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13 Jul 12. SELEX Galileo celebrates 60 years of Fire control radar. SELEX Galileo this week marks 60 years involvement in airborne fire control radar with a unique celebration event in London and the publication of a fully illustrated book. Paying tribute to its rich UK-Italian heritage in air-to-air and air-to-surface radar technology, the company exhibited 17 radar sets – ranging from the AI.23 system equipping the RAF’s Lightning fighter to its latest solid-state active electronic scanning array (AESA) products – at a reception to launch Looking Forward: 60 Years of Fire Control Radar. It was in 1952 that Ferranti – one of the corporate antecedents to what is today SELEX Galileo – began initial engineering studies and technology development work at its site in Crewe Toll, Edinburgh, for the airborne intercept radar that would eventually equip the RAF’s Lightning interceptor. Entering RAF service in 1960, the AI.23 was the world’s first high-power fighter radar to employ the monopulse technique. Its development was a huge engineering challenge, made doubly difficult by the absence of any established component supply base. Virtually everything from the smallest piece parts upwards had to be designed and built from scratch. Engineers pioneered the use of numerically-controlled milling techniques to machine the precisely matched waveguide system from a solid block of aluminium.
AI.23 laid the foundations for a high technology business that came to excel in the realm of fire control radar. Products such as Blue Parrot, Blue Fox and Blue Vixen went on to become part of the lexicon of British post-war military aviation. In Italy, the story unfolded in the 1960s when FIAR – another of SELEX Galileo’s forebears – undertook the license build of the North American Autonetics NASARR radar to equip the Italian Air Force’s F-104G Starfighter interceptor. The company later produced the much evolved R-21G/M1 Setter radar, a solid-state evolution of NASARR conferring the updated F-104 ASA with a true look-down/shoot-down capability. Later, FIAR had the vision to invest in the development of a family of lightweight pulse- multi-mode fire control radars, identifying the growing worldwide demand for fighter avionics upgrades. This gave rise to the best-selling GRIFO family, still a leader in its market with more than 450 systems sold and in operations on many different platforms.
Building on this heritage of success, SELEX Galileo has gone on to develop the modular Vixen family of affordable, high performance multi-mode AESA radars. It is also part of the multinational Euro radar consortium developing the next-generation CAPTOR-E radar for the Eurofighter Typhoon.
12 Jul 12. The Chinese defence market registered significant growth and is expected to retain this positive growth rate during the next 5 years period. The Chinese defence budget, which valued US$104.62bn in 2012, is the largest defence budget in the Asia-Pacific region. Defence expenditure grew at a CAGR of 11.5%. Due to the rapid growth of the country’s defence budget, the Chinese army is now capable of rivalling the leading military powers of Western European countries, claim industry analyst in a new report titled – The Chinese Defence Industry Market Opportunities and Entry Strategies, Analysis and Forecasts to 2017. China is expected to spend US$722.4bn in the fulfilment of its defence requirements. Factors such as Sino-US relations, asymmetric warfare and the threat from Taiwan to its territorial integrity are expected to stimulate defence expenditure. China’s emphasis on the import of technology rather than in the import of finished equipment will continue to lead the development of domestic defence firms. Chinese defence expenditure, estimated at US$104.62bn during 2012, grew at a CAGR of 11.5% during the review period. It is expected to