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International Report

International Report

Philips Develops Ultra-fast OTP Memory Process for Microcontrollers
Philips Research has developed an ultra-fast one-time programmable (OTP) memory that, when applied to sister company Philips Semiconductors’ 8-bit model 80C51 and 16-bit model XA microcontrollers, allows the creation of electronically programmable read-only memory results in less than 60 ns. Closely integrated with Philips’ 0.5 mm CMOS process, the new technique reportedly requires only two additional masking steps, an approach that makes implementation relatively inexpensive.

The patented memory cell used (measuring 7 mm2 and operating at between 1.8 and 3.3 V) utilises a control gate that overlaps the floating gate completely with an interpoly dielectric insulating layer between the two gates, allowing a top layer of titanium salicide (which improves conductivity and facilitates the quoted 60 ns memory access time) to be applied without the possibility of shorting. All the memory cells in a matrix have a zero charge on their floating gates. In the programming process (executed by the customer), this gate charge is changed by the application of 10 V on the control gate, 5 V on the drain and 0 V on the source. This combination excites hot electrons into the floating gate that will remain so configured for at least 10 years. Cells are read by applying a small voltage to the control gate to induce conduction between the source and the drain. If the floating gate has a charge, it prevents such induction and the flow of current. Accordingly, an unaltered cell that allows a current to flow equates to 1 while a programmed, nonconductive cell equals 0. The approach also incorporates standard (rather than high voltage) 13 V transistors used for programming.

Park Air Receives Mongolian ATC Award
Following an international tendering process, UK-based Park Air Electronics has been contracted to supply air traffic control (ATC) communications equipment to update Mongolia’s ATC system. US electronics company Raytheon is the prime contractor for the programme, which is being funded by the Asian Development Bank. The equipment being supplied centres on Park Air’s 50 W series 5000M VHF band (30 to 300 MHz) transmitters and receivers together with its 10 W type 5610BS VHF band base station. The series 5000M equipment is to be installed at 11 remote control air-ground (RCAG) sites throughout Mongolia, and features separate channels to provide coverage in both upper (above flight level 120) and lower airspace.

Each transmitter will operate in an offset carrier mode in order to facilitate the use of a single nominal frequency throughout the system. The receiver configuration used allows the best signal to be passed to the ATC controller regardless of its location. Within the system, all the 5000M equipment will be duplicated for main and standby operation while each RCAG site will be equipped with a 20 m tall antenna tower to optimise antenna position.

The type 5610BS base stations will include both fixed-site and mobile systems. The fixed-site systems are intended for tower-approach and surface-movement control applications, and are to be installed in a main and standby configuration. The mobile systems are vehicle-mounted transceivers (rather than separate transmitters and receivers) and will be used primarily for airfield emergency service applications.

GEC Wins UK Helicopter DAS Programme
After a lengthy decision-making process, the UK’s Ministry of Defence has selected GEC-Marconi Avionics’ Defence Systems Division to provide an integrated defensive aids suite (DAS) for the British army air corps’ next-generation WAH-64 Apache battlefield attack helicopter. Recent reports have suggested that the GEC-Marconi submission was pitched against solutions from the WAH-64’s prime contractor, including GKN Westland Helicopters, ITT and Lockheed Martin.

The system to be supplied, the helicopter integrated defensive aids system (HIDAS), includes a system controller, GEC’s Sky Guardian 2000 series radar-warning receiver (RWR) and its series 1223 laser-warning receiver (LWR). The system’s countermeasures dispenser and missile-approach-warning (MAW) subsystems remain to be selected. The HIDAS suite incorporates a provision for an active RF jammer and a directional infrared jammer. Within the programme, GEC-Marconi will be responsible for the integration of the dispenser and MAW into HIDAS once down selection has been completed.

The baseline Sky Guardian 2000 RWR covers the E- through J-bands (2 to 20 GHz). If required, this frequency can be extended down to the C-/D-band (0.5 to 2 GHz) and up to the K-band (20 to 40 GHz). The system is packaged in a 1/2 air transport rack (ATR) box, has provision for a DAS management module and can handle pulse, CW and interrupted CW signals. Azimuth coverage is 360º instantaneous with direction-finding accuracy better than 10º. The equipment is designed to operate in pulse densities of greater than 1 Mpps and incorporates a 4000 plus emitter mode threat library. In addition to its use in the WAH-64 DAS, Sky Guardian 2000 also has been selected for use on the royal air force’s Merlin HC.3 transport helicopter. The series 1223 LWR is optimised for the rapid declaration of laser beamrider threats and requires a minimum of two sensor heads to guarantee a high probability of intercept. The normal system configuration comprises four heads (as used in the HIDAS application) and GEC describes the equipment as providing angle-of-arrival data rather than a quadrant of detection reading.

Regarding the likely countermeasures dispenser and MAW options, recent reports suggest that the dispenser may be either Tracor’s AN/ALE-47 or smart M-130 units (managed for UK programmes by Joyce-Loebl Ltd.) or a Vinten equipment such as the Vicon 78 series 420 or 455. The MAW used will likely be either Northrop Grumman’s AN/AAR-54 system or the AN/AAR-57 common missile-warning system, which is derived from the advanced threat infrared countermeasures programme. Other contenders may include Raytheon E-Systems’/Cincinnati Electronics’ improved AN/AAR-44 unit or Litton’s/Daimler-Benz Aerospace’s AN/AAR-60 system.

Anglo-German Consortium Prevails at Siemens Defence Auction
German white goods to heavy machinery conglomerate Siemens AG has announced it is selling its defence interests to bid partners British Aerospace (BAe) and Daimler-Benz Aerospace following its mid-1997 decision to withdraw from the sector. Once cleared by national and European Union regulators, the acquisition will be retroactive to 1 October 1997. Originally, BAe, Daimler Benz, Thomson-CSF, Alcatel and GEC-Marconi all expressed interest in acquiring the businesses. The joint bid from BAe and Daimler-Benz, and one from Thomson-CSF were shortlisted for final consideration in September.

Despite making a joint bid, BAe and Daimler-Benz will not run their acquisitions as a collaborative venture but will break up the former Siemens Defence Electronics Division into relevant geographical blocks. Accordingly, BAe is expected to incorporate UK-based Siemens Plessey Systems (SPS) into a new Defence Systems Division that also will include the Anglo-French BAe SEMA software house, STN Atlas (owned jointly with Rheinmetall) and the Anglo-American SIKA consortium. The SIKA team is bidding for prime contractorship on the Anglo-American next-generation battlefield scouting vehicle programme. The former Siemens Plessey Electronic Systems Australia (SPESA) will henceforth become part of BAe Australia. Daimler-Benz Aerospace is expected to absorb Siemens’ Unterschliessheim-based defence activities into its Ulm-based Defence and Civil Systems Division. The remaining elements of Siemens’ European defence holdings (a production facility at Oostkamp in Belgium and the UK-based Airsys ATM air traffic management joint venture business with Thomson-CSF) are not included in the current sale. It has been reported that BAe paid £319 M for the SPS and SPESA business units and has contributed to the estimated DM 300 M that Siemens has received for the Unterschliessheim activity.

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