SOCOM seeks low-SWaP ESA for improved satcom capability

by Andrew White

The US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) is pursuing a requirement to field electronically steerable arrays (ESAs) at reduced size, weight, and power (SWaP) and cost to support connectivity requirements around the world.

Speaking at the virtual Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC) on 19 May, US Army Colonel Joel Babbitt said how ESAs will facilitate satellite communications (satcom) by connecting ground users to satellite constellations in low (LEO), medium (MEO), and geostationary (GEO) Earth orbits.

A US Air Force Special Operations weather technician sends intelligence to the National Reconnaissance Operations Center during the Marine’s Reconnaissance Team Leader Course’s final exercise on 31 Oct 2017.  (US Department of Defense)

A US Air Force Special Operations weather technician sends intelligence to the National Reconnaissance Operations Center during the Marine’s Reconnaissance Team Leader Course’s final exercise on 31 Oct 2017. (US Department of Defense)

“We’re interested in low-cost, low-SWaP electronically steerable antennas, specifically for satellite terminals operating in a number of [commercial and military] frequency spectrum bands including Ka and Ku,” said Col Babbitt, who serves as SOF Warrior program executive officer.

”We’re looking for terminals able to connect to LEO, GEO, as well as MEO satellites that are out there. There’s a number of capabilities that we’re looking to leverage. And we’d like to go after all three of those,” he added.


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South Korea launches first domestically developed space launch vehicle

by Alessandra Giovanzanti & Gabriel Dominguez

South Korea launched its first-ever domestically developed space launch vehicle on 22 September, but the rocket failed to place a dummy satellite into orbit.

Called the ‘Nuri' or Korea Space Launch Vehicle II (KSLV-II), the three-stage rocket lifted off from Naro Space Center in South Jeolla Province's Goheung County at 1700 h local time in an event that was also attended by South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

The president referred to the development as an “excellent accomplishment for a first launch”, despite the mixed results. “It's not long before we'll be able to launch it exactly into the target trajectory,” said Moon in a speech broadcast on national TV, adding that “the ‘Korea Space Age' is approaching”.

Minister of Science and Technology Lim Hey-sook stated that, while the launch was somewhat disappointing, it is significant as it was “the first test of a launch vehicle independently developed in [South] Korea”. It was meaningful to confirm that “all major launch steps were carried out and [that the country] has secured this core technology”, he added.


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Babcock finishes selling Frazer-Nash Consultancy to KBR

by Marc Selinger

UK-based Babcock International Group has completed the previously announced sale of its Frazer-Nash Consultancy to fellow engineering company KBR for approximately GBP293 million (USD404.2 million), Babcock said on 21 October.

Babcock first disclosed the transaction in August, saying the divestiture would help reduce its debt. Meanwhile, US-based KBR will expand its international advisory capabilities by obtaining Frazer-Nash, which operates mainly in the UK and Australia.

Frazer-Nash serves government and industry customers in defence and other sectors. Its defence engineering expertise spans areas such as air, land, and naval systems; command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance; space defence; and weapons.

Besides providing the divestiture update, Babcock said its financial performance for the first half of fiscal year 2022 was in line with its expectations, as the company generated revenue of GBP2.2 billion and underlying operating profit of GBP115 million. Babcock plans to release more details about its first-half results on 7 December.


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UK Typhoon fleet to get new networked simulators in 2022

by Tim Ripley

UK Eurofighter Typhoon pilots can begin using a new networked simulator system at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire from next August, as part of the first stage in a transformation of the Royal Air Force's (RAF's) approach to simulation and training.

The first of 10 new Typhoon simulators are slated to be up and running as part of a GBP220 million Typhoon Future Synthetic Training (TFST) programme being led by BAE Systems Air Sector.

Jez Milne, the company's head of Operational Training Delivery, told Janes in October that the new simulators would be an important part of the RAF's drive to migrate to an 80% synthetic, 20% live training mix.

The RAF's ambition is for the TFST sites at RAF Coningsby and RAF Lossiemouth to feed into the service's Gladiator simulation network to enable personnel operating simulators representing different aircraft types, at different locations, to carry out joint training over secure communications links. TFST will be the first component to link into the Gladiator network, which is also known as the Defence Operational Training Capability (Air) (DOTC(A)).


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https://www.janes.com/defence-news/c4isr-command-tech/latest/socom-seeks-low-swap-esa-for-improved-satcom-capability

The US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) is pursuing a requirement to field electronically steera...

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