More military aid for Ukraine

The U.S. announced today that it will send Ukraine an additional $500 million in ammunition and equipment to be followed by more than $2 billion in other weaponry and materiel as Ukraine prepares for a spring counteroffensive against Russia. Much of the ammunition will be taken from current stockpiles. [node:read-more:link]

Lockheed Martin scores Down Under

Australia’s 11-month-old Labour government has announced that Lockheed Martin has been sole-sourced to supply the country’s first sovereign military satellite program at a projected cost of A$4 billion. The previous coalition administration had planned to down-select to two potential suppliers from an initial list of five. [node:read-more:link]

Defence spending confirmed

Canada plans to invest $7.3 billion to upgrade fighter bases and northern landing strips to accommodate its ordered Lockheed Martin F-35s, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office announced March 24. Also confirmed during President Joe Biden’s visi to Ottawa, the government also said that the first new Over the Horizon Radar base will be in northern Ontario, part of a 20-year upgrade of continental air defences. [node:read-more:link]

Satellite jamming thwarted?

Boeing says its design for a ground-based system to protect communication satellites from signal jamming was validated in a U.S. Space Force test in January. Troy Dawson, vice-president of government satellite systems, said the system Boeing has been developing under contract since 2018, will enable the U.S. and allies to meet “the challenges of an evolving battlefield.” [node:read-more:link]

Skynet contract goes to Babcock

London-based Babcock International has won a prime contract to run the ground elements of Britain’s military Skynet satellite communications system for an initial six years. Lockheed Martin and Airbus Defence and Space were among other bidders for the contract worth at least £400 million. [node:read-more:link]

NATO unveils new space program

Streamlining the collection and sharing of huge volumes of satellite-based data is behind a new NATO initiative. Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said February 13 that he expects the Alliance Persistent Surveillance from Space program would be set in motion this week at the alliance’s annual defence ministerial summit in Brussels. [node:read-more:link]

SpaceX limits Ukraine Starlink use

SpaceX has taken steps to “limit” Ukraine’s use of the company’s Starlink satellites in its counteroffensive against Russia’s invasion. Starlink President Gwynne Shotwell had said February 8 that “we were really pleased to be able to provide Ukraine connectivity and help them in their . . . fight for freedom” but the technology “was never intended to be weaponized” for such things as drone control. [node:read-more:link]

Vital satellite imagery to be shared

Colorado-based Maxar Technologies confirmed today that it has received a five-year contract to supply satellite imagery to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and allies. It will include high-resolution electro-optical and synthetic aperture radar images as well as three-dimensional data services. [node:read-more:link]

Domestic space launches planned

The federal government hopes to have domestic commercial space launch facilities within the next three years. “For many years, Canadian satellites have launched from sites in other countries,” Transport Minister Omar Alghabra explained January 20, adding that the government would begin developing the regulatory requirements, safety standards and licensing conditions. He also said the government is ready to approve private-sector launches in the interim on a case-by-case basis. [node:read-more:link]

NORAD upgrade a huge challenge

Since Canada announced its plan last June to spend $4.9 billion over six years to modernize North American defences, it has become clear that there are significant technical obstacles to overcome. Improved satellite coverage, over-the-horizon radar and deployment of undersea sensors and surveillance in the Arctic are among them and while Vice-Admiral Bob Auchterlonie, head of Canadian Joint Operations Command, says Canada has “decent domain awareness right now”, it continues to work with the U.S. on key elements of the NORAD upgrade. [node:read-more:link]

Russia’s Arctic buildup continues

New satellite imagery from Colorado-based Maxar Technologies shows that despite the financial impact of its war on Ukraine, Russia continues to expand its Arctic footprint with upgraded radar and other facilities. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says the “significant” build-up” has required the alliance to “double” its presence in the region. [node:read-more:link]

Satellite imagery firm being sold

Colorado-based Maxar Technologies, a publicly-traded company which supplies satellite imagery to U.S. national security agencies, has announced a $6.4-billion takeover by Advent International, a Boston private equity firm. Both sides say the takeover would benefit Maxar in the long term but a previous acquisition, of the British aerospace company Cobham in 2020 eventually saw it sold off in pieces within 18 months. [node:read-more:link]

Russia consolidating in Mariupol

New satellite imagery shows that as Ukrainian counteroffensives in the south and east put pressure on Russian forces in the port city of Mariupol, they are building up defences in the strategically important part of the “land bridge” between Russia to annexed Crimea. Among other things, they have built a large army compound near the centre of the port city, much of which they destroyed in a siege in the first three months of their invasion. [node:read-more:link]

New Canadian space commander outlines priorities

Brigadier General Mike Adamson, commander of 3 Canadian Space Division, says replacing Canada’s space tracking satellite is “the most important” priority for the new organization which was stood up in July. He says it would emphasize that space is central to “everything that we do” and would align Canada with its allies. [node:read-more:link]


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