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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India seeks SWIFT aerial target for navy, army

by Robin Hughes

The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has issued a request for information for the prospective procurement of an indigenously developed, remotely piloted aerial target system capable of simulating supersonic sea-skimming anti-ship/cruise missile threats for the Indian Navy and the Indian Army.

Nominally designated ‘Supersonic Weapon Imitating Flying Target' (SWIFT), the system is required to be launched from both maritime surface platforms and land-based launchers.

In a questionnaire format document seen by Janes , the Indian MoD noted: “The Supersonic Weapon Imitating Flying Target is intended to simulate a supersonic anti-ship missile and would be utilised for practice firings of air-defence systems in the Indian Navy and Indian Army. The target should be capable of being launched from both sea and land from suitably modified Expendable Aerial Targets. The target should be expendable in nature, but should be recoverable for reuse in case it is not expended in flight. The trajectory of the target should be programmable to replicate trajectories of missiles, including sea-skimming missiles.”


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Daher to buy Triumph aerostructures plant

by Marc Selinger

Triumph Group's factory in Stuart, Florida, makes aircraft structures. (Courtesy of Daher)

French aviation company Daher plans to expand its presence in the United States by acquiring Triumph Group's aircraft structures factory in Stuart, Florida, the buyer and the seller both announced on 2 February.

The Stuart site assembles wing and fuselage structures and serves several kinds of aircraft, including the Boeing KC-46 military tanker. It employs about 400 people.

When the transaction closes, Triumph will have completed a long-planned exit from structures manufacturing, as it seeks to focus on the more profitable role of providing systems and aftermarket services. Stuart is the 16th non-core business Triumph will have divested since 2016.

The Stuart deal is expected to close in the first half of 2022 after clearing regulatory reviews. Financial terms were not disclosed.

North America is key to Daher's growth strategy. In 2019, Daher acquired Idaho-based Quest Aircraft Company, whose Kodiak 100 turboprop is flown by a wide range of customers, including the armed forces.


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First-production Triton at IFC-4 standard delivered to USN

by Richard Scott

The first IFC-4 standard Triton for the US Navy. (Northrop Grumman)

The US Navy (USN) has taken delivery of the first Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system (UAS) configured to Integrated Functional Capability 4 (IFC-4) standard.

Aircraft B8 was delivered to Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Maryland, on 1 February. IFC-4 supports a so-called Multi-Intelligence (Multi-INT) configuration that endows the MQ-4C with a signals intelligence (SIGINT) capability.

An integral element of the USN's plan to recapitalise its maritime patrol and reconnaissance force, the MQ-4C Triton high-altitude, long-endurance UAS has been designed to provide a persistent maritime and littoral intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) data collection and dissemination capability to the fleet, and to shorten the sensor-to-shooter kill-chain. The MQ-4C is characterised as a maritime ISR ‘system of systems' comprising the air vehicle itself (a marinised adaptation of the high-altitude, long-endurance RQ-4B Global Hawk), a multisensor mission payload (maritime radar, electro-optical/infrared, electronic support measures, Automatic Identification System (AIS), and basic communications relay), and supporting ground control stations.


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Intelsat has contracted Thales Alenia Space – a joint venture between Thales and Leonardo – for the ...

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