SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket (pictured) launched South Korea's first military reconnaissance satellite on 1 December. The satellite is expected to strengthen the RoK Armed Forces' early warning capabilities against potential North Korean threats. (SpaceX)
South Korea has launched its first military reconnaissance satellite using SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket.
The Falcon 9 rocket carrying the reconnaissance satellite was launched from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on 1 December, South Korea's Ministry of National Defense (MND) announced on 2 December.
The satellite separated from the Falcon 9 after about 14 minutes of the launch, and made its first communication with an “overseas” ground control station after about 78 minutes, confirming that it had been placed in orbit in “good condition”, the MND said.
Once the Republic of Korea (RoK) Armed Forces complete in-orbit testing, the satellite will start conducting surveillance and reconnaissance operations, the MND added.
The reconnaissance satellite has been developed and launched as part of a programme called Project 425, which aims to launch four more reconnaissance satellites by 2025. The MND contracted SpaceX in April 2022 to launch these satellites.
General Atomics XQ-67A Off-Board Sensing Station conducts first flight
01 March 2024
by Zach Rosenberg
The XQ-67A in flight (location unknown). (GA-ASI)
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) has flown the XQ-67A unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for the first time, the company announced on 29 February.
“Flight demonstration of this system is a major first step towards showing the ability to produce affordable combat mass,” said Trenton White, Air Force Research Laboratory's (AFRL's) Off-Board Sensing Station (OBSS) programme manager, in a statement announcing the flight.
The flight took place on 28 February at GA-ASI's Gray Butte Flight Operations Facility, outside Palmdale, California.
It comes a year after the AFRL selected GA-ASI to build the XQ-67A under the OBSS programme, intended to result in a UAV that could fly ahead of manned aircraft and pass data back, effectively extending their ability to detect and track targets.
“OBSS is the first aircraft type built and flown using a common core chassis developed by GA-ASI that promotes commonality across multiple vehicle types,” said Michael Atwood, GA-ASI vice-president of advanced programmes.
Indian MoD to procure 5G-enabled surveillance UAVs
29 February 2024
by Oishee Majumdar & Rakend P
The Indian MoD is procuring an undisclosed number of Jaga unmanned aerial vehicles (pictured) from Noida-based IG Drones to enhance the surveillance capabilities of the Indian Armed Forces. (IG Drones)
Noida-based IG Drones has secured a contract from the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) to provide its 5G-enabled Jaga unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to enhance the surveillance capabilities of the Indian Armed Forces.
A spokesperson for IG Drones told Janes on 28 February that the company plans to complete the supply of an undisclosed number of its Jaga UAVs to the Indian MoD by the end of May.
The spokesperson said that Jaga is a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) quadcopter that “can be deployed from any terrain without the need for a conventional runway”. The UAV has an endurance of five hours, a speed of 18–21 m/s, and an operating altitude of up to 400 ft above ground level, the spokesperson added.
Singapore to acquire eight F-35A fighters in addition to 12 F-35B variants
29 February 2024
by Ridzwan Rahmat
A Royal Australian Air Force F-35A Lightning II aircraft takes off with a payload of GBU-12 bombs during an exercise in 2021. Singapore is procuring eight F-35A airframes in addition to the 12 F-35Bs announced earlier. (Commonwealth of Australia)
Singapore will procure eight conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) variants of the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II fighter aircraft in addition to the 12 F-35B short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) versions it is acquiring.
The matter was confirmed by Singapore's Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen during a parliamentary address on 28 February and through statements issued via his and the Ministry of Defence's (MINDEF's) official social media channels on the same day.
“Globally, there are close to 2,500 F35s on order, a healthy pipeline. Because of that, the F-35 is now priced more competitively, comparable to the F-15EX. Its battlefield successes have prompted more countries to jump onboard the programme. MINDEF will capitalise on this window of opportunity to accelerate our F-35 programme,” Ng said.
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