Brazilian Army mulls loitering munitions and armed UAVs

by Victor Barreira

The Brazilian Army uses the hand-launched FT-100 fixed-wing ISTAR tactical UAV for different applications. (FT SISTEMAS S/A)

The Brazilian Army is seeking to adopt unmanned combat tactical effectors such as loitering munitions and armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The army is conducting preliminary studies that are expected to culminate with the publication of requirements for such systems over the next few years, Lieutenant Colonel Leonardo Gomes Saraiva, Army High-Staff supervisor of the Subprogram Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (SPrg SARP), told Janes .

Acquiring loitering munitions is planned for the short term, while the Category 0, 1, 2, or 4 armed UAVs with beyond visual line-of-sight (BVLOS) capability are to be procured in a short to medium term.

The SPrg SARP, part of the Army Strategic Program Obtaining Full Operational Capability (Prg EE OCOP), is aimed at acquiring unmanned systems for roles such as intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR); electronic signals intelligence (ELINT); communications intelligence; logistics, fire support and command-and-control, and to support the Brazilian Defence Technological and Industrial Base. Final administrative activities to formally establish the SPrg SARP will occur in 2022, Lt Coronel Saraiva said.

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Thales Alenia Space to build two SDS satellites for Intelsat

by Olivia Savage

Thales Alenia Space has been contracted to deliver two Space Inspire software-defined satellites. (Thales Alenia Space )

Intelsat has contracted Thales Alenia Space – a joint venture between Thales and Leonardo – for the production of two software-defined satellites (SDSs).

The satellites, IS-41 and IS-44, will be based on the Space Inspire product line and are scheduled to be in service by 2025.

SDSs are more flexible than traditional types of satellites as they enable the user to reconfigure and reprogram on demand and in orbit. More traditional types are commonly launched for a single purpose and although they can be upgraded, this often takes longer to implement.

Instelsat general manager Dave Micha told Janes , “We're at the forefront of the move to SDS, which will allow us to design beams of different shapes and sizes and reconfigure coverage plans on-the-fly. For example, satellite beams could track particular planes or ships and dynamically allocate capacity precisely where it's needed.”

Thales Alenia Space said its Space Inspire satellites provide seamless telecommunications mission and services reconfigurations and immediate in-orbit alterations to broadband connectivity.

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Taiwan loses one F-16V in a crash

by Alessandra Giovanzanti

A Republic of China Air Force (RoCAF) F-16V single-seat fighter aircraft crashed into the sea during a routine training sortie on 11 January, the Ministry of National Defence (MND) in Taipei said.

The aircraft (serial number 6650), which departed from Chiayi airbase around 1455 h local time, went missing from radar screens at about 1523 h local time over the sea, west of the airbase. The MND said that radar and communications contact was lost with the aircraft shortly after take-off.

It was later confirmed that the aircraft crashed into the sea. At the time of writing, the pilot was still missing. The RoCAF Command said it has established a response centre to carry out search and rescue (SAR) operations.

Meanwhile, all F-16 training operations have been suspended, the RoCAF said, with Air Force Major General Liu Hui-chien saying during a press conference that safety checks will be conducted on the entire fleet.

The aircraft is one of the recently upgraded F-16A to V standard and part of the recently commissioned first F-16V squadron assigned to the 4th Tactical Fighter Wing in November 2021.

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Dassault aircraft deliveries rise

by Marc Selinger

A Dassault Rafale armed with MBDA missiles. (Dassault Aviation)

Dassault Aviation delivered 55 airplanes in 2021, up from 47 the year before, the French aerospace manufacturer announced on 6 January.

Dassault provided 25 Rafale multirole fighters to export customers in 2021, which met expectations and was up from 13 the previous year. The company also delivered 30 Falcon business jets, up five from an earlier forecast but down four from the previous year.

Dassault received orders for 49 Rafales and 51 Falcons in 2021, up from zero and 15, respectively, from the year before. The company attributed its low 2020 order intake to economic uncertainty and travel restrictions spurred by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The 2021 Rafale order figure consisted of 37 aircraft for export and 12 for France. The United Arab Emirates' signing of a contract in December 2021 to buy 80 Rafales is not included. Dassault gave no reason for the omission.

Dassault's backlog stood at 86 Rafales and 55 Falcons at the end of 2021, up from 62 Rafales and 34 Falcons a year earlier.

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