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Report on DSA '90 in Kuala Lumpur.

Report on DSA '90 in Kuala Lumpur

While Aerospace '90 in Singapore was a predominantly commercial aviation exhibition DSA '90, held in Kuala Lumpur in March, turned out be a tightly run and virtually exclusively defense equipment exhibition. During its four days it was well attended by high-level military representatives and, notwithstanding its closeness in time and place to Asian Aerospace '90, fully justified its organisers' faith in holding it.

Naval Ships and Systems

A number of South-East Asian nations have made good progress with their naval plans for the next 20 years and there was a heavy emphasis on naval equipment. Malaysia is planning to acquire some submarines, support ships and two corvettes, Indonesia is in the market for frigates, and Thailand is expected to increase its naval presence. In 1988 Malaysia signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the United Kingdom for the acquisition of defense materiel totalling five billion Ringgit ( a sum likely to be raised to eight billion to cover the purchase of advanced jet fighters). The naval equipment will most likely be of British origin but this is not yet sure. The Malaysian Navy might instead of the corvettes order a larger number special multi-purpose vessels with a helicopter capability. Swan Hunter was thus actively marketing its 85-meter Multi-role Regional Defense design, which can be upgraded from a general-purpose ship to an ASW variant or anti-aircraft vessel. With a standard displacement of 1100 tonnes, a range at cruising speed of 5000 nautical miles and a maximum speed of 30 kt, it carries a helicopter, and the armament can consist of any desired combination including missiles and a gun of up to 127 mm.

Other shipbuilding nations are in the running for orders. The French Pronav Group (DCN and Thomson-CSF) promoted the 1300-tonne Flex-1000 light frigate. Contrary to the A69-class on which it is based, the Flex-1000 can operate medium helicopters up to the Super Puma class, has improved seagoing qualities and is capable of operating in all weathers. The performance and proposed armament are virtually identical to that of the above-mentioned Swan Hunter design.

Slightly larger but apparently designed to meet the same requirement is the Breca Corvette C20, a joint venture of Bremer Vulkan of Germany and the French Chantiers de l'Atlantique. The C20 multi-purpose corvette has been designed to combine stealth, mobility, firepower and operational flexibility with low procurement and running costs. Its price is said to be around US$ 100 million. The vessel's hydrodynamic form has been tailored to suit sea conditions in the Pacific. The helicopter platform of the 2 000-tonne vessel has been stressed for rotorcraft of up to ten tonnes and the hangar can house helicopters of up to five tonnes. Propulsion can be either CODAD or CODOG, driving twin controllable-pitch propellers.

The armament can consist of a gun of up to 100 mm, ship-to-ship missiles, vertical launch anti-aircraft missiles, torpedoes and CIWS. The manufacturers presented their project armed with an OTO-Melara 76 mm, four McDonnell-Douglas Harpoons and 16 vertically launched BAe Dynamics Seawolves. The vessel's performance is very close to that of the other manufacturers' vessels. All have been designed to meet the Malaysian Navy's requirements. On the sales side, price, offset conditions and political factors are likely to weigh more than the design.

BEAB (formerly Bofors Electronics) promoted its 9LV Mk.3 command and fire-control system, which will be installed in the ten Australian and New Zealand frigates ordered from the Australian/German joint venture company Amecon. The Swedish, Danish and Finnish navies have already selected the system for their corvettes and multi-role vessels.

Plessey Naval Systems (now a division of GEC-Marconi) offered its Nautis command and control system, while Ferranti promoted its up-to-date, flexible System 500. The Selenia-Elsag consortium RSE offered its NA-series fire-control system combined with the advanced Magics display console family.

As regards underwater weapons Marconi Underwater Systems Ltd. promoted its Mk24 Tigerfish which it claims is the quietest wire-guided, acoustic homing torpedo in the world. It received fleet weapon acceptance in the Royal Navy in June of last year. DCN marketed its long-waited Murene torpedo. A lightweight torpedo which can be launched from aircraft and surface vessels, the Murene has been designed to operate at depths down to 1 000 meters at up to 60 kt, the speed needed to attack nuclear submarines capable of running at 45 kt. It is in essence a combat robot which operates independently after launch. The torpedo is fitted with a sophisticated multi-channel acoustic sensor and attitude system. Its operation is managed by a high-speed computer capable of more than 60 MOPS (million operations per second) with a large memory capacity. The Murene can be launched by missile. For this purpose, Matra and OTO-Melara are proposing the Milas, an Otomat missile-based Murene carrier.

FFV of Sweden displayed models of its range of torpedoes which according to the manufacturer are particularly suited to South-East Asian waters as the underwater sound propagation is almost the same as in the Baltic.

A newcomer to the Show was the Contraves Sea Shield 25 mm gun module, a lightweight modification of the Contraves Seaguard Sea Zenith CIWS. With its four 25 mm cannon Sea Shield permits engagements from sea level up to 80 [degrees] elevation with a rate of fire of 3 400 round per minute. It can be controlled by an optical or electro-optical tracker, or else by any type of FCS found on smaller vessels. It has a range of up to 3 500 m.

Mindful of the Malaysian Navy's intention to acquire a small number of submarines, a number of companies exhibited models of their products and the necessary support elements. After its success in selling Australia six 2 400-tonne Type 471 submarines against very tough competition, Kockums Marine AB of Sweden made a strong showing.

Among its competitors are DCN and Thomson-CSF, which joined forces in designing the CA 2 000 and its sonar, FCS and electronic systems. This submarine has been designed to operate as silently as modern technology permits, and its modest submerged displacement of 1 190 tonnes gives it the stealth capabilities needed for operation in local shallow waters. Its high degree of automation enables it to be run with a crew of only 27.

As part of the CA 2 000 combat system Thomson-Sintra promoted its SUBICS (Submarine Integrated Combat System). Under the aegis of Pronav, DCN and Thomson-CSF displayed a model of a submarine base whose architecture was adapted to the Malaysian Navy's Lumut naval base.

Bridging Equipment

Although the naval industry was present in force, DSA '90 was dominated by ground warfare systems.

Four companies were prominent in the bridging equipment field. Dornier, now part of Deutsche Aerospace, displayed a model of its foldable dry support bridge. The entire 40-meter bridge can be transported by four standard cross-country trucks and is deployed by a special bridge-layer. The bridge elements automatically unfold to form a 4.4-meter wide track. Only eleven soldiers are needed to set up the bridge in 60 minutes.

The transportable bridge-laying specialist MAN GHH was also present. Its Leguan is transported on specially modified tanks and has become standard in the West German and other armies. MAN GHH also produces floating bridges and dry gap bridges.

Mabey & Johnson Ltd. of Britain promoted its Compact 200 bridge-laying system, which can be used for military as well as civil purposes. Derived from the famous WW II Bailey bridge, it employs quick fastening assembly pins which halve the erection time. The Compact 200 can span rivers or gaps of up to 65 meters or form sections of floating bridges. It is robust enough to be used for semipermanent heavy duty bridges.

Also exhibited was the French EFA bridging system from Chaudronnerie et Forges d'Alsace, which draws on the experiences of the Gillois family.

Serving as a bridge or ferry, it converts rapidly from its road to launching configuration, can be powered in water by two swivelling pump jet units and can deal with steep banks without engineering aid. Its cabin offers ballistic and NBC protection to the crew.

Ground Vehicles

Nothing radically new was shown in the way of armored fighting vehicles. Creusot-Loire introduced for the first time outside France its new Mars 15 armored vehicle family belonging to the lightweight 15 to 18 tonnes class. Two initial prototypes are the forerunners of two types, namely a light gun tank fitted with a GIAT TS90 turret, the second an infantry fighting vehicle armed with Creusot-Loire's TA25 turret. Currently planned are a version armed with a NATO standard 105 mm gun, a self-propelled 155 mm gun, to be followed by an APC, command, ambulance, signals and radar vehicle. Production of the first two versions is scheduled to start towards the end of 1991. The new tank family is due to replace the venerable AMX-13 family.

Even so, Creusot-Loire has already been contracted by several countries to upgrade their AMX-13 fleets. Creusot-Loire claims that the upgraded AMX-13 will be 300% more reliable than the old model.

With the ACV Puma family, which numbers some 20 variants, Krauss-Maffei and Diehl offered an economical solution for modernizing armored forces. Puma technology is based on the Leopard MBT's but incorporates commercial vehicle components, a combination which is claimed to offer advantageous procurement conditions and low life-cycle costs. Currently being evaluated by the German Army, the Puma is available in three weight classes: 25 tonnes, inclusive weapon and combat load, powered by a 440 hp diesel engine; 32 tonnes and 38 tonnes, the two latter being powered by 750 hp engines. Apart from the standard tank versions, other variants planned are an armored 120 mm mortar carrier, mine-laying vehicle, rocket-launcher, missile-equipped tank-hunter and air defense gun platform, to name a few.

Cadillac Gage Textron is now engaged in the joint design and production with the China National Machinery and Equipment Import and Export Corporation (CMEC) of an MBT in the 45-tonne class. Cadillac Gage/CMEC will offer the MBT, named Jaguar, which is clearly based on a modified T-59 chassis, on the world market as well as to its main customer the Chinese People's Liberation Army. The first two prototypes were tested in the USA and the PRC late last year. The tank is fitted with a NATO standard 105 mm cannon, features a digital fire-control system, two-axis stabilization, advanced suspension and new power pack.

Soft Vehicles

Engineering Snd Bhd, a subsidiary of Malaysia Mining Corporation, has fitted the old Ferret scout car with a modern commercial diesel engine and gearbox of Japanese origin and modified the brakes, suspension and steering. A completely new electical system has been installed and the turret mechanism modernized. Discussions with the Malaysian forces, which operate a large number of Ferrets, are now under way to update their existing inventory.

Land Rovers are widely used in South-East Asia, and potential customers were looking for special applications. Of particular interest was the Beaver D270 backhoe, which has been specifically designed for use on the Land Rover One-Ten. The latter can be fitted with other attachments e.g. for trenching, boring and back-filling, enabling it to replace a wide range of light earth-moving machinery.


A joint venture agreement, signed between Bofors and Australia Defense Industries during DSA `90, aims at exploiting the market represented by upgrading the widely used Bofors 40 mm L/60 guns. Bofors offers an upgrading kit which contains all 20 elements required for its modernization, in particular laying speed, sighting accuracy, rate of fire and new ammunition. The Australian forces were the first to modernize some 40 of the 40 mm L/60 guns with the help of Bofors. An increase of kill probability of 50 to 80% (depending on target range) was achieved.

A special ammunition tailored to this gun is the newly designed Bofors 40 mm L/60 PFHE round. It is fitted with a doppler radar fuze with automatic sensitivity control which responds when passing the target within less than 5 meters, but is not triggered by the terrain or sea surface if fired at low elevation angles. The new round is ballistically compatible with the old gun.

FFV Ordnance presented a new range of ammunition for its 84 mm Carl Gustaf recoilles anti-tank weapon, a new generation of landmines and the Strix terminally guided anti-armor mortar round. The primary exhibit, however, was the AT4 anti-tank weapon, now is service with the US Army, the Swedish forces, in Venezuela and Brazil. Of interest also was small arms ammunition, such as the FFV 7.62 mm AP, a special armor-pierching round effective against armored personnel carriers. For smaller caliber infantry weapons FFV is currently developing a 5.56 mm AP round.

Diehl's ammunition division displayed the new DM101 HEI projectile for the 20 mm X139 round. The projectile's base fuze enables it to penetrate an aircraft's skin even at extremely obtuse angles and at long intercept distances, a time delay ensuring that it explodes inside the aircraft. The firm also produces armor-piercing rounds for the Bofors 40 mm L/60 and L/70 guns. Diehl has developed a range of special smoke munitions for launching from Wegmann projectors, Types M-DN21 and M-DN31, to protect tanks from close-in infantry threats by its standard weaponry. The projectors can also fire HE grenades. Wegmann now offers a swivelling launcher which can be reloaded from the tank's interior.

Schermuly introduced its RAMBS (Rapid Anti-personnel Minefield Breaching System) which enables the infantryman to clear his own path through a mine-field. The system consists of 40 meters of explosive cord in a bag weighing 6 kg, the cord being attached to a bullet trap projectile slipped over the muzzle of any current rifle. Fired over the minefield, the cord is ignited and clears a 50 cm wide and 40-meter long path.

Royal Ordnance, a division of BAe, illustrated its know-how in design and production of 155 mm projectiles for the FH-70, which has been ordered by the Malaysian Army. Royal Ordnance is one of the main producers of the L15 155 mm high-performance. munition. It has also developed a choice of 155 mm ammunition ranging from impact indicator rounds for training to the RO30 extended range base bleed shell.

Expal of Spain for its part promoted a full range of 155 mm projectiles. Of particular interest was the 155 mm HE ERFB/BB Mod. MK110M2B extended range base bleed round which is compatible with virtually all modern 155 mm howitzers. Fired from an FH70 or the French GCT, it delivers 8.7 kg of TNT over a distance of 32 km.

Developed by Australian Defense Industries for the Leopard L7A3 gun, the multi-purpose TC800 round is an effective canister round for use against infantry from 5 to 300 meters, to clear barbed wire obstacles and defoliate trees, etc., dispersing 800 pellets in a 10 degree cone.


At Deutsche Aerospace's MBB division it was rumored, but not confirmed, that the firm was developing a new hyper-velocity surface-to-air missile as a private joint-venture together with Aerospatiale and Matra (later developments are given in the Forum section of this issue).

Boeing gave coverage to its FOG-M design, the Non-Line-of-Sight element of the US Army Forward Area Air Defense System.

Thomson-CSF presented its Crotale-NG all-weather, short-range air defense system. The NG version uses the VT1 missile developed by LTV. For target detection and tracking, the readings of the tracking radar, a day/night TV camera and a FLIR system are merged into one. This concept, coupled with the high maneuverability of the missile; enables the Crotale NG to be used against all types of air threats, including missiles, even in a dense ECM environment.

Selenia showed its Aspide missile in both its landbased and naval versions while Saab Missiles illustrated how its RBS-15 anti-ship missile could be launched from aircraft, ships or coastal batteries.

Infantry Weapons

Arousing great interest was Hunting Engineering's LAW80 family of light anti-tank weapons, available in remote-controlled form in the form of the Adder and Addermine-Ajax.

Chartered Industries Singapore presented its new automatic 40 mm CIS 40AGL grenade-launcher, an aircooled, gas-operated, beltfed weapon comparable in effectiveness to the US Mk.19 grenade-launcher. Both use the same ammunition i.e. the M383 HE anti-personnel and the M384 armor-piercing rounds. The 40AGL can also be used as a helicopter door gun for spraying large ill-defined target areas.

Military Aircraft

Aside from Panavia, whose Tornado fly-past was the Show's curtain-raiser, only Aerospatiale, BAe, Boeing, Dassault, Deutsche Aerospace, General Dynamics and Lockheed were present.

Aerospatiale is currently discussing possible cooperation with Malaysia on the co-production of the AS 532 Super Puma, which might replace the aging fleet of Sikorsky helicopters.

As all the South-East Asian nations urgently need an expanded maritime surveillance and ASW capability, Lockheed promoted its P-7A, the successor-designate to the P-3 Orion. BAe was actively marketing the Hawk trainer and its attack variant.

As the Northrop F-5 in service with the Malaysian AF is not up to the potential Vietnamese or Chinese threats, General Dynamics hopes to sell Malaysia the F-16. Its chances are good since Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia, Malaysia's partners in ASEAN, have already ordered the fighter.

In a bid possibly to outflank General Dynamics, Dassault has discussed with the Malaysian authorities the possible joint production of the Mirage 2000 locally.

With an eye on the F-16 market Matra disclosed that the fighter has been proved compatible with its Magic 2 air-to-air missile. Via its London-based MHSL subsidiary, Deutsche Aerospace introduced its MPAS (Multi-Purpose Armament System) for the BO105 helicopter. The MPAS is a 1276kg package which turns the basic BO105 into an attack helicopter capable of firing unguided rockets carrying HE warheads or mines from a stand-off position.


GEC-Marconi was able to announce that after a tough competition the Malaysian government had awarded it an order for two Martello long-range air surveillance radars, together with supporting and communications systems. Marconi has been charged with integrating the radar in the country's air defense system.

Selenia gave details of its ALE 3x5 surveillance radar antenna. The antenna is a high-gain, multi-beam device designed to achieve greater coverage and a better signal/echo ratio than existing aerials. A vast 15 meters long and 5 meters high, it incorporates 192 modules. Its special feature is the absence of a radome, which prevents signal attenuation.

Hollandse Signal had a model of its Reporter all-weather, low-level air defense search and early warning system on display. Designed for one-man operation, the system consists of a truck-mounted shelter and a truck or trailer-mounted telescopic antenna. It is capable of detecting targets at ranges up to 40 km at altitudes between 0 and 4 000 meters. The target data are coded and automatically transmitted to the firing units, which can be unlimited in number. The system works well with missiles like the General Dynamics Stinger, the Matra Mistral or appropriately equipped anti-aircraft gun batteries.

The Plessey/Siemens stand gave information about the company's MESAR (Multi-function Electronically Scanned Adaptive Radar), an experimental single-face active array consisting of 1 000 transmit/receive Gallium Arsenide modules configured to demonstrate the multi-function operation of a phased array radar. Trials with rotating and fixed antennae are under way.

Promoted at DSA `90, Rediffusion's new "Concept 90" flight simulator differs from traditional systems in that the instructor is seated right behind the pilot (s) so that direct observation of his (their) actions is possible. His console slides in front of him during the training session. Its monitors are touch sensitive for issuing commands, further easing the workload of the instructor.

Also exhibited, BAe Dynamics' Electronic Warfare Simulator, a real-time machine capable of reproducing every conceivable threat scenario from simple jamming to analysing the complex signals of approaching missiles, is designed to improve the skills of radar operators. The Italian company Elettronica SpA exhibited for the first time in public its highly compact, fully automatic ELT/156X passive radar warning receiver.

Seen for the first time in Asia was electronic warfare equipment from Hungary. Technika of Budapest showed a range of highly sophisticated electronic equipment which compared favourably with similar Western products, notably the high resolution HMS-1 monitoring system which incorporates a receiver and signal processing unit covering the frequency range of 150 kHz to 30 mHz. Another advanced system was a data analyzer for intercepting and decoding data streams. Technika also displayed a number of advanced frequency-hopping and TDMA sets.

SEL Alcatel promoted its TACLAN intercept-proof fiber-optic local area network for command post communications. Fiber optics permit integrated voice and data transmission of different classes and are highly resistant to EMI, EMP and ECM.

Philips' MEL Division had its light weight (3.4 kg) UK/PRC319 HF/VHF transceiver on display, a set ideally suited for Special Forces communications and featuring voice, data and CW mode burst transmission.

Night Vision

Among the night vision devices displayed the new Thomson-TRT UGO Universal Goggles are both light and compact and offer three different functions: daytime observation, acting as normal 8x24 binoculars; night time vision, providing a clear image with a 40 degree field of view; and night vision with a field of view of 13 degrees, at which setting a tank can be observed at 600 meters at a light level of only 1 millilux.

Oldelft exhibited its Lunos universal night observation system and Litton Electronic Devices displayed a wide range of night vision devices ranging from aviator goggles to weapon sights. Meanwhile Saab Missiles of the Combitech Group displayed its new day/night IRT-300 optronic naval fire director, an upgraded version of the well-known TVT-300 using a TV camera for target designation and tracking.

Among the major attractions was SATech Electronics' Soras 6 sound-ranging system used for the pinpointing of enemy gun sites. Easy to set up, fully automatic, unjammable and completely passive, it consists of nine shrouded microphones, sited over a 8 km x 2 km area, a central computer and a meteorological sensor.

In conclusion, a most informative and well-run enhibition which certainly opened the exhibitors' eyes to the future potentialities of the Asian market.

PHOTO : The new military bridging system from Britain's Mabey & Johnson is based on the firm's Compact 200 System.

PHOTO : A newcomer to the Asian scene was Creusot-Loire's Mars 15 family of AFVs.

PHOTO : Thomson-CSF is marketing its Crotale NG air defense system which fires the VT-1 missile.

PHOTO : Schermuly's RAMBS mine-breaching system weighs only 6 kg and can be used with any assault rifle.

PHOTO : Saab's IRT-300 IR sensor-equipped optronic FCS is variant of the firm's TVT-300.

PHOTO : Selenia promoted its Aspide air defense missile and Spada launcher system which are in service with several forces.

PHOTO : Institut Dr. Forster's new Minex 2FD mine detector is the first metal detector operating on two frequencies.

PHOTO : The Matra Magic 2, here shown on an F-16, is a third-generation air-to-air missile.

PHOTO : Several armies have already acquired Signal's low-level Reporter early warning radar.

PHOTO : A giant in performance and dwarf in size is Elettrnica's ELT/156X radar warning receiver for the Italo-Brazilian AMX.

PHOTO : Thomson-TRT displayed its UGO day/night goggles which can be used as standard binoculars or as night vision equipment.

PHOTO : Rediffusion Simulation introduced its new Concept 90 to ease the work of the instructor.
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Title Annotation:Shows and Exhibitions
Author:Geisenheyner, Stefan
Publication:Armada International
Date:Jun 1, 1990
Previous Article:Background to and applications of Navstar/GPS.
Next Article:Sir Colin Chandler, managing director of Vickers PLC.

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