Australia's hypersonic UAV project to boost advanced materials

by Akhil Kadidal

The Australian government has awarded a multimillion-dollar grant for the development of the DART CMP hypersonic unmanned aerial vehicle. (Hypersonix Launch Systems)

The Australian government has awarded a multimillion-dollar grant to a reusable hypersonic unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) project. The grant is expected to boost the development of high-temperature composites, which the country lacks.

The federal government made the announcement of a AUD2.95 million (USD 2.21 million) Cooperative Research Centres Projects (CRC-P) grant for the DART Composite (CMP) airframe on 29 March.

This reusable hypersonic platform is being developed by Hypersonix Launch Systems, together with the University of Southern Queensland, LSM Advanced Composites, and New South Wales-based Romar Engineering.

Hypersonix said in a statement that deliverables comprise a complete UAV airframe, including composite aeroshell and aerodynamic control surfaces, flight avionics, and a hydrogen fuel system.

Powered by a SPARTAN hydrogen-fuelled scramjet engine, the UAV can travel at hypersonic speeds up to Mach 12, according to Hypersonix. The company told Janes that the three-dimensional (3D)-printed scramjet engine was made ready in December 2021.

The engine is described as a fifth-generation, zero-emission, clean hydrogen scramjet engine.


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India's Light Combat Helicopter inducted into service

by Akhil Kadidal

Senior defence officials and officers inducted the HAL Light Combat Helicopter Prachanda into service on 3 October 2022. From left: Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari (chief of Air Staff), Air Marshal Vikram Singh (air officer commanding-in-chief of South Western Air Command), Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and Chief of Defence Staff General Anil Chauhan. (Janes/Akhil Kadidal)

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has inducted the first production units of the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the air force.

The attack helicopter was inducted into service with the official name of ‘Prachanda' by India's Defence Minister Rajnath Singh at Jodhpur Air Force Station on 3 October. The IAF said it has raised a new unit to operate the helicopters. This unit, known as No 143 Helicopter Unit (HU), was raised on 1 June 2022, according to the IAF.

The IAF added that the first LCH was handed over to the unit on 18 July 2022. The first LCH subsequently arrived at Jodhpur Air Force Station on 3 September.


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Update: NIOA to deliver first phase of Australia's Lethality System project

by Jon Grevatt

Accuracy International's AXSR has been selected to fulfil the ADF's requirement for a long-range sniper rifle. The Australian DoD said the rifle will be introduced into ADF service as a multicalibre system capable of delivering in .338 Lapua Magnum, .300 Norma Magnum, and 7.62 mm NATO calibres. (Commonwealth of Australia)

The Australian government has signed an agreement with Queensland-based firm NIOA for the supply of a range of weapons and equipment to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) as part of its Lethality System project (Land 159).

The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) said on 30 September that under the deal, which is worth more than AUD500 million (USD323 million), NIOA will engage with subcontractors to supply new sniper rifles, pistols, munitions, shotguns, personal defence weapons, fighting knives, and an assault breaching system to the ADF.

The contract – tranche one of the Land 159 programme – will run between 2023 and the mid-2020s, said the DoD. In the project, prime contractor NIOA will partner with local and international suppliers on the acquisition, integration, delivery, and support of the new systems.


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Land Forces 2022: Kongsberg, Thales launch StrikeMaster

by Julian Kerr

The StrikeMaster marries two NSMs and their launch missile modules with an armoured single-cab version of the Bushmaster military vehicle. (Julian Kerr)

A new land-based maritime strike capability centred on Norway's Naval Strike Missile (NSM) was launched by Kongsberg Australia and Thales Australia at the Land Forces 2022 exhibition in Brisbane on 4 October.

The new StrikeMaster system involves two NSMs and their launch missile modules mounted on an armoured single-cab utility version of Thales Australia's Bushmaster protected mobility vehicle. The NSM has a range of more than 250 km.

According to Thales, the marriage of the NSMs and the Bushmaster would provide the Australian Defence Force (ADF) with a potent, disruptive, and proven land-based maritime deterrent.

The Australian Army is reportedly considering a fleet of StrikeMaster systems to meet its need for a deployable land-based anti-ship system.

Project Land 4100 Phase 2 is listed in the country's 2020 Force Structure Plan with an anticipated cost of up to AUD500 million (USD323.4 million) and an indicative delivery date of 2024.


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The Australian government has awarded a multimillion-dollar grant to a reusable hypersonic unmanned ...

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