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Industry News

International Report

September 1, 2002
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International Report


Thales Launches CATS

French-based contractor Thales Airborne Systems used the 22-28 July Farnborough International Air Show to showcase its latest airborne electronic warfare (EW) product, the Compact Airborne Threat Surveyor (CATS). Operating within the E- to K-band (2 to 40 GHz) frequency band, CATS is a combined radar warning, electronic support (ES) and EW suite management system that is designed for use in helicopter, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and transport aircraft applications. As such, it provides real-time battlespace awareness, radar threat warning and alert, an ES capability with a data recording facility and real-time sensor-to-shooter target geo-location data. System components include a processor unit and up to six antenna modules and the system as a whole makes use of Thales' proprietary phase measurement threat localisation technique. CATS can be installed as either a stand-alone unit or in an integrated configuration that is compatible with glass cockpits and UAV navigation/data link systems. In its stand-alone format, the system is used with a kneeboard or a dedicated cockpit colour display that has provision for interfacing with the host platform's mission and avionic systems. Other system features include a user programmable software library and built-in test. Equipment weight is given as 15 kg (without display) and at the time of its announcement, it is believed that in the first instance, Thales was pushing CATS for installation on platforms such as the pan-European NH-90 helicopter and A400M next generation transport aircraft.

AMS Wins Radar Contracts in Ecuador, Hong-Kong and Turkey

The Anglo-Italian Alenia Marconi Systems (AMS) joint venture has been awarded air traffic control radars contracts in Ecuador, Hong-Kong and Turkey with a joint value of approximately US$34 million. Taking the countries in the order given, Ecuador's Civil Aviation Authority is acquiring a US$5 million air traffic management (ATM) system for Guayaquil airport which will comprise an AMS ATCR-33S primary radar and a SIR-S Mode S secondary surveillance radar. This package will replace the site's existing radar system and builds on an area control centre turnkey contract Ecuador awarded AMS during 2001.

For its part, the Hong-Kong award (valued at US$6 million) covers the supply of an ATCR-44S long range radar for installation on Mount Parker, from where it will form part of the en-route radar surveillance coverage of aircraft flying in the vicinity of Hong-Kong's Chek Lap Kok international airport. When combined with another long range radar that was installed at Sha Chau during 1998, the new package will facilitate wider area coverage, a reduction in blind zones and better tracking continuity during hand-off between one radar coverage area and another. Prior to this latest contract with Hong-Kong's Civil Aviation Department, AMS had provided an automated air traffic control system for the Territory's Kai Tak airport which was commissioned during 1985.

In the third of the three cited contracts, AMS is supplying Turkey's Civil Aviation authority with six Mode S secondary radars, three medium range ATCR-33S primary radars and a logistical support package in a deal valued at US$23 million. Taken together, these various equipments are to be used to modernise the country's air traffic control system and are to be installed at sites in Ankara, Erzican, Istanbul, Korcik, Milas-Bodrum and Yalova. Looking at the technology involved in greater detail, the ATCR-33S sensor is an S-band (2 to 4 GHz) band sensor that is suitable for both ATM and approach control applications and can be equipped with either a G-33 conventional reflector antenna or an ALE 3 x 5 planar array. The ATCR-44S radar operates in the L-band (1 to 2 GHz) and is suitable for TMA and approach/en-route control applications. It makes use of a solid-state transmitter and can be fitted with either a G-14 conventional reflector antenna or the company's ALE 3 x 5 planar array. For its part, SIR-S is a Mode S capable monopulse secondary surveillance radar that conforms with Eurocontrol POEMS requirements, is fully solid-state and is fitted with an ALE 9 open array antenna.

Rosoboronexport Promotes Detachable COMINT System

The Russian Federation's Moscow-based Rosoboronexport export agency is offering a detachable communications intelligence (COMINT) system that can be easily incorporated aboard any type of utility helicopter. Operating within the 30 to 2000 MHz frequency band, the package comprises an onboard equipment set (made up of four laptop computer-equipped workstations) and a retractable antenna assembly that is installed in a suitable location on the host aircraft's belly. It is designed to establish electronic orders of battle; monitor illegal paramilitary/smuggling activity; support search and rescue operations and provide a border/territorial water surveillance capability. System functions include automatic search, detection and identification of emitters; high speed panoramic analysis of the frequency of received signals; automatic, multi-emitter direction-finding (DF) within the 30-1200 MHz sub-band and position location; the creation of signal, emitter and target databases and the presentation of COMINT data overlaid on an electronic map. In terms of specific performance, the equipment's DF accuracy, sensitivity, frequency measurement accuracy and dynamic range are given as 2° to 5°, 2 µW, 2 kHz and 60 dB, respectively. In terms of potential platforms, it is believed that the system has been flown aboard the MIL Mi-8 helicopter and is at least applicable to the same company's Mi-17 design.

Indra Reveals New Air Defence Radar

Spanish contractor Indra has launched a new 2-D air defence surveillance radar under the trade name RAVEN. Operating within the I/J-band (8 to 20 GHz) frequency range, RAVEN is described as being a frequency modulated continuous wave (CW) type of equipment. It comprises an antenna/antenna drive assembly, a dual Power PC processor, a control unit, an AMD-K6 PC operator console, an antenna mast, a Mk XII identification friend-or-foe interrogator and a radar trailer, and is designed to detect and classify aircraft flying at low and very low altitudes. It can operate as a stand-alone unit or can be linked to a command post (via cable (RS-422 interface) or bi-directional radio) or a number of weapon terminals (one-way radio). Overall, the system has been designed to minimise its visibility to hostile electronic support systems, with proofing measures including a low radiating power value, CW functionality and state-of-the-art processing. Indra further notes that alongside its primary air defence role, RAVEN is also suitable for ground traffic control and border surveillance applications and that it forms part of its COAAAS-L anti-aircraft artillery command and control post architecture. Here, two RAVEN radar are teamed with an engagement control unit (designated as the UCE equipment) and a terminal at each weapon site within the particular air defence network. For its part, the UCE collects and merges data coming in from the two radars, carries out a threat assessment and assigns weapons to targets. Using a combat radio network, UCE controls both its radars and assigned weapon systems via data links and if no UCE is available, the COAAAS-L's RAVEN radars can hand off data directly to the individual weapon system terminals. Other RAVEN radar system features include frequency agility, Doppler processing (fixed and moving clutter map for target classification), automatic track while scan, the use of constant false alarm rate algorithms for false alarm management and C/C++ radar processing and Ada operator console software. System range, sidelobe value, beamwidth (azimuth/elevation), power consumption/output and mean time between failure/mean time to repair are given as 20 km (instrumented), < 40 dB RMS, 1.7°/17°, 400 W/< 20 W and > 1200 h/15 minutes, respectively.

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