International Report

France to Update Air Force Countermeasures Pod

The French air force has awarded Dassault Electronique (DE) a contract covering the midlife updating of the DE Barax detector-jammer pods the service uses to equip its fleet of Mirage F.1 combat aircraft. Also known by the export designation PAJ-95, the Barax microprocessor-controlled, supersonic-rated equipment has a very wide frequency coverage and the ability to generate multiple and independent jamming techniques. System function is fully automatic and the equipment is able to undertake threat surveillance, threat alert and jamming across its entire frequency range. Barax incorporates integral threat and techniques software libraries that are user reprogrammable and can be flight-line loaded if required.

Barax was the French air force’s tactical aircraft jamming pod of choice during the Gulf War and this current upgrade represents the latest in a series of updates the equipment has undergone. While DE is not revealing any details about what precisely this latest effort involves, the work reportedly may include the introduction of a digital RF memory into the system.

WTO Talks Pave the Way for Global Mobile Telecommunications

Agreements signed by 69 countries at recent World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks appear to be paving the way for true global use of mobile telecommunications equipment. The various signatories, which account for approximately 90 percent of the world’s telecommunications services, have addressed a wide range of issues, including future policy directions, legislative structures, market liberalisation and management of cross-border systems.

In terms of the specific area of market liberalisation in the wake of these talks, the US is moving towards an open market in all areas of telecommunications while Canada has dropped its requirement for equal national equity and usage in mobile satellite systems and has pledged to remove existing providers’ exclusive operating rights by 2002. Within the European Union, Spain and Portugal are scheduled to introduce market liberalisation by the end of 1998 with Ireland and Greece following in 2000 and 2003, respectively. Elsewhere within the continent, Norway and Iceland are on course for full liberalisation, and Switzerland has agreed to end monopoly rights within its borders. The Czech Republic aims to achieve full competition by 2000 while neighboring Slovakia will open up both cellular and satellite telecommunications to competition by 2003. Romania is aiming for cellular liberalisation by 2002 and Bulgaria is set for full competition by 2003. Within Africa, Ghana, the Ivory Coast and Tunisia have agreed to open up mobile telecommunications services within their borders. In South and Central America, Bolivia, Brazil, Columbia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador and Venezuela have pledged some degree of liberalisation. A similar situation prevails in Southeast Asia and the Pacific region where Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Mauritius, New Zealand, the Philippines and Singapore have signed up for varying degrees of international provider access until 2000.

Rohde & Schwarz Launches New Family of Signal Generators

German contractor Rohde & Schwarz has launched a new series of vector signal generators for broadband communication measurement. The SMIQ series equipment reportedly offers high quality digital in-phase/quadrature modulation and short measurement times via fast synthesis, a large dynamic range, spectral purity and fading signal simulation mode, and is capable of generating analogue and digital modulations. Currently, two units (the models SMIQ02 and SMIQ03) are available with upper frequency limits of 2.2 and 3.3 GHz, respectively.

GEC-Marconi Materials Quartz Crystal Oscillators Detailed

The Hirst Division of UK contractor GEC-Marconi Materials Technology has developed a range of space and military application quartz crystal oscillators that make use of Hirst-grown high purity quartz (HPQ), which reportedly is amongst the purest and most highly qualified material of its type available currently. HPQ applications include the miniature ovened crystal-controlled oscillator, which has been developed for use as a master oscillator in microwave frequency generators aboard geostationary communications satellites. The 85 x 25 x 20 mm equipment utilises a 10 MHz, third-overtone crystal; a 75 x 19 mm double-ended dewar; and hermetically sealed, thick-film hybrid circuitry. The ultra-stable oscillator has been developed for frequency generation applications within the European Space Agency’s Advanced Research and Technology Mission programme. As such, the 100 x 40 x 30 mm unit makes use of a 10 MHz, fifth-overtone resonator; a 100 x 25 mm double-ended dewar; and sealed hybrid circuitry. The high accuracy reference oscillator is a novel miniature, low power, ovened oscillator that makes use of a direct-heated resonator, which obviates the need for any ovening devices or materials external to the crystal can (for example, a dewar) and offers higher stability in a smaller outline, lower power-consuming format than any other available ovened configuration.

Helicopter DAS to be Developed for NH90

German contractor Eurocopter Deutschland (in its subsystem lead role in the NH Industries consortium) has cleared the way for work to proceed on a defensive aids subsystem (DAS) for the multinational NH90 tactical transport helicopter (TTH). Thought to have been in competition with submissions from DE and GEC-Marconi, the NH90 TTH DAS is being developed by a consortium of France’s Matra British Aerospace (BAe) Dynamics France and Thomson-CSF together with Germany’s Lenkflugkörpesysteme GmbH (LFK) (a subsidiary of Daimler-Benz Aerospace) and Buck Chemisch Technische Werke GmbH. Thomson and LFK are providing a combined radar- and laser-warning package based on the threat-warning equipment (TWE) the two companies developed for the Franco-German Tiger battlefield attack helicopter, while LFK is supplying a version of its ultraviolet missile launch detection system (MILDS). Matra BAe Dynamics France and Buck are supplying a SAPHIR-M chaff and decoy flare dispenser.

Base line TWE comprises radar- and laser-warning receivers, a central processing unit (CPU), a library module, a multifunction display, RF antennas and laser-sensing heads, and a control box. RF coverage is D- through K-band (1 to 40 GHz) and the laser subsystem can handle Band I and II threats. The RF subsystem incorporates instantaneous frequency measurement and can handle pulse, pulse-Doppler and continuous-wave threats. The CPU processes both laser and RF threats, performs the threat identification function and manages the overall system. The colour cockpit display shows threat type, bearing and priority, and is backed up by an audio warning. TWE also allows aircraft crews to call up data lists during flight in order to set threat priorities at specific stages in specific missions. The system weighs less than 15 kg and offers bearing and frequency accuracies of better than 10° RMS and 20 MHz, respectively.

The MILDS unit operates in the solar blind spectral region and is designed to detect the launch and approach of a threat missile, determine its direction-of-arrival and time-to-impact values, and automatically trigger an appropriate countermeasures response. The equipment is credited with a maximum detection range of approximately 25 km, a 99 percent probability of detection, a response time of < 0.5 s and an angular resolution of better than 1°. The SAPHIR-M dispenser comprises Matra BAe Dynamic France’s SAPHIR launch system and Buck payload rounds.