Japan working on F-X fighter jet programme amid pending deal with UK on FCAS
04 August 2022
by Akhil Kadidal
Japan is seeking to improve its technology base before a potential deal is signed at the end of 2022 to merge the F-X and Tempest sixth-generation fighter programmes. (BAE Systems)
As momentum builds on a potential merger of the UK's Future Combat Air System (FCAS) and Japan's F-X fighter jet programmes, eight Japanese industries are deepening their involvement in developing systems and structures of the future fighter aircraft.
Officially, the UK and Japan are said to be discussing the scope of F-X/FCAS collaboration towards the year-end agreement.
In the interim, Japan's Ministry of Defense (MoD) is seeking greater indigenous expertise for the development of F-X fighter-related technology. This is being driven by the fact that Japan's last industrial involvement in a fighter development project (the Mitsubishi F-2) was 27 years ago.
“The situation surrounding the manufacturing industry has drastically changed,” Japan's Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA) of the MoD told
. “While digital transformation has been promoted in the manufacturing industry, Japanese defence-related industries have not yet reached that point at this moment.”
Details emerge on mesh hybrid networking system for EU's UGV programme
12 August 2022
by Alexander Stronell
Three THeMIS UGVs pictured during iMUGS testing in Belgium in June 2022. (Janes/Alexander Stronell)
Details on the mesh communications system in development as part of the Integrated Modular Unmanned Ground System (iMUGS) programme, the European Defence Fund's (EDF) project for a common unmanned ground vehicle (UGV), have been revealed to Janes.
Speaking to Janes, an industry source familiar with the iMUGS communications effort provided details on the objectives and testing of the hybrid networking system.
The iMUGS sub-project for a mesh communications system is being undertaken by Finnish telecommunications company Bittium, part of the consortium of companies led by Estonia's Milrem Robotics.
“We are developing communications, which is based on mesh technology and which allows all the vehicles, the troops … [to be] part of one big network, and all the traffic is based on IP [internet protocol traffic],” the source told Janes. “There's no predefined structure, so you can add vehicles or nodes, and you can remove [them],” he added.
With several design changes and potentially a new engine, the AR-500CJ (depicted at the top) appears to be larger than the AR-500C variant, which first flew in 2020. However, AVIC has not disclosed the dimensions of the AR-500CJ. (Janes)
China has claimed the successful test-flying of a new vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) intended for service aboard the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy's larger surface vessels. This includes aircraft carriers.
In an announcement on its official blog on 10 August, the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) said that its AR-500CJ unmanned helicopter had made its first flight at Poyang in Jiangxi province.
The aircraft was developed by the company's China Helicopter Research and Development Institute (CHRDI). According to AVIC, the AR-500CJ is a “comprehensive improvement” over the earlier lightweight AR-500B shipborne UAV developed by the company.
RAF continues roll-out of A400M capabilities with first operational aerial refuelling
11 August 2022
by Gareth Jennings
The view of the A400M receiver aircraft from the Voyager mission controller console. (Crown Copyright)
The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) is continuing the process of rolling out the capabilities of the Airbus A400M C1 Atlas, announcing on 11 August the first operational aerial refuelling of the airlifter.
For the milestone, an A400M received fuel from an Airbus Voyager KC3 tanker via the centreline hose reserved for large aircraft receivers. The airlifter was refuelled 900 n miles southwest of Ascension Island, extending its 4,100 n miles range to accommodate the remaining 2,600 n miles to Mount Pleasant Airfield on the Falkland Islands.
“The execution of long-range air-to-air refuelling by front-line crews is a major milestone for Atlas. The ability of this aircraft to operate at significant range from the UK, demonstrates our enhanced and resilient force sustainment capabilities,” said Wing Commander Stuart Patton, Officer Commanding 30 Squadron.
In this episode of The World of Intelligence we speak with Neil Spencer on the value of OSINT in the commercial sector.
Neil Spencer is the Director of Strategy and Partnerships for LifeRaft. He has more than twenty years of security indust...