News from Washington

Jam-resistant GPS Demonstrated

As reported in Jane’s Missiles & Rockets, Boeing has developed and demonstrated a new antijam Global Positioning System (GPS) for munition applications. Tests were conducted at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico under the US Air Force’s Antijam GPS Technology Flight Test (AGTFT) program. In two drop tests in which Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) test vehicles were fitted with the system, jamming environments were defeated and the test vehicles struck well within their designated target areas.

The Boeing system comprises a Harris antijam electronics module integrated with a Boeing closely coupled GPS/inertial navigation system (INS) guidance unit and an antijam GPS antenna. The GPS receiver and INS were provided by Collins and Honeywell, respectively.

In one test, the AGTFT vehicle was dropped from an altitude of 44,000 feet into a low power GPS-jammer environment. The unit acquired direct military GPS code within 12 s and descended into the jammed environment through wind shears of 105 mph while maintaining continuous contact with GPS satellites and striking within 3 m of the target. In the latest test, the test vehicle was dropped from the same altitude into a high power GPS-jammer environment. Direct military GPS code was acquired within 8 s and the vehicle encountered wind shears of up to 110 mph and struck within 6 m of its target.

The AGTFT program objective is to develop and demonstrate a low cost solution to the potential jamming problems faced by GPS-aided, inertially guided tactical weapons. Both JDAM and the Conventional Air-launched Cruise Missile are candidates for being fitted with the new system.

Raytheon to Develop Tactical Tomahawk

The US Navy’s Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, MD, has awarded Raytheon Systems Co. a $256 M cost-plus, fixed-fee contract for engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) of the Tactical Tomahawk, a more versatile, lower cost version of the Tomahawk cruise missile. The award includes firm pricing for 1343 missiles over five years. The missiles are valued at nearly $800 M (in FY 1999 dollars) with additional production potential beyond the five-year period. Options for an additional $40 M for flight test support during EMD also are included. EMD is scheduled for completion in 2001 with production set to begin in 2002.

In production since 1980, Tomahawk is a precision-strike, surface-to-surface missile launched from ships or submarines against high value, heavily defended targets. A total of more than 400 of the missiles were fired during Operation Desert Storm, in Iraq in 1993 and 1996, and in Bosnia in 1995. Currently, the missiles are deployed aboard US Navy cruisers and destroyers and SSN 688 attack submarines. The UK’s Trafalgar and Swiftsure class submarines are scheduled to be equipped with Tomahawks in 1999.

The Tactical Tomahawk will fulfill the Navy’s need for a missile that can respond quickly to a call for fire against time-sensitive targets. It will also have the ability to be retargeted in flight and to loiter over a battlefield for more than two hours awaiting targeting. In addition, the missile’s battle-damage imagery camera will be able to provide target assessment photographs.

The new concept reduces unit costs significantly by simplifying design, consolidating subassembly units, replacing the present turbo-fan engine with a turbo-jet engine and introducing commercial processes and components and design-for-manufacture concepts. The Tactical Tomahawk missile is expected to have a 15-year recertification interval, further reducing its life-cycle cost.

DARPA Awards Micro Air Vehicle Development Contract

An industry team led by Sanders, a Lockheed Martin company, has been awarded a $10 M research and development program contract by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, Palmdale, CA, and General Electric Co., Schenectady, NY, will also work to develop a six-inch MicroStar micro air vehicle (MAV) to be carried and launched by individual soldiers. The miniature surveillance aircraft is being designed for a series of demonstration tests being conducted by DARPA. The low flying MAVs are being considered for a variety of local situation-awareness missions, including reconnaissance and surveillance, battle damage assessment, targeting, sensor emplacement, communications relay, and chemical, nuclear or biological substance sensing.

The fully loaded six-inch, hand-held vehicles are expected to weigh approximately 85 g (3 oz) and the payload, which will be developed by General Electric, is expected to account for no more than 20 percent of system’s weight. The airframe design and aerodynamic characteristics will be designed by Lockheed Martin Skunk Works. Sanders will serve as system integrator and develop the electronics payload. Payload subsystems will include an autopilot, INS, sensor and data link. Waypoint navigation, day and night imagery, and real-time image transmission to the launch point also will be provided to ranges of more than 5 km at speeds of 30 mph for missions lasting up to 20 minutes. The MAVs also will be capable of relatively short duration, low altitude, location-specific monitoring.

Establishment of Private European Defense Group Discussed

According to a Reuters report, ministers of six European countries have agreed that the European aerospace and defense industry should merge into a single, private group as soon as possible. It is believed that such a group would be more able than individual companies to handle competition from US industry. Industry ministers from France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the UK have established a framework for what is being called the European Aerospace and Defense Co. and have asked the European industry to make proposals for implementing the combined operation by the end of October.

Among the companies that may be involved in the venture are France’s Aerospatiale, Germany’s DASA of Daimler-Benz, the UK’s British Aerospace and certain activities of GEC Plc, Spain’s CASA, Italy’s Finmeccanica and Sweden’s Saab. The group also may include Lagardere, Thomson-CSF, Alcatel and Dassualt Aviation.

The ministers have emphasized the importance of strengthening the competitiveness of the European industry in the face of increasing globalization and consolidation of the world’s aerospace and defense industry. They also maintain that governments should have no direct influence on the management of any European aerospace and defense organization that may be created.

DARPA Seeks High Data Rate Communications System

In connection with its plans to deploy a new generation of small, low cost, low earth orbit radar satellites to support warfighter needs, DARPA is seeking information on existing high data rate space-to-ground and ground-to-space communications systems. The space-to-ground link will be capable of a data rate of at least 274 Mbps scalable to 1 Gbps with a bit-error rate of 10E-6 scalable to 10E-9. The ground-to-space data link will accommodate direct in-theater tasking of the payload. Ideally, the candidate link will be able to utilize existing airborne reconnaissance infrastructure assets and involve minimum (if any) change to the common data link processing. It also will be able to establish and maintain the link from ground to a satellite moving at more than 7 kmps at an altitude of approximately 770 km. For additional information, contact William Jeffrey, DARPA/TTO (703) 696-2315.