Bluebottle USV Can Sail For Months
Australian firms Ocius Technology and Thales Australia have developed an uncrewed surface vehicle that is entirely powered by wind, solar and wave energy. The Bluebottle features a foldable carbon-fiber solar sail fitted with Solbian flexible thin film solar panels. Meanwhile, a rudder-flipper fitted with wave oscillators produces power from the pitch of the vessel. The USV can operate for more than two months on solar and wind power or for three to five days on battery power. The vehicles can perform patrol, surveillance and environmental monitoring missions.
The Bluebottle was developed to meet a 2007 U.S. request for a self-sustaining USV. Work has proceeded over several prototypes of increasing size. The latest model, dubbed Beth and christened in August 2020, was the first of five ordered by the Australian Dept. of Defense. The last of these USVs was delivered in June 2023. The department has employed the vehicles for technology development and as testbeds for surface and shallow-water surveillance. The Australian Border Force has also fielded four Bluebottles for maritime surveillance.
Navy Picks New King Air Model As Multi-Engine Trainer
Textron Aviation is supplying the aircraft component for the U.S. Navy’s Multi-Engine Training System (METS) program. The T-54A, based on the King Air 260 twin-engine turboprop, will replace the aging T-44C Pegasus as the Navy’s primary multi-engine trainer aircraft. It will prepare Coast Guard, Marine and Navy pilots to fly V-22 Osprey tiltrotor, E-2D Hawkeye airborne warning and control system (AWACS), C-130 Hercules transport and P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft.
The Navy released a request for information for the aircraft component of the METS program in late 2020. In December 2020, Textron unveiled the King Air 260, an improved variant of the King Air 250, which it offered for the METS project. In January 2023, the Navy chose the King Air 260 as its next multi-engine trainer. The program for up to 64 T-54A aircraft was valued at $677 million. An initial order was placed for 10 aircraft, with deliveries slated to begin by 2024.
Ure Ballistic Missile To Target N. Korean Artillery
South Korea has developed the Ure short-range tactical ballistic missile as part of an effort to counter North Korean artillery threats. Also known as the Korean Tactical Surface-to-Surface Missile (KTSSM), the initial configuration was designed to launch four missiles rapidly from a static launcher. Work is underway on a self-propelled variant. The Ure has also been integrated with the K-239 Chunmoo multiple rocket launcher, with the missiles reportedly sold to Poland as part of its Chunmoo acquisition. The Ure has a range of at least 75 miles (120 km), although it has reached 120 miles (200 km) in testing.
Development of the Ure began in 2014 in response to a failure of K-9 self-propelled howitzers to respond to a North Korean artillery bombardment in 2010. The work was completed in 2017, although the program was subsequently delayed because the U.S. had not yet approved the export of some 300 components. In 2020, the South Korean government approved series production of the Ure, with at least 200 missiles to be completed by 2025. The system was expected to enter South Korean service in 2022. Development of a vehicle-mounted Ure-2 system was approved in March 2023, with project completion anticipated in 2032.
Kyiv Eyes Production Of Indigenous Oplot Tank
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said in May that Ukraine would order more of its domestically developed Oplot main battle tanks. Kyiv has a handful of the tanks in service that have seen limited combat action against Russia. Other ground system updates this month include the Argentinean Patagon and South African Olifant tanks; Ukrainian 79K6 Pelican 3D phased-array radar; Russian SON-9 and SON-30 ground-based fire-control radars; Emirati Ajban family of vehicles; Pinzgauer light vehicles; and Iveco High Mobility Range of tactical and logistics trucks.
The Nigerian navy is modernizing its flagship, the frigate Aradu, after years of being out of service due to a lack of funding. Spanish shipbuilder Navantia is developing the Viento family of uncrewed surface vehicles to perform a variety of missions, including coastal security, mine warfare, surveillance, environmental control, counterterrorism and search-and-rescue. Other naval updates include the Ufuk, Turkey’s first indigenously built intelligence-collection ship, and the Chinese CSS-C-2 Silkworm anti-ship missile.
Aviation records this month include the Spanish C-101 Aviojet, Austrian DA20 and Indian HJT-16 Kiran training aircraft, the U.S. O-2 Sentry surveillance aircraft; AN/APS-145 aerial radar, which equips E-2C Hawkeye airborne warning and control system aircraft; CBU-89 Gator mine cluster bomb; the French THL 20/THL 30 and Italian TM 197B aerial cannons; and the U.S. Remote Guardian System gun for the V-22 Osprey.
Cape Verde Continues To Battle Drug-Trafficking
Cape Verde, a former Portuguese colony off the west coast of Africa, has focused its security forces on protecting its economic exclusive zone and battling drug-trafficking. The latest on Cape Verde’s order of battle is now available.
ISIS-K Seeks Hold In Pakistan
While the war in Ukraine has captured headlines for the last year, terrorist groups around the world are not standing still. The Islamic State-Khorasan Province (ISIS-K) in Afghanistan has been seeking to expand its influence into Pakistan. Andy Oppenheimer reviews the latest developments in “ISIS-K Sets Eyes On Pakistan.”
The war in Ukraine has forced Europe to take a hard look at its defense capabilities and spending. Weapons Editor Aja Melville, in a joint report with Forecast International, looks at the changing defense industrial environment in “From Crisis To Opportunity: Europe’s Defense Industry Transformation In The Post-Ukraine Crisis.”
Jeremiah CushmanSenior EditorMilitary Periscope
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