Comtech eyes new partnerships to fill capability gaps

by Marc Selinger

Comtech's products include the Modular Transportable Transmission System (MTTS), which enables beyond-line-of-sight communications. (Comtech)

Comtech Telecommunications Corporation is forming “strategic relationships” with six companies to fill gaps in its capabilities and improve its offering, according to the chief executive of the US-based communications equipment provider.

Comtech has agreed to the terms for two of the partnerships and is drafting paperwork for the other four, the company's chairman, president, and CEO Ken Peterman told Janes on 20 January. The partners will provide technology such as artificial intelligence and data analytics.

Comtech is gearing up to disclose the names of the partners. “You're going to see press releases on those relationships over the next 45 or so days,” Peterman said.

Peterman, who became CEO in August 2022, is also pushing his company to integrate its past acquisitions more tightly so it can offer “more comprehensive solutions” to customers. “Instead of just boxes, we can offer systems and services both in the satellite and the terrestrial networking market,” he said. Comtech's acquisitions include TeleCommunication Systems (TCS) in 2016, CGC Technology in 2020, and UHP Networks in 2021.

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US backtracks on M1A2 tanks, sending older variant to Ukraine

by Meredith Roaten

After months of deliberations, top US Army officials have decided that sending the M1A1 Abrams tank to Ukraine is faster than sending the M1A2 as originally planned. (US Marine Corps)

The Pentagon announced on 21 March that the 31 Abrams main battle tanks (MBTs) promised to Ukraine will not be M1A2 model as initially planned.

In order to get platforms to Ukraine faster, the US will pull 31 M1A1 tanks from US Army stocks and spruce them up for battle, said Pentagon Press Secretary Brigadier General Pat Ryder on 21 March. The variant change will “significantly expedite delivery timelines” and will ensure that the tanks will arrive by “the fall timeframe”.

The funding for the assistance to Kyiv will come from Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), which will enable the Pentagon to pay General Dynamics to modify the M1 tank hulls.

Scott Taylor, director of US business development at General Dynamics Land Systems, told Janes that the tanks will be refurbished according to the US Army's 10-20 mission capable standards.

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Update – DSEI Japan 2023: Aeralis, ShinMaywa sign contract to collaborate on digital engineering

by Oishee Majumdar

The latest concept art of the Aeralis modular aircraft, released to mark the signing of a contract with ShinMaywa at DSEI Japan 2023. (Aeralis)

The UK-based Aeralis signed a contract with Japanese company ShinMaywa to collaborate on the implementation of digital engineering processes for military aircraft design and manufacturing in Japan.

Using digital engineering, the UK firm has developed the Aeralis modular aircraft system that can perform a range of training and operational tasks, the company's business development director Richard Eastment told Janes at DSEI Japan 2023, held in Chiba from 15 to 17 March.

One modular aircraft such as the Aeralis, instead of different kinds of aircraft with their own supply chain and simulators, can reduce costs, training time, as well as design and certification time for the acquisition of newer variants of the aircraft because all variants will share 85% common parts, he said.

The Japanese Ministry of Defence (MoD) is highly interested in digital engineering because of its partnership with the UK and Italy on the Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP). Digital engineering can be used to bridge the physical distance between the partners during this development, he added.

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CENTCOM commander warns of growing Chinese arms exports

by Jeremy Binnie

An Iranian sailor looks at the Chinese destroyer Nanning during an exercise in March that also involved the Russian frigate Admiral Gorshkov . Nanning also visited Abu Dhabi during the IDEX defence show in February. (Mehr News Agency)

US Central Command (CENTCOM) commander General Michael Kurilla repeatedly warned that China has significantly increased its defence exports to countries in his area of responsibility (AOR) when he testified to the Senate Armed Services committee on 16 March.

Gen Kurilla said Chinese defence exports to his AOR have increased 80% over the last 10 years as US defence exports decreased 30%.

CENTCOM AOR includes the former Soviet republics of Central Asia as well as Southwest Asia and Egypt. Gen Kurilla indicated that Arab militaries in the Gulf region are now turning to Beijing for air-defence systems when he said Chinese equipment cannot be part of the integrated air and missile defence network CENTCOM is trying to build with local partners to counter Iranian missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

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