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Aerospace and Defense Channel

Highlights from Eurosatory, IMS and Farnborough

August 14, 2012
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Eurosatory is held in Paris on a biannual basis with Eurosatory 2012 continuing as an event focused on land and air platforms. The event boasted over 53,000 attendees and included a new focus on security this year including cyber.There were a range of technologies showcased at Eurosatory 2012 emphasizing the importance of enhancing capabilities and meeting the needs of SWaP-constrained platforms.

The growing use of COTS-based platforms was also highlighted by both DRS Technologies and Harris with the introduction of ruggedized, military-grade Android-based handheld computer and tablet products. Elektrobit’s Counter-RCIED platform was demonstrated as a potential tool for convoy mission planning. Rohde & Schwarz was emphasizing the use of IP technologies for radio communication platforms. Finally, there was a range of radar technologies on show with Cassidian, FLIR and Camero showing solutions targeting applications from border surveillance to through-wall imaging.

IMS 2012 was held in Montreal, Canada for the first time in its 60 year history and a strong industrial program was complimented with a good mix of technical sessions and social events. While attendance was down about 10%, there was an overall increase of around 40% year-on-year in the number of paper submissions.

Main themes that came out of the technical sessions focused on low cost millimeter-wave technologies based on Si CMOS. Terahertz technologies also continued to be a key topic with new concepts and a look towards integrated devices. Finally, nanotechnology was discussed in technical sessions with tunable devices including MEMS-based switches looking to commercial markets. Other areas of interest identified included energy harvesting, wireless energy transmission and the use of RF technologies in biomedical applications as well as the role RF will play in the “Internet of Everything”.

On the show floor, there was a positive atmosphere with companies focused on both commercial and defense markets. Strategy Analytics was also on the show floor to kick off a series of Richardson RFPD Supplier presentations where we outlined our thoughts on how GaN is becoming a pivotal technology in the defense sector. Strategy Analytics’ breakfast session at IMS 2012 was held in conjunction with Microwave Journal this year and included participation from Cree, Nitronex, NXP, RFMD, TriQuint and UMS with the presentations serving as a platform to confirm the applicability of GaN to addressing communications, electronic warfare, and radar applications.

The need for wideband communications including demand from the UAV and SATCOM sector at Ku-band and the need to address Ka-band requirements from SOTM, missile seekers and other communications applications is also driving opportunities for GaN device suppliers. However, while GaN technology hits a lot of the parameters being asked for by military system designers, other technologies including TWTs, LDMOS and SiC will also continue to play a role in future defense system design.

Finally, the Farnborough International Airshow 2012 took place in July acting as a conduit for the trade, with orders and commitments covering a total of 758 aircraft and worth $72 billion. More impressive, given the current economic uncertainty was the fact that the order value represented a 53 percent increase on 2010.

Attendance was equally impressive with just over 107,000 trade visitors and over 1500 exhibitors with representation right across the supply chain. Over 70 military delegations from 46 countries attended with a further 13 delegations from the civil sector. The UK Prime Minister opened the show, and other UK Cabinet members made keynote speeches, with other senior ministers visiting from the UK and overseas.

Over 140 aircraft took part in the static and flying displays at the Farnborough Aerodrome in Hampshire. While the Airbus A400M was unable to fly (again!) due to mechanical issues, the Airbus A380 was in attendance and other flying display highlights included the Korean T50 jet trainer, the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Saab Gripen Fighter.

Perhaps surprisingly, the continuing requirement for a range of technologies was emphasized during meetings at Farnborough. TMD Technologies was showcasing its S-band TWT solutions as well as highlighting the capabilities of the company’s X-band 8 kW PAMs which can be combined with up to 12 units to enable land-based radar solutions and provide the graceful degradation typically associated with GaAs and GaN-based AESA systems. On the GaAs front, Plextek’s Blighter B400 FMCW/Doppler Ku-band PESA radar was being demonstrated and Eletronnica was also showcasing GaAs-based solutions with the Virgilius EW system which provides both ESM and jamming functionality based around an AESA RF front-end.

In conclusion, there were a range of technologies showcased at all the shows with radar, communications and electronic warfare capabilities and requirements driving demand for technologies that canenhance the capabilities of existing platforms as well asmeet the ever growing need to optimize SWaP parameters across both existing and emerging platforms.

Recent Articles by Asif Anwar, Program Director, Strategy Analytics

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