14 March 2023
by Carlo Munoz
A US Space Force radome receives data from satellites at Kaena Point Space Force Station, Hawaii, on 14 September 2022. (US Space Force)
The US Space Force (USSF) is poised to award several contracts to commercial satellite communications (satcom) companies, who will provide proliferated low Earth orbit (LEO) satcom capabilities to US armed forces and allies, the head of the service's commercial satcom office said.
Officials from the USSF's Commercial Satellite Communications Office (CSCO) are in the midst of wrapping up the source selection process from industry offerings submitted for the Proliferated-Low Earth Orbit Commercial Satellite Communications (P-LEO COMSATCOM) services request for proposals (RFP), issued in November 2022.
“We are taking advantage of, you know, this emerging capability that's being provided by companies like SpaceX, OneWeb”, and other emerging companies in the commercial satcom sector, said CSCO Chief Clare Grason. “We received a healthy interest and we are anticipating [contract] awards ... around the May timeframe,” she said during a February briefing on current and future satcom capabilities for the US armed forces.
17 March 2023
by Oishee Majumdar
MHI will deliver at least one unit of its new laser system (pictured), developed to counter hostile UAVs, to the Japanese MoD in December. (Janes/Oishee Majumdar)
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has developed a new laser system to counter unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and a manportable version of its cyber-security solution named Intersept.
Both the systems were displayed by MHI at the DSEI Japan 2023 show being held in Chiba from 15 to 17 March.
Company officials told Janes at the show that the laser system can destroy hostile UAVs within a range of 1.2 km. The company is expected to deliver at least one unit of the laser system to the Japanese Ministry of Defence (MoD) in December, the company officials added.
The company also unveiled a manportable version of Intersept, which can be used to detect targeted cyber attacks on control signals.
According to MHI, Intersept can detect and intercept unauthorised data by monitoring signals. Intersept can be applied without requiring modifications to target systems and monitors the systems without interruption or deterioration in performance.
15 March 2023
by Marc Selinger
The US and Japan co-produce the Standard Missile-3 Block IIA ballistic missile interceptor. (US Missile Defense Agency)
William LaPlante, US undersecretary of defence for acquisition and sustainment, said on 14 March that he would like to see the US and its allies co-produce more weapon systems to speed up the availability of high-demand equipment.
Noting that US-based Raytheon Technologies and Japanese industry co-produce the Standard Missile-3 Block IIA ballistic missile interceptor, LaPlante said a similar arrangement could be established with Europe for missile defence systems, which have generated increased interest because of Russia's missile attacks on Ukraine.
“We need much more of those [arrangements], where parts are produced here and there,” LaPlante told the Ronald Reagan Institute's National Security Innovation Base Summit in Washington, DC. “Europe wants to do it. The Germans want to do it. I think now is a golden opportunity.”
LaPlante acknowledged that increasing co-production would require the US Department of Defense (DoD) to address concerns about exporting sensitive information.
14 March 2023
by Zach Rosenberg
USAF MQ-9 Reaper in Afghanistan. The Reaper is equipped with what is believed to be the ‘Gorgon Stare' wide-area airborne surveillance system (WAASS). The MQ-9 downed in the Black Sea may have been equipped with a similar system. (United States Air Force)
A US Air Force (USAF) General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) crashed into the Black Sea on 14 March, following what the Pentagon said was an aerial collision with a Russian Sukhoi Su-27 fighter.
The collision occurred at 07:03 Central European Time when one of two Su-27s that intercepted the UAV struck its rear-mounted propeller, “causing US forces to have to bring the MQ-9 down in international waters“, according to a statement by US European Command.
“Our MQ-9 aircraft was conducting routine operations in international airspace when it was intercepted and hit by a Russian aircraft, resulting in a crash and complete loss of the MQ-9,” said US Air Forces Europe commander General James Hecker. “In fact, this unsafe and unprofessional act by the Russians nearly caused both aircraft to crash.”
The US Space Force (USSF) is poised to award several contracts to commercial satellite communication...
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