India's TAPAS UAV on path to user evaluation trials

by Akhil Kadidal

HAL is preparing to produce five TAPAS MALE UAVs for user validation trials to start in October 2022. (Janes/Akshara Parakala)

India's Tactical Airborne Platform for Aerial Surveillance (TAPAS) medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have completed a series of flight trials and are moving towards user evaluation trials.

Sources in Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) said that eight prototypes of the TAPAS UAV have been built so far and the platform has completed 143 test flights.

“We are currently in the process of design validation,” an ADE source said. “The final design configuration will be frozen in June or July.”

The source added that flight trials for user validation will likely start in October 2022.

According to HAL, it is prepared to manufacture five UAVs for evaluation by the military. ADE will integrate the first two aircraft. The remaining three UAVs are to be integrated by HAL.

“This is to help HAL acquire expertise in the platform,” the ADE source said, and added that HAL will also be the beneficiary of a transfer of technology for future production of the platform.

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India outlines wheeled AFV acquisition

by Jon Grevatt

Between 2022 and 2031, Janes forecasts that India's military ground vehicle market will be worth about USD37 billion. This includes about USD1 billion allocated to the new wheeled AFV programme. (Janes Markets Forecast)

The Indian Army has detailed requirements supporting its acquisition of a wheeled armoured fighting vehicle (AFV), fitted with anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) capability.

In an ‘acceptance of necessity' (AoN) document issued by the army on 6 July, the service confirmed that the AFVs would be procured from local industry.

The AoN also stated that field trials of wheeled AFVs would start 36 months following the issue of the request for proposal (RFP). It said trials would be undertaken on a ‘no cost, no commitment' basis.

The document did not clarify when the RFP would be issued but said potential suppliers can express interest in obtaining the RFP from the army and government bodies including the Directorate General of Mechanised Infantry and the Department of Defence Production.

The AoN document was issued one month after the Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced that the procurement of “AFVs fitted with ATGMs” had been approved by its Defence Acquisition Council (DAC).

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Aerobotix, ASA partner to develop hypersonic missile coating applications

by Oishee Majumdar

Terahertz or THz (pictured above) is a non-contact measurement tool that is used to analyse or inspect the thickness of paint or coat on an object. Aerobotix and ASA will use this tool to analyse the same of RX-2390 on hypersonic missiles. (Aerobotix)

Robotic coating integrators Automated Solutions Australia (ASA) and Alabama-based Aerobotix have partnered for the “development, testing, and manufacturing of hypersonic missile coating applications”, Josh Tuttle, Aerobotix business development manager, told Janes.

Tuttle told Janes that ASA and Aerobotix will collaborate to design the systems and will build them in the United States. ASA will then be trained to install the automated systems in Australia.

The training is expected to make ASA “fully self-sufficient in operating a system and maintaining it”, Tuttle said.

Aerobotix will co-ordinate with the US State Department “for approval of any technology transfer to ASA”, Tuttle added.

Aerobotix initially plans to share with ASA its “custom hardware configurations to spray RX-2390, a thermal protection system (TPS)” on hypersonic missiles, he said.

Aerobotix secured the distribution rights of Pennsylvania-based Minteq International Inc's Firex RX-2390 TPS coating for hypersonic flight hardware in March.

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Northrop Grumman, Airbus developing prototype satcom capability

by Carlo Munoz

A company rendering of Airbus US Space & Defense's Arrow satellite platform. (Airbus US Space & Defense )

US defence company Northrop Grumman is teaming up with Airbus US Space & Defense to develop prototype satellite communication (satcom) platforms, in support of the US Department of Defense's National Defense Space Architecture (NDSA), according to company officials.

Under the terms of the deal announced on 5 July, Airbus will provide 42 satellites “as well as assembly, integration, and test (AIT); launch; and space vehicle commissioning support services” to Northrop Grumman. The satellites and associated services will support Northrop Grumman's efforts to develop prototype space vehicles and datalink capabilities for NDSA's Transport Layer Tranche 1 (TLT1) variant.

The Airbus satellites will be derivatives of the company's Arrow low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite platform, outfitted with greater power capability and a larger payload accommodation, according to a company statement issued on 5 July. “This modular solution offers a scalable 300–500 kg bus for the Northrop Grumman payload” being developed for TLT1 as well as other future satcom systems being considered by the Space Development Agency (SDA) under the NDSA, company officials said in the statement.

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India's Tactical Airborne Platform for Aerial Surveillance (TAPAS) medium-altitude long-endurance (M...

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