General Electric T901 delivery to US Army delayed until boreal fall 2023

by Zach Rosenberg

The T901-GE-900 prototype engine installed at General Electric's test facility. (General Electric)

Delivery of the General Electric T901 engine to the US Army is now scheduled for boreal fall of 2023, General Electric said in a statement, delayed from spring 2023.

The delivery has been delayed several times; the spring 2023 date was a delay from a then-projected November 2022 delivery.

The army intends to test the engines and simultaneously deliver one engine each to Bell Helicopters and Sikorsky in early fiscal year (FY) 2024. Both companies will use the engines for their Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) demonstrators, the Bell 360 Invictus and Sikorsky Raider-X, neither of which can take flight without the engine.

Both demonstrators are nearly complete, aside from the engine. The contractors have used inoperative, 3D-printed plastic engines to test how the engine fits with their aircraft in anticipation of T901 deliveries.

“We are laser-focused on execution and working closely with the army to deliver flight-test engines this fall to support the FARA competitive prototypes,” General Electric said in a statement.


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Ukraine to receive Starlink services under US deal

by Olivia Savage

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches Starlink at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, on 23 May 2019. Following an agreement with the US DoD, the services will continue to support Ukraine for the foreseeable future. (US Air Force)

The US Department of Defense (DoD) has contracted SpaceX to provide its Starlink satellite communication (satcom) services to Ukraine.

An announcement by the DoD on 1 June stated it had contracted Starlink to provide satcom services to Ukraine as it “constitutes a vital layer in Ukraine's overall communications network”.

Information regarding the cost and timeframes of the deal were not detailed for national security reasons.

Starlink has been providing satcom services to Ukraine since February 2022, following a request from the Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine for Innovations, Development of Education, Science and Technology, Mykhailo Fedorov. These services, along with the provision of commercial satellite imagery, have been a “game changer” in the Ukraine conflict, significantly aiding the country's strategic military response, Volodymyr Usov, former chairman of the State Space Agency of Ukraine, said at the Defence Space Conference 2022 in London.


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Ukraine conflict: Ukraine orders 300 UAVs

by Olivia Savage

Quantum-Systems Vector UAV has been ordered for a third time by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence. (Quantum-Systems)

Ukraine has ordered 300 additional reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from German-based Quantum-Systems.

An announcement by the company on 31 May stated the order would be the third placed by Ukraine for the Vector electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) UAV since August 2022.

A Quantum-Systems spokesperson confirmed to Janes the order was funded by the German government.

Overall, Ukraine has received 438 Vector UAVs, with 105 ordered in January 2023 and 33 in August 2022 – funded by the German government. The company is also in the process of opening a facility in Ukraine to offer user training and maintenance support.

The Vector eVTOL UAV is suitable for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations, including border patrol, search-and-rescue, and battlefield surveillance. The system has a wingspan of 2.8 m, a maximum take-off weight of 7.4 kg, an endurance of up to two hours, and can be fitted with either a NextVision Nighthawk2-UZ or Trillium Engineering's HD40-LV electro-optical payload.


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UK test satellite set for launch in 2024

by Olivia Savage

SSTL was awarded a contract in January 2022 to deliver a satellite for project Minerva. A total of GBP127 million is being invested in the Minerva programme over a four-year period, ensuring the UK has the processing power, radio frequencies, imaging capabilities, and data streams to deliver timely intelligence. (SSTL)

A UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) test satellite – Project Tyche – will launch in 2024 as part of project Minerva, the Head of Space Capability at UK Space Command, Commodore Dave Moody, told Janes on 25 May.

Tyche is a 150 kg research and development (R&D) concept demonstrator satellite being built by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) for project Minerva under a GBP22 million (USD27.3 million) contract. The system, initially scheduled to launch in 2023, is based on the company's Carbonite family of electro-optical (EO) satellites.

Tyche will be the first in a network of satellites being built under project Minerva, with an invitation to tender issued in April 2023 for the design and manufacture of an EO satellite called Juno. A total of GBP40 million was earmarked for the three-and-a-half-year supporting project.


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Delivery of the General Electric T901 engine to the US Army is now scheduled for boreal fall of 2023...

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