Technological Advances to Maintain

Aircraft Upgrade MarketA report from Frost & Sullivan, World Military Aircraft Upgrade and Modification Markets, estimates that the 1999 market for this activity amounted to $6 B and forecasts that there will be slight growth over the next several years with the market rising to $6.13 B by 2006.

The report reviews the difficulties faced by military organizations attempting to justify new expensive high performance weapons systems when there is no identified significant threat. Technological advances are, however, offering opportunities to upgrade and modify military aircraft fleets at modest cost. New aircraft continue to be high priority funding projects for many governments. At the same time, the upgrade market permits them to continue using existing aircraft with more flexible capabilities as programs for next generation fighter, attack and transport aircraft deployment proceed at rates that have been slowed by regional tensions, technology advancements and contractor downsizing efforts.

The report emphasizes the need for industry contractors to diversify and bundle solutions for specific applications. Consolidation and partnering are considered essential for contractors hoping to remain competitive in a market subject to shrinking defense budgets. For additional information, contact: Rolf Gatlin, Frost & Sullivan (210) 348-1017.

FCC to Make More Spectrum Available by Development of Secondary Markets

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has adopted a Policy Statement and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) setting forth a framework to promote the development of more robust "secondary markets" in radio spectrum. The explosive growth in wireless communications and user demand for wireless services have led to a dramatic increase in the demand for spectrum. The demand is threatening to exceed supply and impede the future growth of wireless services. The FCC believes that an effectively functioning system of secondary markets will permit and encourage licensees to trade or lease their unused or unneeded spectrum capacity. Such secondary market transactions could increase the amount of spectrum available to prospective users and make more effective use of spectrum already assigned to licensees.

The Policy Statement includes four guiding principles under which such a secondary market would operate. First, licensees should have clearly defined usage rights to their spectrum, including frequency bands and service areas, and license terms sufficiently long and with reasonable renewal expectancy to encourage investment. Licenses and spectrum usage rights should be easily transferable. Licensees/users should be able to determine the services to be provided and the technology used consistent with other rules governing the service. Finally, licensees/users have the obligation to protect against and the right to protection from interference as provided in FCC rules.

To support the initiative, the Commission plans to eliminate unnecessary barriers to the operation of secondary market process, encourage equipment development which will facilitate use of available spectrum for a broad range of services and encourage the formation of mechanisms which will effect spectrum transfers in a timely and cost-effective manner. The Commission is seeking comment on the basic proposal that applies to a large portion of the Wireless Radio Services licenses, including both mobile and fixed services. That proposal will entitle most wireless radio licensees with "exclusive" rights to their assigned spectrum to lease their usage rights to third parties without prior FCC approval. The Commission also invites comment on actions it might take to improve its collection and distribution of information about current spectrum usage. Policy Statement contact: Lisa Gifford, (202) 418-7280; Proposed Rulemaking contact: Paul Murray, (202) 418-7240.

Off-Board and On-Board Data Combined to Acquire JSF Targets

The Lockheed Martin Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) has successfully demonstrated its all-weather precision targeting and combat identification techniques for both fixed and mobile targets. In a cooperative engagement between a Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) aircraft and the Northrop Grumman-owned JSF cooperative avionics test bed (CATB), the Lockheed Martin JSF acquired and derived targeting data of stationary and moving targets during simulated attacks at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, MD.

The first Joint STARS/JSF CATB scenario demonstrated an all-passive cooperative engagement with the JSF executing a "silent ingress" (radar and communications systems switched off) and receiving all target-acquisition information from Joint STARS at long-range. Flying at typical operational ranges and altitudes, JSF CATB used the data to cue its electro-optical targeting system (EOTS) to passively locate and track moving targets for pilot identification and weapons delivery at standoff ranges. In the second scenario, Joint Stars detected the targets at long-range and relayed the information to JSF CATB. The data cued JSF's radar, which used its synthetic aperture radar/ground-moving-target (SAR/GMTI) mode to re-acquire and locate the targets. The radar's SAR/GMTI resolution was then increased in preparation for attacks.

Laser Weapon Demonstrator Engages and Destroys Multiple Targets

The US Army Space & Missile Defense Command (USA-SMDC), Huntsville, AL, and the Israeli Ministry of Defence (ImoD) have used the Tactical High Energy Laser/Advanced Concept Technology Demonstrator (THEL/ACTD) to repeatedly detect, track, engage and destroy salvos of Katyusha rockets fired in rapid succession. In a series of two-rocket salvo tests conducted in the fall of last year at White Sands Missile Range, NM, the THEL/ACTD twice detected, tracked and destroyed multiple Katyushas in a single engagement. These multiple shoot-downs were achieved less than four months after TRW, SMCD and ImoD first used the THEL/ACTD to destroy a single rocket in flight.

The THEL/ACTD was designed, developed and produced by a TRW-led team of US and Israeli contractors for the US Army Space & Missile Defense Command and the Israeli Ministry of Defence. Requirements for the system have been driven by Israel in its need to protect civilians along its northern border against rocket attacks.

Raytheon to Supply Advanced Paveway to Royal Air Force

The UK's Ministry of Defence has selected Raytheon's GPS-guided Advance Paveway bomb to meet its requirements for an all-weather, off-axis precision strike weapon. Enhanced Paveway will be integrated with the Royal Air Force's Tornado GR4 aircraft.

The decision to upgrade the Royal Air Force's strike capability was made after lessons learned during the Kosovo crisis when bad weather and heavy cloud curtailed laser targeting, and so limited operations. The Royal Air Force is already equipped with highly accurate Paveway II (UK) and Paveway III (UK) Laser Guided Bombs (LGBs), and the addition of GPS-guidance to these weapons will enable operations against targets obscured by cloud or smoke. Enhanced Paveway, with its dual-mode (laser or GPS) targeting capability, will therefore give the RAF considerable operational flexibility. Following successful completion of flight trials, introduction into service is planned for October of this year. Enhanced Paveway is the most rapid and cost-effective way to provide a major improvement for the Royal Air Force. *