South Korea backs proposal to acquire additional F-35s

by Akhil Kadidal

South Korea hopes to acquire an additional 20 Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning IIs as part of its efforts to counter North Korea's nuclear and missile threats. (South Korea Ministry of National Defense)

A defence subcommittee of the South Korean government has backed a proposal to purchase additional Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II stealth fighter jets.

Speaking to Janes, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) confirmed the proposal. DAPA said that the proposal is under way and did not provide additional details at the time of publication.

South Korean media reported on 29 June that the project was approved on 9 June by a subcommittee of the Defense Project Promotion Committee. This second F-35A project is expected to cost KRW3.9 trillion (USD3 billion), according to media reports.

The potential acquisition of these aircraft is in line with previous announcements by Seoul about its interest in acquiring 20 additional aircraft.

However, in May, a supplementary budget law approved by the South Korean National Assembly reduced the country's defence funding for 2022 by more than KRW1.5 trillion (USD1.2 billion).

The largest cut was to the aircraft acquisition budget, which sees KRW228.6 billion in reductions. Janes


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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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https://www.janes.com/defence-news/air-platforms/latest/south-korea-backs-proposal-to-acquire-additional-f-35s

A defence subcommittee of the South Korean government has backed a proposal to purchase additional L...

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