International Report

Philips Launches New PC Monitor Video-control IC

Netherlands contractor Philips Semiconductors has launched its model TDA4885 video-control IC in an attempt to meet the digital control and on-screen display requirements of the latest-generation 15- and 17-inch computer monitors. The IC was developed to enhance the design flexibility of such monitors and to drive down their manufacturing cost. (The model TDA4885 is being offered at a high volume unit price of approximately $1.60.)

The device offers full bus control of monitor brightness, contrast, white point, black level and on-screen contrast with automatic grey-scale tracking to maintain colour balance when brightness and/or contrast settings are altered. The IC has a pixel rate of 150 MHz and an output rise time of 2.7 ns to provide the picture quality necessary for high resolution graphic modes. A separate gain-control input for each channel is included to facilitate the scan-dependent gain modulation used to implement brightness uniformity. The device accepts 0.7 V video signals and incorporates all necessary blanking, clamping and clipping circuits. Its outputs provide feedback paths for both DC- and AC-coupled cathode ray tube (CRT) cathodes, allowing the device to be used with a wide range of CRT drive circuits. The IC is provided in a 32-pin package. Production quantities can be delivered five weeks after receipt of order.

SIVAM Moves Forward

Swedish contractor Ericsson Microwave Systems has been awarded a $145 M contract to supply five active phased-array Erieye surveillance radars for use in Brazil's Sistema de Vigilancia de Amazonia (SIVAM) programme. Intended to allow the Brazilian government to monitor activity across the Amazon basin effectively, SIVAM involves the implementation of a fully integrated ground-and-airborne surveillance system.

In the system, the S-band (2 to 4 GHz) Erieye radars will be used primarily to detect illegal drug-related activity within the region and will be fully integrated into the SIVAM command-and-control subsystem. In Brazilian service, the radar will be mounted in an Embraer EMB 145 long-range business jet with its 200 solid-state transceiver module antenna array carried in a fixed, low drag housing, which will be installed above the aircraft's fuselage. In addition to the radar, the onboard suite will include integrated identification friend-or-foe and command, control and communications subsystems. Erieye has typical and instrumented detection ranges against small aircraft targets of 350 and 450 km, respectively, and its electronically scanned output is controlled by intelligent energy management. The five SIVAM radars, which are scheduled to be delivered in 1999, represent Erieye's first export order for the Swedish air force that is in production.

Matra Marconi Wins Australian SATCOM Study

The Franco-British space contractor Matra-Marconi Space is undertaking a satellite communications (SATCOM) system feasibility study on behalf of the Australian Defence Forces (ADF) via its wholly owned subsidiary AUSPACE. The study will investigate the nature and feasibility of satellite-based options to satisfy ADF communications requirements beyond 2005 and identify the most cost-effective solution to the various requirements. The study also aims to identify how to migrate from existing systems to the preferred satellite solution with regard to the existing defence SATCOM environment and the perceived need for SATCOM in the years leading up to 2005.

ASTOR Programme Begins to Take Shape

Lockheed Martin's Team Airborne Stand-off Radar (ASTOR) has been selected by the UK's Ministry of Defence to bid for the country's £750 M ASTOR programme, which was developed to provide the country's armed services with a combined airborne synthetic aperture radar (SAR)/moving-target indicator surveillance system with an operational life of at least 30 years. Scheduled to become operational in 2002, the ASTOR programme will include a maximum surveillance range of between 250 and 300 km from an operating altitude between 12,802 and 15,240 m; swath and spotlight SAR modes (with 0.5 m resolution in spotlight mode); the ability to track targets moving at speeds of less than 10 kmph; the ability to detect and track helicopters; the ability to operate off tether (independent of its ground station); interoperability with other non-national surveillance systems; and the ability to process data in realtime or near realtime. The complete system is expected to incorporate up to six airborne surveillance platforms and up to nine ground stations.

This latest programme development follows the completion of ASTOR system project-definition studies undertaken by both Team ASTOR and a consortium led by Raytheon E-Systems UK Ltd., which also will be included in the ASTOR final bidding round. Team ASTOR comprises Lockheed Martin UK Government Systems (prime contractorship and ground segment/datalink development), MSI, CAE, Gulfstream Aerospace (Gulfstream V airframe), GEC-Marconi Avionics' Defence Systems Division (airborne platform defensive aids suite), Logica (communications subsystems), Marshall Aerospace (airframe modification, system installation and training systems) and Racal Radar Defence Systems (radar).

The Team ASTOR proposal also will involve up to six surveillance aircraft (housing three to four system operators and a flight crew of two) supported by a minimum of seven portable ground stations. The UK's ASTOR system is being promoted as a solution for the North American Treaty Organisation's airborne ground surveillance system requirement.

UK Providers Back CTO Programmes

UK telecommunications providers British Telecom (BT) and Cable & Wireless are providing the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) with annual funding of approximately £1.35 M (£950 K from BT and £400 K from Cable & Wireless) from 1998 to 2001 in support of the organisation's work in Commonwealth countries. The bulk of this funding will go to CTO's development and training programme, which has invested £20 M in approximately 3000 projects in Commonwealth developing countries since 1983. CTO's 1997/1998 programme provides for 141 bilateral training and consultancy projects in 30 countries and will now involve BT Telconsult, BT's Group Development and Training Division, and Cable & Wireless' training establishments in Coventry, UK and St. Lucia in the Caribbean. The two providers' commitment to the programme will effectively provide cost-neutral telecommunications training for low income developing countries.

SPS Receives Second Sigma Order

UK contractor Siemens Plessey Systems (SPS) has received a second order for its 8 to 18 GHz Sigma radar cross section (RCS) measurement-and-analysis system. Designed to measure the radar reflectivity of targets under field trial conditions at high resolutions, Sigma incorporates three radars (target tracking, measurement and area surveillance) and a charge-coupled television system (target acquisition and identification).

The system measures RCS vs. time, frequency and range, and Doppler while its signal-processing package allows for the real-time display of acquired RCS data. Baseline Sigma has a range of up to 20 km and can be enhanced with options, including SPS' EPSILON RCS prediction software, expanded frequency coverage (E-/F-, G-/H- and K-bands) and telemetry links for receiving cooperating target-motion characteristics.