International Report

C-17 Completes First Phase TAWS Tests

At the time of going to press, US contractor Boeing is reported to have completed first phase air testing of BAE Systems' TERPROM® Terrain Awareness Warning System (TAWS) aboard its C-17 strategic transport aircraft. Conducted at Edwards Air Force Base, CA, the focus of the trials effort was to demonstrate the applicability of the TERPROM TAWS to tactical low level operations. BAE Systems' TERPROM TAWS is a transport aircraft specific application of the baseline TERPROM digital terrain system that is designed to provide drift-free, high accuracy navigation, predictive ground proximity warnings (with prediction algorithms tailored to specific platform types), obstruction warnings and cueing, database terrain following and passive ranging. As such, the system makes use of standard digital terrain and vertical obstruction data stored in an onboard computer mass memory. A Kalman filter compares this information with that from a radar altimeter, thereby allowing for in-flight calibration of errors in the host platform's inertial navigation system. Overall, terrain referenced navigation accuracies of 30 m circular error probability (horizontal) and 3 m linear error probability (vertical) are reported as being achievable over terrain rougnesses down to two per cent.

At the time of going to press, phase two of the C-17 TERPROM TAWS test programme was scheduled to begin during early 2002, with initial installation of production systems slated for mid-2002. Elsewhere in the world, TERPROM applications have been installed (or have been selected for installation) aboard the Eurofighter Typhoon, F-16 and Mirage 2000 multi-role combat aircraft and the Jaguar, Harrier GR Mk 7 and Tornado GR Mk 4 strike aircraft.

Philips Launches New LCD-based Handheld Application Controller

Netherlands contractor Philips Semiconductors has launched a new audio codec and touch screen controller (designated as the UCB1400) that is designed for use in liquid crystal display (LCD)- based handheld applications such as palmtop personal computers, Internet capable mobile telephones and wireless Web terminals. As such, UCB1400 combines audio codec, touch screen control and power management interfaces on a single chip and is fully compliant with Intel's Audio Codec 1997 (AC 97) Component Specification (Revision 2.1). Here, an integrated AC 97 interface allows the chip to communicate with the link host controllers on a variety of embedded processors including Intel's PXA210, PXA250 and StrongARM® SA-1110 devices. Other features include a 20-bit audio processing stereo codec, a variety of power management capabilities, a 48 pin external interface, a 3.3 V power supply, integral power saving modes and battery-powered applications. Of these, the 20-bit codec supports programmable sample rates, digital sound processing and input/output (I/O) gain while the device's power management options include the independent switch off of individual blocks to optimise consumption and maximise battery life. With the external interface, 10 general-purpose pins are devoted to a programmable I/O capability that facilitates the chip's control and status monitoring functions.

Paradigm Gets Skynet 5

European contractor Paradigm Secure Communications (PSC - a joint venture between BAE Systems and the European Aeronautic, Defence and Space Co.) has been selected as the preferred bidder for the UK's next generation military communications satellite, the Skynet 5 architecture. To be procured under the British Government's Private Finance Initiative (PFI) procedure, the Skynet 5 contract is expected to be worth approximately £2 billion over a 20-year period and will (in addition to the development of the new hardware) involve the transfer of ownership and operation of the existing Skynet 4 infrastructure, into which, the Skynet 5 system will be folded circa 2005. Additionally, Paradigm (within a UK Ministry of Defence gain-sharing framework and with the support of the UK's Defence Export Services Organisation) will be able to offer Skynet time and services to other NATO countries that do not already operate their own military satellite communications systems.

Alongside PSC itself, the Skynet 5 programme will involve a contractor consortium made up of European space vehicle provider Astrium, Logica, General Dynamics Decision Systems (GDDS - formerly Motorola Integrated Information Systems Group), Cogent Defence and Security Networks (DSN), Serco, Cable & Wireless, Systems Engineering and Assessment (SEA) and Stratos. Looking at these in more detail, Franco-British contractor Astrium will build the required Skynet 5 satellite constellation (with the individual vehicles being based on its Eurostar 3000 bus design) and its associated ground stations while Logica will provide the system's service operation and support software. GDDS will handle project management and customer care, with Cogent DSN taking responsibility for the architecture's network baseband and cryptographic equipment together with system integration support. For its part, Serco will provide network and facilities management services while Cable & Wireless will create tailored communications solutions for the system that will include very small aperture terminal and bandwidth services. SEA's role in the programme will involve it in the provision of systems requirement management, human factor task analysis, training support and space flight hardware/ground segment development. The remaining cited contractor - Stratos - will take responsibility for the provision of International Maritime Satellite (INMARSAT) services within the architecture.

Finns Select French Naval EW

French-based contractor Thales Airborne Systems has been awarded a Euro 26.3 million contract covering the supply of 11 Shipborne Integrated Electronic Warfare Systems (SIEWS) for installation aboard six of the Finnish Navy's Squadron 2000 and four of its Rauma class Fast Attack Craft-Missile (FAC-M). Additional equipment is to be operated within one of the service's shore installations. The six Squadron 2000 vessels involved comprise two Hamina (R2000) FAC-Ms and four T2000 class air cushion missile craft. Of the FAC-Ms, the class leader (the Hamina) has been used as a trials platform and as such (and according to usually reliable sources), has been fitted with an interim EW suite that is made up of a Philax decoy launcher system, a Matilda Electronic Support (ES) receiver and (from 2002 onwards) a Lacroix ATOS smoke system. Additionally, the vessel is equipped with a Bofors 57 mm gun mounted in a stealth turret originally designed for use aboard Sweden's Visby class stealth corvettes. For their part, installation of the SIEWS aboard the four Rauma class FAC-Ms (the Rauma, the Raahe, the Porvoo and the Naantali) is a retrofit effort that replaces the existing Philax/Matilda EW fit.

The SIEWS itself is described as being based on Thales' 0.5 to 20.0 GHz DR 3000 modular ES system and an EW computer, with the former being described as being the core of the system. While not confirmed, it is believed that the described SIEWS applications will include the existing decoy launcher and on the Hamina class, smoke generation systems. For its part, DR 3000 variants are known to be in service aboard or on order for installation aboard France's nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle and four of its La Fayette class frigates (both installations designated as ARBR 21 equipments); Greece's Pirpolitis class patrol craft; Indonesia's Kakap and Todak class patrol craft (DR 3000S1 variant on both types); Kuwait's Um Almaradim class FAC-Ms (DR 3000 Compact); Oman's Qahir class corvettes and Al Bushra class offshore patrol vessels (DR 3000S1 on both types); Pakistan's Tariq class frigates (DR 3000S1X); Qatar's Barzan class FAC-Ms (DR 3000S1); Saudi Arabia's Arriyad class frigates (DR 3000S2) and Taiwan's Kang Ding class frigates.