International Report

DE and Sextant Named RWR Supplier for Northrop Grumman Upgrade Package

French electronics contractor Dassault Electronique (DE) has announced that its EWS-A radar-warning receiver (RWR) has been selected for use in Northrop Grumman's F-5 combat aircraft upgrade package. DE is teaming with fellow French contractor Sextant Avionique to create a commercial avionics joint venture. DE notes that Northrop Grumman's selection of the EWS-A system follows extensive integration studies and both laboratory and flight-test evaluation programmes with the equipment. Already in service with the French air force (aboard Mirage F.1 reconnaissance aircraft), EWS-A is an RWR/countermeasures system controller that weighs approximately 10 kg.

The system is effective against continuous-wave, pulsed and pulse Doppler emitters and offers short reaction times, high confidence emitter identification (via the use of instantaneous frequency measurement) and close to 100 percent probability of intercept. Comprising fore and aft sensor heads, a receiver processor, and cockpit display and control units, EWS-A functions as a stand-alone unit or can be integrated into its host's mission system via a serial link and/or multiplex bus interface. Reliable estimates suggest that the current world inventory of F-5s comprises 256 F-5As, 34 RF-5As, 140 F-5Bs, 853 F-5Es, 20 RF-5Es and 189 F-5Fs. Of this total (excluding existing update programmes), a current potential world market exists for the upgrading of approximately 200 aircraft.

The DE/Sextant effort is aimed at boosting the companies' penetration of the civil avionics market. The companies are establishing an additional joint venture to market a pooled product line with sales and support being provided by Sextant's existing international network. Equipment covered by the venture includes DE's range of satellite communications systems, mode S transponders, surveillance equipment, recorders and mass memories together with Sextant's multimode receivers, flight-management systems, radio altimeters, VHF (30 to 300 MHz) communications radios, instrumentation and onboard printers. In addition to supplying and supporting individual pieces of equipment, the joint venture will propose system packages directly to aircraft manufacturers.

Indian Telecom Provider Selects German TRS

Indian mobile and static telecommunications provider Jasmine Telecom India has selected Rohde & Schwarz Bick Mobilfunk GmbH's model MPT-1327 ACCESSNET trunked radio system (TRS) for installation in eight of the subcontinent's largest cities, including Bombay (Mumbai), Calcutta and New Delhi. The MPT-1327 TRS offers a full-capability service (including private access branch exchange and public switched telephone network interconnection) together with future potential for system enhancement and the linkage of different regions to facilitate wide-area mobile communications for Jasmine's customers.

Falkland Islands to Receive New Air-defence Radars

UK contractor Siemens Plessey Systems (now part of British Aerospace Defence Systems) has delivered the first of three E-/F-band (2 to 4 GHz) AR327 Commander long-range tactical air-defence radars to the UK's royal air force (RAF) for service on the Falkland Islands. The new radars are scheduled to replace current systems and will be installed with contractor assistance.

This latest delivery forms part of a wider procurement that includes a second tranche of three AR327s that are being supplied to the UK RAF for contingency purposes. Of these radars, two have been delivered already and the third will be delivered in the near future.

Giraffe Radars Selected for Swedish Navy and Venezuelan Army Applications

Swedish contractor Ericsson Microwave Systems has been awarded contracts covering the supply of five C-band (0.5 to 1 GHz) Sea Giraffe AMB three-dimensional (3-D) surveillance radars to the Swedish navy and four Giraffe 75 air-defence radars to the Venezuelan army. The Sea Giraffe AMB units are being procured for use in Sweden's four Visby-class stealth corvettes. Of these, two ships are being optimised for antisubmarine and mine countermeasures warfare and two are being configured for antisurface warfare. A fifth radar is being acquired to act as a shore-based reference system that will be used for system integration, trials and operator training.

Sea Giraffe AMB is derived from the ground-based radar Ericsson developed for the RBS 23 Bamse air-defence system and is configured to undertake air-defence and surface-surveillance tasks. The system is designed for low probability of intercept and, in the air-defence role, offers 3-D detection and tracking modes together with a dedicated sea-skimming antishipping missile-detection mode. Surface-surveillance functions include high resolution target detection (with provision for ducting compensation) and fire control. The radar also features optimised surveillance modes for littoral warfare applications. A counter-countermeasures provision includes separate electronic countermeasures channels, sector/intermittent transmission, false target cancellation and frequency agility. In the Visby installation, the radar's scanning head is housed in a radome that is designed to minimise its impact on the ship's overall low radar signature.

Giraffe 75 (similar to Sea Giraffe AMB) operates in the C-band and is optimised to provide medium-range surveillance (the equipment has an instrumented range of 75 km) together with low level detection of targets in clutter- and jamming-polluted environments. Giraffe 75 utilises digital Doppler processing (with a constant false alarm rate) to detect and display targets automatically. The system also incorporates a threat evaluation function and a hovering helicopter detection channel.

Philips Keeps Faith in Tiger Economies

Despite the current downturn in Southeast Asia's so-called tiger economies, Netherlands contractor Philips Semiconductors has announced two new ventures with electronics companies in the region. Philips' US subsidiary TriMedia Product Group, Sunnyvale, CA, is teaming with Samsung's Information Systems America to define and develop digital television (DTV) software for the conversion of high definition video signals to standard definition signals for viewing on existing National Television Systems Committee (NTSC) receivers.

The first application of the new software is scheduled for the fourth quarter of this year when Samsung DTV products will be offered fitted with a TriMedia processor to run the algorithm. The two contractors note that the application will support multichannel audio and claim that the picture quality derived from the converted signal will be of a higher quality than the existing broadcast NTSC signal. The TriMedia processor can be programmed in C and C++ and is designed specifically to handle high performance multimedia and communications operations. The architecture is based on very long instruction world (VLIW) technology (which can accommodate up to five operations per VLIW instruction) and is capable of executing up to four billion integer operations per second. TriMedia is supporting this technology with a reference platform that facilitates the design of DTV products.

In the second venture, Philips Semiconductors and Japan's Hitachi have announced a collaborative agreement to develop contactless smart card ICs based on Philips' proprietary MIFARE technology. As part of the effort, technology will be transferred from Philips to Hitachi. Philips claims that the MIFARE architecture platform has become the industry standard for approximately 90 percent of the world's contactless smart card activity. Under the terms of the agreement, Hitachi will be granted the rights to produce, market and sell MIFARE-based products without limitation.