The USAF wants more F-35s but must balance competing priorities such as NGAD and JATM. (US Air Force)
The US Air Force (USAF) cut its FY 2023 F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter procurement in exchange for other funding priorities, as the Block 4 updates remains delayed, according to the service's top official.
However, the USAF is still asking Congress for more of the fighters.
“We had to make some difficult choices with this budget; when we looked at the attack air portfolio, we had a number of things that we needed to do,” USAF secretary Frank Kendall told reporters at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, on 19 April. “We needed to fully fund the Next-Generation Air Dominance [NGAD] platform. We wanted to complete the buy of the F-15EX, which has a couple more years to go now. We need to get on with some of our advanced air-to-air missiles like [AIM‐260 Joint Advanced Tactical Missile] JATM.”
Among budget concerns, Kendall also said that the USAF needs the upgraded Block 4 software and hardware for the F-35A conventional variant to meet the “pacing challenge with China, for their advanced systems”.
The Bundestag budget committee on 20 September approved a contract amendment for the procurement of 12 LUNA NG UASs for the Bundeswehr. (Rheinmetall)
The budget committee of the Bundestag, Germany's parliament, on 20 September approved a contract amendment for the procurement of the Luftgestützte Unbemannte Nahaufklärungs-Ausstattung Next Generation (LUNA NG) medium-range unmanned aircraft system (UAS), which is designated by the Bundeswehr as Hocheffizientes Unbemanntes System zur abbildenden Aufklärung mittlerer Reichweite (HUSAR). The Bundeswehr is procuring 12 LUNA NG UASs and a training system to replace current LUNA and Kleinfluggerät für Zielortung (KZO) UASs.
A LUNA NG system consists of five unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), two ground control stations in protected containers, maintenance and repair equipment, two launchers, and two recovery systems.
The total contract value is EUR290.9 million (USD307.8 million), of which EUR238.6 remains to be funded by Germany's defence budget. The German Federal Ministry of Defence expects LUNA NG deliveries starting in 2025.
Germany's Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) awarded EMT a EUR63 million framework contract for three LUNA NG systems and a training system, with an option for nine more UASs.
An Autel Evo Max UAV and a DJI Matrice quadcopter flying above a General Dynamics Land Systems LAV700 vehicle at C-UAS TIE23. (Janes/Olivia Savage)
NATO will publish its first counter-unmanned aircraft systems (C-UASs) doctrine in 2023, which will lay the foundations for how militaries should standardise and operationalise countering UASs, Janes has learnt.
Along with informing members how best to plan and execute C-UAS missions, the high-priority document will address and outline the strategic environment, Senior Advisor for NATO's Science for Peace and Security programme Claudio Palestini told Janes at NATO's ‘C-UAS Technical Interoperability Exercise 2023' (TIE23) in Vredepeel, Netherlands, held from 12 to 22 September.
A draft of the document will be sent to member countries in October before being ratified by the end of the year, although this timeline could fluctuate pending countries' comments, Palestini said.
Several strategic recommendations will be outlined in the doctrine, according to Palestini. These include advising member states that C-UAS must be integrated into the wider air-defence domain, rather than being ‘considered in isolation'; that it should be a multidomain solution; and that continuous innovation and improvement must be adopted because of the rapidly evolving threat.
UAE firm secures USD5.1 billion to deliver satellite services to UAE government
26 September 2023
by Olivia Savage
Al Yah 1 and Al Yah 2 (pictured) developed by Thales Alenia Space and Airbus will continue to provide secure satellite services to the UAE government under a USD5.1 billion agreement with Yahsat until they are replaced with the new Al Yah 4 and Al Yah 5 satellites being built by Airbus. (Yahsat)
United Arab Emirates (UAE) company Yahsat has been awarded a major AED18.7 billion (USD5.1 billion) deal to provide satellite services to the UAE government, the company announced on 22 September.
Under the 17-year Authorisation to Proceed (ATP) agreement, Yahsat will supply the government with secure and reliable satellite capacity afforded by the Al Yah 1 and Al Yah 2 satellites from 2026 onwards. This will be supplemented by two new planned satellites – Al Yah 4 and Al Yah 5 – which are expected to be launched in 2027 and 2028 respectively, the announcement said.
In 2024 Yahsat will receive an advance payment of USD1 billion from the UAE government under the mandate agreement.
The ATP mandate will replace existing agreements, Capacity Services Agreement and the Managed Services Mandate (MSM), which are expected to conclude in November and December 2026 respectively.
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