IDEX 2023: Decision on preferred vendor expected soon for UAE satellite project

by Olivia Savage

Yahsat has been mandated to launch Al Yah 4 and Al Yah 5 by 2026. Pictured is Al Yah 3, Orbital ATK's first satellite built on the GEOStar-3 platform. (Orbital ATK)

A decision on the preferred vendor for the UAE's satellite programme, which seeks two geostationary (GEO) satellites, is expected in 2023.

UAE-based company Yahsat is currently in the process of evaluating bids, with a decision expected, following government approval, in 2023 to determine which preferred supplier will manufacture the Al Yah 4 and Al Yah 5 satellites, Eisa Al Shamsi, general manager at Yahsat Government Solutions, told Janes at IDEX 2023 in Abu Dhabi.

The satellites, intended for both government and commercial users, will be an off-the-shelf solution to minimise risk and must be launched by 2026. This is because the Al Yah 1 and Al Yah 2 satellites will reach their “initial end of life by 2026”, he said. However, the existing satellites will remain operational for several years as their in-service life will be extended, he added.

Al Yah 4 and Al Yah 5 will have increased capacity and double the bandwidth compared with the existing systems, he said.


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General Atomics XQ-67A Off-Board Sensing Station conducts first flight

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.


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Indian MoD to procure 5G-enabled surveillance UAVs

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.


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Singapore to acquire eight F-35A fighters in addition to 12 F-35B variants

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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https://www.janes.com/defence-news/c4isr-command-tech/latest/idex-2023-decision-on-preferred-vendor-expected-soon-for-uae-satellite-project

A decision on the preferred vendor for the UAE's satellite programme, which seeks two geostationary ...

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