DSEI Japan 2023: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries unveils Whale USV

by Oishee Majumdar

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has displayed a new USV (pictured) at DSEI Japan 2023, which will be able to automatically launch and recover expendable mine disposal systems and smaller unmanned systems. (Janes/Oishee Majumdar)

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) unveiled an unmanned surface vessel (USV) it has developed, named Whale, at DSEI Japan 2023 being held in Chiba from 15 to 17 March.

According to company specifications, the Whale USV has a length of 8.8 m, a beam of 3.05 m, and weighs about 6 tons. The system is equipped with a folding mast. The Whale has a height of 6.35 m when the mast is raised, and is 2.5 m in height when the mast is retracted.

The Whale is powered by a diesel engine. The system is equipped with sensors and cameras for surveillance. MHI is also developing “remote control and autonomous navigation” features for the Whale, the company said.

In addition, MHI is developing capabilities to enable the Whale USV to automatically launch and recover expendable mine disposal (EMD) systems as well as carry and launch smaller unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs), the company added.

A company official told Janes

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Bombardier eyes rapid defence growth

by Marc Selinger

Bombardier has provided its Global 6000 business jet for Saab's GlobalEye airborne early warning and control aircraft. (Saab)

Bombardier expects to triple its defence revenue to more than USD1 billion in the second half of the decade, according to the Canadian aircraft manufacturer.

“Geopolitical tensions and international security concerns have accelerated demand” for Bombardier's defence products, the company wrote in a 23 March investor day presentation. The revenue boost will come from aircraft deliveries, aircraft modifications, and engineering services, said Paul Sislian, Bombardier's executive vice-president of aftermarket services and strategy.

“We are actively answering several proposals and tenders,” Sislian said at the investor event. “We must remind ourselves that defence programmes are long to operationalise, and the procurement, design, and modification cycles can last many years. As such, we are preparing our company and infrastructure to enhance our participation in this segment for the long run.”

These preparations include recruiting more engineers, technicians, and salespeople, and moving into a new 750,000 sq ft (69,677 m 2 ) final assembly plant in Mississauga, Ontario, a Bombardier spokesperson told Janes on 24 March.

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Boeing to take another KC-46A tanker charge

by Marc Selinger

A Boeing KC-46A tanker touches down during a visit to Japan. (US Air Force)

Boeing expects to take another earnings charge on its long-troubled KC-46A Pegasus tanker because of a “supplier quality issue” with the centre fuel tank, according to an official at the US aerospace manufacturer.

The amount will be far smaller than the KC-46A's third quarter 2022 charge of USD1.2 billion, which Boeing blamed on labour and parts shortages, Boeing's chief financial officer, Brian West, said on 22 March at the Bank of America Global Industrials Conference. Asked whether the new charge would be USD1 billion, West replied, “Not billion, not even half of that.”

The KC-46A is a variant of the 767 commercial aircraft, which is also affected by the tank issue. West said Boeing has identified a fix for the problem and is working to implement it on planes that are in production and in service.

“We will deliver airplanes as we complete rework, and we are not changing our overall delivery plans for the year,” a Boeing spokesperson said in a statement. “Our engineering analysis to date shows that the issue is not an immediate safety-of-flight concern.”

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US backtracks on M1A2 tanks, sending older variant to Ukraine

by Meredith Roaten

After months of deliberations, top US Army officials have decided that sending the M1A1 Abrams tank to Ukraine is faster than sending the M1A2 as originally planned. (US Marine Corps)

The Pentagon announced on 21 March that the 31 Abrams main battle tanks (MBTs) promised to Ukraine will not be M1A2 model as initially planned.

In order to get platforms to Ukraine faster, the US will pull 31 M1A1 tanks from US Army stocks and spruce them up for battle, said Pentagon Press Secretary Brigadier General Pat Ryder on 21 March. The variant change will “significantly expedite delivery timelines” and will ensure that the tanks will arrive by “the fall timeframe”.

The funding for the assistance to Kyiv will come from Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), which will enable the Pentagon to pay General Dynamics to modify the M1 tank hulls.

Scott Taylor, director of US business development at General Dynamics Land Systems, told Janes that the tanks will be refurbished according to the US Army's 10-20 mission capable standards.

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