USSOCOM awards Armed Overwatch contract to L3Harris Technologies

by Andrew White

L3Harris Technologies' AT-802U Sky Warden. (L3Harris)

US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) has selected L3Harris Technologies as the lead contractor for its long-awaited Armed Overwatch programme.

The company was awarded a contract worth a maximum of USD3 billion on 31 July, although it was officially announced by the Tampa-based command on 1 August.

The Armed Overwatch programme intends to provide US Special Operations Forces (SOF) with up to 75 “deployable and sustainable manned aircraft systems [capable of] fulfilling close air support [CAS]; precision strike; and SOF intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) in austere and permissive environments”, according to USSOCOM's request for information for the programme.

Additional requirements called for a “multirole, modular” aircraft capable of supporting counter-terrorism/counter-violent extremist organisation operations in addition to “collapsing the stack by merging the capabilities of larger ISR and armed aircraft capabilities into one cost-effective, resilient package”.

Use of Armed Overwatch aircraft is expected to increase availability of other air assets to support operations against more advanced adversaries.


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DVD 2022: MSI unveils Terrahawk VSHORAD system

by Christopher Petrov

MSI unveiled the Terrahawk VSHORAD counter-UAS concept at DVD 2022. (Janes/Christopher Petrov)

MSI Defence Systems unveiled the Terrahawk flatbed-based very short-range air-defence (VSHORAD) system at the Defence Vehicle Dynamics (DVD) 2022 event held at the Millbrook Proving Ground on 21 and 22 September. The system is designed to counter small aerial targets, including unmanned aerial systems (UASs), while also retaining capabilities to engage low-flying fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft.

The main armament of the Terrahawk is the 30 mm Mk 44 Bushmaster II autocannon with up to 200 rounds of ready ammunition fed using a dual feed. Programmable air-burst rounds are the most effective munition in service to counter aerial targets, according to MSI. The main armament is mounted on a remotely operated weapon station (ROWS) from MSI's naval range of ROWS. The company can change the cannon type used and offers the possibility of mounting a missile pod that can house a Thales Lightweight Multirole Missile (LMM), substantially increasing the effective range of the system against aerial targets.


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AAD 2022: Norinco Sky Saker FX400A in service with PLAAF

by Akshara Parakala

Having completed trials in 2021, the Sky Saker FX400A UCAV is now in PLAAF service. (Janes/Akshara Parakala)

China North Industries Corporation (Norinco) has confirmed the Sky Saker FX400A tactical unmanned combat aerial vehicle's (UCAV's) entry into the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) service.

A scale model was displayed at the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) 2022 exhibition in Pretoria, which was held from 21 to 25 September. Speaking to Janes at the expo, an official who declined to be identified said that the UCAV had completed trials in 2021 and is operationally deployed.

The official declined to reveal the command or the base fielding the UCAV, but said that it is deployed in an armed configuration, carrying at least two Blue Arrow 7 anti-tank missile systems.

According to details released by Norinco, the platform is smaller than the previously deployed Sky Saker FX500. The UCAV is said to provide tactical-level intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), including target designation and strike capabilities. It features a high tapered-wing, boom-mounted H-tail,tricycle fixed landing gear,


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AAD 2022: Hensoldt launches production-ready ASTUS UAS

by Akshara Parakala

Hensoldt South Africa officially launched a production-ready model of its ASTUS TUAS at the Africa Aerospace & Defence (AAD) 2022 expo in Pretoria. (Janes/Akshara Parakala)

Hensoldt South Africa (SA), part of German sensor maker Hensoldt, officially launched a production-ready model of its ASTUS tactical unmanned aerial systems (TUASs) at the Africa Aerospace & Defence (AAD) 2022 expo in Pretoria from 21 to 25 September.

ASTUS unmanned aircraft systems (UASs), developed from 2017 by Tellumat South Africa (acquired by Hensoldt in 2021), has been modified to improve the sensor technology and flight management system to match the requirements of the market. The UAS has been fitted with the latest ARGOS-8 lightweight airborne surveillance and targeting system, which itself was launched at the AAD 2022 expo.

Speaking to Janes at the expo, Willie Malan, product manager unmanned aircraft systems (UASs), Hensoldt SA, said, “The ASTUS is designed as a persistent intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance [ISR] platform, and with the integration of gimbal-stabilised ARGOS-8, the UAS will be able to operate as an intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance [ISTAR] platform.”


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https://www.janes.com/defence-news/air-platforms/latest/ussocom-awards-armed-overwatch-contract-to-l3harris-technologies/

US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) has selected L3Harris Technologies as the lead contractor fo...

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