India flight-testing new Tejas Mk 1A variant

by Akhil Kadidal & Akshara Parakala

The flight trials of the Mk 1A are largely being conducted in secret as HAL said that the trials are part of the production project. The company said it is keen to adhere to delivery schedules for the Indian Air Force. (Akshara Parakala/Janes)

India has been conducting flight trials of the Mk 1A variant of its domestically developed light combat aircraft (LCA) Tejas.

Speaking to Janes , the manufacturer, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), confirmed that the first Mk 1A entered flight-testing in April. According to a second HAL source, the aircraft under flight-testing is SP25, a Final Operational Clearance (FOC) block aircraft that was manufactured by HAL in 2020.

“This aircraft has been modified to the Mk 1A standard and will serve as the test platform for the production line of Mk 1As,” the HAL source said.

The flight trials have not been made public because HAL said the flights are part of production activities. “We are geared towards ensuring that the aircraft are delivered to the Indian Air Force (IAF) on time and on schedule by 2024,” the HAL source said.


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US Space Force seeks battle-ready microchip prototypes

by Carlo Munoz

The USAF's 45th Space Wing launches an advanced extremely high frequency satellite onboard an Atlas V launch vehicle, which is part of the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle programme. (US Air Force)

Engineers at the US Department of Defense (DoD) and US Space Force (USSF) are looking to develop a new generation of microchips that can withstand the harsh radiation exposure associated with deep-space operations, while also employing cutting-edge micro-electronics (ME) technologies from the military and commercial sectors.

The Advanced Next Generation Strategic Radiation-hardened Memory (ANGSTRM) programme, as designed, will ensure that critical space-based assets – such as military satellites, command-and-control systems for strategic missile systems, and anti-missile warning nodes and systems – will be equipped with “near-commercial state-of-the-art performance … while still meeting the radiation requirements for the space and strategic environments”, USSF programme officials wrote in a 23 January industry solicitation.

While the USSF is the lead organisation conducting the ANGSTRM programme, the effort is one of several testing, development, and prototype technology initiatives being contracted to the industry through the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) via its Space Technology Advanced Research-Fast-tracking Innovative Software and Hardware (STAR-FISH) programme.


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German Army receives Ziesel unmanned ground vehicles for testing

by Alexander Stronell

Ziesel light UGV pictured at the Lehnin training ground near Berlin, in December 2022. (Janes/Alexander Stronell)

The German Army has procured two prototype Ziesel light unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) for testing and evaluation, Janes has learnt.

The German Army received the two systems in December 2022, and will conduct the testing for an undetermined period, according to spokespeople for the German Army and the system's manufacturer, Diehl Defence GmbH.

The Ziesel is a tracked UGV designed for close infantry support in roles including logistics and casualty evacuation (casevac).

Explaining the acquisition process to date, Alexander Wolf, head of Technology Management Unmanned Systems and Systroncis at Diehl Defence GmbH, said, “The German Army were looking at our UGV and autonomy research [in the mid 2010s]. We thought about the kind of terrain on which the German Army might be operating, and it's often the forest. That required a platform somewhat smaller than the THeMIS and the Mission Master.”

The THeMIS and Mission Master medium UGVs are modular vehicles produced by Milrem Robotics and Rheinmetall, respectively. They have proven to be popular acquisitions among Western militaries.


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New sea trials planned for Northrop Grumman EA prototype

by Carlo Munoz

An artist's rendering of the SEWIP Block 3 EA subsystem installed on a DDG-51 destroyer. (Northrop Grumman)

Northrop Grumman is preparing to conduct a new round of sea trials of its prototype electronic attack (EA) system for the US Navy, building upon the lessons learned from the system's last live demonstration carried out during the sea service's Rim of the Pacific' (RIMPAC) exercises in the summer of 2022.

As part of thatramp up to the new sea trials, tentatively scheduled for the end of 2023, company officials are preparing to conduct a series of lab-based test and development demonstrations of the Ultra-Lite EA Prototype System, Mike Meaney, vice-president of land and maritime sensors at Northrop Grumman, told Janes.

The lab-based tests, set to begin in the coming weeks, will evaluate how the new EA prototype platform will be able to integrate into the current ship infrastructure aboard several warships within the navy's fleet.

Specifically, programme officials will virtually disconnect the Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP) Block 3 variant aboard several ship classes in the navy fleet, and swap in the new EA prototype system, Meaney explained during a 19 January interview.


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https://www.janes.com/defence-news/defence/latest/india-flight-testing-new-tejas-mk-1a-variant

India has been conducting flight trials of the Mk 1A variant of its domestically developed light com...

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