Netherlands begins populating second F-35 squadron

by Gareth Jennings

The last of 24 F-35As arriving at Leeuwarden Air Base on 12 January. At the same time, the first aircraft began arriving at Volkel Air Base as the Royal Netherlands Air Force began the process of populating its second F-35 location and unit. (Royal Netherlands Air Force)

The Netherlands has begun populating its second unit for operating the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), with the news that the first aircraft had arrived at Volkel Air Base.

The Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) announced on 12 January that, with the last of 24 F-35As now delivered to 322 Squadron at Leeuwarden Air Base, the first aircraft for 313 Squadron have now begun arriving at Volkel Air Base also.

The RNLAF is to procure at least 46 F-35As (of which 37 are on order) to replace its fleet of Lockheed Martin F-16AM/BM Fighting Falcons. In October 2019 the Dutch Ministry of Defence announced it would stand up a third operating squadron for the F-35A, although it did not give its planned location.


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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 Netherlands has begun populating its second unit for operating the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightni...

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