International Report

Philips Launches Low Cost, High Performance Internet UARTs

Netherlands contractor Philips Semiconductors has launched two new four- and eight-channel universal asynchronous receiver transmitter (UART) single-chip devices (models SC28L194A and SC28L198A, respectively) that offer a low cost solution to the performance demands of the latest generation of Internet-connected appliance. Specific applications envisaged include Internet access equipment, point-of-sale terminals, automatic payment terminals, robotics and high end PC workstations.

Functionally, UART circuits convert parallel bytes from a processor into serial bits for transmission and vice versa. In a typical application, the UART may interface with a range of peripherals (such as mice, keypads or modems) and through the use of Philips' Intelligence Interrupt Arbitration (I2A) technology, the new UARTs can identify the highest priority interrupt request and channel it to the processor first. Such arbitration has traditionally been undertaken by the processor itself, thereby diminishing its capacity to handle other functions. Philips claims that the UART/I2A combination helps free up the processor, reduces processor-to-UART communication time and noticeably improves overall system performance. Both UART ICs feature a three-byte character recognition system that can be used for automatic, multidrop address detection and general-purpose recognition tasks. Global interrupt and control registers are provided and the supply voltage requirement is 3.3 to 5 V. The units also are compatible with 68XXX and X86 microprocessor bus interfaces.

BAe to Purchase GEC's Defence Businesses

In the latest round of European defence industry consolidation, UK aerospace-to-ordnance giant British Aerospace (BAe) is planning to merge with General Electric Co.'s (GEC) defence businesses following GEC's decision to concentrate its activities on the communications and power-generation sectors. Under the terms of the agreement, GEC will separate the defence-focused Marconi Electronic Systems (MES) group from its other activities as the umbrella organisation for those of its businesses involved in the merger. Consummation of the deal is subject to the agreement of the two companies' shareholders, the UK's regulatory authorities and, possibly, the European Commission, a process that is expected to take at least six months to complete. BAe hopes that the merger will enhance its operational efficiency and export opportunities, expand its customer base and growth potential, generate significant cost savings and improve its research and development/technology base.

The proposed merger also will include the newly established Alenia Marconi Systems NV joint venture and Marconi North America Inc.'s US-based operations. Alenia Marconi Systems encompasses the radar (ground-based, naval and air traffic control), missile, simulation and training, and command and control businesses of the former GEC-Marconi Radar and Defence Systems and Italy's Alenia Difesa. In the US, companies affected include the identification friend-or-foe developer Hazeltine and the expendables-to-simulators contractor Tracor (now Marconi Aerospace Defense Systems Inc.). For its part, BAe already owns the former Siemens Plessey Systems defence electronics company (now trading as BAe Defence Systems Ltd.), which is expected to be integrated with compatible Marconi businesses. If successfully completed, analysts suggest that the BAe/MES combination will create the world's third-largest defence contractor (exceeded only by Boeing and Lockheed Martin).

The sheer scale and potential power of the proposed entity is already worrying French and German proponents of a pan-European consolidation. Reports suggest that Germany's DaimlerChrysler Aerospace is particularly aggrieved because it was close to a merger agreement with BAe prior to GEC. Reports also suggest that US Department of Defense officials are expressing concern over the merger's competitive ramifications. Deputy Defense Secretary John Hamre has stated that the proposed merger raises many of the same national and international competition issues that led to the downfall of the proposed Lockheed Martin/Northrop Grumman tie-up. Equally troubling for Hamre is the question of who US contractors will team with when bidding into UK programmes now that most of the available options will potentially exist within a single entity.

EWsT Launches New  1 - 18 GHz Simulator

UK contractor EW Simulation Technology Ltd. (EWsT) has released details of its new 1 to 18 GHz Chameleon II simulator. Derived from the company's Chameleon I electronic countermeasures (ECM) simulator, this latest equipment is a radar target modelling and ECM signal generation system that is designed primarily for hardware-in-the loop, high fidelity applications such as anechoic chamber system test and evaluation, and radar performance testing. According to the company, a key element in the simulator's overall capability is its use of two 8-bit amplitude digital RF memory channels that feature up to four memory files, 500 ms memory depth and 40 ns delay resolution, a read/write RF output interface, 115 kHz Doppler at 4 Hz resolution, RF amplitude control and a programmable system threshold together with CW and recirculation modes. Other system features include an instantaneous frequency measuring analysis receiver, an internal versa module Eurocard bus structure, built-in test, VxWorks™ real-time processing and Power PC™ implementation, Windows '95™ graphic user interface software, user-defined ECM libraries and fill-in-the-blank ECM techniques. System options include radar target and clutter modelling, and available ECM modes comprise amplitude modulation, coordinated range/velocity gate pulloff, inverse gain, noise (blink, burst, spot and swept) and range/frequency false targets. Chameleon II's instantaneous bandwidth, sensitivity and dynamic range are 400 MHz, -55 dBm and "e 60 dB, respectively. EWsT reportedly will supply an as yet unidentified Australian customer with an example of the Chameleon II system some time this year.

Radar MMS Details Aisberg-Razrez Radar System

The St. Petersburg-based Radar MMS has released details of the new Aisberg-Razrez airborne, dual-band radar system for earth resources monitoring that operates at wavelengths of 2 cm (Aisberg subsystem) and 3 m (Razrez subsystem). Radar MMS promotes the dual-band approach to earth survey work as a means of increasing the data content of the system's echo signals and enhancing the equipment's subsurface sounding and foliage penetration capabilities. Collected data are processed digitally in an associated ground facility and the system derives precise geolocation information (accurate to within 30 m) from a satellite navigation system. The Aisberg-Razrez system can be customised to present data in specific customer-required formats and is optimised for ease of use in the air and on the ground. Specific system applications include surveying forests, determining water tables, locating the seats of forest fires, monitoring pollution and detecting buried or foliage-obscured structures.

In terms of technical specifications, the noncoherent synthetic aperture radar (SAR) Aisberg subsystem utilises multiple polarisations (horizontal, vertical, horizontal-vertical, vertical-horizontal and circular) and has a maximum range of 100 km. The equipment's range resolution is 15 m. Swath area can be set as 16, 32 or 64 km strips on either side of the host aircraft. The subsystem as a whole weighs 320 kg and power consumption is 2.1 kW. The horizontally or vertically polarised SAR Razrez subsystem has a range of 50 km with a range resolution of 20 m. Swath area can be set as 16 or 32 km strips on either side of the host aircraft. The subsystem weighs 150 kg and has a power consumption of 1.4 kW. Secondary processing for both subsystems is digital as well as automatic, and the units' host platform is fitted with both television-type displays and SVGA monitors. Acquired data are recorded on digital magnetic tape.