DSEi can justifiably claim its international stature and there is no doubt that Eurosatory now has good company, although the London Docklands exhibition still needs a proper outdoor section to be on an absolute par with its Paris Villepinte biennial counterpart.
One exhibit that was large and constantly invaded by visitors was that of BAE Systems. There a couple of vehicles looked strangely familiar, as indeed they turned out to be part of the SEP programme initiated by the Swedish Government and Hagglunds before the latter firm's takeover by BAE Systems. A company official said that the demonstrators, one tracked and the other wheeled, were being now looked at as replacements for several vehicles, one of them being the Fres. The basic concept is to develop a solution that will lead to a tracked and wheeled platform that will accept a total interchange-ability of their upper modules in three hours with ordinary tools. In the case of the Fres, the vehicle will have eight wheels instead of the current six. This family could eventually fulfil some 16 roles spread over an initial number of 3775 vehicles. At the time of the exhibition, five engines had been retained but, according to the same company official, the choice "is not rigid". Strangely enough, looking into one of the vehicles from the back one saw that it featured two steering wheels, while the windscreen area was filled with an array of displays: this results from idea of investigating the possibilities of remote-driving another similar vehicle equipped with the necessary cameras and sensors in dangerous situations.
DSEi was also the opportunity for BAE Systems to make the first public presentation of its 155 mm Portee (as seen in the title photograph). Developed to meet a British Army requirement for a lightweight mobile artillery weapon system, the Portee, which is in competition with the Giat Caesar, basically combines a load handling-equipped 8 x 8 Supacat and an M777 gun. Unlike the French system where the gun remains on the vehicle, the Portee unloads into firing position what is in fact a towed howitzer. Munitions are carried in the front part of the vehicle while the NBC-protected cab seats a crew of six. As with the Caesar, the barrel is lowered into the cabin to enable the 12.5-tonne Portee to fit into a Hercules.
Still in the field of vehicles, Denel was able to provide an update on the progress of the advance Modular Combat Vehicle that it is developing in conjunction with Patria as part of South Africa's New-Generation Infantry Combat Vehicle Programme. This to partly takeover the duties devolved to the South African Army Ratel for the past two decades. The vehicle uses a modified Finnish eight-wheel base but it will be able to accommodate South African-developed turrets. The main one, which was presented at DSEi, was the LCT 30 mm. This houses a Bushmaster linkless dual-feed chain gun with 65 ready-to-fire rounds and another 210 stored in the turret. This is accompanied by an SS77 7.62 mm coaxial gun. Four other turret types are being studied around a common basic 'fighting compartment module' to ensure a maximum commonality and economy at both the manufacturing the and maintenance stages. Although the existing turret looks quite mature, it in fact still requires prototyping and, as a company representative put it--<<productionising>>. The main modifications to the AMV vehicle include a 150-litre freshwater tank and a reinforced protection against mines.
Flir Systems had a prominent stand guarded by a Ranger multiple-sensor system. The Ranger platform combines a Flir thermal imaging camera, a CCD camera and a computer. It incorporates a GPS-based geographical mapping and targeting positioning system and a video motion detection software and can track vehicles at a range of 20 kilometres. Over 200 are installed on the United States-Mexico border and some 40 units have been delivered to the United Arab Emirates, where they are mainly deployed atop a telescopic mast carried by Hummers.
Totally new from Flir Systems and unveiled at DSEi, however, are the Recon III thermal binoculars. This long-range recce device is claimed to be the "first dual channel, large format thermal binocular with internal geo-locating facility". It incorporates a mid-wave InSb sensor for long-range detection and a long-wave uncooled channel. It can provide vehicle recognition at a range of 6.5 kilometres. Flir started developing the unit about two years ago and, by sheer coincidence according to a company official, the US Marine Corps recently came up with a request for a similar piece of equipment.
Flir Systems also showcased its series of multiple-sensor (as many as six) Star Satire platforms with up to six gyro-stabilisation axes. The Brite Star, which has three sensors, is fielded and used on helicopters for targeting. The US Coast Guard has selected the Star Satire III for its Deepwater programme and the same sensor will soon be used for US Navy Special Operations.
Raytheon gave a briefing on the demonstration of the Battlefield Target Identitication Device it has been contracted for by the British Ministry of Defence, although development was company funded. Of course the system will not identify an 'unknown' as a foe, but will provide a friend or unknown status in less than one second through audio and visual signals.
Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) announced that it had fired its Lahat laser homing anti-tank missile from a German Army Leopard 2A4 at the Meppen firing range. On this occasion the Lahat, which has recently been adapted for use from helicopters, scored two direct hits at a range of four kilometres, one missile being fired against a static target, the second against a moving remote-controlled vehicle. Rheinmetall made the modification to the Leopard 2's fire control system for the purpose of the test. In the context of the Lahat, it was interesting to learn from IAI that yet another variation on the theme--the Fireball--was being developed. Currently in preliminary testing, this mortar round is, to be more precise, based on Lahat technology and provides a range of 15 kilometres
Denel, for its part, announced that it had successfully completed the test firings of the Umkhonto IR missile. The missile has been under full development for four years and is intended to provide the air defence capability of South Africa's new Meko class corvettes. The purpose of the latest test (they took place in July 2005) was to demonstrate the ability of the missile to come to terms with Skua high-speed target drones in a number of attack profiles, including the drone's evasive manoeuvres. Denel is now looking at the possibility of developing a vehicle-based version, which would broaden international sales prospects.
On and In Water
From the naval viewpoint the highlight of DSEi was DCN's announcement that India would, after all. purchase six Scorpene class submarines from DCN/Navantia.
The $2.98 billion deal will take 15 years and includes options for Indian production of another nine boats. However. the partners had an earlier deal with New Delhi and industrial observers were wondering how soon the contract would pass through India's formidable bureaucracy. Nevertheless, it is a welcome encouragement and follows the transfer of the first boat for Chile, the ARC O'Higgins, which was announced at the same time.
Another contract with great potential for a DSEi exhibitor went to the Australian company CEA Technologies for its active phased-array Cea-Far E/F-band (two to four GHz) search radar and CEA-Mount I/J-band (8 to 18 GHz) missile illuminator. These will be incorporated in Australia's Anzac class frigates under the anti-ship missile defence programme (Project SEA 1448 Phase 2B) by 2009.
It remains unclear whether or not the New Zealand ships will benefit from this programme. However, Saab Systems, who will have to integrate the sensors with its 9LV Mk 3E, said at DSEi that the company is now working with CEA on developing an export anti-air warfare system which might be installed in similar Meko 200 ships, especially those that will receive Evolved SeaSparrow Missiles in Turkey, Greece and possibly Portugal while Canada is another potential customer. The company has just begun the development of a D-band (one to two GHz) antenna that can be used for communications and IFF.
One of the most dramatic exhibits was the latest version of MSI Defence Systems' DS 30 gun mounts. The company announced that it had received a 15 million [pounds sterling] ($ 25.5 million) contract to update the ship self-defence mountings in the Royal Navy's remaining 13 Duke (Type 23) class frigates for use against the fast inshore attack craft threat.
An electro-optic sensor package will be added for remote control and the 30 mm Oerlikon gun will be replaced by a 30 mm Alliant Techsystems' Bushmaster Mk 44 from the end of 2006 onwards. This arrangement was shown at DSEi but the DS 30 Mk 2 also had a pod of unguided rockets to demonstrate a potential enhancement.
An interesting announcement was made by Frazer-Nash Consultancy, according to which the firm had been selected by the British Ministry of Defence to examine medium-calibre gun options for future ships. Possibilities include five-inch (127 mm) guns with extended range munitions as well as 155 mm weapons. Industrial sources actually indicate that a technology demonstrator in the latter calibre is being considered by the Ministry of Defence.
Also for the United Kingdom market Thales revealed it was developing an infrared search and track technology demonstrator. This is based on two 3 to 5-[micro]m, 640 x 480-pixel, focal plane array sensors and is being used to collect data for an anticipated sensor for the Daring (Type 45) class destroyers and possibly the CVF aircraft carriers. This work will continue until 2008 and should be leading to a production sensor around 2013.
The Dutch element of the organisation revealed the Smart Mk 2 E/F-band (two to four GHz) multi-beam search radar, revealed at the previous DSEi, had successfully completed a critical programme review. Delivery for the HDMS Absalon, the Danish Flexible Support Ship, is scheduled to take place in January 2007.
In support of these ships EDO revealed it had received a $ ten million contract to provide the ES 3701 electronic support measures system, which will also be installed in the 'Patrol Ships' (frigates), which are smaller versions of the Abasalons. Meanwhile, Terma had announced that its new Scanter 4100 radar had been selected for two new Offshore Patrol Vessels for the Royal Danish Navy with deliveries from 2008. The same radar will be supplied to the Royal Navy's Offshore Patrol Vessel (Helicopter) and during DSEi it was revealed that BAE Systems will supply a derivative of the CMS-1 combat management system being developed for the Daring class.
Ultra Electronics was highlighting its electro-optical weapon control systems (formerly Radamec) and Osiris. This is a combined command/control and platform management system for smaller warships.
Defence exhibitions are used to display not only products but also concepts. The DML Group thus showed off the design of a 6600-tonne frigate, the FC65. This has some features in common with the Abasalon class, including the provision of a 40 x 12-metre flexible deck allowing the ship to transport troops or house a hospital. The ship would also have a hangar and a flight deck for two 13-tonne helicopters.
LMG Marin of Norway was showing two interesting designs. Amongst these was the LMG 83 Psar, an offshore patrol vessel that is being offered to meet the Norwegian Coast Guard's latest requirement. It will be 84.1 metres long with a 2100-tonne deadweight displacement and powered by four 1.92 MW diesels capable of a top speed of 18 knots.
The company is also proposing a family of small warships based on the successful Skjold class fast attack craft. The basic 34-metre surface effect ship design is being offered for a variety of applications, including anti-air and anti-submarine warfare, in a family of vessels varying slightly in size and equipment options.
Navies are increasingly facing the need to replace their underway replenishment fleets to meet international environmental regulations, especially for double-hulled oil-carrying ships. With a market of up to 150 hulls worldwide BMT Defence revealed the Aegir family, named after the Nordic demidiety whose cooking pot was never empty.
The ships have been designed by Norway's Skip-skonsulent and range from the Aegir 10, which would be built 145.6-metres-long with a deadweight displacement of some 10,000 tonnes, to the Aegir 26, which would be 196.6 metres have a displacement of around 26,000 tonnes. Most of the ships are fleet tankers but the Aegir 18R, 175 metres long with a 17,000 tonne displacement, is a full fleet replenishment vessel.
A potential competitor comes from the unlikely source of Rolls Royce Marine, which has its own ship design capability through UT-Design and NVC-Design. The latter has produced a Modular Underway Replenishment Ship family that exploits roll-on, roll-off (ro-ro) experience. They would range from a 173-metre-long design with a displacement of 14,000 tonnes to a 223-metre-long design displacing 25,000 tonnes and both capable of up to 27 knots.
NVC-Design is also working on two 71.8-metre coast guard vessels for the Royal Danish Navy with a hull designed specifically for operations off Greenland. UT-Design has produced a variety of vessels and its UT 517 is being produced for the Indian Coast Guard.
It should be mentioned that HDW and Royal Schelde (part of the Damen Group) are also producing dual-purpose designs. These vessels, such as the Schelde Enforcer series, are capable of both amphibious operations and underway replenishment.
Yet the only new vessel at the show was the 9.9-metrelong raiding craft launched by VT Halmatic and capable of carrying up to two tonnes. The Offshore Raiding/ Replenishment/Rescue/Recovery Craft, known by the initials as Horc, boasts speeds of more than 35 knots by two diesels driving water jets, and its hull form ensures excellent sea-keeping in all conditions.
There was little new in the propulsion sector although Wartsila announced the award of contract to supply four Wartsila 26 8.16MW diesels to Chile to equip the two new 80-metre, Fassmer-design, offshore patrol vessels being built for the Coast Guard. Rolls-Royce was highlighting the Med-Dea sodium/nickel chloride Zebra high-energy battery that it markets for the Swiss company The Zebra can store 1/50 kWh and from 12 to 1000 Volts in units that weigh 40 per cent less than its lead-acid counterparts. They require no topping-up or direct cooling and are initially intended for submarines, although there are longer-term ambitions for surface ships.
Ericsson Microwave was highlighting not only the Sea Giraffe AMB multi-role search radar, but also the incorporation of the functionality of the Arthur land forces' weapon location radar. This will improve the naval sensor's ability to intercept ballistic targets such as mortar bombs, shells and ballistic missiles.
Norcontrol IT revealed the receipt of a turnkey contract to provide Britain's Maritime & Coastguard Agency with a vessel Automatic identification System (AIS) network. The company will supply the 19 maritime rescue co-ordination centres with 50 workstations and integrate them to assist movement monitoring and maritime safety.
Mine warfare was an important feature of Kongsberg's news. The company is upgrading the Micos command system through the introduction of PowerPC consoles and porting the system to Linux. These are being tested in the Oksoy class minehunter KNM Karmoy, which is also being tested with the company's Minesniper disposable mine destroyer and the new Hugin 1000 autonomous underwater vehicle with synthetic aperture sonar for mine reconnaissance.
Sparks and Waves
Harris tuned into the show with its usual bag of innovative surprises for the market. Harris had announced a few weeks earlier that its AN/PRC-152 hand-held radio was the first radio using the JTRS SCA operating environment to receive certification from the NSA for transmitting data and voice traffic up through the top secret level. During the exhibition the company announced the completion of ground and airborne communications products, developed jointly with Rockwell Collins, that are based on Harris' Falcon II and Rockwell's Talon radio families. Harris has incorporated the Talon ECCM waveform into two of its tactical radios and Rockwell Collins integrated Harris' Quicklook 1A waveform and the Citadel embedded encryption into its Talon multi-band radios.
Along with mention of a contract award from the Netherlands for its Falcon II AN/PRC-117F(C) radios Harris introduced its Falconwatch IP-based unattended surveillance system. The Falconwatch consists of collection of seismic, magnetic, passive infrared and TV sensors connected to an RF-5400 Falcon II radio node that is buried into the soil with only a slim antenna aboveground.
When either sensor is triggered the still video camera sparks into life, immediately sending images back to the monitoring station. Preliminary data brochures from Harris suggest that the seismic sensor can register a vehicle at over 33 metres and personnel at between 8 and 33 metres. The radio, which includes a GPS, transmits in FSK mode over a 30 to 108 MHz band spread with Quicklook A1 frequency hopping. An embedded Citadel military-grade encryption module supports international interest in the project.
The Falconwatch was recently tested in Yuma, Arizona and production units could be ready within six months.
Another pair of perimeter security systems was front-and-centre on display at the Textron pavilion. The Terrain Commander unattended ground sensor system, which was originally developed to an Australian requirement to supplement security of the country's northern borders, and the Spyder intelligent munition system. Ten Terrain Commander units are undergoing field testing and evaluation in Australia with a contract expected by mid-2006. The Spyder is in development stage under the auspices of the US Army and should reach a significant (although undisclosed) milestone later this year.
TRL Technology displayed its innovative compact EW/ECM System (CES) family of portable multi-purpose communications equipment. Covering the 25 MHz to 2.5 GHz frequency range, the products feature software defined architecture and the ability to apply variable, scenario-dependent waveforms to match the mission.
TRL's man-portable CES 0512 and CES 0512EF have a common mechanical design yet address different frequency range requirements. They provide continuous coverage capability of the key 25 to 512 MHz band, and selected banded coverage of the 880 MHz to 1.9 GHz range at ten Watts, and are available in manpack or hand-held variants. The radios have a synchronisation capability that supports interoperability with other type ESM/ECM equipment. Once programmed by a mission specialist, the unit runs automatically from the moment of switch-on.
ITT Communications was heavily promoting its Spearnet situational awareness architecture; along with the company's Spearhead handheld software-defined radios and its Mercury wideband network radio. The Mercury allows for ad hoc networks to be built as radios enter and exit the network area, and does so without the need for a centralised network management station.
ITF Night Vision had just been awarded a five-year Omnibus VII night vision contract from the US Army for a potential $1.39 billion of AN/PVS-14 monocular and AN/PVS-7 night vision goggle sets. The initial award of more than $160 million--which covers the items above--was sweetened by an additional $ 40 million for production facilities and equipment.
ITT is also working with the US Special Forces Command on developing a Miniature Individual Night Imager-binocular: an 18-mm device that retains the performance and durability of the AN/PVS-14 and -23 units in spite of its smaller size.
Middle East Comms
Tadiran Communications recently added a telecom encryption solution to its product portfolio through the acquisition of Snapshield, an Israeli company that supplies a nationwide secure communication solution for first responders to homeland security situations. Snapshield produces a line of encryption units, gateways and management consoles that include the Snapcell, which connects to GSM-capable mobile phones to provide a secure communications protocol. The company's Snapsoft is a software-based solution for GSM-based smart phones.
Tadiran has promulgated its commitment to military and civil defence disaster response with the development of the Crisis Management System (CMS) command centre for homeland security. The CMS was developed m conjunction with Finland's Insta and has been field proven in Helsinki, Bosnia and various national and Nato exercises.
Displays on Display
Barco stepped up to the challenge of a thin-line display with the debut of its TL-248 thin, lightweight display. The 19-inch TL-248 is the first in a planned family of thin visualisation solutions for the defence community. The display combines its absence of girth (1U or 43 mm-deep) with a mere 6.5 kg to produce an active matrix LCD panel that kept an avalanche of the interested gathering around Barco's booth. The TL-248 display features a 1280 x 1024-pixel resolution, an eye-pleasing brightness of 200 cd/m2 and a 170[degrees] viewing angle.
Armada authors had a brief moment to speak with James M. Mazur, President L-3 Ruggedized Command & Control Solutions, and discussed the L-3 process of ruggedising a display for the military.
<<We ruggedised Cots equipment,>> explained Marcus, <<and we tune display colours for the military>>. <<Tuning colours is the process of adjusting the red, green and blue pixels for night vision goggle and red light (US Navy 'rig-for-red') reading. Otherwise many colours would simply disappear when the display is used in the 'special' military environment.>>
The Ruggedised Command & Control Systems sector of L-3 was initially an SAIC division that was sold to Litton. Northrop Grumman later acquired Litton but in October 2002 L-3 bought that division. <<Since we've been with L-3 we've started building more products and advancing our technology,>> said Mazur. <<We excel at focusing on display technology.>>
ESS, for its part, was showcasing its Advancer V-12 goggles and Ice 2.4 spectacles--the product pair that won the four-year British Ministry of Defence award (in July '02) to meet an urgent delivery requirement of 28,000 units to be shipped to Iraq and Afghanistan (which was completed in August). ESS won a second British award to supplying another 28,000 eye protection sets to British ground troops.
In issue 2/2005 Armada inserted mention in our Digest section of another company having won this award (see "Royal Army Kits Canadian"), but the British Ministry of Defence has since confirmed directly to Armada editors that no manufacturer, other than ESS, has recently supplied significant quantities of eyewear to British forces, and that ESS is presently the exclusive supplier of eye protection under the aforementioned contracts.
Fuel for Thought
Power requirements for the soldier and his/her field equipment are becoming more demanding--and renewable resources are now the trend. Voller Energy has created a personal portable battery charger that it is promoting for future soldier systems. The VP900 M is a one-kg hydrogen fuel cell that provides 200 watts of 230 or 110 V of alternating and 13.8 V of direct current. Each canister provides around 340 watt-hours. (Armada/JK)
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|Title Annotation:||Shows & Exhibitions|
|Date:||Dec 1, 2005|
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