France, Spain launch Tiger Mk III upgrade as Germany weighs options
02 March 2022
by Gareth Jennings
France and Spain are moving forward with the Tiger Mk III upgrade, leaving the option for Germany to join at a later date if it so chooses. (Airbus)
France and Spain have launched the Tiger Mk III upgrade, although Germany remains uncommitted as to its inclusion in the project.
Airbus Helicopters announced the milestone on 2 March, saying that the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) signed the agreement with industry on behalf of the two participating nations
“The contract includes the upgrade of 42 aircraft for France (with the possibility to add another 25 helicopters) and 18 for Spain. In addition, the contract provides the possibility for Germany to later join the Tiger Mk III programme,” Airbus said.
The major system upgrades for the Mk III programme include improvements to the mast-mounted electro-optical system; the helmet-mounted sight system; the enhanced vision system; radios; datalinks for manned-unmanned teaming; new air-to-surface and air-to-air missiles, guns, and rockets; improved countermeasures; a new navigation system synchronised to the Galileo GPS; and an updated avionics suite that includes a new tactical data management system and a battlefield management system.
Details emerge on mesh hybrid networking system for EU's UGV programme
12 August 2022
by Alexander Stronell
Three THeMIS UGVs pictured during iMUGS testing in Belgium in June 2022. (Janes/Alexander Stronell)
Details on the mesh communications system in development as part of the Integrated Modular Unmanned Ground System (iMUGS) programme, the European Defence Fund's (EDF) project for a common unmanned ground vehicle (UGV), have been revealed to Janes.
Speaking to Janes, an industry source familiar with the iMUGS communications effort provided details on the objectives and testing of the hybrid networking system.
The iMUGS sub-project for a mesh communications system is being undertaken by Finnish telecommunications company Bittium, part of the consortium of companies led by Estonia's Milrem Robotics.
“We are developing communications, which is based on mesh technology and which allows all the vehicles, the troops … [to be] part of one big network, and all the traffic is based on IP [internet protocol traffic],” the source told Janes. “There's no predefined structure, so you can add vehicles or nodes, and you can remove [them],” he added.
With several design changes and potentially a new engine, the AR-500CJ (depicted at the top) appears to be larger than the AR-500C variant, which first flew in 2020. However, AVIC has not disclosed the dimensions of the AR-500CJ. (Janes)
China has claimed the successful test-flying of a new vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) intended for service aboard the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy's larger surface vessels. This includes aircraft carriers.
In an announcement on its official blog on 10 August, the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) said that its AR-500CJ unmanned helicopter had made its first flight at Poyang in Jiangxi province.
The aircraft was developed by the company's China Helicopter Research and Development Institute (CHRDI). According to AVIC, the AR-500CJ is a “comprehensive improvement” over the earlier lightweight AR-500B shipborne UAV developed by the company.
RAF continues roll-out of A400M capabilities with first operational aerial refuelling
11 August 2022
by Gareth Jennings
The view of the A400M receiver aircraft from the Voyager mission controller console. (Crown Copyright)
The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) is continuing the process of rolling out the capabilities of the Airbus A400M C1 Atlas, announcing on 11 August the first operational aerial refuelling of the airlifter.
For the milestone, an A400M received fuel from an Airbus Voyager KC3 tanker via the centreline hose reserved for large aircraft receivers. The airlifter was refuelled 900 n miles southwest of Ascension Island, extending its 4,100 n miles range to accommodate the remaining 2,600 n miles to Mount Pleasant Airfield on the Falkland Islands.
“The execution of long-range air-to-air refuelling by front-line crews is a major milestone for Atlas. The ability of this aircraft to operate at significant range from the UK, demonstrates our enhanced and resilient force sustainment capabilities,” said Wing Commander Stuart Patton, Officer Commanding 30 Squadron.
In this episode of The World of Intelligence we speak with Neil Spencer on the value of OSINT in the commercial sector.
Neil Spencer is the Director of Strategy and Partnerships for LifeRaft. He has more than twenty years of security indust...