US-hosted summit highlights national security implications of climate change

by Christopher Hawkins

The United States Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Avril Haines told the White House-hosted Leaders Summit on Climate on 22 April that climate change “must be at the centre of a country’s national security and foreign policy”. Haines said climate change “needs to be fully integrated with every aspect of our analysis in order to allow us not only to monitor the threat but also critically think to ensure that policymakers understand the implication of climate change on seemingly unrelated policies”.

Notably, the summit included a specific session during which Haines, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, and the ministers of defence from Iraq, Japan, Kenya, Spain, and the United Kingdom spoke on the impact climate change has on security. During his remarks, Austin stated that climate change represented an “existential” threat to national security and was a “profoundly destabilising force for our world”.

Firefighters tackle a fire in vegetation in Silverado, California, on 3 December 2020. Climate change is increasing in prevalence in national security and intelligence assessments.  (Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

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General Atomics XQ-67A Off-Board Sensing Station conducts first flight

by Zach Rosenberg

The XQ-67A in flight (location unknown). (GA-ASI)

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) has flown the XQ-67A unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for the first time, the company announced on 29 February.

“Flight demonstration of this system is a major first step towards showing the ability to produce affordable combat mass,” said Trenton White, Air Force Research Laboratory's (AFRL's) Off-Board Sensing Station (OBSS) programme manager, in a statement announcing the flight.

The flight took place on 28 February at GA-ASI's Gray Butte Flight Operations Facility, outside Palmdale, California.

It comes a year after the AFRL selected GA-ASI to build the XQ-67A under the OBSS programme, intended to result in a UAV that could fly ahead of manned aircraft and pass data back, effectively extending their ability to detect and track targets.

“OBSS is the first aircraft type built and flown using a common core chassis developed by GA-ASI that promotes commonality across multiple vehicle types,” said Michael Atwood, GA-ASI vice-president of advanced programmes.

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IMH 2024: Leonardo, Bell to explore tiltrotor options for NGRC next-gen rotorcraft

by Gareth Jennings

Leonardo and Bell are to leverage their respective AW609 (pictured) and V-22/V-280 tiltrotors for the NATO NGRC programme. (Leonardo)

Leonardo and Bell signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on 29 February geared at evaluating tiltrotor options for the NATO Next Generation Rotorcraft Capability (NGRC) programme.

The European and US companies will pool their combined tiltrotor knowledge on the AW609 and V-22 Osprey/V-280 Valor respectively, as they look to secure the fifth concept study of the NGRC effort to develop the next generation of rotorcraft for 2035 and beyond. Leonardo will take the lead for the effort, with Bell acting in support.

The NGRC programme sees European NATO members France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, and the UK (with Canada now an observer country and set to join soon, while the US and Spain are observer countries) developing a new medium-lift rotorcraft to replace more than 900 medium platforms that will reach the end of their life cycles in the 2035–40 timeframe. With a required cruise speed of 220 kt, speed is the defining objective of this NGRC effort.

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Lockheed Martin delivers first KC-130J for Germany

by Gareth Jennings

The first KC-130J for the Luftwaffe departs the Marietta production facility in the US, bound for the joint Franco-German C-130 squadron in France. (Lockheed Martin)

The first Lockheed Martin KC-130J tanker-transport aircraft for the Luftwaffe was delivered to the joint Franco-German C-130 air-transport squadron at Évreux-Fauville Air Base in northern France on 28 February.

The first of three German KC-130Js departed the company's Marietta production facility in Georgia for the ferry flight to France, where it joined three Luftwaffe C-130J-30, two French Air and Space Force (Armee de l'Air et de l'Espace: AAE) KC-130J, and two AAE C-130J-30 aircraft already delivered. The final two Luftwaffe KC-130Js are to be delivered by the end of 2024, for a final joint fleet of five KC-130J and and five C-130J-30 aircraft.

The C-130 air-transport squadron at Évreux-Fauville Air Base in northern France will have unrestricted exchange of aircraft, aircrews, and maintainers, as well as technical and logistical support based on a common pool of spare parts and a common service support contract. “Ten aircraft, two nations, one association – there has never been anything like this in Europe,” the Bundeswehr has previously said.

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The United States Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Avril Haines told the White House-hosted L...

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