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Industry News

International Report

March 1, 2001
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Martin Streetly, International Correspondent


Polish PIT Develops Radar Family


Details of a family of radars available from Poland's Warsaw-based Prezemyslowy Instytut Telekomunikacji (PIT ­ Telecommunications Research Institute) have recently been released. Equipments detailed include the ARS-400 maritime surveillance radar, the Avia family of primary air traffic control radars, the CRM-100 quiet naval radar and the TRD-1211 long-range, 3-D surveillance radar. Looking at these in more detail, the CRM-100 is a low probability-of-intercept (LPI) sensor for naval and coastal surveillance applications. It is described as being a frequency modulated continuous wave emitter that operates on 10 switched frequencies within the 9.3 to 9.5 GHz frequency range. Designed to detect surface targets and provide automatic target tracking and data hand-off to a command post, CRM-100 is quoted as having an output power of between 1 mW and 1 W, and as being able to track up to 40 targets at ranges of between 1.4 and 44.5 km, with angular and bearing accuracies of 0.1° and 1°, respectively. The L-band (1 to 2 GHz) TRD-1211 surveillance radar provides range, azimuth and height readings, has an instrumented range of 350 km, azimuth and range accuracies of 0.2° and 20 m RMS, respectively, and makes use of a planar array antenna that forms a cosec square transmission beam and eight stacked reception beams. The Avia family of primary ATC primary radars are unattended and offer ranges of 111 (Avia DM), 296 (Avia CM) and 306 km (Avia CX).

Envisat Completes Final Testing


Europe's eight ton Envisat Earth observation satellite is undergoing final tests (at the European Space Agency's (ESA) facility at Noordwijk in the Netherlands) prior to being shipped to the Kourou launch site in French Guyana in April. Development and construction of the approximately 1.5 billion Euro Envisat has taken in excess of 10 years and has involved approximately 100 companies (under the industrial lead of the French/ British/German Astrium consortium) in 14 countries. If successfully launched (set for late July), Envisat will orbit the Earth every 100 minutes with a single geographic location re-visit time of 35 days anywhere on the globe. At the heart of the capability is a Polar Platform that, in turn, breaks down into Service and Payload Modules (SM/PM). Of these, the SM houses the vehicle's power supply, orbital control system and its telemetry/telecommand package. The PM houses the satellite's research sensors and associated systems (such as an instrument data transmission subsystem). The vehicle's payload comprises seven ESA-supplied equipments together with three systems developed by the national space agencies of Germany and the Netherlands, France and the UK. Here, identified subsystems include an Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR), an Advanced Along Track Scanning Radiometer (AATSR), a Global Ozone Monitoring by Occulation of the Stars (GOMOS) device, a Michelson Interferometer for Passive Atmospheric Sounding (MIPAS) and a scanning imaging absorption spectrometer for atmospheric cartography (designated as the Sciamachy device). Of these, the ASAR has a resolution of 30 m and will be used for such things as sea state measurement, sea ice distribution surveys, surface topography, soil moisture measurement and wetland area charting. The AATSR will be used as a trip wire for the detection of global climate change while the GOMOS package will, as its name suggests, be employed to measure ozone depletion within the atmosphere. The MIPAS device will be used to observe photochemically interrelating trace gases within the Earth's middle atmosphere while the Dutch-German Sciamachy device is designed to measure trace gases, aerosols and cloud height and coverage within the sea level to 90 km band of the Earth's atmosphere. Overall, Envisat's Polar Platform is a development of Astrium's SPOT satellite platform.

R&S Launches Laboratory Power Supply & Extended Range Vector Network Analyser


German contractor Rohde & Schwarz (R&S) has launched a new programmable laboratory power supply and an extended range vector network analyser that are designated as the NGM02 and ZVK devices, respectively. Taking these in the order given, the NGM02 power supply is designed to meet the requirements inherent in mobile telephone development and production testing and, as such, is noted as incorporating two identical supply and measurement channels. Maximum output voltage is given as 15 V/2.5 (5 A) per channel, with a settling time of less than 50 µs. Other system features include effective function when recording DUT power drains; a digital voltmeter (that can be used separately); linear controller functionality; a low disturbance value; remote control via IEEE 488.2, RS-232C or USB bus; adjustable bandwidth and source impedance, and internal and external trigger facilities. For its part, the Windows NT compatible ZVK analyser is described as being scaled for the microwave region up to 40 GHz and as incorporating four, mixer-based receivers. The device is noted as having a dynamic range in excess of 110 dB; a measurement speed of less than 700 µs per point; a sensitivity value of better than ­110 dBm (at a measurement bandwidth of 10 Hz) and a frequency range of 10 MHz to 40 GHz. R&S believes that this combination facilitates the taking of precise linear and non-linear measurements on active and passive components within microwave and satellite communications systems, while direct access to the generator and all four test receivers allows for flexibility in the configuration of external bi-directional test sets used in high performance applications.

Thales Launches Centaur, Wins Naval EW Contract


UK contractor Thales Sensors has developed a new electronic support (ES) system (designated as Centaur) that is to replace the company's Sceptre A ES systems aboard Royal Australian Navy ANZAC class frigates. Sources consulted suggest that the Centaur system addresses Sceptre A's problems with the discrimination of cell phone-type transmissions in littoral situations and shares back end technology with Thales' Outfit UAT surface ship ES system. Elsewhere in the world, Thales Sensors is reported to have been contracted by BAE Systems to supply examples of its Type 242 ES and Scorpion electronic attack systems for use as an integrated electronic warfare suite aboard three offshore patrol vessels/corvettes being built for a Far Eastern customer (understood to be Brunei). The combined value of the two described programmes is put at approximately £17 million. Elsewhere in the Thales orbit, the Netherlands-based defence electronics house Signaal has been renamed Thales Nederland.

Philips Adds New ASSPs to its PTN Product Family


Netherlands contractor Philips Semiconductors has added a range of Application Specific Standard Product (ASSP) devices to its Performance Telecom/Networking (PTN) product family. Designed to solve complex component level design problems in telecommunications and networking products, the company's ASSP devices include logic translators, clock distribution devices, serial backplate transceivers, and maintenance and control devices. Philips notes that they can be designed into a range of applications that includes transmission, switching and local area loop access systems, networking routers, local area network switches and hubs, wireless basestations, storage area networks and network attached storage architectures. Specific design problems addressed by the family are noted as including signal integrity and interfacing, and timing between system board and line

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