Project Oberon will comprise a cluster of three SAR-based satellites as part of the ISTARI programme. (Airbus)
The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has issued a pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) for Project Oberon, a programme that seeks high-resolution synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites.
According to the PQQ released by the MoD on 24 November, the contract will involve a cluster of three satellites equipped with an active SAR payload and, at a lower priority, passive radio frequency (RF) functionality, which the supplier will be required to operate.
The main contract is expected to demand a “full end-to-end solution including inter alia; design, development, manufacture, assembly, integration, test, launch, commissioning, operations, and eventual disposal”, the PQQ stated.
Up to GBP70 million (USD84.7 million) has been earmarked for the 36-month contract.
A further contract option is expected as part of the project – this will require a supplier to deliver mission operations, training, and support (per year) for a further six years, as well as mission integration and implementation into the ground architecture of the multisatellite intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) ‘ISTARI' programme, the MoD detailed.
Swiss Air Force receives first two Hermes 900 UAVs
31 January 2023
by Gareth Jennings
The Swiss Air Force is flying operational testing sorties on two of its planned six Elbit Hermes 900 unmanned aircraft. (Armasuisse)
The Swiss Air Force has received the first two of six Elbit Systems Hermes 900 Heavy Fuel Engine (HFE) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that were ordered under the Reconnaissance Drone System 15 (ADS 15) requirement.
The Swiss Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection, and Sport (VBS) announced the milestone on 30 January, approximately nine months after Israel delivered the aircraft to the Swiss Federal Office for Armaments (Armasuisse) for in-country flight trials.
“The military aviation authority has issued the necessary certification. This means that the air force can now start building up the operational capabilities for the ADS 15 reconnaissance drone system,” the VBS said.
Aeralis, AirTanker sign MOU to explore future training opportunities
30 January 2023
by Gareth Jennings
The latest concept art of the Aeralis modular jet, released to mark the signing of an MOU with AirTanker. (Aeralis)
Aeralis and AirTanker have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to explore future flying training and air combat support opportunities.
Announced on 30 January, the MOU will see the two UK-based companies identify and assess upcoming contracts in military flying training, defence operational training, and combat air support roles for the modular jet aircraft being developed by Aeralis.
“The MOU covers a range of services that AirTanker can offer, such as collaboration with overseas partners and establishing local service provision. The MOU will involve the sharing of information and regular progress updates, as well as joint workshops to explore future collaboration opportunities. The agreement aims to use the Aeralis programme to achieve significantly lower financing, acquisition, and operating costs for aircraft compared to incumbents, paving the way for enabling a wide range of ‘on-demand' operational air support services as part of the future of air force fleets,” the announcement said.
Quantum-Systems Vector UAV, suited for a range of reconnaissance missions and capable of operating at speeds of up to 25 m/s in challenging environments, has been selected by the Ukrainian MoD. (Quantum-Systems)
Ukraine has ordered an additional tranche of reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
According to Germany-based Quantum-Systems, the company has received a contract from Ukraine's Ministry of Defence (MoD) for 105 Vector reconnaissance UAVs.
Ukraine's armed forces will receive the systems, which have been funded by the German government, the company detailed.
Quantum-Systems was unable to comment on delivery timeframes and contract value for contractual reasons.
In addition to providing the UAVs, the company will open a facility in Ukraine that will offer user training and maintenance support, Quantum-Systems said.
This is the second contract in less than a year placed by Kyiv for the company's Vector UAV. In August 2022, Ukraine ordered 33 Vector UAVs for its armed forces, financed by the German ‘security capacity building' fund.
Harry Kemsley and Sean Corbett are joined by Dr Claire Yorke, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow, to discuss the fascinating subject of empathy and why it is so important in decision making, our analysis and open-source intelligence.