emma Briot)

An Ariane 5 rocket launched from the Guiana Space Centre placed France's new Syracuse 4A military telecommunications satellite in low orbit on 22 October.

The first of three Syracuse IV satellites designed by Airbus and Thales will become operational in nine months, seven months after it reaches geostationary orbit propelled by its Safran electric motor (the consumption of which is six times lower than a conventional motor) and two months of testing. Test centres of the Direction Générale de l'Armement , the French defence procurement agency, carried out stress tests to prepare for the vibration of the launch.

Syracuse IV produces a throughput three times higher (1.5 Gbit/sec) than Syracuse III by operating in two bands: X and Ka. Three satellites are to be placed in orbit: the second in 2022 and the third on an unknown date.


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Australia receives first upgraded C-130J-30 Block 8.1 aircraft

by Alessandra Giovanzanti

On 19 January the RAAF received the first Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 Hercules transport aircraft to be upgraded to the Block 8.1 software and hardware standard. (Royal Australian Air Force)

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has received the first Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 Hercules transport aircraft upgraded to Block 8.1 standard, the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) announced on 19 January.

The aircraft, which arrived at RAAF Richmond air base in New South Wales, was upgraded by Lockheed Martin in the United States with support from the United States Air Force. The remaining 11 C-130s will be modified by Airbus Australia Pacific at Richmond air base, the Australian DoD said.

“Block 8.1 will make it easier for crews to operate the Hercules in a range of complicated environments, from civilian airspace around airports through to airfields on the frontline,” Group Captain Badgery, Officer Commanding the Air Lift Systems Program Office, said.


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Spain approves Eurodrone participation

by Gareth Jennings

A scale model of the Eurodrone in Luftwaffe markings was shown at the Berlin Security Conference in November 2021. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

Spain has formally approved its participation in the Eurodrone project, joining partners France, Germany, and Italy, which have already signed off on their involvement in developing the European unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

The Spanish Council of Ministers gave its consent to the country's inclusion in the Eurodrone project, also known as the European Medium-Altitude Long-Endurance (MALE) Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) and/or the EuroMALE, on 25 January.

“The Council of Ministers has approved an agreement authorising the acquisition of expenditure commitments charged to future years […] so that the Ministry of Defence [MoD] can carry out carried out the development, production, and support for the entry into service, as well as the logistical support of the EuroMALE RPAS programme,” the council said.


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MQ-8C Fire Scout on maiden USN deployment

by Richard Scott

The US Navy has declared the MQ-8C unmanned helicopter to be operationally ready, commencing its first shipborne deployment in December 2021. (Northrop Grumman)

The US Navy (USN) has commenced a first shipborne deployment of the MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned aerial system (UAS), the service revealed on 24 January.

Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 22, Detachment 5 (HSC-22 DET 5) was deployed operationally from the Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ship USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) on 14 December 2021. Milwaukee is supporting operations in the US 4th Fleet area of responsibility.

Developed by Northrop Grumman, the MQ-8 Fire Scout vertical take-off and landing UAS is designed to provide situational awareness and real-time intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR), and targeting capabilities. The MQ-8C variant marries the existing Fire Scout UAS architecture (developed for the legacy MQ-8B air vehicle) with the Bell 407 rotorcraft to create an autonomous four-bladed, single-engine, unmanned helicopter. The larger air vehicle provides extended endurance (over 10 hours on station with a 300 lb payload), range (150 n miles), and greater payload capability (over 700 lb).


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https://www.janes.com/defence-news/air-platforms/latest/france-launches-first-syracuse-iv-telecommunications-satellite

An Ariane 5 rocket launched from the Guiana Space Centre placed France's new Syracuse 4A military te...

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