International Report

Siemens to Supply Swiss Voice and Data Radio Network

German contractor Siemens AG's Information and Communication Networks Group has been awarded a contract valued at approximately DM50 M to supply, install and commission a new secure voice and data radio network for the Swiss customs service. Under the terms of the contract, Siemens is expected to fully implement the network by the second half of 2001 and supply a system based on the company's Tetrapol technology. Tetrapol is a digital trunked radio system that has been specifically designed for use by organisations such as police forces, fire and rescue services, customs and border patrol authorities, and the military. The system has a modular architecture that allows networks to be tailored to specific geographical requirements and utilises a 12.5 kHz bandwidth to facilitate integration with current analogue frequency bands. The specified bandwidth characteristics allow soft migration between analogue and digital applications. Other features of the system include automatic mobility management, end-to-end encryption of voice and data, direct communication between system terminals without the need for base stations and the use of frequency division multiple access technology to facilitate wide area coverage. Once in service, the new system is expected to operate within a 30 km border protection strip around Switzerland for use in internal communications as well as cross-border links with the border patrol and customs services of Switzerland's neighbours.

Turkey Selects UK Radio Communications System for New Airport

UK contractor Park Air Electronics Ltd. (PAE) has been selected by Turkey to supply a comprehensive ground-to-air radio communications system for use at the new Sabiha Gokcen International Airport, which is currently under construction near Istanbul. The system comprises fixed and mobile VHF (approximately 30 to 300 MHz) transmitters and receivers (including man-packs and vehicular installations) together with a fixed-site UHF (approximately 300 MHz to 1 GHz) subsystem with which to communicate with military aircraft. The primary system equipment is drawn from the company's 5000M series transmitters and receivers that operate in the 118 to 137 MHz and 225 to 400 MHz frequency bands, respectively. Other features include auto tracking filters, 8.33 kHz channel spacing, built-in test (including integral test oscillators and analogue/digital converters) and a serial data link interface with the company's multi-access remote control system. The mobile/portable VHF system element is met by technology based on the company's model 5610 transceiver. Operating in the 118 to 137 MHz frequency range, this 7 W equipment has provision for the installation of both VHF and UHF antennas and incorporates backup DC batteries in the case of a primary AC source failure.

Philips Develops New SOC Design Methodology

Netherlands contractor Philips Semiconductors Inc. has developed a new system-on-chip (SOC) design methodology under the designated silicon system platform (SSP) concept. SSP incorporates a re-usable module approach for hardware and software intellectual property blocks along with a given application area architecture that provides rules to ensure that all elements of the device fit together correctly. To maximise usability, a number of SSPs have been created for applications that have similar functional requirements. Each SSP has an open, programmable architecture and a kit of re-usable hardware and software components (including application driver code) that provide all the elements necessary to create an appropriate IC solution. The architecture of each SSP defines the rules for module interface design and provides scalability within each platform's domain by its ability to mix and match appropriate hardware and software components. Core re-usable components identified by Philips for use in the SSP include memories, analogue and digital blocks, digital signal processors and design support tools. Specific components cited include the company's eight-bit 80C51 and 16-bit XA microcontrollers and TriMedia™ processor cores that can be used in multiprocessor environments; reliable and re-usable SSP software components, including drivers and application-specific components that are in a direct analogy with the architecture's hardware components, are also being offered. Most significantly, SSPs will not become obsolete since they are reprogrammable and can be enhanced by the introduction of software upgrades. The described platform is expected to substantially shorten design and development times from months to weeks and produce ICs that typically work the first time.

UK SIFF Programme Outlined

In response to the collapse of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation's (NATO) effort to develop an alliance-wide next-generation identification friend-or-foe (IFF) system, the UK has launched the Successor IFF (SIFF) programme to completely upgrade the country's tri-service IFF systems capability. As set out in the UK Staff Requirement (Sea/Land/Air) 924, the SIFF effort intends to upgrade the current tri-service IFF Mk Xa provision to the Mk XII standard (which will include Mode 4 functionality), introduce the Mode S IFF transponder function and provide a risk-free growth path to the Mode 5 encrypted waveform standard. SIFF involves 51 platform types and will eventually see upgraded capabilities installed on 984 aircraft, 87 ships and submarines, and 452 ground-based systems.

In an attempt to balance numbers and platform availability issues, the SIFF programme comprises three implementation processes. In Approach A, a prime contractor will be selected to provide the necessary equipment; manage its installation, integration and service acceptance; and provide through life logistic support. In Approach B, the particular platform's design authority will manage the installation, integration and service acceptance of SIFF-compatible IFF interrogators with a selected subcontractor supplying the necessary hardware and through life support. In Approach C, the individual design authorities will manage the installation, integration and service acceptance of SIFF equipment. An interrogator suited only for the Improved UK Air Defence Ground Environment is included in Approach C with equipment supply being directed by the UK's Ministry of Defence. Logistic support for Approach C installations will be leveraged from the Approach A structure. The 10-month SIFF integration and planning study contracts were awarded in 1997 with full-scale development and initial production of equipment scheduled for early 2000.

The acceptance of Approach A is described as a make-or-break award that will leave the selected contractor as the UK's only viable IFF system manufacturer. As of press time, identified competitors for the SIFF Approach A award included the Marconi Avionics Group (MAG) consortium (comprising MAG (acting as prime, platform-system integrator, man-machine interface provider and equipment installation), Marconi Aerospace Systems (shipboard/ground interrogators, cryptography and module repair) and Thomson CSF Communications (airborne transponders, cryptography and module repair)) and UK-based Raytheon Systems Company Ltd. Both competitors have already won or have been selected for elements of the SIFF programme.

MAG has been selected to provide the SIFF Approach B package for the RN's Sea Harrier FA.2; Raytheon has been selected to pick up the Approach B provision for the BA/RAF Rapier surface-to-air missiles (SAM) together with that for the RAF's Tornado F.3 interceptor. In the case of the Sea Harrier effort, MAG will install the AN/APX-113 combined interrogator/transponder while the Tornado F.3 fit comprises Raytheon's IFF 4500 interrogator, IFF 4810 transponder and IFF 4870 control box. The Rapier SAM installation is an upgrade of the existing equipment fitted to the weapon system.