International Report

NIIP Launches New Phased-array Fighter Radar

Russian radar contractor Nauchno-Issledovatelskiy Institut Priborostroyeniya (NIIP - Scientific Research Institute for Instrument Engineering) used the September Farnborough International Airshow to launch the lightweight Osa (Wasp) phased-array fighter radar. At the show, the Osa radar was fitted to the displayed Mikoyan

MiG-29UBT combat training and ground attack aircraft. Elsewhere, the system is aimed at combat variants of the Mikoyan MiG-AT and Yakovlev Yak-130 training aircraft that are currently vying for an order from the Russian air force.

The Osa radar weighs 120 kg and incorporates a 22-kg, 460-mm-diameter, front-end phased array. The system operates in the I-/low J-band (8 to 12 GHz subband) frequency range and reportedly has fore and aft search ranges (against a 5m2 radar cross-section target) of 85 and 40 km, respectively. Other features of this multimode radar include a track-while-scan facility covering up to 16 targets, the ability to engage up to four air targets simultaneously, 90º coverage in azimuth, surface mapping modes (including freeze and zoom) and the ability to track two ground targets simultaneously. Other radars within the NIIP stable include the slotted-array N011, the phased-array N011M and the N019MP, which features a synthetic aperture operating mode for ground mapping purposes.


The European Telecommunications Satellite (EUTELSAT) organisation's HOT BIRD 5 television broadcast satellite was expected to be delivered to a 13° east geostationary orbit from which it will have a footprint that includes North Africa and Europe from the Azores to Kazakhstan. With a launch mass of three tons, HOT BIRD 5 will offer direct broadcast facilities in both analogue and digital formats and is based on the 2000 Plus variant of Matra Marconi Space's EUROSTAR bus design.

The vehicle's payload comprises 22 transponders operating in the 11 to 18 GHz, 12 GHz and 12 to 14 GHz frequency bands. Other system features include a fixed reception antenna, 2.3-m-diameter dual-gridded reflector transmission arrays, 135 W travelling-wave-tube amplifiers and three Skyplex digital television/multimedia satellite distribution systems. HOT BIRD 5 has a 20-channel capacity with each channel able to broadcast a number of digital television programs. Channel bandwidths are 33, 36 and 72 MHz, and the amplifier RF output is 132 W. Once on station, the vehicle will provide wide beam coverage of the noted Azores-Kazakhstan region and 'super beam' coverage of Europe and North Africa. HOT BIRD 5 is the fourth in a series of four EUTELSAT television broadcast satellites that have been launched since November 1996.

Thomson-CSF Communications Wins Orders from Greece and the UAE

French military communications contractor Thomson-CSF Communications has won orders for its equipment from the Greek army and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) air force. Thomson is teamed with Greek contractor Intracom SA to provide the Greek army with a VHF (30 to 300 MHz) tactical communications system that is based on its PR4G family of equipment. Within the consortium, Intracom is acting as prime contractor and will produce major components of the radios being acquired, all the system's amplifiers and a range of accessories under licence from Thomson. As such, the contract involves what Thomson terms a major transfer of technology. Similar PR4G technology transfers have been made to the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and Switzerland. This latest sale adds to the more than 70,000 PR4G radios that have already been delivered to or are on order for 23 customers worldwide.

The UAE contract is valued at $200 M and involves the supply of a Ground Air Transmit Receive (GATR) secure ground-to-air communications network. Forming part of the communications subsystem of the UAE's air force and air defence command, control and communications organisation, GATR makes use of Thomson's Thomrad secure radio product line and involves both ground stations and onboard provision for a range of aircraft, including the Mirage 2000 and F-16 multirole fighters, the Hawk trainer and the Apache battlefield attack helicopter. The overall system will provide continuous, secure voice and data ground-to-air links. System implementation is expected to take place over several years.

Philips Develops IC to Allow Use of NiCd/NiMH Batteries in Mobile Phone Applications

Netherlands contractor Philips Semiconductor has developed a DC/DC converter IC that facilitates the use of AAA-sized nickel-cadmium (NiCd) or nickel-metal-hybride (NiMH) batteries in mobile telephone applications without adversely affecting the size, weight or performance of the application. Currently, energy-dense lithium ion batteries are the favored power supply for the latest generation of European mobile telephones.

The new TEA1210 IC utilises Philips' proprietary digital pulse-width/pulse-frequency modulation techniques to maintain high DC/DC conversion efficiency and good dynamic performance for all load currents. Other features include a two-level current limit tailored to drive the pulsed RF power amplifiers in latest-generation applications, clock synchronisation, under-voltage lock out and shut-down modes. Philips claims that the TEA1210 unit (with a 660 nF capacitor) can achieve between 83 and 93 percent conversion efficiency (depending on battery state) when driving a 3.6 V RF amplifier at an 8:1 duty cycle. In addition to its use in smart mobile telephones, the device is also expected to find application in battery-powered fax machines and printers.

Franco-British Team Selected for Bowman LAS

The multinational Archer Communications consortium handling prime contractorship and systems integration on the UK's Bowman battlefield communications system has selected a Racal-Thomson consortium to provide the network's local area subsystem (LAS). Regarded by many as the largest military communications project in Europe, the £2 B Bowman program has the ambitious target of replacing virtually all British ground force communications systems with new-generation equipment with an in-service date of March 2002. The main Bowman supply and support contract is due to be awarded during the second half of 1999. The complete Bowman system is being procured under the UK's new smart procurement initiative, which involves joint industry government teams that will oversee the various elements within the acquisition process.

An Archer consortium spokesman notes that selection of the Racal-Thomson LAS was made on the basis of value-for-money and risk-to-time scales and performance criteria. Within the Bowman system, the LAS is a headquarters-level facility that interconnects the distribution of data, messages and voice traffic between and inside vehicles operating within the net. Racal Communications describes the equipment as utilising open standard asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) switching technology and a 155 Mbps data rate (expandable to 622 Mbps or higher if required). The spokesman further emphasizes that the Thomson team member is the first contractor to bring ATM switches to the military arena and that the LAS being offered has the scalibility to provide seamless information exchange, irrespective of link capacity - between all current and future systems. Work on the Bowman LAS is estimated as having a potential value of approximately £250 M.