ILA 2022: Airbus promotes H145M D3 enhancements and pitches further improvements to international market

by Gareth Jennings

As a major operator of the H145M, the German armed forces could benefit from a raft of enhancements proposed by the manufacturer Airbus. (Airbus)

Airbus Helicopters has highlighted the latest enhancements it has rolled into the D3 standard of its H145M medium-twin rotorcraft, and is proposing a raft of additional improvements in an effort to attract new operators to the type.

Speaking to Janes and other defence media ahead of ILA 2022, Constance Pinsdorf, senior programme manager H145 governmental business, said that with the current D3 standard of the H145M providing superior capabilities over the upgraded D2 and original C2 standards,improvements that are earmarked will provide further capabilities.

“Due to the fact we are based on a civilian version, which is really successful and really mature, we have a long history [of developing this type], and I am confident that we have a mature system that is working for the customer,” Pinsdorf said. “We have come from the C2 and D2 versions to the D3 version, [and] we are now taking the D3 evolution to the next stage.”


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UK seeks new GEO satellite for Skynet

by Olivia Savage

Skynet 6A (pictured above), scheduled to be launched in 2025, will fill a capability gap while the MoD sets the requirements for the Skynet Enduring Capability. (Airbus)

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) is seeking a Narrowband Satellite System (NSS) for the Skynet Enduring Capability (SKEC).

A Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ), published by the MoD on 10 August, outlined a requirement for a narrowband ultra-high frequency (UHF) geosynchronous (GEO) satellite and its control system for SKEC.

A deadline for expressions of interest has been set for 20 September. The satellite must also meet NATO STANAG 4681 Ed 2 and/or MIL-STD-188-100 standards.

The SKEC space segment comprises two separate procurements, the first of which involves the acquisition of a GEO NSS. The second one seeks multiple medium-sized GEO satellites with X and Mil Ka-band payloads, which will help meet a wideband requirement, the MoD detailed.

It is expected that SKEC will provide the MoD with a next-generation satellite communications (satcom) capability. It is anticipated that the satellites will be in service until at least 2040, the MoD disclosed. The MoD also hopes to have the capability to monitor and control the platforms.


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UK launches next phase of UAS Heavy Lift challenge

by Olivia Savage

The Royal Navy trialling Windracers Autonomous Systems' Ultra fixed-wing UAS (pictured) in the UASHLC. (Crown Copyright 2022)

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has launched Phase 2 of the Unmanned Aerial Systems Heavy Lift Capability (UASHLC) challenge.

According to the pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) published on 5 August, the MoD is seeking to “support and inform the development of maritime operating concepts and enable assessment, analysis, exploration, and evaluation of the use of UAS for beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) payload delivery and broader UAS capabilities”. The MoD is therefore seeking to accelerate the development of one or more suppliers' platforms, as well as the key technologies that will enhance UAS operational capabilities.

The closing date for suppliers to submit a PQQ is 5 September, with a contract expected to run from September 2022 to August 2027, the MoD said. Up to GBP95 million (USD116 million) is available for the programme, the MoD added.

The MoD was unable to provide further comment at the time of publication.


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Czech Republic to buy Heron UAVs from Israel

by Gareth Jennings

The Czech Republic is looking to buy three Heron 1 UAVs from Israel, with the deal expected to be concluded by the end of 2022. (IAI)

The Czech Republic is to buy three Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Heron 1 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as part of the country's wider Concept of Capability Construction of the Army of the Czech Republic plan.

The Czech Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced the plan on 8 August, saying that negotiations for the procurement are to begin with the Israeli government shortly as it plans to acquire equipment seen “as crucial in conducting aerial reconnaissance and performing other tasks for direct combat support and protection of Czech army units”.


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Airbus Helicopters has highlighted the latest enhancements it has rolled into the D3 standard of its...

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