International Report

Thales Wins Euro 210 Million NH90 Contract

International avionics contractor Thales Avionics has been awarded a Euro 210 million contract covering the supply of avionics and electrical power system equipment into the multi- national NH 90 helicopter programme. Working with partners Diehl Avionik Systeme, Teldix, Galileo Avionica and Sirio Panel, prime contractor Thales Avionics is to supply a basic avionics suite, a mission avionics package and an electrical generation system. Taking these in reverse order, the generation system (being supplied by Thales Avionics Electrical Systems) comprises three power alternators and associated regulators while the mission avionics package includes the Topowl binocular helmet-mounted sight/display and a modular tactical mission computer. Of these, the Topowl sight/display system is based on visor display technology and has a 40° wide field-of-view while the mission computer is designed to handle both onboard systems management and mission management tasks. The basic avionics suite comprises four 8 x 8 in liquid crystal displays (LCD), a control and display unit and a gyroscopic standby horizon. The array of four LCDs will be able to display all required flight control and systems/mission management data and is being supplied by Grenoble-based Thales Avionics LCD. The NH 90 helicopter is being developed by the NH Industries consortium (made up of France's Eurocopter, Germany's Eurocopter Deutschland, Italy's Agusta and Holland's Fokker) and is on order for customers in France, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and Sweden.

European TDP Programme Emphasises Potential 'Stealth' Rift

Following the signature of a memorandum of understanding that commits the governments of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the UK to participation in a portfolio of aerospace orientated technology demonstration programmes (TDP), fears have been raised concerning the impact of UK-US ties on work in the low observability (stealth) field. Designed to enhance Europe's aerospace edge and provide a basis for future European military aerospace programmes, the new programme involves nationally nominated industrial partners (Alenia Aerospazia representing Italy; BAE Systems, the UK; Dassault, France; European Aeronautic, Defence and Space (EADS) CASA, Spain; EADS Deutschland, Germany and Saab, Sweden), with two or more of the participants running individual TDP efforts within the whole. Here, areas to be addressed include studies into the participant's future defence capability requirements, the growth of Europe's control, command, communications, computers and intelligence (C4I) technology base, conventional cruise missile technology research, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology and stealth techniques as applicable to air vehicles. It is in this latter area that some of the UK's partners have expressed concerns about a potential conflict of interest arising bearing in mind the UK's close relationship with the US on programmes such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. UK officials have been at pains to stress that they anticipate participating in both European and US stealth programmes, with strict Chinese walls being maintained between them. Other specifically identified areas of interest that are to be addressed in the immediate future include studies into system and technology requirements up to 2020, wideband datalink technology, UAV safe operation and high speed data processing.

Hispasat Selects Astrium for Amazonas Satellite

Spanish telecommunications provider Hispasat has selected European contractor Astrium to design and build its Amazonas communications satellite. When launched, Amazonas will provide a full range of telecommunications services to a terrestrial footprint that will include Brazil, North America (from the northern US to Panama and including Mexico and the Caribbean basin), Central and South America (from Venezuela/Colombia to southern Argentina/Chile) and southwest Europe. Amazonas is to be based on Astrium's Eurostar E3000S bus design and will operate from a geostationary orbit at 61° W over the Amazon basin. The 5.8 m high by 2.4 m long by 2.9 m wide vehicle will be equipped with a 35 m span solar array; have a launch mass of 4500 kg and will carry an Astrium designed and produced payload comprising 19 C-band (4 to 8 GHz) and 32 Ku-band (12.5 to 18.0 GHz) band transponders. So equipped, the system is envisaged as providing both fixed and broadcast communications services including TV broadcast and business facilities, with the latter incorporating data broadcast. Both the vehicle's transponder arrays will be able to function simultaneously and if successfully delivered into orbit, Amazonas is expected to have an operational life of 15 years, with a DC power value of 9.5 kW at the end of said period. With an overall value of approximately Euro 300 million, Astrium notes that the Amazonas project will involve Spain's European Aeronautic, Defence and Space (EADS) CASA company as a major partner, together with other Spanish companies who will supply a significant part of the vehicle's equipment and technology. The contractor further notes that Hispasat is the fourth major provider to order a chemically propelled, Lithium-ion battery E3000 series satellite, six of which are reported as being in full production. Overall, 33 Eurostar series spacecraft have been ordered from Astrium, 22 of which are in service.

PT Telkom Procures Fibre-optic Backbone for Sumatra

Indonesian telecommunications provider PT Telkom has awarded a consortium of Pirelli and Siemens IC Networks a Euro 70 million plus contract covering the turnkey construction of a submarine/terrestrial fibre-optic telecommunications backbone for the island of Sumatra. Covering a distance of more than 2000 km, the architecture will include a 345 km long dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) submarine transmission link between the east coast of Sumatra and the industrial/resort island of Batam that lies approximately 20 km off Singapore. Within the consortium, Siemens IC Networks is supplying and installing its TransXpress family of DWDM and synchronous digital hierarchy equipment, while Pirelli is providing the necessary 12 fibre-optic terrestrial cable system. Pirelli subsidiary Pirelli Submarine Telecom Systems is supplying the submarine Sumatra-Batam link that takes the form of two fibre pairs with a transmission capacity of 40 Gbit/s. The present deal is structured as a partnership agreement and is expected to strengthen the Pirelli/Siemens consortium's position in bidding for future work in the region.

Raytheon Selected for Mexican Maritime Patrol/AEW Aircraft Integration Programme

Brazilian aerospace contractor Embraer has selected the Raytheon Co. to act as systems integrator and supplier on the two EMB-145 maritime patrol aircraft being procured by Mexico. As a subset of the deal, the company is also supplying and integrating a communications intelligence (COMINT) system into Mexico's single EMB-145 airborne early warning and control (AEW & C) platform. With regard to the maritime patrol variant, Raytheon's Electronic Systems is responsible for the type's mission system and is to be the source of its SeaVue surveillance radar and AN/APX-144 identification friend-or-foe transponder. For its part, Raytheon's Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence Systems business unit is providing some mission equipment and in-country support and the entire package is being integrated by the company's Aircraft Integration Systems (AIS). AIS is also providing and integrating the COMINT system that is to be installed aboard Mexico's EMB-145 AEW & C aircraft. Work on the effort began in December and is scheduled to see the first equipment deliveries during the fourth quarter of 2002.