Recent Contracts/Developments - GaN switches and scaling AESA radar
In conjunction with European Microwave Week in Manchester, UK, TriQuint launched a family of reflective GaN-based SPDT (single pole double throw) switches. Operating at 10-40 W over 6-18 GHz, the switches allow designers of defense, aerospace or high-performance commercial systems to use much smaller semiconductor devices in many applications where the only alternative previously option was to use larger, heavier electromechanical devices.
On the radar front, news concerning AESA-based systems is becoming the norm with Northrop Grumman announcing the first deployment of the company's STARLite radar on a U.S. Army Persistent Threat Detection System (PTDS). The company also demonstrated the AN/TPS-80 Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar (G/ATOR) system to senior Department of Defense leaders at the Pentagon as well as the Highly Adaptable Multi-Mission Radar (HAMMR), which is a derivative of the Defense Department's Ground Based Fighter Radar (GBFR).
Scalability is another feature often talked about when discussing AESA radar capabilities, and where the STARlite demonstrates lightweight, small sized solutions, the other end of the scale is amply demonstrated by Raytheon’s involvement in the Cobra Judy Replacement program Raytheon has completed the shipboard installation of the Cobra Judy Replacement program's X- and S-band antennas onto the USNS Howard O. Lorenzen. These massive active phased-array antennas weigh more than 500,000 pounds and comprise an estimated 20,000 T/R modules.
Other notable news on the radar front included Cassidian’s addition to its SPEXER family of radar, Thales-Raytheon’s contract with the US Army and a contract for the GIRAFFE AMB multi-mission radar system involving Saab as well as its newly acquired subsidiary Saab Sensis.
BAE Systems was involved in multiple activities on the EW front including an announcement that the company will begin full-rate production of the U.S. Navy AN/ALE-55 fiber-optic towed decoy, an RF airborne countermeasure designed to protect the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet from radar-guided missiles. Meanwhile, U.S. Army Contracting Command, MICC, Aberdeen Proving Ground has awarded BAE Systems a for the engineering and manufacturing services for the EMD Tactical Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) Payload (TSP) systems and the companies was also contracted by the U.S. Air Force to install AN/ALR-56M advanced radar warning receiver ship sets on C-130 aircraft.
Meanwhile, Italian electronics specialist ELT Elettronica has developed a dedicated command-and-control (C2) system that improves EW capabilities in a network-centric environment and simultaneously resists cyber attacks. The Loki ELT/950 NSM (networked system manager) coordinates and exploits passive and active networked sensors and continuously checks network security.
In the area of smart weapons, Northrop Grumman will provide personnel for expanded operations of Counter-Rocket, Artillery and Mortar (C-RAM) sense-and-warn systems in Afghanistan and Iraq, while ATK has been awarded a contract by the U.S. Navy for a third lot of LRIP Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missiles (AARGM). Meanwhile, the French air force and naval aviation began operational deployment of the infrared terminal guidance version (SBU-64) of the Hammer IR AASM modular air-to-ground weapon. Developed and produced by Sagem (Safran group), the Hammer AASM is a family of air-to-ground weapons, comprising a guidance kit with an infrared imager in the nose cone, along with the standard hybrid GPS / inertial guidance systems.
Harris led the field in terms of announcements for the communications sector, with the company’s Falcon III AN/PRC-117G radios being selected both by US and international customers. General Dynamics won a contract with the Australian Defence Force to provide AN/PRC-112G GPS-enabled search and rescue radios and accessories and the company’s new Sidewinder Vehicle Mount accessory for the networking AN/PRC-154 Rifleman has also been selected by the Army for evaluation at the upcoming Network Integration Exercise (NIE) 12.1. The Sidewinder quickly transitions the radio from a body-worn radio to a vehicle-mounted radio.
Meanwhile, Boeing announced that it has successfully demonstrated high-data-rate transmissions between a FAB-T system and a test terminal for the AEHF satellite. This was one in a series of development tests that are demonstrating extended data rate voice, text and data communication with a FAB-T unit.