Martin Streetly, International Correspondent

Best of Breed T/R Module Passes Critical Technical Review Violations

Raytheon's best of breed radar transceiver (T/R) module is reported as having successfully concluded its critical technical review and entered prototype manufacturer during the latter part of March. The device comes out of a 30 month-long best of breed T/R module programme that has involved both Raytheon's Air and Missile Defense business unit and the US Army (with funding from the US Ballistic Missile Defense Organisation). As such, the effort is aimed at increasing radar T/R capability, while at the same time reducing unit costs. Ballistic missile defence (BMD) radars are a primary application for best of breed technology, with each module transmitting signal power over the full face of the sensor, receiving reflected energy and providing electronic phase shifting for beam steering. Within the BMD context, Raytheon is known to be teamed with Lockheed Martin on the Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) programme and Boeing on the US National Missile Defense (NMD) effort. Returning to the specific best of breed programme, Raytheon claims that T/R modules used in design verification trials have exceeded expectations and at the time of going to press, pilot manufacture of a run of 600 devices was underway at Raytheon's automated microwave assembly facility at Dallas, TX. The described pilot build includes device fabrication, assembly and test, and is aimed at validating the design's producability in an automated assembly environment. If successful, this pilot run is expected to lead to full production of the device for use in THAAD engineering, manufacturing and development (EMD) radars and the X-band (8 to 12 GHz) sensor being developed for the NMD programme.

EADS Sets Up New Telecoms Group

Multi-national contractor the European Aeronautic, Defence and Space (EADS) Company has established a new telecommunications business sector designated as EADS Telecommunications. The new entity brings together a number of diverse operations in the fields of civil and military telecommunications and is built around the EADS Defence and Security Networks business unit (a joint venture with Nortel Networks), the communications networks activities of EADS Deutschland, the US-based INTECOM call centre business, the French-based SYCOMORE software integration/information security house, and the EADS-Nortel Matra Nortel Communications and Nortel Networks Deutschland joint ventures. So configured, the new organisation will focus on radio communications systems, information security (cryptology), systems integration and information architectures.

BAE Systems Sells Canadian Subsidiary and Wins $30 M Plus Hellfire Contract

UK conglomerate BAE Systems has agreed to sell its majority investment in BAE Systems Canada to the Toronto, Canada-based ONCAP investment fund for approximately $218 M. Formerly part of BAE Systems North America, BAE Systems Canada's product portfolio includes airborne electronic countermeasures equipment, defence communications systems, infra-red sensors, marine electronics, positioning systems and space vehicle components. At the time of going to press, the described sales was subject to Canadian and US regulatory approval together with shareholder consent which was being sought at an April special shareholders meeting.

Elsewhere, Lockheed Martin's Millimetrewave Technologies Inc. has awarded BAE Systems North America - Information and Electronic Warfare Systems (IEWS - Nashua, NH) a $30 M plus contract covering the manufacture of millimetre-wave transceivers for use in the Longbow Hellfire missile system. Longbow Hellfire is applicable to the AH-64D and WAH-64 battlefield attack helicopters. This latest award builds on BAE Systems IEWS' (formerly Sanders) work on the programme since its receipt of an initial Longbow Hellfire transceiver contract in October 1999 and provides for the delivery of 6329 units during the period 2001 to 2004. If contract options are exercised, this number could rise to 10,979 units over a five-year period. Measuring 10 x 10 cm (4 x 4 in), the Longbow Hellfire transceiver is installed in the missile's sensor head from where it transmits and receives target tracking signals and hands off target data to the weapon's seeker unit.

Egypt Upgrades Ramadan FACS

The Italian-British Alenia Marconi Systems has announced that the Egyptian Navy has awarded it a contract covering the refurbishment and upgrading of the radars installed aboard its Ramadan class fast attack craft (FAC). Spread over a 53 month period, the effort involves the upgrading of the E/F-band (2.7 to 2.9 or 2.9 to 3.1 GHz sub-bands) S820 surveillance and I-band (8 to 10 GHz) ST802 monopulse tracking radars installed aboard four Ramadan class vessels. Other elements within the programme include the introduction of new colour tactical displays and low light/infra-red cameras together with a full refurbishment of the vessels' overall fire-control system.

Siemens Claims to Have Launched First Commercially Available DSL Card with SHDSL

German contractor Siemens Information and Communication Networks has launched what it claims to be the first commercially available digital subscriber line (DSL) telecommunications card that incorporates single-pair, high speed digital subscriber line (SHDSL) technology. As such, the device is based on standard pulse code amplitude modulation (PAM) 16 line code and supports transmission rates of 192 kbit/s to 2.32 Mbit/s in both directions (symmetrical) over one copper line. A major application for the approach is in DSL voice transmission applications and that in contrast with the asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) approach, the SHDSL end user does not require the services of a plain old telephone service/integrated services digital network splitter, since voice signals are transported in asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) using an inband signal. This can be taken to mean that a voice signal is segmented in the same way as a data signal, is transmitted as an ATM packet and is re-assembled in the receiving terminal. The SHDSL approach can also be used in conjunction with ADSL technology.

French Contractor Claims to Have Developed World's Smallest EDWAFrench contractor Teem Photonics has developed what it claims to be the world's smallest erbium-doped waveguide amplifier (EDWA) that is designated as the Metro EDWA™ gain block. Designed for applications such as dense wavelength division multiplexed (DWDM) fibre-optic telecommunications networks, the Metro EDWA unit integrates a pump laser, a pump multiplexer, a waveguide amplifier, a pump kill filter and a tap coupler in a 130 x 27 x 13 mm3 package. EDWA technology centers on waveguides that are fabricated on a glass chip rather than on optical fibres as in the erdium-doped fibre amplifier (EDFA) approach. The planar waveguide used in the Metro EDWA incorporates all the benefits inherent in EDFA technology together with ease of handling via component integration on a single chip. Equally, Teem Photonics suggests that because of the ease with which it is assembled, the EDWA is more scalable than its EDFA counterpart. The company also notes that DWDM technology offers a solution to bandwidth issues inherent in metro-area networks due to its ability to carry multiple signals in a single fibre that incorporates inherent intelligence (such as a routing capability). *