International Report

lSEVIRI to Help Nowcasting Meteorology

Successfully launched aboard the European Space Agency/European Meteorological Satellite's (EUMETSAT) Meteosat Second Generation (MSG)-1 satellite on 28 August 2002, the Astrium-sourced Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infra-Red Imager (SEVIRI) payload is set to radically upgrade the accuracy of nowcasting short-term weather forecasting for Europe, Africa and the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Located at 0° longitude 22,300 miles above the Gulf of Guinea, the SEVIRI instrument is designed to transmit a 12 spectral channel Earth image every 15 minutes. The availability of such imagery is billed as facilitating comprehensive observation of a range of parameters including cloud, land and sea surface temperatures and the composition of particular air masses. Equally, the availability of near real-time imagery is expected to upgrade the accuracy of extreme weather reporting.

Technically, SEVIRI is a combined scan/telescope assembly that weighs 260 kg and incorporates a movable mirror that is positioned in front of its telescope and performs a linear scan of the Earth's surface from north to south. The telescope collects radiation for a focal plane array that divides it into 12 channels of 0.4 to 1.6 mm visible light (four channels including one high resolution) and 3.9 to 13.4 mm IR. The processed data is recorded and passed to a functional control unit that acts as the sensor's interface with the satellite's transmission system. A ground-based, Astrium-sourced image processing facility acts as the link between the space-based sensor and the end user. SEVIRI offers a resolution of 1 km in the visible sector of the spectrum and 3 km in the IR sector and against water vapour. SEVIRI incorporates a total of 42 detectors and has a power consumption requirement of 150 W.

Alongside SEVIRI, the Anglo-European Astrium joint venture is responsible for a range of operational and planned satellite meteorological instrumentation packages that include the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU)-B, the Humidity Sounder for Brazil (HSB), the Advanced Scatterometer (ASCAT), the Microwave Humidity Sounder (MHS) and the Atmospheric Laser Doppler Instrument (ALADIN). Of these, AMSU-B is operational aboard the US's National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration's NOAA-M satellite (launched on 24 June 2002) and is used to image cloud cover and precipitation cells together with data gathering on water vapour content in cloud masses. The HSB device is installed aboard the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Aqua vehicle and measures the vertical distribution of water vapour in the atmosphere as a means of predicting atmospheric stability.

For its part, ASCAT is a radar instrument that is designed to measure open ocean wind speed and direction together with the distribution of snow and ice on land and sea surfaces. The MHS is intended to establish atmospheric humidity profiles and cloud and precipitation parameters. As currently planned, ASCAT and MHS are to be installed aboard three Metop weather satellites that the ESA plans to have in polar orbit by 2005. The remaining instrument - ALADIN - is planned for use aboard the ESA's Aeolus spacecraft that is scheduled to be in service by 2007. Here, the device will undertake extremely precise wind strength and direction measurements using harmless laser pulses and analysis of laser light reflected by atmospheric cells. Alongside MSG-1, SEVIRI is to be fitted aboard the forthcoming MSG-2 and -3 vehicles.

Austrian and Siberian TETRA Contracts for R & S

German contractor Rohde & Schwarz (R & S) has announced that it has been awarded Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) system contracts by Russian crude oil supplier SIBNEF and the government of Austria. Taking these in the order given, SIBNEF is to be supplied with a turnkey R & S Bick Mobilfunk Accessnet®-T TETRA mobile radio network to support the security of its trans-Siberian oil pipeline. Commissioned at Nojabr'sk, Siberia during August 2002, the system incorporates TETRA exchanges and base stations that are interconnected by E1 lines and Ethernet connections that use routers supplied by Cisco/ComStore. At the time of going to press, the network was understood to consist of two DMX-521 TETRA exchanges and seven TETRA base stations with over 30 radio-frequency carriers.

In the Austrian context, R & S subsidiary Bick Mobilfunk has been commissioned to supply Austria's new Austrian Digital Operating Network for Integrated Services (ADONIS) which is billed as Europe's largest ever trunked radio system. Valued at 190 million, ADONIS will incorporate in excess of 1200 TETRA transmitters and is compliant with security authority protocols concerning standardised and compatible trunked radio systems that are established as part of the European Union's Schengen open borders agreement.

Korea Selects BAE Systems RWR

South Korea has selected BAE Systems North America's Threat Warning and Defensive Systems business unit (Yonkers, NY) to supply it with 42 AN/ALR-56C(V)1 radar warning receivers (RWR) for use on the country's F-15K combat aircraft. Specifically configured for the F-15K, the ALR-56C(V)1 deal is valued at approximately US$58 M and the equipment is noted as forming part of the platform's integrated Tactical Electronic Warfare Suite (TEWS). Here, the RWR is partnered by BAE Systems' AN/ALE-47 countermeasures dispensing system and the Northrop Grumman AN/ALQ-135 radar jammer. The F-15K is scheduled to make its maiden flight during April 2005, with ALR-56C(V)1 deliveries slated for completion by the end of 2007.

New Start FY2003 FCT Projects Highlight Rest-of-the-World Electronics

New starts for America's Fiscal Year 2003 Foreign Comparative Testing (FCT) programme highlight a range of rest-of-the-world electronics, the key elements of which are as follows:

  • Anti-jam Global Positioning System (GPS) antenna A US Navy effort to evaluate a Raytheon Systems Ltd. (UK) developed shipboard anti-jam GPS antenna.
  • Body-worn radar warning receiver A US Special Operations Command evaluation of a Filtronic Components and Spectrum Solutions (UK) - developed body-worn radar warning receiver.
  • Corona monitoring A US Navy programme to evaluate corona monitoring cameras from CSIR (South Africa) and OFIL Ltd (Israel) for use in high power Very Low/Low Frequency (3 to 300 kHz) communications systems.
  • Fuel cells The US Army plans to evaluate electrochemical fuel cells from Advanced Power Sources (UK), Ballard Power Systems (Canada), Hydrogenics (Canada), NoVars (Germany) and Smart Fuel Cells (Germany) as power sources for individual soldier equipment as part of its 'Land Warrior' programme.
  • Intruder detection system A US Air Force evaluation of a Sensor Electronics Ltd. (UK) wireless-linked, palm-sized, infrared passive intruder sensor.
  • Silverised Kevlar A US Army programme to evaluate silverised Kevlar from Silverleaf Materials Ltd. (Canada) for use in conductive ground plane, electro-magnetic interference shielding and static discharge applications aboard the RAH-66 Comanche battlefield scout helicopter.
  • Specific emitter identification A US Navy effort to evaluate QinetiQ (UK) - sourced circuit cards for passive emitter identification and fingerprinting in naval applications.
  • Underwater communications and tracking system A US Navy programme to evaluate a Nautronix (Australia) digital communications system that is designed to facilitate real-time positional data exchange between submarines participating in open ocean exercises.