Over 200 attendees extended their Wednesday evening schedules at last month’s European Microwave Week in order to attend the first ever EuMW Defence/Security Executive Forum. The event, which was organized by the European Microwave Association and Microwave Journal, was an opportunity to listen to leading experts on trends in global defence systems requirements, supporting technology and the direction of future research and development.
Representatives from three different government defence agencies and three leading defence contractors, provided insights into how their organizations viewed future threats to global security and the role of technology in addressing these risks. Market analyst Asif Anwar of Strategy Analytics gave an informative defence market overview, assessing the impact on the RF semiconductor market and the projected growth for this sector over the next decade. The 90 minute program concluded with an open panel discussion with all the speakers taking questions from the audience. The event was moderated by Mr. Frank van den Bogaart, Director Research TNO Defence, Security and Safety.
The event was sponsored by TriQuint Semiconductor, RFMD, Renaissance Electronics, Via Electronic, Schott and A.T. Wall Company
Here is a video overview highlighting various portions of the event:
Defence Agency Presentations
The forum opened with individual presentations from Francois Murgadella, Direction Generale pour L'Armement (DGA) & Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR), Attila Simon, R&T Project Manager, European Defence Agency (EDA), and Major General Roger Renard, NATO RTA Deputy Director. Each executive described their organizational structure in addition to their individual security goals, research and technology focus, and decision making processes. Attendees were able to compare and contrast this year’s EuMW host country defense needs with the joint requirements of the European Union and NATO.
Francois Murgadella's overview of the FP7* and FR Security Research programs being pursued by the French Ministry of Defense included a timeline of key dates and milestones, national and global defense priorities and specific areas of research. Murgadella referred to microwaves as building blocks for security systems, reviewing significant breakthroughs and remaining integration challenges. In particular, Murgadella pointed to active and passive radar for infrastructure surveillance, scanner technology for check-point control, RFID technology and traceability for supply chain security and local adhoc and interoperable communications for telecommunication networks targeting crisis management.
* FP7 - In July, Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn announced nearly € 6.4 billion of European Commission investment in research and innovation. The package, the biggest ever, covers a vast range of scientific disciplines, public policy areas and commercial sectors. This funding will advance scientific boundaries, increase European competitiveness and help solve societal challenges such as climate change, energy and food security, health and an ageing population. Around 16 000 participants from research organisations, universities and industry, including about 3 000 SMEs, will receive funding. Grants will be awarded through calls for proposals and evaluations over the next 14 months. This package is an economic stimulus expected to create more than 165 000 jobs. It is also a long-term investment in a smarter, sustainable and more inclusive Europe. It is a key element within the EU's Europe 2020 Strategy and in particular the Innovation Union flagship initiative, which will be launched in autumn 2010.
Attila Simon, R&T Project Manager, European Defence Agency (EDA) opened his talk by discussing the Long-Term Vision report published by the European Defence Agency in October 2006. This report serves as a compass for defence planners developing the European Security and Defence Policy and defining the military capabilities required over the next twenty years. Simon presented the general principles behind the Capability Development Plan, which translates long-term vision into more specific guidance for development and thereby helps to identify priorities for R&T. This process for identifying and developing capability needs is applied to a diverse range of disciplines, all related to security operations from computer networks and communications to medical support and troop movement.
In particular, Simon presented how capability needs would lead to the development of new RF sensor technologies for intelligence, surveillance, and target acquisition. This need is being driven by the challenges of future conflicts including the increasing diversity and unpredictable nature of future military missions, changing threats and operational environments (with an increase in RF interference, increased pressure to co-exist with commercial spectrum, increased use of unmanned vehicles), and need for wide area, persistent surveillance and improved target identification. The plan also recognizes internal pressures such as shrinking defence budgets. Connecting this high-level overview of potential threats and planned capabilities development with the interests of his microwave-centric audience, Simon spoke of key RF generic and multifunction technologies and skills identified as RF priorities of EDRT strategy. Among these, Simon cited detection, localization and identification of targets in complex environments; adaptive, self-learning and anticipative technologies; bi-mulitstatic, active-passive, multisensory systems, AESA antenna design and manufacture, all weather target recognition, ESM of complex signals in dense signal environments and High power microwave (HPM) weapons.
Simon discussed various critical RF/IF/Digital technologies including solid state TR modules, wide and ultra wideband AESA antennas, high efficiency RF antennas, low phase noise signal and wave form generation, tunable low-loss filters, high speed, high resolution ADC and RF-on-optics technology. In this portion of his talk, Simon discussed critical signal and data processing technologies and system issues. The focus on system requirements covered the areas of spectrum management, manufacturing scalability, costs and implementation. Defence planners are looking at requirements for future design, manufacturing and deployment from the need to explore new architectures and concepts. Planners hope to address manufacturing and budget requirements through new architectures and interface standards for scalable modular systems and the innovative use of COTS/MOTS, SMRF, etc. deployment with co-existence and interference suppression, frequency allocation management. Simon concluded his 10 minute presentation with a description of numerous RF sensor programs currently in development.
NATO RTA Deputy Director and former jet fighter pilot, Major General Roger Renard commanded the attention of forum attendees with his talk on NATO scientific cooperation. Renard spoke about the tight relationship between NATO and the R&T community that is due to the Research & Technology Organization (RTO) which was formed n 1998, replacing the Defence Research Group (DRG) and Advisory Group for Aerospace Research and Development (AGARD). The RTO is responsible for fundamental and applied research from concept refinement to technology development, system development and demonstration. The RTO’s charter is focused on promoting co-operative exchange of research information to support the development and effective use of national defence R&T. In doing so, the RTO aims to create a collaborative networking environment, providing technology demonstrations (prototypes, and field trials), reports and standards and educational opportunities for NATO members. The RTO is broken down into panels which specific disciplines such as Sensors & Electronics Technology and Information Systems Technology.
In addition to addressing the military needs of NATO and the nation members, the RTO is looking to address problematic gaps in the collective knowledge and technology base where progress is deemed critical to NATO’s future (13 specific “hard problems” are currently a priority) and to investigate emerging/emerged disruptive technologies, either from the opportunity it presents or from the threat it poses. Renard concluded his talk with eight specific examples of RTO led activities such as the SET-163: aspects of multi-parameter Radar Automatic Target Recognition in Complex Environments and SET-164: advanced modelling and system applications for passive radar sensors. More information on the RTO can be found at www.rto.nato.int .
Insight into the RF Defence Market
Good market intelligence is sometimes hard to come by, however Asif Anwar of Strategy Analytics delivered the goods in his talk, “Semiconductor Technology and Market Trends for Military Systems and Implications for Europe”. After a brief introduction to his company’s services and methods of research, Anwar discussed the increasing complexity of defence platforms or Advanced Defence Systems and the demand for voice, video and data inputs that are used to make timely decisions. Electronic systems provide key capabilities such as situational awareness, protection, communications and analysis. To illustrate the growing complexity of these systems, Anwar mentioned electronically scanned Radar (AESA) that allow multiple beam generation at different frequencies being used for search, scan and tracking. Generic trends that were cited include the need to develop technologies that operate at increased frequency, wider bandwidth, higher power, and integrate functionality.
Anwar transitioned from a high-level systems discussion to a focus on how these system requirements impact RF semiconductor development and market opportunities. Reflecting comments from all three agency speakers, Anwar mentioned the increasing use of COTS and KOTS ("Kind-of"-off- the- shelf, i.e. semi-custom components), the need to leverage mainstream technology advances, and modular solutions. Still, the military has some specific needs, which transcend the capabilities of commercial parts including longer life cycles, environmental directives, concern over counterfeiting and military standards/testing.
Silicon MOSFETs and TWTs form the stalwart technologies for the main RF/analog technologies used in military systems, but as trends gravitate towards higher frequencies, broadband performance and flexible operation, then the use of more advanced semiconductor technologies will become mainstream. GaAs and GaN in particular will see increasing use providing a mix of advanced performance coupled with mainstream manufacturing expertise, but there are also emerging opportunities for SiGe technologies.
Taking the communications segment as an example, Strategy Analytics sees a market growing from $4.8 billion in 2010 and approach $7 billion by 2020. Land-based tactical radios represent the largest market military communications. Common trends across the board include a move towards higher frequencies, e.g. land radios moving through to 2.7GHz, wide bandwidth requirements, multi-band requirements. Other desirable factors include either high power, smaller form factors or a mix of these attributes. Anwar provided a further breakdown of the analysis to individual functional components and process technologies. So for example, the market for transceiver components will grow from around and estimated $206 million in 2010 to $340 million. SA sees an increase in opportunities for technologies such as GaAs and GaN as a result of trends in the market. Communications opportunity for GaN will emerge at a later stage than the equivalent opportunities being seen in radar and EW applications.
View from Industry Leaders
Dr Massimo Piva, Senior Vice President of Large Systems Business Unit Selex Sistemi Integrati gave a presentation on "A Smart Trade-off Between New and Existing Technologies: The Selex/Finmecccanica Solution in the Security/Defence Scenario“. Dr. Pivo discussed a “modern socio-techno scenario” whereby complex systems are faced with the challenge of integrating various complex infrastructures with limited contact points. Piva described complex systems that contain many constituents, which are interdependent and interact non-linearly, spanning several spatial orders yet capable of emerging behavior. Examples of this include birds which adapt to neighboring behavior and automatically form a flock. A technical example of such a system looked at internet usage models (the Opte Project), where individual use evolves into distinct patterns. System complexity is especially prevalent in a multi-layered network scenario common to defence systems. The ability to analyze complex systems has utility both for safeguarding against threats as well as mitigating or defeating potential or existing dangers.
Piva discussed how new warfare scenarios and asymmetric threats are introducing more complex missions for planners and contractors to address. Examples of threats include modern terrorism, large emergency situations (catastrophic natural events), civil protection, crisis management, while ongoing security must be prepared for large events, critical infrastructures, territorial and border protection. Altogether these scenarios call for a new, well-framed approach to Homeland Security with structured strategies and the integration of best-in-class technologies.
Pierre Fossier, VP and Technical Director of Thales Air Operations presented the how (and why) microwave technology is essential to Thales for developing systems that provide “mission critical information” in their security and defence businesses, such as Air Traffic Control, Air operations and transportation. The information systems developed by Thales include security related surveillance, communication and traffic supervision, Air Traffic Management, Ground Based Radar.
According to Fossier, Thales focuses on delivering solutions based on architecture driven engineering. The company starts by applying their in-house architecture skills and considering what the required architecture needs to be. This approach incorporates their understanding of customer requirements and the articulation of relevant technologies. In developing a solution, the company must decide whether to make specific domain-related capabilities in-house or to buy technologies applicable to a given domain. Where expertise, algorithms and domain-knowledge are critical in terms of access or independence, Thales tends to make the technology in-house using a team approach. Where state of the art knowledge has led to innovative breakthroughs outside the team, Thales will look to acquire that technology.
For the systems that Thales is developing, microwave technologies are key enablers that require a significant R&D effort. The size of the consumer market such as telecommunications is very large and can be leveraged for amortization of new technology development cost however; the ability to sustain specific development must be sustained. Therefore, Fossier believes a European supply chain specifically for microwave technologies must be set-up.
In September, EADS Defence & Security, a world leader in global security solutions and systems for civil and military markets, announced its official name change to CASSIDIAN. Hans Brugger, Vice President of CASSIDIAN informed the audience that CASSIDIAN will remain a division of EADS and will continue to market its large portfolio of security systems in his presentation, "Importance of High Frequency Techniques for EADS Defence and Security". Brugger began by referring to specific security requirements for Europe, which were outlined in the Lisbon Treaty. Among these requirements are: security for citizens, infrastructure and utilities, surveillance and border security, restoring security and safety in case of a crisis and improving security system integration and interoperability. Brugger then associated these requirements with specific products being developed by his company including protection from roadside bombs and IEDs (change detection by SAR info, vehicle protection jammers, COMINT), detection of dangerous goods and materials via mm-wave sensors; surveillance systems; sensors for border controls and rapidly deployable mobile communication systems for medical support and first responders.
Radar developments will target ground, coastal and naval surveillance. Brugger presented an example of high-power, broadband COMINT convoy and vehicle protection jammer systems against roadside bombs. Such systems will rely on extremely wide frequency ranges for the receivers and transmitters based on digital receiver technology and solid state high power amplifiers. CASSIDIAN estimates the world wide security market to be $100B per year, a third of that will be in Europe. The electronics market is estimated to be between 20 and 30% of this market, with high-frequency related technology representing 10 to 15 % of this segment. That puts the defence microwave market at between $600 M and $1 B per year.
The open panel session began with a summary of all the talks and their implications for future microwave R&T provided by Dr. Barry M. Alexia, Director Strategy Technology, at Rockwell Collins. Dr. Alexia noted how all speakers discussed the challenges of future threats, which included the need for greater surveillance and sensor technology required for asymmetric warfare, terrorists’ threats and natural calamity events. Alexia concurred that new system capabilities and underlying technology would be driven by the need to address complex operating conditions in congested spectral environments, the need for higher data rates required for ubiquitous surveillance in hostile areas, and the growing usage of personal communications and UAVs.
As the floor was opened up to questions, much of the discussion centered on the lack of engineering talent entering the work force, especially in the microwave field. This concern voiced by several members of the audience was echoed by panelists who talked about their own efforts to recruit new talent. All the panelists that responded to this line of questions believed that the problem was the result of a lack of interest among today's students to pursue engineering careers, favoring careers that are perceived to be more glamorous or lucrative. Perhaps with the recent stumble in the financial markets, smart and capable talent will again look toward engineering as a career worth pursuing. Certainly future global threats and the challenges of meeting these threats will offer technologists some interesting opportunities, which in turn may attract young people to consider engineering as an option. Panelists agreed that active government lobbying and aggressive recruiting of students may be the only effective way to address the shortage of young engineers entering the field.
Speakers and Panelists
Pictured above are: Back row from left to right -
• Dr. Barry M. Alexia, Director Strategy Technology, Rockwell Collins – not presenting, participating in Round Table only.
• Frank van den Bogaart, Director Research TNO Defence, Security and Safety. Forum Moderator.
• Asif Anwar, Program Director for Strategy Analytics talks on "Market and Technology Trends in the Defence Industry".
• Hans Brugger, Vice President CASSIDIAN on "Importance of High Frequency Techniques for EADS Defence and Security".
• Pierre Fossier, VP and Technical Director, Thales How and why Microwave Equipments are Strategic for THALES talks on "Defence and Security Applications".
Front row from left to right -
• Attila Simon, R&T Project Manager, European Defence Agency (EDA) talks on "EDA RF Sensor Programmes and Projects Driven by European Capability Needs".
• Dr Massimo Piva, Senior Vice President of Large Systems Business Unit, who, along with Mr. Francesco Vinelli, Engineering Director, Selex Sistemi Integrati (not pictured) developed the presentation on "A Smart Trade-off Between New and Existing Technologies: The Selex/Finmecccanica Solution in the Security/Defence Scenario".
• Francois Murgadella, Direction Generale pour L'Armement (DGA) & Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR) talks on "French Security Research Initiatives and Approaches".
• Major General Roger Renard, NATO RTA Deputy Director talks on "Science and Technology in the Context of NATO".