Australian Army launches aviation command

by Jon Grevatt

Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, are pictured disembarking from a CH-47F Chinook attached to the 5th Aviation Regiment. On 2 December the Australian Army established a new Aviation Command Unit. (Commonwealth of Australia)

The Australian Army launched on 2 December a command unit to optimise its aviation assets and support improved co-ordination across the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Rick Burr, said at a ceremony in Canberra that the new Army Aviation Command will enhance the service's resilience and adaptability, and ensure its training systems are “agile and contemporary”.

He added, “The alignment of army's aviation capability, under its own command, optimises army aviation to better support land, amphibious, and special operations.”

The new unit will be supported by the 16th Aviation Brigade and Army Aviation Training Centre, which join the unit from the Army Forces Command. The new command also includes the assets of the Australian Army Aviation Corps.

The unit will be commanded by Major General Stephen Jobson. He said changes to the army's aviation command-and-control structure will “simplify the management of [its] helicopters”.


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Japan's ATLA progresses railgun project

by Parth Shukla

ATLA has confirmed that the EM railgun achieved 2,297 m/s projectile speed during recent trials. (ATLA)

Japan is developing electromagnetic (EM) railguns to counter emerging threats including hypersonic weapons.

A spokesperson from Japan's Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA) told Janes on 19 January that a study to develop the capability is expected to accelerate in 2022.

“Since financial year 2016 we have studied the underlying technologies of railguns. In the studies we have worked on increasing launch velocity and establishing material technologies for the rails, which have high current endurance characteristics,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson added that ATLA will launch studies of future railguns in 2022. These studies will aim to establish entire technologies necessary for early practical use for missile defence and anti-ship operations. The studies aim to achieve a high rate-of-fire and projectile flight stability for the railguns, said the spokesperson.

Janes has previously reported on a video shared by ATLA in July 2018, which showcased a small-calibre developmental EM railgun along with related support and test equipment.


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US Space Force eyes hybrid satcom architecture

by Carlo Munoz

A United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket lifts-off from Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral, Florida with the US Air Force's Wideband Global SATCOM system. (ULA)

Members of the US Space Force's (USSF) combat requirements office are weighing options for the development of a hybrid, space-based satellite communications (satcom) architecture, as the US Air Force's (USAF's) premier research directorate is standing up a similar architecture for extra-terrestrial intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations.

The notion of a hybrid satcom architecture is akin to how cellular data is transmitted during voice and video calls, as well as other means of electronic communication. A cellular signal can ping across any number of cellular provider networks and infrastructure, transmitting on to one network, then leapfrogging across other networks until the data reaches its destination. In terms of satcom, under a hybrid approach, data transmission can be initiated through a network at geosynchronous orbit (GEO), then jump onto a satcom network at medium-Earth orbit (MEO) or low-Earth orbit (LEO) – and potentially back up the orbital satcom chain – until the data transmission reaches the receiver.


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UK notes ‘considerable interest' in soon-to-be-surplus Hercules airlifters

by Gareth Jennings

With the UK set to retire its remaining 14 Hercules airlifters on 31 March 2023, the MoD told Janes that considerable interest has been received in the fleet form a wide range of parties. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

The United Kingdom has received “considerable interest” in its fleet of soon-to-be-retired Lockheed Martin C-130J/C-130J-30 Hercules airlifters.

A Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesperson told Janes on 19 January that the sales campaign being run for the Royal Air Force's (RAF's) one remaining short-bodied C-130J C5 and 13 long-bodied C-130J-30 C4 variant Hercules airlifters has attracted a wide range of potential buyers.

“The situation on C-130J sales is that [the Defence Equipment Sales Authority] DESA continues to lead on a very active sales campaign with considerable interest being expressed by a wide range of interested parties,” the MoD said.


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The Australian Army launched on 2 December a command unit to optimise its aviation assets and suppor...

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