Successful flight test of upgraded ASMPA missile paves way for refurbishment
30 March 2022
by Richard Scott
The ASMPA – seen here on the aircraft centreline – is scheduled to remain in service until around 2035. (SirpaAir/French Air Force)
France has approved the mid-life refurbishment of its Air-Sol Moyenne Portée Amélioré (ASMPA) air-launched nuclear missile inventory after a successful second qualification firing.
Announced by France's Direction générale de l'armement (DGA) on 24 March, the firing of the unarmed ASMPA missile was undertaken from a Dassault Rafale combat aircraft operating from Cazaux Air Force Base in southwest France. In its statement, the DGA said that the second successful launch, performed the previous day, makes it possible to start the production of serial missiles.
Constituting the airborne component of France's strategic deterrent, the MBDA-developed ASMPA is a supersonic medium-range ‘pre-strategic' missile equipped with a nuclear payload. The ramjet-powered missile entered service with the air and space force (l'Armée de l'air et de l'espace) in 2009, and with the navy (Marine nationale) the following year.
The ASMPA mid-life refurbishment programme, launched in December 2016, is intended to address obsolescence issues and improve missile performance to maintain the weapon's credibility into the mid-2030s. A first test of the upgraded ASMPA was conducted in December 2020.
US DoD report urges more safeguards for small tech firms
03 February 2023
by Marc Selinger
An aerial view of the Pentagon, the headquarters building for the US Department of Defense. (Getty Images)
The US Department of Defense (DoD) should increase its efforts to help small businesses protect their technology from foreign adversaries, according to the Pentagon's new “Small Business Strategy”.
Many small businesses do not realise that adversaries might try to gain access to their technology through joint ventures, mergers, acquisitions, or cyber espionage, the report says. The document recommends that the DoD offer education and training to make small businesses aware of such threats so they can take steps to counter them.
The 25-page report, which the Pentagon released on 26 January, also suggests that the department explore ways to promote greater domestic investment in small companies to reduce their reliance on overseas capital. The strategy recommends that the DoD create a working group to consider additional measures to help small businesses minimise risks from “foreign ownership, control, or influence (FOCI) operations”.
Raytheon Technologies to merge two defence businesses
25 January 2023
by Marc Selinger
Raytheon Technologies' products include the sea-launched Tomahawk cruise missile. (NAVAIR)
Raytheon Technologies (RTX) plans to streamline its organisation by combining its two defence-focused business units into one, the US-based company announced on 24 January.
Raytheon Intelligence & Space (RIS) and Raytheon Missiles & Defense (RMD) will become a single business called Raytheon. Aircraft parts maker Collins Aerospace and aircraft engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney will remain individual businesses within RTX.
RTX chief operating officer Christopher Calio said that combining RIS and RMD will improve internal collaboration and present a more united front to customers. “We've had customer feedback throughout the last couple of years about the need for us to figure out how to better integrate some of our solutions,” Calio told analysts.
RIS president Roy Azevedo will retire from his role and become an adviser to Calio, who will oversee the reorganisation. RTX plans to implement the merger in the second half of 2023. Asked whether RMD president Wesley Kremer will lead the combined defence business, an RTX spokesperson told
that “no decisions have been made”.
US lawmakers want details on civilian ISR, space-based combat capabilities
18 January 2023
by Carlo Munoz
L3Harris Technologies completed the first flight of the US Army Airborne Reconnaissance and Electronic Warfare System (ARES) aircraft – that will help modernise and enhance the army's ISR capabilities – on 27 August 2021 in Melbourne, Florida. (L3Harris)
US congressional lawmakers are calling upon the US Army and the Pentagon to provide details on how they plan to close mission gaps in high-altitude intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities, as well as develop a new artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled battlefield sensor management system.
Members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense requested US Army Secretary Christine Wormuth to provide details on how the ground service will continue to provide “contractor-owned, contractor-operated” high-altitude ISR capabilities at the US European Command (EUCOM) and the US Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM).
In addition, subcommittee members are demanding a service-led evaluation to identify “the army's gap in ISR capabilities, including for high-[altitude] initiatives”, according to the subcommittee report accompanying the fiscal year (FY) 2023 defence appropriations bill.