Richard Mumford, MWJ International Editor
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RichardMumford

Former Editor Richard Mumford's archived blog postings are available here. Serving as MWJ’s liaison to the international microwave community for more than 17 years, Richard filed his monthly international report and contributed articles from our London office.

DSEI 2015: Putting Technology on the Front Line

September 22, 2015

Between 15 and 18 September 1,500 exhibitors representing over 50 countries engaged with 32,000 visitors from around the world in the halls of ExCeL London forDefence & Security Equipment International (DSEI) 2015. The biennial event claims to bring together the ‘entire’ defence and security community, which, due to its vast size, calibre of exhibitor and quality of speakers is hard to argue with.  Participants include top-level figures from the procurement and operational communities, as well as government representatives. Indeed, the event’s stature prompts the thought that the modes of transport to reach the Excel should be by Chieftain tank, Chinook helicopter or Naval frigate rather than the humble ‘Docklands Light railway’!

However visitors reached the venue the line-up of exhibitors was impressive, featuring such industry giants as Airbus Defence & Space, BAE Systems, Bell Helicopters, Boeing, CAE, Finmeccanica, General Dynamics, L3, Lockheed Martin, MBDA, Northrop Grumman, Rafael, Rolls-Royce, SAAB and Thales. DSEI is also a crucially important sales arena for SMEs. Echoing the Career Platform Lounge of European Microwave Week the week before, a matchmaking scheme at DSEI aimed to help SMEs access the primes' supply chains, while visitor and exhibitors alike were able to benefit from free workshops on how to do business in major markets, both mature and emerging.

DSEI's policy of having specialist zones dedicated to key areas of capability aimed to help visitors make the most of their time. Originally there were four core components - aerospace, land, maritime and security. The latter is a specific growth area with the Security Zone incorporating the highest ever number of first time exhibitors, and providing a broad spectrum of security and counter terrorism products, equipment and technologies for police and paramilitary organisations.

These zones have now been joined by others focused on important newer areas, such as unmanned systems and military medical innovation. The vital contribution that military medicine is making to human welfare was highlighted

From semiconductors and PCBs through to tanks and naval vessels DSEI covered the complete Defence & Security sector and military uniforms mixed with business suits as attendees looked to source the latest equipment and systems, develop international relationships, and generate new business opportunities.

Being so vast and all encompassing there was the danger of needing night sights and a complex surveillance system to identify the products and systems relevant to the RF and microwave sector. However, as the synergies between electronic manufacturing and the defence industry have become increasingly apparent there was a significant presence of electronics exhibitors across the show floor.

With DSEI beginning only four days after the close of European Microwave Week in Paris the bulk of companies whose primary focus is on the RF and microwave industry used EuMW to make key product introductions, which they again showcased in London along with specific defence, security and space technology.

Following is a selection of key announcements, new products and participating exhibitors relevant to the RF and microwave industry.

Blighter Surveillance Systems showcased the fully integrated detect-track-disrupt Anti-UAV Defence System (AUDS) that it has developed in collaboration with Chess Dynamics and Enterprise Control Systems. The final production version of the counter-drone system now features a quad-band RF inhibitor/jammer, an optical disruptor and rapid deployment features.

The Anti-UAV Defence System integrates the Blighter A400 Series Ku-Band electronic scanning air security radar, Chess Dynamics' stabilised electro-optic director, infrared and daylight cameras and target tracking software, and a directional RF inhibitor from Enterprise Control Systems to detect, track, classify, disrupt and neutralise UAVs at ranges of up to 8 km. The AUDS system is even effective against so-called Group 1 micro UAVs at ranges of up to 2 km and Group 1 mini UAVs at ranges of several kilometres. The AUDS system is designed for countering drones or remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) in remote border sites or urban areas. It can be operated from fixed locations and from mobile platforms.

The CST STUDIO SUITE® from Computer simulation Technology (CST) is used by government agencies and defence contractors worldwide for mission-critical projects. For instance, there are multiple communication, detection and guidance related antenna systems in use in military environments, covering a very large band of the electromagnetic spectrum. Minimizing the interference between multiple systems on a single platform is essential to ensure the reliability of communications, which means that great care has to be taken when placing antennas.CST MICROWAVE STUDIO® (CST MWS) can calculate near-field and far-field antenna results, and can plot or display them interactively in 2D or 3D. The integral equation solver in particular is well suited to antenna placement problems. It uses a surface mesh, which represents very large objects such as ships efficiently while still capturing the fine detail of antennas.

Also, CST STUDIO SUITE includes a range of specialized tools for investigating the radar scattering properties of aircraft and vessels. The measure of this reflection, the radar cross section (RCS) and radar visibility considerations are a major part of the modern design process. The integral equation solver and transient solver in CST MWS are both versatile full-wave solvers, which can simulate the precise interactions between the radar pulse and the body of the craft. Both solvers support HPC, allowing very large structures to be simulated using a cluster.

Diamond Microwaveannounced a ten-fold increase in its power output capability with the addition of a 1 kW X-Band model to the company’s range of GaN-based pulsed solid-state power amplifiers (SSPA). The DM‑X1K0‑01 is an ultra-compact SSPA operating over a 1200 MHz bandwidth centered at 9.5 GHz. The ultra-compact design measures 244 x 134 x 50 mm3 excluding heatsink and connectors, making it suitable for use as an alternative to a travelling wave tube amplifier (TWTA) in various radar applications.

Dow Key supplies space qualified switches and assemblies to the manufacturers of satellites and launch vehicles. The latest innovation is the lightweight (less than 55 g) 411HQ series C-type coaxial transfer switch, which operates from DC to 34 GHz with an IL of 0.55 db max. The 411HQ series is flight mission ready and the ruggedized design of the actuator allows the unit to operate under any harsh environments.

e2v demonstrated its RF Safe-Stop™ System remote vehicle stopping and engine immobilisation system that couples into a vehicle’s electronic systems causing the engine to stop. By utilising the company’s patented switching products in conjunction with high power magnetrons, which are carefully packaged these with appropriate antennas the RF Safe-Stop offers a flexible solution that is: modular; silent, enabling covert operation; energy efficient; non destructive and easy to operate. For the defence and security sector it can be used on land for: high value asset protection, checkpoint enforcement and convoy protection as well as suspect vehicle immobilisation. At sea it can be used for harbour entry protection, maritime policing and anti-piracy. And in the air it is seen as a safeguard against UAVs, particularly drones.

Following Esterline’s recent acquisition of the aerospace and defence display business of Barco N.V. both companies were represented on their own stands. Esterline Corporation is an aerospace and defence industry manufacturer that specialises in three core areas: avionics & controls, sensors and systems, and advanced materials. Barco’s visualisation solutions utilise world-class display technologies for a variety of demanding applications and the sale of its defence and aerospace division is part of its strategy to streamline its business portfolio.

Finmeccanica – Selex ES unveiled its Falcon Shield Counter-Unmanned Air Vehicle (C-UAV) system, which provides users with a multi-spectral threat sensing capability and, uniquely through the integration of an electronic attack capability, a multi-layered threat response. Falcon Shield makes use of Selex ES’s high-performance, passive electro-optical and electronic surveillance sensors, combined with scenario specific radar. These provide a fully integrated threat detection, identification and tracking capability which enables it to operate in environments that range from wide area through to high-clutter, ‘urban canyons’.

The Falcon Shield introduces a capability to take control of a remotely-piloted drone and land it safely (a command-link control intervention capability) prior to the need to defeat the threat by simple jamming or kinetic solutions. Consequently, the potential for undesired collateral effects is greatly minimised. Falcon Shield is derived from Selex ES’s heritage associated with the provision of short-range defence solutions against a variety of airborne threats.

Huber+Suhner showcased three different elements of its RF-over-Fibre solutions ─ RF-over-Fibre, GPS-over-Fibre and LAN-over-Fibre technologies. The RF-over-Fibre module converts analogue RF signals into fibre signals and vice versa. With a wide frequency range up to 5 GHz and excellent stability, frequency jitter and phase noise performance applications include defence systems, test environments and a variety of high tech niches ─ command and control systems, naval and airborne applications. The GPS-over-Fibre connector offers a very high stability in addition to excellent performance in phase noise and frequency jitter in applications such as remote antenna connection in GPS systems. The LAN-over-Fibre module supports the IEEE802.3 standard 1000 Base-SX fibre. It enables copper connections to interface with fibre connections over a distance up to 500 m. It does so by converting copper media into fibre media and vice versa.

Huber+Suhner also highlighted its wideband vehicle antennas. With a robust design, compact slim shape and minimum installation effort, these antennas are designed to provide maximum performance and durability. The company also featured its solutions for interconnection in harsh environments with its QMA-XQMA and its QN-XQN connectors.

Keysight Technologies showcased its test and measurement solutions for aerospace and defence applications. From simulations of an arriving wavefront with multiple emitters to testing of precision components in a receiver, the company’s solutions ─ analogue and vector signal generators, spectrum analyzers, vector signal analyzers, vector network analyzersetc ─ address the complexity of radar test and EW test applications. In military communications compatible, multi-mode or software-defined digital systems that ensure easy interoperability are being utilised. To keep pace, measurement solutions must be able to test these versatile radios throughout their lifecycles. From dynamic probing inside an FPGA to testing RF, IF and IQ, from design simulation to operational troubleshooting, Keysight offers a multitude of solutions.

Finally, following its introduction at European Microwave Week the 50 GHz FieldFox handheld combination analyzer was shown at DSEi. Weighing 7.1 lbs the FieldFox can replace three or four single-function instruments – benchtop or handheld – that are typically used for maintenance and troubleshooting of systems that operate at or above Ka-Band frequencies. Three combination-analyzer models cover 32, 44 or 50 GHz and provide spectrum analysis, vector network analysis and cable and antenna testing in a rugged, portable unit. The three spectrum analyzer models cover the same frequency range.

Link Microtek and technology partner EMISENS, unveiled a new liquid explosive detection system (LEDS). The EMILI 3 liquid scanner is a Type B LEDS as defined by the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC), and is designed for non-invasive screening of individual, unopened bottles or other containers. Measuring 720 by 540 by 540 mm and weighing 25 kg the EMILI 3 employs a combination of patented dual-mode RF/microwave, infra-red and gravometric sensing technologies. As each container is placed on the sensor plate, the display indicates almost immediately whether the contents are harmless or a threat such as liquid explosives or their precursors, with ‘Pass’ shown on a green background and ‘Fail’ on a red background.

Rohde & Schwarz showcased its integrated communications and intelligence systems portfolio. The new R&S NAVICS VoIP based switching system for naval communications interconnects the onboard voice terminals as well as all other subsystems for internal and external communications via a uniform IP network. The system interconnects the onboard voice terminals as well as all other subsystems for internal and external communications via a uniform IP network. It uses ruggedized, conventional IT technology with accreditable security. As a result, the number of voice terminals can be reduced and state-of-the-art ATEX smartphones employed within security-critical environments. An intuitive graphical user interface (GUI) provides a modern and convenient means of operating the technically complex system.

Also featured was the R&S SDTR software defined tactical radio that provides secure and reliable voice and data communications for ground forces. Together with the new R&S HDR waveforms, it is fully IP capable and delivers high data rate, jam resistant and network enabled radiocommunications. Another highlight was the company's innovative system for detecting, acquiring and analyzing radar signals (ELINT).. A newly designed antenna system enables setups integrating acquisition, direction finding and communications antennas. The result is a compact, space saving system that meets the requirements of modern signal scenarios, where overlaps between communications and radar intelligence applications are common.

Radiall is a leading supplier in the Aerospace and Defence industries, recognized for its quality interconnect products and innovative solutions suitable for harsh conditions and environments. Featured at DSEi were: Rack and panel connectors, RF and microwave cable assemblies, the Quick Multipin Series, which is a tool-less slide lock system for faster and easier installation, disconnect connectors, antennas, RF coaxial connectors and Space Qualified Components, with ESA and SCC approvals.

In particular Spinner showcased rotary joints for Radar and Satellite Systems, Satellite Communication (SatCom), Military Radar and Space Applications. The company’s rotary joints for radar and satellite systems support our customers' applications on land, above and under water as well in the air and in space. Rotary joints for SatCom mainly have one or two channels and are suited for unidirectional or bi-directional communication. Often coaxial or waveguide rotary joints or combinations of these two versions are employed. The integration of optical transmission is also possible. A general feature of Spinner rotary joints for SatCom applications is their special resistance and longevity as well as broadband capacity. By optimising the mechanical interfaces with the remaining system and by designing compact solutions the company ensures the minimum system size, thus reducing costs.

For military radar applications Spinner rotary joints can be used in a large number of diverse radar applications: air traffic control, anti-aircraft, tracking, battlefield, border surveillance, aircraft on-board, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), ships and submarine. For space applications the company’s rotary joints ensure that antennas of satellites are permanently targeted at their ground stations, offer reliability, precision and quality in harsh environments as well as being the lowest possible weight.

TMD Technologies showed its new solid state microwave power module (MPM) optimised for EW/ECM Systems and TWT based MPMs for UAVs. Employing the latest advances in 0.25 μm GaN MMIC technology, the new PTS6900 solid state MPM is claimed to provide excellent performance over the 2-6 GHz range. The ITAR free PTS6900 offers an output power of 150 W and adjustable 55 db gain – plus an instant start up, fast 1 μs mute time, and over 30,000 hours predicted MTBF. The company also continues to produce state of the art TWT based MPMs operating at high frequency and high power. The new PTXM Series MPMs, weighing in at typically only 1.7 kg, offers arguably the highest power density obtainable in its class. With their very compact and low weight design – and operating from 4.5 to 18 GHz with output powers up to 140 W – the units are suitable for UAVs. Also on show was instrumentation TWT and solid state amplifiers for radar/EW simulation and training and for EMC HIRF testing.

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