International Report

Rohde & Schwarz Launches Detector System/Wins Mobile Radio Network Order

Germany-based contractor Rohde & Schwarz has launched a mobile telephone detection system and has been awarded a substantial Chinese order for its model TS9955 coverage measurement system. The 80 g Mobifinder mobile telephone detector is designed to alert personnel of the use of such equipment in safety-critical areas, including hospitals, aircraft and chemical plants. Able to detect mobile telephones in step-selectable ranges of up to 50 m, the Mobifinder unit measures and stores the reception levels, dates and times of day of up to 200 alarms. Once a telephone has been detected, the device provides acoustic, visual and silent alarm signaling (via an integral vibration unit). False alarms are minimised through the use of selective input filters and recognition of the telephone signal coding. Power is provided via 150-hour lifespan batteries. Battery replacement does not affect data held within the equipment and the addition of the proprietary Mobi-PC kit facilitates downloading of collected data to a PC.

The terms of the TS9955 order call for Chinese mobile telecommunications provider Guangdong Mobile Communications Corp. to procure 24 coverage measurement systems to assist in the installation and optimisation of new mobile networks. Individual TS9955 systems are vehicle mounted (using standard 48 cm racking) and incorporate Rohde & Schwarz ESVB test receivers to measure field strength, interference and reflection values. Test mobile telephones are included to determine system signaling parameters and positional data are determined via a Global Positioning System receiver/processor. A Windows ’95-based man-machine interface is used and Rohde & Schwarz’s Roseval evaluation software is available for TS9955 data processing.

UK Boosts Space Spending

In a recent statement, UK Science, Energy and Industry minister John Battle announced the UK’s intention to invest in three new European Space Agency (ESA) programmes. In the first program, £2 M will be provided to underpin the development of new technologies (including power systems and satellite ground station software) for research and commercial spacecraft within ESA’s General Support Technology Programme (GSTP). An additional £2 M will be invested in the development of digital technology for use in the agency’s Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES)-4 programme. A third tranche amounting to £500 K has been allocated to fund a design study for ESA’s Small Mission for Advanced Research in Technology (SMART)-1 technology demonstration satellite. SMART-1 is intended to explore technologies that are considered necessary for deep-space exploration.

Battle indicated that industry will compete for the sums announced for the GSTP and ARTES-4 efforts with any proposals originating in the UK being assessed by both the ESA and British National Space Centre. Any contractor that wins through this evaluation process will be expected to match the funds awarded from the UK’s ESA contribution.

Ericsson Teams with Thomson-CSF on AEW&C Systems

In a move to exploit its airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) radar technology, Swedish contractor Ericsson Microwave Systems has signed an agreement with France’s Thomson-CSF Radars & Contre-Mesures covering the development, manufacture and marketing of AEW&C systems for the world market. The two contractors will concentrate on marketing a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation-compliant system based on Ericsson’s E-/F-band (2 to 4 GHz) Erieye electronically scanned radar that can be integrated with an onboard electronic support subsystem. Cooperation is likely to centre on upgrading the current Erieye capability together with the development of a new generation of AEW&C systems.

This latest deal follows existing Erieye-related agreements between Ericsson and Lockheed Martin and Brazilian contractor Embraer. The Ericsson/Lockheed Martin relationship centres on possible integration of the Erieye radar into the C-130 airframe. The Ericsson/Embraer relationship is an outgrowth of Brazil’s Sistema de Vigilancia da Amazonia programme in which at least four Embraer EMB-145 regional airliners are being outfitted with the Erieye radar for the AEW&C role. In addition, Embraer is offering a complete EMB-145/Erieye AEW&C package for export.

Philips Launches Three-chip Digital Satellite Broadcast Set-top Solution

Netherlands contractor Philips Semiconductors has launched a three-chip downconversion and demodulation architecture for use in digital satellite broadcast set-top units based on its model TDA8060 zero IF downconversion device. Designed to handle broadcasts in the 950 to 2200 MHz frequency range, the new architecture eliminates the need for IF components such as IF oscillators, mixers and surface acoustic wave filters. The solution also eliminates spurious outputs generated by IF coupling and leakage.

Alongside the TDA8060 device, the architecture incorporates a model TDA84043 or TDA8044 demodulator/forward error-correcting IC and a model TSA5512 frequency synthesiser. The architecture requires only noncritical, lowpass filtering between the TDA8060 and TDA84043/44 devices and incorporates a six-bit dual-conversion function within the ICs. To simplify the incorporation of the architecture within tuning units, Philips has developed the model OM5712 digital satellite tuner module reference design. Produced at the company’s Caen, France facility, both the three-chip architecture and OM5712 reference module are available currently.

Euro-Art Receives COBRA Go-ahead

The four-nation Euro-Art consortium (comprising Lockheed Martin, Siemens Defence Electronics Group (now part of Daimler-Benz Aerospace), Thomson-CSF AIRSYS and Racal Radar Defence Systems) has been awarded a contract valued at approximately $211 M for the production of counterbattery radar (COBRA) weapon-locating radars for the French, German and British armies. COBRA is a vehicle-mounted, high mobility system designed to detect small radar cross-section targets across the entire battle area and to classify the ammunition types and firing modes (for example, rocket swarms and salvos) being used.

The capability centres on a solid-state active antenna (incorporating approximately 3000 GaAs transceiver modules) that employs phase-to-phase beamsteering and side lobe gain that is optimised to the system’s transmit/receive pattern of the moment. Calibration is automatic and the carrier vehicle used houses both an operator’s cabin and the antenna. The equipment’s operator shelter incorporates the necessary receiver/processor, operator console and a command-and-control (C2) workstation that forms part of a dedicated C2 subsystem. In French service, COBRA will be configured for one-man operation, whereas the British and German variants will supplement the operator with a communications technician.

Electronic counter-countermeasures provision includes short transmission times and wideband frequency agility. The operator shelter used is resistant to small-arms fire and shell fragments and proofed against nuclear/biological/chemical attack and electromagnetic pulse effects. Detection range is sufficient for the system to function effectively while outside the range of counter fire. A total of 29 COBRA radars are currently scheduled to be produced, 12 of which will be supplied to Germany, 10 to France and seven to the UK.