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Industry News

International Report

April 1, 2001
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Martin Streetly, International Correspondent


Thais Deploy German SAR


European Aeronautic, Defence and Space (EADS) Deutschland subsidiary Dornier GmbH has supplied the Kongtap Agard Thai (Royal Thai Air Force) with a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) system that has been integrated aboard one of the service's six G222 transport aircraft for reconnaissance and surveillance work over northern Thailand. While not confirmed, it is believed that the equipment supplied is a variant of Dornier's X-band (8 to 12 GHz) DO-SAR ARMS (Dornier SAR Airborne Reconnaissance and Marine Surveillance) equipment. Sources describe DO-SAR ARMS as incorporating a traveling wave tube amplifier, a solid-state receiver, multilook processing, digital signal and frequency generation, a datalink subsystem and differential Global Positioning System motion compensation. The radar is further quoted as having a maximum range of 60 km, selectable resolutions of 0.75, 1.5 or 3.0 m and selectable swath widths of 7, 20 or 50 km. As part of the effort (which began during October 2000), an in-country, seven person contractor team is reported to have operated an associated, ground-based image exploitation facility and at the time of going to press, a second round of terrain mapping sorties over Thailand's areas of difficult access was understood to be in the pipeline.

Philips Expands its Discrete RF Semiconductor Portfolio


Netherlands contractor Philips Semiconductors has launched two new families of discrete radio frequency (RF) semiconductors for broadband and wireless system applications. In the first instance, Philips has developed the BGA27XX family of monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) gain blocks that are optimised for use in RF applications such as satellite communications and cable systems. Designed to amplify high frequency signals, the BGA27XX gain blocks comprise four discrete building blocks that are optimised for output power (BGA2771), maximum bandwidth (BGA2711), noise performance (BGA2748) and maximum gain (BGA2776). BGA27XX devices incorporate on-chip wideband transistors, resistors, capacitors, automatic compensation for temperature and process variations, and a broadband matching value of 50 ‡ without the need for external components. BGA27XX devices are offered in ultra small SOT363 packages, with ultra-thin SOT666 versions being scheduled to appear during the latter half of this year.

The second strand of the described effort is the planar diffusion process BAP50-70 family of RF positive-intrinsic negative (PIN) diodes that are specifically tailored for mobile telephone and satellite low noise block applications. Overall, Philips claims that the new devices offer very low series inductance, diode capacitance and forward resistance (leading to excellent isolation and low insertion loss), and the ability to operate at frequencies of up to 3 GHz. BAP 50-70 devices come in a range of surface-mount, two- or three-pin packages and can be supplied in single diode, dual diodes in common anode, common cathode and series configurations. Philips is also noting that the BAP family would be available in SOD273 packaging during late 2001.

European AWACS Aircraft to be Upgraded


In separate but parallel programmes, the E-3 Airborne Warning And Control System (AWACS) aircraft operated by the French Air Force and NATO's Airborne Early Warning Force (AEWF) are to be upgraded to enhance their overall mission capabilities. In the first instance, US contractor Boeing (the E-3's manufacturer) has been awarded a $25.5 M contract covering the installation of a global positioning/inertial navigation (GINS) unit and an upgraded altitude measurement system aboard France's four E-3F aircraft. The latter modification will allow the aircraft to meet near term European Global Air Traffic Management requirements in the specific area of reduced, minimum aircraft-to-aircraft separation. For its part, Boeing will design, manufacture and procure as necessary, integrate and test the modification package, which will then be installed by Air France Industries at their Le Bourget, France facility. Work on the programme is scheduled to begin in July of this year and to be completed by the end of the following October.

Within the NATO context, European Aeronautic, Defence and Space (EADS) Company subsidiary Dornier Flugzeugwerft GmbH (acting as programme prime) has awarded EADS' Defence Electronics Business Unit a contract covering the supply of four identification and collision warning systems for installation aboard NATO AEWF E-3A aircraft. Within the package, EADS will supply examples of the STR2000 Identification Friend-or-Foe (IFF) transponder that it has developed jointly with French contractor Thales which Rockwell-Collins Deutschland will complement with its TTR921 Airborne Collision Avoidance System (ACAS) computer. As currently scheduled, installation and testing of the upgrade will begin this summer and is to be completed by year's end. Thereafter, NATO may take up a contract option for 19 additional systems for delivery from 2001 onwards. Functionally, the described package uses the IFF transponder as the means of communication between platforms, with the ACAS computer evaluating received data and alerting the aircraft's crew (aurally and optically) when there is danger of a mid-air collision.

US Acquisition Aimed at Making Siemens a Global Leader in DSL Technology


German contractor Siemens Information and Communications Networks (ICN) Group has announced that it has entered into a definitive merger agreement with Dallas, TX-based, NASDAQ-quoted (EFNT) Efficient Networks Inc. as part of an ongoing strategy to position itself as a leading player in the global digital subscriber line (DSL) broadband access market. If approved, the acquisition will provide Siemens greater penetration into the small- to medium-size business broadband access sector via Efficient Networks' line of DSL modems, routers, integrated data and voice access devices, data services and management systems, and software. Siemens further believes that the deal will facilitate the leveraging of innovative DSL solutions from the two contractors' complementary technology lines. As of February, Siemens was offering $23.50 for each Efficient Networks share or a fully diluted consideration of approximately $1.5 B. Elsewhere in the world, Siemens ICN has received a follow-on order from German telecommunications provider Deutsche Telekom AG for approximately one million integrated services digital network (ISDN) network termination basic access (NTBA) units to be manufactured at Siemens' Griefswald (Mecklenburg-West Pomerania) facility.

Spain Chooses EADS for P-3 Upgrade Program


The Spanish arm of the European Aeronautic, Defence and Space (EADS) company (formerly CASA) has been awarded an approximately $100 M contract to upgrade the Spanish Air Force's five P-3B maritime patrol aircraft. The five aircraft (the first of which is to be re-delivered by the end of September 2003) are to be fitted with a commercial-off-the-shelf, EADS developed integrated tactical system, new radar and electronic support sensors, a new IFF interrogator, a new acoustic processor, a Link-11 standard datalink, a new communications suite and a global positioning/inertial navigation package. Sources suggest that baseline subsystems slated for the effort include a variant of Raytheon's AN/APS-137(V) radar, an Indra-developed ES system, BAE Systems North America's AN/APX-113 IFF unit and Computing Devices Canada's AN/UYS-503 acoustic processor. The successful completion of this programme will put EADS Spain in a good position to compete for future P-3 upgrade work. *

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