International Report

First Galileo Contract Awarded

The European Space Agency has awarded the multi-national Galileo Industries joint venture the first development contract for the European Galileo satellite navigation system. Building on Galileo Industries' earlier successes during the programme's definition phase, the new 10-20 million ($9.8-19.6 M) award covers the development of the first version of the Galileo system test bed (designated as the GSTB - V1). Here, GSTB-V1 is described as being intended to contribute to the validation of a number of Galileo system concepts including its main navigation processing algorithms and system integrity solutions. As part of the 30-month long process, the existing European Geostationary Navigation Overlay System (EGNOS) ground infrastructure (implemented on a 30 ground station network) will be used to collect existing satellite data, evaluate currently available performance and extrapolate what will be the ultimate performance of the Galileo system. As currently planned, Galileo will make use of a 30 satellite constellation and is scheduled to become operational during 2008. Established during 2000, the Galileo Industries joint venture is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, has a permanent staff of around 40 and has as its shareholders France's Alcatel Space, Germany's Astrium GmbH, Italy's Alenia, Spain's Systemas y Servicios (itself a joint venture) and the UK's Astrium UK. The US is bitterly opposed to the Galileo project because of its potential impact on the American military's Global Positioning System, the US's inability to control it and a talked-up potential for its use as a guidance system for terrorist threats.

NATO Buys New Radars

NATO has announced that it is procuring five RAT 31DL long range 3D air defence radars for use in the Czech Republic and Hungary. A product of the Anglo-Italian Alenia Marconi Systems joint venture, RAT 31DL is a NATO Class 1 transportable air defence radar that operates in the D-band (1 to 2 GHz). It makes use of a solid-state antenna distributed transmitter and four transmission beams that are each configured for monopulse height finding throughout the system's detection envelope. RAT 31DL is further billed as providing low pulse repetition frequency (PRF) long range detection and high PRF medium range detection/moving target indicator operating modes. System performance figures include a range of up to 440 km, 360° coverage in azimuth and the ability to detect targets at altitudes of up to 30,480 m.

R & S Launch New Spectrum Analyser That Breaks Price Barrier

German contractor Rohde & Schwarz (R & S) has launched a new handheld spectrum analyser that breaks the 7000 price barrier. Designated as the FSH 3 equipment, the new device is available in two basic variants that function as either a pure spectrum analyser covering the 100 kHz to 3 GHz frequency band or as a spectrum analyser/tracking generator for use in scalar network analysis applications. Equally, when equipped with a bridge, FSH 3 can provide distance-to-fault measurements on cables and the addition of an external power sensor facilitate high precision radio frequency measurements up to the 8 GHz mark. An internal memory can store up to 100 measurement traces or instrument setups and R & S notes that the device's functionality is integrated in six customer-specific, application specific integrated circuits. Here, FSH 3 is noted as providing a 1 kHz to 1 MHz resolution bandwidth, a 10 Hz to 1 MHz video bandwidth, precision detection, logarithmic conversion of filtered intermediate frequency signals and detection of weightings (including autopeak, peak and sample). Digital processing is used to maximise measurement speed while minimising power consumption and the equipment is billed as offering a 100 ms full frequency range sweep time and a typical third-order intercept value of 15 dB at a typical noise figure of 32 dB. Integrated Windows™ software facilitates the storage of measurement data in common graphic formats such as text files or Excel™.

Radstone Launches Hostile Environment Fibre-optic Interface Adaptor

UK contractor Radstone plc has launched a new laser-based fibre-optic media interface adaptor that is designed for use in hostile environments such as avionic and ground-mobile applications. Designated as the FA2MIA equipment, the new device makes use of an 850 nm short wavelength laser and either a 50/125 mm or 62.5/125 mm multi-mode fibre to extend the working distance for fibre channels up to a maximum of 500 m with enhanced noise immunity. Active temperature compensation is used to maximise laser performance down to temperatures as low as -40°C and the device features two independent channels and is billed as being suitable for dual-redundant connection installations. FA2MIA can be housed externally (in an IP54 rated enclosure) with its electric connections accessible from inside the enclosure and its optical ones from outside it.

Elta Wins Night Owl MAW Contract

Israeli contractor Elta Electronics Ltd. has been awarded a $5.6 M contract covering the supply of its EL/M-2160 missile approach warner (MAW) for installation aboard 24 UH-60L Yanshuf (Night Owl) 3 assault helicopters being acquired by the Israeli Air Force (IAF). As well as an undisclosed quantity of hardware, the award is understood to include future procurement options. Weighing approximately 20 kg, the EL/M-2160 is a solid-state, pulse Doppler equipment that is made up of a transceiver/processor, a radio frequency head and between four and six antennas, the precise number depending on the specific application. Elta claims that the system offers effective detection through a threat missile's boost, sustain and post burnout flight phases and over time, M-2160 applications have included fast jets, transport aircraft and a number of types of helicopter. Here, helicopters cited include members of the Bell212/412 family and the Russian MIL Mi-17. Sources consulted suggest that the IAF's 15 UH-60L Yanshuf 2 aircraft are fitted with an Elisra-sources passive MAW rather than the described Elta active unit.

Europeans Select Earth Exploration Programmes

As part of the second phase of its Earth Explorer Opportunity Missions (EEOM) programme, the European Space Agency (ESA) has selected three new proposals for feasibility study. In the first instance, the Atmospheric and Climate Explorer (ACE) project envisages the use of a constellation of four satellites orbiting the Earth at 650 x 850 km and employing intersatellite cross-link measurement. The European contribution to the Global Precipitation Mission (EGPM) proposal would make use of a sun-synchronous, polar-orbiting craft, while a programme known as SWARM would see two constellations of two satellites each placed in two orbital planes at 400 to 500 km altitude to study the Earth's magnetic field. At the time of going to press, ESA was expected to proceed with two of these projects, with an initial launch date of 2008 and a budget of 110 million ($108.4 M). EEOM phase one began during 1999 and will see the Cryosat satellite (designed to monitor the world's ice sheets and sea ice distribution) launched during 2004 and the Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) mission lift-off two years later in 2006.