Thailand seeks full squadron of F-35s by 2034

by Akhil Kadidal

The Royal Thai Air Force has sent a letter to the US government asking for the procurement of Lockheed Martin F-35A fifth-generation fighters. Acquisition of the aircraft could prompt the RTAF to retire old fighter types in service, such as Northrop F-5s and Lockheed Martin F-16A/Bs. (US Air Force/Captain Kip Sumner)

Thailand has expressed an interest in having at least 12 Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters in service by 2034.

A source in the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) has told Janes that these numbers include an initial batch of two F-35As that the RTAF is hoping to acquire between 2026 and 2027. The source added that the RTAF has sent a letter to the US government asking for the procurement of this initial batch. “The letter was sent in September 2021,” the source said.

Janes has learnt that the potential procurement has been divided into three phases. During Phase 2 of the acquisition, the RTAF said it seeks to acquire four F-35s. The RTAF hopes to acquire the final batch of six F-35s by 2032.


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India test-flies Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle

by Kapil Kajal

The HSTDV, seen here from a test in September 2020, uses an Agni-1 short-range ballistic missile as the solid rocket booster to place the vehicle into the altitude needed to ensure the operation of the scramjet. (DRDO)

India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has conducted a flight test of the Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV).

A DRDO official confirmed with Janes that the test was conducted from APJ Abdul Kalam Island off the northeastern coast of Odisha. However, the DRDO did not confirm the test results. It said it is assessing the test data and will share the results soon.

The HSTDV was tested for the third time with the current test. The first test flight of the HSTDV took place in June 2019. An Agni-1 short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) was used as the solid rocket booster to place the HSTDV into the altitude needed to ensure the operation of the scramjet.


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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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Thailand has expressed an interest in having at least 12 Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint St...

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