Global Aviator - September 2020

September 2020 -Vol 12/No 9


The fight is on!

Setting a satellite DOUBLE DELIVERY Jetfly accepts 5th PC-24 and 1st PC-12 NGX to catch a satellite

Does travel have a future post Corona virus? Rostec demonstrates TOS-1A capabilities

• Bombardier sees bizjet delivery drop • WHY FLYING? • Surviving a helicopter ditching • ’Skyfall’ missile with unlimited range: A Doomsday Weapon? •  PJ Aviation Extends its range of VHF ground stations

• Honeywell gets TSO approval for RDR-7000 Wx Radar • Future combat air continues to drive economic advance across the UK • Virgin gives first look at supersonic jet project • The Mavic 2


The world’s first Super Versatile Jet takes off! The PC-24 cockpit has been designed with state-of- the-art avionics technology specifically to reduce workload and improve safety while providing full situational awareness at any time. Put simply, it’s the perfect combination of single-pilot operation and state-of-the-art avionics technology. Fasten your excitement, then your seat belt and fly PC-24 – contact us now!

Contact Pilatus PC-12 Centre Southern Africa, your nearest Authorised Pilatus PC-24 Sales Centre for further information on Tel: +27 11 383 0800, Cell +27 82 511 7312 or Email:


PO Box 72416, Parkview, 2122 Johannesburg, South Africa 33 Bovoney Road, Barbeque Downs, Midrand 1684 Tel: +27 (0)11 701 5058

Publisher/Editor: Mike de Villiers

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Travel Editor:

Charmaine de Villiers (SA), Cesaré de Villiers (SA), Mike Wright (SA), Dr Guy Gratton (UK), Richard Browne (SA), Helen Krasner (UK), Dirk de Ridder, (EU), Jurijs Tarasenko (RU), Remco Stalenhoef, Rabin Rabec (SA), Marc van Sittert (EU), Paul Kuit and Paul Kievit (EU), Mike Green (UK), KP Kumar (India), Martin Chemhere (Zim), Trevor Cohen (SA)


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16  MILITARY NEWS 30 AIRLINE NEWS 36  FlightSafety International News 38  Israel Aerospace Industries successfully completes replacement of the Pickle Fork Frame fittings for a B737-800 aircraft 44  AVIONICS NEWS 48  BUSINESS JET NEWS 70 NEW PRODUCT NEWS 78  AVIONICS NEWS BOOK OF THE MONTH 74 NERVES OF STEEL FEATURES 8 Does travel have a future post Coronavirus? 10 Virgin Galactic reveals SpaceshipTwo cabin interior

Cover: Pilatus Aircraft Limited

24  The return of the Coupe Comète: THE FIGHT IS ON! 32  Virgin gives first look at supersonic jet project 34 Covid-19 secure 40 The Mavic 2 46  Pilatus kicks off flight tests for KSA's Aeromed PC-24s 54 EGYPT VISITED 66 Surviving a helicopter ditching 76 Why flying? IN CLOSING 80 WHYARE WE STILLWAITING? STOP PRESS! 82  South African Civil Aviation Authority statement on the calibration of instrument landing systems at airports in RSA

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Emirates first class, onboard dining. This is luxury travel in the Airbus A380 By M101Studio

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Does travel have a future post Corona virus? Cesare de Villiers

It seems it will, but possibly only towards the latter part of 2021 will the industry show any significant recovery. could cut 50 million jobs globally in the travel and tourism industry. Worldwide the virus is hitting organisations hard from all over the world. If the WTTC is right, it will take up to 10 months for the sector to return to its normal levels. South Africa has been opened for According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, the corona virus pandemic leisure travel – but only intra-provincial! This can still have a devastating effect on coastal areas, the Drakensberg Mountains, game reserves, Mpumalanga and Limpopo – hugely popular holiday destinations, especially over the festive season and school vacations. Some countries have opened up their borders to a greater extent and this has played a role in elleviating the damage to the industry to a degree. During the first half of March, China’s domestic travel had bounced back by as much as 100% from the bottom formed back in February and it continues to rise. Airlines and hoteliers hope nascent “travel bubbles”- small groups of countries reopening borders within their own country - and “green lanes” for pre-screened travellers, such as those with antibodies showing immunity to Covid-19, will allow a gradual re-opening. They also hope that roughly normal travel will then resume next year. Travel will normalise more quickly in safe zones that coped well with COVID-19, such as between South Korea and China, or between Germany and Greece. For poorer developing countries struggling to manage the pandemic, such as India or Indonesia, any recovery will be painfully slow. 2020 meet the Jetsons Video conferencing technologies and webinars that are being used are right out of science fiction. Decades ago the popular TV show, The Jetson’s, made use of videophones for communication between George and Judy. However, this technology does not mean much for tourism when travellers prefer to stay at home or are not allowed

to travel. Many companies have closed their doors and the economic devastation and subsequent unemployment and higher living costs, mean that fewer people have the spare money to travel and those that do have the finances, are cutting down on leisure travel. Two different strategies Governments will redesign their tourism strategies to keep down crowds, keep more money in the local economy, and enforce local regulations, including those protecting the environment. Many health protocols will become permanent. Other governments will compete for the shrinking tourist dollar by racing to the bottom, allowing the travel industry to regulate itself, using deep discounts to fill hotels and airplanes and revive over-tourism. Which strategy will be followed in South Africa remains to be seen. The Freedom to Travel Is Vital to the Post-Pandemic Recovery While a number of travel and tourism companies will not survive the impact of the novel corona virus, there have been initiatives in several overseas countries where start-ups and existing entities have been able to develop additional solutions for Covid-19 applications in the areas of prevention, detection, disruption management, and operational efficiency. RubiQ RubiQ is a Tel-Aviv based start-up that helps airlines reduce significant overload on call centres and streamline passengers’ rebooking and refund processes. In the current situation, process automation is key. RubiQ offers Aircules, a white label AI-powered mobile solution which keeps the passengers updated, and allows them to rebook from personalised alternatives. Bespoke Bespoke is helping the Japanese government to effectively communicate with travellers in Japan in multiple languages as a means to combat the pandemic. They do it with Bebot, one of their products, that they describe as an “AI concierge”. With Bespoke, Japanese residents and travellers can ask the chatbot different questions about their health or the virus (such as symptoms, treatment or preventive measures).

Photo by Camila Perez on Unsplash

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Face++ This is a Chinese company which empowers infra-red cameras with computer vision technologies for rapid deployment at airports and subway stations in China to detect and track individuals with fever. This allows staff to complete all body temperature screenings without close physical contact, thus reducing the chances of contagion. Paanini Gartner Predicts that by 2024 "s will lower operational costs by 30% by combining hyper-automation technologies with redesigned operational processes". This fact, combined with the current situation, will push organisations to cut costs, and automation is one of the best ways to do that. Paanini has developed a solution called JiffyRPA, that combines enterprise- grade RPAwith intelligent data capture, advanced analytics and artificial intelligence to deliver measurable impact on productivity, efficiency and profitability for global enterprises. JiffyRPA’s intelligent automation capabilities can convert unstructured, semi-structured and hand-written data into structured data before automating corresponding processes. This way unstructured data becomes structured making it clean and usable for automation of various related processes. Automation Hero Automation Hero combines Robotic Process Automation (RPA) with AI to form an intelligent process automation (IPA) platform. By automating repetitive and time-consuming tasks, Automation Hero improves productivity and drives more successful outcomes. based start-up is personified by Robin, a virtual personal assistant, to create an approachable integration between AI and humans. Sitata Sitata is another company working in disruption management. They offer a mobile-based platform that provides travelers with pre-trip health and safety advice, real-time monitoring of travel disruptions, and automated safety check- ins with real-time assistance. With the Covid-19 outbreak, airlines are learning The platform of this San Francisco- a lot about how to better manage trip disruptions, and start-ups such as Sitata can help them improve their service. Consequences of restricted movement The World Health Organisation is providing data on the spread of the virus; national governments are determining their response. Governments around the world have acted to advise against and then restrict travel internationally

and domestically. Measures to limit social contact and encourage and then impose social isolation have had major consequences for the travel and tourism sector. Recently, as the worst of the pandemic in China appeared to pass, its policy focus shifted. China tightened quarantine measures for international arrivals imposing 14 days of centralised quarantine and compulsory testing. In South Korea officials attribute the country’s effective control of the outbreak to a strategy called TRUST, for transparency, robust screening and quarantine, unique but universally-applicable testing, strict control and treatment. Covid-19 has rapidly become a global phenomenon, with many developed countries slow to recognise the scale of the threat and lacking the staff, ICU beds and ventilators to meet the pandemic. In 1918, in the wake of WWI with populations weakened by armed conflict and the privations of war, the respiratory influenza pandemic lasted from January 1918 to December 1920. To maintain morale, the censors minimised early reports of the illness and mortality in the combatant states; there were no such restrictions in neutral Spain, and the pandemic quickly became known, incorrectly, as Spanish flu. Malnourishment, overcrowded medical camps and hospitals, and poor hygiene promoted bacterial super infection. It is estimated that Spanish flu infected 500 million people, about a quarter of the world’s population, and killed between 17 and 50 million people. Awareness of the pandemic faded until the arrival of bird flu and other pandemics in the 1990s and 2000s. Covid-19, is more lethal than 2009’s H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic, and the current corona virus does not resemble SARS, MERS or Ebola, all of which can be more easily contained. The impacts on travel and tourism have been significant. The TTC has pointed to the damage incurred by the sector and called for governments to improve travel facilitation, remove barriers, ease fiscal policies, introduce incentives and support destinations – increase budgets and assign resources for promotion, marketing and product development… In a world confronting an international health emergency and severe dislocation of entire economies, governments are responding with generic assistance. A century has passed since the Spanish flu pandemic and lessons learned then have been largely forgotten. When this pandemic passes, there will be lessons to learn internationally and locally. •

Photo by Ashkan Forouzani on Unsplash

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Cabin design driven by astronaut experience: • Individually sized, reclining seats for G-force management and float zone volume; • Automated mood lighting harmonizes with each flight phase; • Personal seat back screens connect astronauts to live flight data; • Cabin architecture facilitates effortless movement in weightlessness; • 16 cameras provide high definition footage and stills; • 12 cabin windows for astronauts to gaze at Earth from; • Largest mirror in a spaceship cabin – mirror reflects the real-time astronaut experience.

Virgin Galactic Reveals SpaceshipTwo Cabin Interior

AR Enabled Mobile App, launched after live online event, brings cabin and spaceflight experience alive for space enthusiasts everywhere

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Above: The spaceship cabin interior.

Above: Halo lighting.

Top: The seat back detailing.

Virgin Galactic, a vertically integrated aerospace and space travel company, has revealed the cabin interior of its first SpaceshipTwo vehicle, VSS Unity in a virtual event streamed live on YouTube on 28 July. Aspiring astronauts and space enthusiasts around the world, now have the opportunity to explore the Virgin Galactic cabin design and spaceflight experience through an augmented reality enabled mobile app, which launches after the live event, and is available to download for

free at both the App Store and Play Store. One of the defining hallmarks of the Virgin brand over 50 years, has been the use of inspired and bold design to transform the customer experience. It’s an ethos that has been successfully applied across industrial sectors and design disciplines: from aircraft cabins and hotel bedrooms to fitness classes and personal banking. Virgin Galactic, in collaboration with London design agency, Seymourpowell, has striven to remain faithful to that tradition by developing an elegant but progressive, experience-focused concept for the cabin of its spaceship. While it has been created to integrate seamlessly with every other aspect of the Virgin Galactic

September 2020 / Vol.12 / No. 9 11 using the highest-grade aluminium and carbon-fiber manufacturing techniques, reinforce this sense. The importance of astronaut comfort to optimise performance is accentuated by the use astronaut journey – the cabin is also the design centrepiece; providing safety without distraction, quietly absorbing periods of sensory intensity and offering each astronaut a level of intimacy required for personal discovery and transformation. The textures, colours and structures within the cabin create an elegance, underlined by purpose which will inspire a sense of confidence in astronauts from the moment they board the spaceship on the day of flight. Individually sized seats, created

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12 Vol.12 / No. 9 / September 2020 of 600 Future Astronauts has always been clear that having photos and videos of their spaceflight experience to share, is of paramount importance. The output from 16 cabin cameras, plus those in the cockpit and mounted externally, will generate high definition output to provide stages of flight. At the pinnacle of the experience, as the Earth comes into view against the black sky of space, all lighting is extinguished, bringing an instant focus to the profoundly beautiful vista. Following in the footsteps of another Virgin first, seatback screens provide digital flight data to connect each astronaut to the flight deck. Personal, integrated communication systems complement the screens with a direct connection for each astronaut to the two space pilots. SpaceShipTwo’s cabin was deliberately sized to allow for an out- of-seat weightlessness experience for the astronauts on board. The interior design focusses on this critical part of the experience. Soft cabin surfaces and elements become intuitive hand and footholds, allowing astronauts to explore the cabin freely and fully. The “Halo” surrounds to twelve large windows have soft extended edges, which allow astronauts to perfectly position themselves for 360 degrees of awe- of engineered foam and technical fabrics. Virgin Galactic’s partner Under Armour developed the astronaut spacesuits and also the fabric technology featured in the cabin seats. Harnessing insights from more than two decades of maximising human performance, Under Armour created a 3D knit featuring constructions that map breathability and function into the fabric encasing each cabin seat to provide comfort and mobility during spaceflight. The colour palette of the cabin has been carefully curated so that it complements the architecture of the seat, the cabin itself and spacesuits. The golden metallics resemble luminous desert sands, blues conjure celestial spaces and teals inspired by the ocean ground travellers back to Earth. Each seat has been engineered to match the dynamism of the flight. Apilot- controlled recline mechanism, optimally positions astronauts to manage G- forces on boost and re-entry and frees up cabin space to maximise an unrestricted astronaut float zone when in zero gravity. Virgin pioneered mood lighting on its commercial aircraft, and that idea has been translated by Virgin Galactic, into the new era of commercial spaceflight. Multi-colour LEDs are concealed within the “Halo” window surrounds and are used to subtly reflect back and therefore elevate, the human responses to each of the contrasting inspiring views, from the infinity of outer space to the beauty of our home planet. Virgin Galactic’s current community

Virgin Galactic spaceship cabin in payload configuration ©Virgin Galactic 2020

everything from the first Instagram posts, to a beautifully edited and historically significant personal movie. To further elevate the experience of floating in zero-gravity, the cabin includes a first for space travel, a large, circular mirror on the aft bulkhead which, by adding a tint to the reflective surface, allows astronauts to view themselves weightless while illuminated by the natural brightness of the Earth.

Michael Colglazier, CEO of Virgin Galactic said: “In just my second week as Virgin Galactic’s CEO, it is with great pride that I can lead our talented teams in revealing this latest milestone in our journey to space. The spaceship cabin interior is in many ways the design centrepiece of the astronaut journey and what has been created will both facilitate and elevate a uniquely profound and transformational journey for the

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thousands who will fly. The fascination with spaceflight is universal and Virgin Galactic is here to satisfy it. We are particularly proud to be able to share this latest milestone with millions around the world, particularly during these unusual times. We hope the new app, with cutting-edge AR technology will help bring the dream of space one step closer for space enthusiasts everywhere.”

Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group said: ‘’When we created Virgin Galactic, we started with what we believed would be an optimal customer experience and then built the spaceship around it. We will continue with that ethos as we expand our fleet, build our operations and underpin Virgin Galactic’s position as the Spaceline for Earth. This cabin has been designed

specifically to allow thousands of people like you and me to achieve the dream of spaceflight safely – and that is incredibly exciting.’’ Aspiring astronauts can bring their dream of spaceflight one step closer by joining the Virgin Galactic Spacefarer community today. For a $1 000 refundable deposit, they will be front of line for newly released spaceflight reservations. •

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Setting a satellite to catch a satellite By Cesare de Villiers

The target is set: a large derelict satellite currently silently tumbling its way through low orbit. If all goes to plan, in 2023 it will vanish – and efforts against space debris will have made a giant leap forward. The challenge is to design a sufficiently efficient air intake system to collect as many of the scarce but highly- energ tic air molecule found at the top of the atmosphere as possible, to fuel an electric thruster to compensate for the air drag that would otherwise pull sat llite down to Earth in a matter of weeks. This was the goal of an ESA project with Belgium's Von Karman Institute and Polit chnico di Milano, developing sophisticated The challenge is to design a sufficiently efficient air intake system to collect as many of the scarce but highly- energetic air molecules found at the top of the atmosphere as possible, to fuel an electric thruster to compensate for the air drag that would otherwise pull a satellite down to Earth in a matter of weeks. This was the goal of an ESAproject with Belgium's Von Karman Institute and Politechnico di Milano, developing sophisticated software models to qualify an air intake-collector design as well as manufacturing a metal prototype. The relatively simple machine — “no valves or complex parts” according to the ESA— basically sucks in the infrequent air particles and gases them up with heat and electricity. This lets the thruster shoot them out the back, providing a modest, but measurable, thrust (around 5 mph when all goes well). An Italian lab built and tested an actual prototype, running within a vacuum chamber to simulate the thin atmosphere, and saw that it really did work. New air-breathing The relatively simple machine — “no valves or co plex parts” accord ng to the ESA— basically sucks in the infrequent air particles a d gases them up wi h heat and electricity. This lets the thruster shoot them out the back, providing a odes , but easurable, thrust (around 5 mph when all goes well). An Italian lab uil software models to qualify an air intake-c llector design as well as manufacturing a metal prototype.

That is the vision underpinning e.Deorbit, intended as the world’s first mission to remove a large piece of space junk – if it is given the initial go-ahead by Europe’s space ministers at the Agency’s Ministerial Council in December. The basic idea is simple: set a satellite to catch a satellite. e.Deorbit will rendezvous with, grapple and hard-capture the drifting satellite,

then push the pair down to burn up harmlessly in the atmosphere. More than 75% of trackable space debris whizzes around in Earth’s heavily trafficked low orbits, below 2 000 km altitude. Even if all launches stopped tomorrow, the level of debris would go on rising, driven by continuing collisions. The only way to stabilise debris levels over the long run will

Letting a satellite breathe By Cesare de Villiers

and tested an actual prototype, running within a vacuum chamber to simulate the thin atmosphere, and saw that it really did work. New air-breathing propulsion systems may thus be the next big thing in spacecraft, opening a door into a new type of missions simply impossible with previous technology. This ramjet technology having been proven by ESA in principle, has a Very Low Earth Orbit, VLEO The project was supported through ESA’s General Support Technology Programme, to convert promising concepts into space-ready products. The European Space Agency (ESA) is testing an air intake collector, which is designed to harvest air particles when passing through the upper layers of the atmosphere. These particles are then used to fuel an ‘air-breathing’ electric thruster. The aim is to help satellites to

overcome atmospheric drag – that would otherwise pull a satellite down to Earth in a matter of weeks – and thus operate continuously in very low orbits (VLEO), ranging from 180 km to 250 km. Satellites operating in very low orbit (VLEO) could have a lot of benefits, mainly for Earth observation, and also for civil and military communications. At lower altitudes, you can improve payload performance and increase image resolution, while reducing size and power requirements. In turn, these low-altitude satellites could play an important role in transmitting the Internet and other data networks. The biggest technological challenge is to design a sufficiently powerful air intake collector, which would be able to collect as many of the scarce but highly-energetic air molecules found in the upper atmosphere as possible.

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be to remove entire large items. “While the concept is straightforward, the implementation is not – e.Deorbit will be like nothing ESA has ever attempted before,” explains Robin Biesbroek, ESA’s study manager. “The chaser satellite requires extremely sophisticated guidance, navigation and control to synchronise motion and then capture its target, guided in turn by advanced image processing, blending inputs from optical and multispectral cameras as well as ‘laser radar’ lidar to derive a precise, reliable sense of the target and its motion. “After this Ministerial, we propose to finalise the design and realistically test key technologies – including weightless net testing on a suborbital rocket – to be ready to build after final approval from the next Ministerial, for a planned launch in April 2023.” Transporting netted satellite “The industry consensus is that a new class of ‘space tugs’ will arise to offer various services such as in- orbit servicing or refuelling. “The technologies such spacecraft will require overlap with those being developed for e.Deorbit – so it will be the first of the space tugs, demonstrating its performance with an unprecedented achievement.

“After this Ministerial, we propose to finalise the design and realistically test key technologies – including weightless net testing on a suborbital rocket – to be ready to build after final approval from the next Ministerial, for a planned launch in April 2023.” The satellite ESA’s Clean Space initiative began developing the mission in 2013, organised around the deceptively simple task of capturing and safely deorbiting a derelict ESA-owned satellite in highly trafficked low-Earth orbit. The target was the Envisat Earth- observing satellite, which after 10 years of monitoring our homeworld, had failed unexpectedly the previous year. Space Shuttle astronauts had captured errant satellites during the 1980s, but there was no precedent for the autonomous robotic capture of such an uncooperative target. Work began on identifying the novel technologies that would need to be developed, including the type of capture mechanism to be used – from robotic arms to nets or even a harpoon. Also required was precise enough guidance navigation and control system to safely close in and secure such a large, unpredictably tumbling target.

Along with the innovative technologies under discussion, these Phase B1 activities made a little bit of ESA history in their own right, as the first such studies to be based around model- based system engineering – employing detailed software models of the satellite as the baseline engineering tool, rather than traditional written documentation. Of increasing industrial interest in recent years, this would be a ‘Swiss Army knife’ of a satellite with the agility, capability and autonomy to perform all kinds of complex tasks in space, such as refuelling high-value satellites reaching the end of their lives, adding new equipment to them, or attaching to them to move them to new orbits. Active debris removal is seen as particularly valuable for the imminent age of megaconstellations, when hundreds or even thousands of satellites will be formation flying in low orbits to offer low- latency telecommunications or global high-repeat Earth observation coverage. In addition, a more general-purpose Space Servicing Vehicle could potentially be contracted to take down derelict satellites as one of its roles – a return to the original thinking behind e.Deorbit. Back in 2012, the initial approach taken was to invite companies to take down Envisat on a service-oriented basis, but it was seen as too risky a challenge.• They will then use to fuel an electric thruster to compensate for the air drag. This air intake collector is designed to harvest sufficient air particles as it skims the top of the atmosphere to fuel an ‘air-breathing’ electric thruster. The aim is to help satellites to overcome atmospheric drag to operate on an ongoing basis in orbits from as low as 180 km to a maximum 250 km altitude. The project was supported through ESA’s General Support Technology Programme, to convert promising concepts into space-ready products. This air intake collector is designed to harvest sufficient air particles as it skims the top of the atmosphere to fuel an "air-breathing" electric thruster. The aim is to help satellites to overcome atmospheric drag to operate on an ongoing basis in orbits from as low as 180 km to a maximum 250 km altitude. This ramjet technology having been proven by ESA in principle, such Very Low Earth Orbit, VLEO satellites could provide sharper resolution Earth- observing imagery and low-latency communication links in the future. •

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and combat effectiveness,” said Alexander Potapov, Director General of JSC Uralvagonzavod Concern. The TOS-1A heavy flame thrower system is in service not only with the Russian Army, but also with the armed forces of several other countries. Unlike all currently existing multiple rocket launchers, only the BM-1 launch vehicle of the TOS-1A system, having MBT-level armour and a minimum firing range of 600m (maximum range of 6km), can perform the necessary combat missions on the forward edge of the battle area (FEBA) in a very short time frame, while remaining practically invulnerable. All existing multiple rocket have a longer, minimum firing range and are located at considerable distances from the FEBA. The TOS-1A operates within the combat formation of troops, which reduces the targeting time and increases the efficiency of fire control. These systems are capable of delivering both indirect and direct fire on visible targets almost immediately after their detection. According to Igor Lobov, Director

Rostec demonstrated TOS-1A capabilities to foreign customers

JSC Rosoboronexport and JSC Omsktransmash recently demonstrated the TOS-1A heavy flame thrower system to a number of foreign customers at the Nizhny Tagil Institute of Metal Testing’s Staratel Proving Ground in Nizhny Tagil. According to Rosoboronexport’s Director General Alexander Mikheev, Russia is the only country in the world to produce the deadly short-

range fire support weapon.

“The system has repeatedly shown its impressive capabilities to destroy well-protected terrorist groups in real combat conditions in the Middle East. Owing to its unrivalled performance, the TOS-1A has held steady in the Top 5 weapons supplied by Rosoboronexport to customers’ land forces,” he said in a statement after the demonstration. Visual observations and express data analysis substantiated its performance and the reliability of engaging targets at different ranges. "The TOS-1A showed its best performance and high fire efficiency at the test site. Its effectiveness and fire power have been long recognised. It is a unique R&D product in terms of the technical solutions applied

’Skyfall’ missile with unlimited range: A Doomsday Weapon?

9M730 Burevestnik is a Russian experimental nuclear- powered, nuclear-armed cruise missile under development for the Federation’s Armed Forces. The missile is claimed to have virtually unlimited range. Aprototype of the missile is thought to be responsible for an accident on 8 August 2019 that killed seven nuclear scientists and caused radiation levels to briefly spike in the region. Convincing evidence has led to agreement among foreign experts that the missile being tested was likely a 9M730 Burevestnik. As far as can be ascertained so far, there have been no successful trials of the missile although November 2017, the Skyfall missile flew little more than twenty miles before crashing into the sea. The nuclear refuelling ship Serebryanka, which was also present

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the speed of sound. This expanding heated air would be squeezed out the engine’s rear nozzle, resulting in sustainable supersonic propulsion. It is also possible that the missile’s unshielded reactor core could potentially leave behind a trail of radioactive emissions and contaminants over everything it overflies. Failed Tests Around a dozen tests have been held since 2016, first at Kapustin Yar (near Volgograd), then the Pan’kovo test site on Yuzhny island. Only two were successful. However, the Pentagon was able to spy on the Yuzhny Island site by using WC-135 weather reconnaissance planes used to measure radiation. This may have led to the programme’s relocation to Nyonoksa, which is distant from international airspace. • with a thermobaric warhead capable of engaging heavily protected enemy positions, including fortifications, with minimal means. A full salvo, lasting just a few seconds, is capable of destroying enemy forces over an area of 40 000 square metres.•

"on top of the fuselage, rather than below it like on the X-101", and also that there are "characteristic protrusions where air is most likely heated by the nuclear reactor". He also stated that the mass of the missile is significantly greater than that of the X-101, which eliminates Tu-160 and Tu-95 as potential carriers of the Buresvestnik. Nuclear power Theoretically a nuclear-powered cruise missile could have a practically unlimited range, and sustain supersonic speeds, making it hard to intercept and allowing it to circumnavigate bubbles of radar coverages and leverage terrain to minimise the chance of interception. The most likely scheme for a nuclear- powered missile involves a ramjet engine, in which the reactor would heat onrushing air at speeds exceeding twice direct fire contact with the enemy, which no artillery system can do.” The BM-1 launch vehicle is a 220 mm 24-barrel launcher mounted on a tracked chassis. It fires unguided rockets developed by Ganichev NPO SPLAV. The rockets are equipped

at the accident, was dispatched to recover the possibly irradiated debris. Such a missile—if it can be made to work—would be powered by a very small nuclear reactor, allowing it to fly practically unlimited distances at very high speeds. Cruise missiles skim close to the Earth's surface, allowing them to hug terrain and manoeuvre around obstacles. These characteristics mean ground-based radars may only have a detection angle on cruise missiles when they’re only a few dozen miles away. While defences do exist that can potentially shoot down cruise missiles, the short detection range and interception windows would mean that it wouldn’t be practical to create huge defensive umbrellas like those provided by anti-ballistic systems. The Burevestnik is one of the six new Russian strategic weapons unveiled by Russian President Vladimir Putin on 1 March 2018. Design speculation According to Vladimir Putin and the Russian Ministry of Defence, the missile's dimensions are comparable to those of the X-101 cruise missile and it is equipped with a small-sized nuclear power unit. The claimed operational range is supposed to be greater than that of X-101. According to a media representative from VPK-news, the cruise missile is one and a half to twice the size of the X-101, the wings of the Burevestnik are placed General of Omsktransmash, the TOS-1A developer and manufacturer, “the tank chassis provides tactical mobility and a high level of crew protection, and also makes it possible to quickly move to the required firing position and operate in the area of

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the RAF only took delivery of their first Poseidon MRA1 into Kinloss Airfield in early February. Design The P-8 is a militarised version of the 737-800ERX, a 737-800 with 737-900-based wings. The fuselage is similar to, but longer than, the 737-700-based C-40 Clipper transport aircraft in service with the USN. It has a strengthened fuselage for low-altitude operations and raked wing-tips similar to those fitted to the Boeing 767-400ER, instead of the blended wing-lets available on 737NG variants. In order to power additional on-board electronics, the P-8 has a 180kVA electric generator on each engine, replacing the 90kVA generator of civilian 737s; this required the redesigning of the nacelles and their wing mountings. The P-8 has a smoother flight experience, subjecting crews to less turbulence and fumes than the preceding P-3, allowing them to concentrate better on missions. The Poseidon is equipped with an international version of the Raytheon APY-10 multi-mission surface search radar. Unlike the preceding P-3, the P-8 lacks a magnetic anomaly detector (MAD) due to its higher operational altitude. Its acoustic sensor system is reportedly more effective at acoustic tracking and thus lacking a MAD will not impede its detection capabilities. Various sensor data are combined via data fusion software to track targets. Following the cancellation of Lockheed Martin's Aerial Common Sensor project, Boeing proposed a signals intelligence variant of the P-8 for the USN's requirement. The five operator stations (two naval flight officers plus three enlisted Aviation Warfare Operators/naval aircrew) are mounted in a sideways row, along the port side of the cabin. None of the crew stations have windows; a single observer window is located on each side of the forward cabin. A short bomb bay for torpedoes and other stores opens behind the wing. The P-8 is to be equipped with the High Altitude Anti- Submarine Warfare Weapon Capability (HAAWC) Air Launch Accessory (ALA), turning a Mark 54 torpedo into a glide bomb for deployment from up to 9 100m. The P-8 cannot use the hose-and- drogue in-flight refuelling method, instead featuring a flying boom receptacle on the upper-forward fuselage, making it reliant on US Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker, KC-10 Extender and KC-46 Pegasus aircraft for in-flight refuelling. Nine of these aircraft have been ordered of which two have already been delivered. The two jets are currently based at Kinloss Barracks but will move to RAF Lossiemouth once the base's £460 million upgrade is completed later this year. •

Poseidon aircraft completes NATO exercise

The Boeing P-8 Poseidon is a military aircraft developed and produced by Boeing Defence, Space & Security, and is modified from the 737-800ERX. The Royal Air Force's newest anti- submarine aircraft took part in a multi-national exercise for the first time in July. The P-8 is being operated in the anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASUW), and shipping interdiction roles. It is armed with torpedoes, Harpoon anti-ship missiles and other weapons, and is able to drop and monitor sonobuoys, as well as operate in conjunction with other assets, including the Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton maritime surveillance unmanned aerial vehicle. Exercise The maritime patrol aircraft is equipped with sensors and weapons systems designed for submarine hunting. Ships, submarines and aircraft took part in the exercise which focused on anti-submarine

warfare and anti-surface warfare. Officer Commanding 120 Squadron, Wing Commander James Hanson, noted that the exercise offers his crews an opportunity to be tested against highly professional opposition in the exercise environment. During Dynamic Mongoose, the aircraft practised hunting submarines in a 200-by-200 square nautical mile area in the North Atlantic, working alongside allied aircraft and ships during the exercise, as well as launching simulated attacks, the RAF said in a statement. Locating and tracking a submarine requires close coordination

between ships and aircraft, and Dynamic Mongoose focussed on nuclear-powered submarines. On one sortie, using the sophisticated sensor suite fitted to the aircraft, an RAF Poseidon

launched simulated attacks within 10 minutes of taking over contact from a US Navy Poseidon. This sortie also offered the CXX Squadron crew the opportunity to practise communications, command and control with NATO allies, and direct simulated attacks on a submarine by naval vessels. This exercise participation, at such a complex and challenging level, is regarded as remarkable as

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best opportunity to deliver a capable, flexible and upgradeable combat air system. “We’ve made good progress with Saab and Leonardo in identifying shared goals and expertise and through this new framework, we can build on this collaboration to unlock the huge potential across our three nations.” Alessandro Profumo, Chief Executive Officer, Leonardo, explained “Tempest will be the cornerstone of a cross-border system of common defence which will extend far beyond combat air, securing enormous economic benefits and vast industrial and technological progress for Italy and our partners.” Micael Johansson, Chief Executive Officer, Saab, said: “Combat Air is a key component of Sweden’s defence policy and it is defined as a national security interest. Our announcement of an initial £50m Future Combat Air investment and a new FCAS centre in the UK, will contribute to closer working relationships with the other FCAS industrial partners and the UK Ministry of Defence.” The UK has existing co-operation with Sweden and Italy. Swedish-made chaff and flare dispensers are used on UK Typhoons and Saab’s Giraffe radar is a key part of the UK’s Sky Sabre ground defence system. Gripen E aircraft are equipped with radars designed and built by Leonardo in Edinburgh. Meanwhile, both the Royal Air Force and the Aeronautica Militare operate the same, potent fleet of Eurofighter Typhoon and F-35 aircraft.•

International industry collaboration By Cesare de Villiers

UK, Sweden and Italy have begun trilateral industry discussions to strengthen collaboration between them as they develop world-leading future combat air capability.

The three national industries comprise leading defence companies from the UK (BAE Systems, Leonardo UK, Rolls Royce and MBDAUK), Italy (Leonardo Italy, Elettronica, Avio Aero and MBDA Italia) and Sweden (Saab and GKNAerospace Sweden). Charles Woodburn, Chief Executive Officer, BAE Systems, has said that international partnering provides the

The VSR700, derived from Hélicoptères Guimbal’s Cabri G2, is an unmanned aerial system in the 500-1000 kg maximum take-off weight range. It offers the best balance of payload capability, endurance and operational cost. It is capable of carrying multiple full-size naval sensors for extended periods and can operate from existing ships, alongside a helicopter, with a low logistical footprint.

This VSR700 prototype has evolved over the last nine months since its maiden flight. The programme implemented the geofencing function, as well as a Flight Termination System allowing the mission to be ended if necessary. Modifications have equally been performed to the air vehicle, alongside autopilot software evolutions and updates, as well as structural modifications and reinforcements. •

VSR700 prototype performs first autonomous free flight

The prototype of Airbus Helicopters’ VSR700 unmanned aerial system (UAS) has performed its first free flight. The VSR700 performed a ten minute flight at a drone test centre near Aix-en-Provence in the south of France. This is a significant step in the programme following the first flight in November 2019 when the prototype was tethered to comply with regulatory requirements. To enable this free flight, Airbus Helicopters implemented geofencing, a virtual

perimeter, which enabled and justified a flight clearance from airworthiness authorities for free flight. The flight test programme will now evolve to progressively open the flight envelope. “The free flight achieved by the VSR700 is a major step leading up to the sea trials that will be performed at the end of 2021 as part of the de-risking studies for the French Navy’s future drone,” said Bruno Even, Airbus Helicopters CEO. “Thanks to the French PlanAero, the programme will make full use of two demonstrators and an optionally piloted vehicle to develop and mature the technical and operational aspects for successful UAS operations in a naval environment.”

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Future combat air continues to drive economic advance across the UK Seven companies representing the breadth of innovation across the UK have signed agreements to progress opportunities to work on future combat air concepts and underpinning technologies across Team Tempest

The companies involved include Bombardier Belfast, Collins Aerospace in the UK, GE Aviation UK, GKN Aerospace, Martin-Baker, QinetiQ, and Thales UK. This is the first phase of organisations to sign such agreements, with more to be announced. The announcement represents a significant step forward by bringing additional expertise into the Team Tempest project. Team Tempest is a collaboration between BAE Systems, Leonardo UK, MBDA UK, Rolls-Royce and the UK Ministry of Defence, working together to develop game-changing technologies at pace and in an affordable manner. Dave Holmes, Manufacturing Director for BAE Systems’ Air sector, said: “We are delighted to have signed the first phase of these new agreements, which are transforming our traditional relationships with partners. We are seeking opportunities to widen the Team Tempest project and bring in the very best of UK capability and expertise, from both inside and outside of defence. They will work alongside us as we seek to develop the generation-defining combat air capability which will help safeguard the security of our nation and our allies to the end of this century. “In addition, by developing the wider industry team, we will help contribute to the retention, growth and investment in a wider world-class UK skills base. Collaborations, with some of the brightest and

best across the country, show that Tempest is becoming a truly national endeavour and we are delivering on our promise to take new approaches to drive significant pace and efficiency into the programme.” The companies will now seek opportunities to join forces on established projects and developments with the core Team Tempest partners, bringing the best of British expertise and ingenuity to optimally designing, manufacturing and operating combat air systems through life. Jeremy Quin, the UK Minister for Defence Procurement, said: “Today’s announcement demonstrates further progress in delivering the UK’s combat air strategy, with more companies collaborating on the future of the UK’s Air Defence. This is a highly innovative project based around cutting- edge technology and drawing on a skills base where the UK excels. I am delighted that the success and strengths of Team Tempest are being enhanced through drawing on UK expertise; working with industrial partners and highly capable international team we are configured for future success.” Collectively, the companies will look to support more than 60 technology demonstration activities which are currently underway, which will demonstrate and de-risk world-leading processes and technology in half the time and at significantly lower cost than previous complex combat air programmes. •

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