Microwave Journal

News from Washington

February 1, 1997

News from Washington

Tri-service Joint Exercise Tests Sea Ferret Missile

A joint operational demonstration conducted by the US Navy’s Pacific Fleet submarine force demonstrated real-time linking of Northrop Grumman’s Sea Ferret missile with a nuclear attack submarine, Marine Corps reconnaissance forces and Army aviators. The exercise examined potential applications of a submarine-based small cruise missile and tested various sensor capabilities and video downlinks of the Sea Ferret in a simulated operational scenario.

The Sea Ferret missile is designed to provide submarine captains, and Marine Corps and Army ground and aviation commanders with real-time video and sensor information for reconnaissance, surveillance, targeting and battle damage assessment, along with precision attack capability. The system also allows multiple users to change mission profiles of the missile while it is enroute to a target.

In the December 1996 exercise conducted along the southern California coast, the Los Angeles class nuclear attack submarine USS Asheville was tasked to locate and identify threats along a hostile coast. After surfacing at night, a Marine Corps reconnaissance team was launched from the submarine to infiltrate the beach and find an early-warning radar site. In support of the team, a simulated launch of Sea Ferret was conducted and the submarine captain took data control of the missile, which was captive-carried on the wing of a small test aircraft flying toward the beachhead.

In three separate exercises over two days, the Sea Ferret missile was used to detect SCUD missile and early-warning missile sites, and other potential targets of opportunity. The unit’s integrated video and control data links were used to change mission profiles after high priority targets were discovered. Several command changes were also made by the Marine forces who were equipped with field laptop computers and Army aviation elements. During the final day of exercises, Army helicopter pilots changed the missile’s mission, directing it to attack an early-warning radar position while the helicopters engaged a SCUD missile site detected earlier by the missile sensors.

COMSAT to Provide SATCOM Link for FAA WAAS

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has selected COMSAT Mobile Communications, Bethesda, MD, to provide satellite communications (SATCOM) services for the Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS). WAAS is the first planned augmentation of the Global Positioning System (GPS) for aviation purposes and, when operational, will permit aircraft to use GPS for all phases of flight from en route to Category I precision approaches.

COMSAT will provide the space segments of the service through dedicated L-band transponders on the Atlantic Ocean Region-West and Pacific Ocean Region Inmarsat-3 satellites. The frequency of these navigational transponders on those satellites is the same as that of GPS. COMSAT will also design, construct and operate six new uplink 16-meter antenna earth stations. Four earth stations will be used with the WAAS system; two will be used for a functional verification system.

The transponder portion of the initial contract is worth $32 M. If all options are exercised, the total contract value could reach $100 M.

Litton Receives $12.5 M for Norwegian Shore Defense System

The Laser Systems Division of Litton Industries Inc., Woodland Hills, CA, has received a contract from the Royal Norwegian navy for the Norwegian Hellfire Shore Defense System Match – Designator Configuration program. Under the terms of the contract, which is valued at $12.5 M, Litton will produce 54 systems for the Royal Norwegian navy and army. System delivery will begin at the end of this year and is scheduled to be completed by December 1998.

The Norwegian Hellfire Shore Defense System – Designator Configuration permits possible enemy targets to be acquired, tracked and surveyed using daylight and thermal sights. The target information is then used to direct ground-launched Hellfire missiles against targets. The system comprises a laser designator/rangefinder built by Litton Laser Systems Division, an 8 to 12 mm thermal camera built by Sagem SA in France, and a tripod and traversing head from Instro-Precision Ltd. of the UK. Litton is the system integrator and will deliver fully integrated day/night systems. The shore defense system is deployed by the Norwegian navy from fast attack boats to mobile coastal positions, and is also used in a forward observation/forward air controller role to locate and designate targets for interdiction by fighter aircraft.

Lockheed Martin to Produce Marine Corps TBM Tracking Radars

The US Marine Corps has announced plans to begin the production phase of the AN/TPS-59(V)3 radar program with the award of a $48 M contract to Lockheed Martin Ocean, Radar & Sensor Systems, Syracuse, NY. The program involves the production of 11 upgrade kits for existing AN/TPS-59(V)1 radars and is the first tactical missile defense program to enter into production in the US inventory. Delivery of the upgrade kits is scheduled for completion in two years.

The modification program is a joint Marine Corps and Ballistic Missile Defense Organization program designed to provide the Marine Corps with a radar system able to track tactical ballistic missiles (TBM) and to improve the capability to track other small radar cross-section targets. The viability of the system was demonstrated at White Sands Missile Range, NM in December 1995 and August 1996. The air defense communications platform and HAWK missile system are also components of the TBM defense capability.

ATP Announces R&D Award Competition

The Commerce Department has announced the opening of a general competition for new research and development (R&D) awards under the department’s advanced technology program (ATP). Up to $25 M will be available in first-year, cost-shared funding for the awards. Details of the competition were published recently on CBDNet (http://www.cbdnet.access.gpo.gov) and in Commerce Business Daily. For more information on the ATP 1997 general competition and for copies of the ATP proposal preparation kit, contact (800) 287-3863, fax (301) 926-9524 or e-mail: atp@nist.gov.

Raytheon Signs Contracts for Upgrades of HAWK and Patriot Systems

Raytheon Electronic Systems, Lexington, MA, has signed a contract with the US Army Missile Command, Huntsville, AL, for the remanufacturing of eight HAWK fire units for the Egyptian government. The contract is valued at $206 M. Under the terms of the contract, Raytheon will provide modification kits to upgrade the HAWK equipment to the latest configuration, and will remanufacture and recondition the retained portions. The eight remanufactured units will be integrated into Egypt’s air defense command to permit replacement of outmoded Soviet-produced air defense units.

Raytheon Electronic Systems has also announced a separate contract with the US Army Missile Command worth $83.4 M to modify and upgrade the Patriot air defense system. Radar Enhancement Phase 3, the Army upgrade program, has a total value of $201.1 M and makes significant modifications to the Patriot ground equipment radar that will improve its surveillance capabilities. These improvements are the first in a series of technical upgrades to be installed in existing Patriot radars to provide a Patriot advanced capability system. Work for both of these contracts will be performed at Raytheon’s facilities in Bedford, Andover, Waltham, Sudbury, Tewksbury, Lexington and Quincy, MA.