Martin Streetly, International Correspondent

UK Mobiles

to Carry Radiation WarningsFollowing a year-long, government sponsored enquiry, the UK has decided to include a radiation level warning on all new mobile telephones from 2001 onwards and to leaflet users on the wisdom of children under 16 using such devices for essential communications only. The concern over youth use of mobile telephones relates to the high usage rate amongst British children and speculation that the radiation emitted by mobiles could be harmful to the young because of their thinner skulls (when compared with adults), higher tissue conductivity (again, when compared with adults) and developing nervous systems. In this context, it should be stressed that to date, no conclusive evidence has been found to suggest that mobile telephones are injurious to health. The UK's Electronics Industry Federation supports the move (on the grounds that it supports the general concept of providing consumers with as much product information as possible) and that Cenelec (the body responsible for mobile telephone technical standards within Europe) intends to publish a standardised methodology for calculating specific absorption ratings for mobile telephone handsets.

Europe Features Strongly in FY 01 FCT Programmer

The European electronics feature strongly in the US Department of Defense's Fiscal Year (FY) 2001 Foreign Comparative Testing (FCT) programme. Looking at some of the FY 01 FCT new starts and continuations by service, the US Army is to carry out an FCT evaluation of non-developmental communications antenna masts from manufacturers in Finland (Mast Systems), France (LERC), Germany (the European Aeronautic, Defence and Space (EADS) Company), Sweden (WIDE) and the UK (ARA and Clark Mast Systems) in connection with its ongoing digitisation programme. Elsewhere, the service will test Thomson Racal Defence (UK) and Tadiran (Israel) signals intelligence systems that are capable of detecting and locating conventional and low probability-of-intercept signals. Here, the programme is in connection with the Prophet Ground effort and a major area of interest is the two equipments' ability to detect and locate frequency-hopping radios.

For its part, the US Navy is continuing its evaluation of a Raytheon Systems Ltd. (UK) anti-jam Global Positioning System (GPS) antenna (for use in day one strike warfare applications) and a stealth screening material developed by French contractor Societe Nouvelle des Ateliers et Chantiers de Havre. Here, the material takes the form of a wire mesh and is being tested as a method of matching the radar cross section signature of the Remote Mine Hunting Systems (RMHS) installed aboard the service's Arleigh Burke class destroyers to that of the ship's structure around it.

US Air Force new starts include evaluation of an infra-red/ultra-violet threat simulator produced by UK contractor Elettronica Systems Ltd. and an unattended ground imager (for base security applications) developed by Israeli contractor Seraphim Optronics. Programmes carried over from FY 1999 include continuing trials of a large aircraft infra-red decoy flare produced by German contractor BUCH Neue Technologie and a wideband klystron power amplifier developed by UK contractor TMD Ltd. In the first instance, the decoy flare trials are in connection with the provision of an improved defensive aids capability for the C-17 strategic transport aircraft while the power amplifier is being tested as a possible means of improving power amplifier reliability in the AN/APY-1/2 search radar fitted aboard the Boeing E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning And Control System (AWACS) platform.

Lastly, the US Special Operations Command is to evaluate a series of lightweight, portable and/or hand-held electronic warfare components that have been developed by France's Metravib, Sweden's FLIR Systems and an as yet unidentified Russian research institute. The effort is in connection with the Command's Joint Threat Warning System that is intended to provide an all-weather detection capability against ground, air and, in particular, maritime and riverine traffic.

Philips Teams with WIDCOMM Inc. to Develop Bluetooth Products

Netherlands contractor Philips Semiconductors has formed a strategic alliance with US contractor WIDCOMM Inc. to speed up the development of Bluetooth technology and provide customers with a complete range of Bluetooth solutions, supported by a reliable support infrastructure. Bluetooth has been developed to provide a low cost, radio-based, open standard technology for short-range, cableless data transmission in applications such as server to visual display units within an office environment. As of this writing, the technology is noted as having demonstrated its compatibility with a range of devices that includes mobile telephones and laptop computers, and as being capable of revolutionising connectivity in 'many' other electronic applications.

Current Philips Bluetooth (a trademark of Telefonaktiebolager L M Ericsson) products include the VWS26002 Bluetooth baseband processor, the Bluetooth developer's kit V 2.0 platform, the single chip UAA3558 transceiver and the BGA2450 power amplifier. For its part, WIDCOMM is described as a software and product design house that focuses on Bluetooth networking solutions and has a product portfolio that includes Bluetooth full protocol stack software, the BlueConnect expansion module, the BlueCard laptop card and the BlueShare personal computer wireless adapter. Overall, the new alliance is intended to provide customers with a one-stop resource that can supply them with complete, optimised Bluetooth solutions involving integrated circuits, software, system design and support at all stages of development.

German-Chinese Team Promotes

TD-SCDMAGerman contractor Siemens Information and Communication Mobile has teamed with China's Academy of Telecommunications Technology (CATT) and the Huawei Technologies Company to promote the use of Time Division Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access (TD-SCDMA) technology in third generation mobile communications networks originating in the People's Republic. The teaming agreement takes the form of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and builds on work undertaken jointly by CATT and Siemens to develop TD-SCDMA technology as a means of capitalising on a potential Chinese telecommunications market of over 60 million Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) subscribers. The main challenge being addressed is the need to integrate symmetric circuit switched services (speech and video) with asymmetric packet switched requirements such as mobile Internet access. Here, the TD-SCDMA approach is claimed to be able to meet the requirement through the use of a Time Division Multiple Access (TMDA) subsystem and an adaptive Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) component operating in synchronous mode. Within this arrangement, the TMDA segment handles transmission of different data in serial (needed for packet-switched mobile Internet applications), while the CDMA element is used for the transmission of large numbers of signals in parallel (typically, voice). Again, TD-SCDMA is billed as facilitating optimum utilisation of allocated radio spectra by virtue of its ability to operate in unpaired spectra.

In terms of the specific TD-SCDMA MoU referred to above, the agreement foresees close cooperation in the international promotion and standardisation of TD-SCDMA technology, the joint development of products and the launch of pilot TD-SCDMA projects in China starting in the early part of next year. Elsewhere, the three partners (together with Motorola, Nortel and mobile providers China Mobile and China Unicom) have founded an international TD-SCDMA forum to foster adaption of the technology by vendors, operators and national regulators. *