News From Washington

ATC Beacon Interrogator Competition Begins Next Phase

The Lockheed Martin/Northrop Grumman team has been selected by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as one of two contractors to demonstrate and test a new civilian secondary radar system as part of the FAA’s Air Traffic Control Beacon Interrogator (ATCBI-6) competition. The team was scheduled to demonstrate its version of a new, enhanced monopulse secondary surveillance radar (MSSR) at the FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, NJ during the operational capabilities phase of the ATCBI-6 competition that occurred in March.

The Lockheed Martin/Northrop Grumman team is offering a monopulse radar capability based on Mode S, another secondary surveillance radar developed jointly by the two companies. Approximately 150 systems have been provided to the FAA and several international customers since 1992. In addition to the ATCBI-6’s monopulse radar capability derived from Mode S, a variety of technology improvements will be incorporated. The system will offer air traffic controllers the improved accuracy and reduced clutter benefits of monopulse and permit them to selectively observe and track individual or groups of aircraft.

The FAA has identified a requirement for 127 MSSRs with selective interrogation capabilities to replace obsolete beacon interrogator equipment produced more than 25 years ago. The FAA is expected to downselect to one contractor team by September.

Report Forecasts Fighter/Attack/Jet Trainer Demand through 2007

An April report by Forecast International/DMS, "The World Market for Fighter/Attack/Jet Trainer Aircraft —1998–2007," forecasts the worldwide demand for these military aircraft over the next 10 years. The market analysis includes projections for approximately 28 active and licensed production programs of 26 manufacturers. It considers the impact of new research and development, inactive and major aircraft upgrade programs. The analysis is divided into two groups: light and heavy (with the division made at the 33,000 lb maximum gross take-off weight line). Separate tables for light and heavy categories include major modification programs but projections for the total market include only new production.

Boeing is expected to dominate the total market followed by Lockheed, Eurofighter and Dassault. Including its British Aerospace alliance, Boeing is projected to have sales of $19.7 B for a 19.5 percent market share. Lockheed, with sales of $18.1 B and a market share of 18 percent, will rank second. The Eurofighter consortium likely will be third with sales of $11.4 B, a share of 11.3 percent, and Dassault is predicted to rank fourth with a share of 9.2 percent for sales of $9.3 B.

Overall production of heavy fighter and attack aircraft is expected to decrease during the forecast period, falling from 277 units this year to a low of 169 in 2002. It is then expected to rise to just over 200 from 2004 to 2005. Production of light category aircraft is forecast to increase throughout the forecast period. Deliveries of 750 aircraft are expected from 1998 to 2002 and 862 shipments are expected during the 2003 to 2007 period.

Production values of all fighter aircraft are expected to increase gradually through the forecast period from a total of $48.5 B between 1998 and 2002 to $52.4 B during the 2003 to 2007 period. Light category aircraft will account for $11.1 B during the first half of the forecast period, a value that will fall to $10.9 B during the next five years. Heavy revenues are forecast at $40 B for the first five years and at $42.8 B for the second five years.

Projected US manufacturer sales of $35.7 B for heavy aircraft will include sales of $19.7 B domestically and rely on international sales for the balance. European heavy production is expected to fall to $1.2 B in 2002 from $2.7 B this year and then recover to $3.9 B in 2007. For additional information, contact Forecast International/DMS, Newtown, CT (203) 426-0223.

Operational Challenges Face UAV Development

As reported in Jane’s Defence Weekly, a recent Defense Airborne Reconnaissance Office (DARO) report outlines some serious challenges remaining to be solved before the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) development program can be considered successful. Unless the challenges are met, the logistical sustainability of a UAV force cannot be demonstrated.

The most important issue is the ability of UAVs to operate with existing forces and in a normal command, control, communications, computers and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance environment. In addition, the DARO report details four specific operational challenges. The first challenge is multiple-UAV operations: In a demonstration this year, General Atomics is expected to attempt to control two Predators in flight simultaneously from the same ground station. One will be on station, the other en route from an operations area. The second challenge is airspace management: The Department of Defense and the FAA are discussing rules for allowing unaccompanied UAVs to operate in US airspace. The third challenge is marinisation: A separate development effort is underway to develop a heavy fuel engine that is considered essential to tactical UAV operation by providing a safe fuel for operations at sea. The final challenge is imagery archival and retrieval systems: A fully automatic archival system of video data collected by UAVs should become available in the future.

Microwave Component and Assembly Market Forecast to Recover

In its report, "World Commercial and Military Microwave Component Markets," Frost & Sullivan analyzes the prospects for both of these markets, which grew 9.8 percent in 1997, through 2004. Separate geographic analyses cover North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and rest-of-world regions. Military market solid-state technology segments address low end, mid-range and high end applications and a fourth military segment deals with vacuum tube technology. The commercial segment analysis concentrates on solid-state components.

With 1996 revenues of $235.1 M, the low end military microwave hybrids market grew only 1.1 percent over the previous year. Better cost-reduction techniques are expected to aid in maintaining revenues. This segment has benefited most from the military’s increased interest in using commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) technology whenever possible. Increased spending expected for the modernization of communications and sensor systems will support steady growth in this segment and application of design and production automation will improve its revenues.

While revenue in the mid-range military hybrids market fell in 1996, forecast growths of radar and electronic warfare equipment markets are expected to return this segment to a growth mode. Fewer competitors exist for this business, but prices continue to decline.

The high end military microwave hybrid segment appears to be the most robust, growing 3.5 percent in 1996, and is expected to continue to be attractive. The high customization typical of this equipment limits its COTS content, and rapidly developing technology fuels new systems and products.

While solid state has long been expected to replace all vacuum tubes, tube manufacturing is still alive and well. The market is attractive to suppliers because existing systems continue to require replacements, tubes continue to offer features not available elsewhere and only a limited number of manufacturers are available.

Currently, the commercial microwave hybrids segment is by far the largest. Revenues in 1996 of $1.8 B were 16.7 percent ahead of 1995’s. The expanding telecommunications market is the major influence on the growth of this segment, which also is benefiting from the emergence of other new applications. For additional information, contact Frost & Sullivan, Mountain View, CA (415) 961-9000.