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Nov 06. Electronic Warfare: Floating Decoy. An upgraded DLF-3 decoy is being issued to all destroyers and frigates, starting with HMS SUTHERLAND.
Irvin GQ were awarded a £4.7m contract in December 2005 to supply and support 70 updated decoys over the next six years.
Comment: The DLF-3 is a rapid response, passive radio frequency system which is ship deployed. Once fired the decoy inflates to form a floating structure with a radar cross-section much larger than that of the ship. Any anti-ship missile is thus ‘seduced’ away from its intended target. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0643, 13 Nov 06)
10 Nov 06. European Mars launch pushed back. ExoMars could now be supported by an orbiting craft above. The European Space Agency (Esa) has pushed back the launch of its rover mission to Mars from 2011 to 2013. The decision will not significantly delay the mission’s arrival at Mars. But it does reflect a growing will to push for an upgrade to the ExoMars project which could raise its cost from roughly 500m euros to 800m euros. It would involve launching the rover on an Ariane 5 rocket instead of a Russian Soyuz, releasing enough mass to send an orbiting spacecraft along for the ride. As the mission now stands, ExoMars would launch on a Soyuz-Fregat vehicle from Baikonur Cosmodrome, but the Soyuz is capable only of launching the rover and a carrier module to get it to Mars. The more powerful Ariane 5, which launches from Kourou in French Guiana, could carry a rover and an orbiter to communicate and relay data with Earth. Should Esa opt for the upgrade, it would have to negotiate with ministers from member states in order to secure the extra money. “From the point of view of a scientist or an engineer, a mission with an Ariane 5 makes much more sense,” said Marcello Coradini, coordinator for Solar System missions in Esa’s science directorate. “However, that implies political negotiations over the budget, in which the results are not guaranteed. We find ourselves in this very difficult situation of having a mission scenario that relies 100% on a Nasa satellite without a 100% guarantee the satellite will be there. Marcello Coradini, Esa, “So we must be able to design a mission which is reliable with a Soyuz-Fregat, at the same time showing that a mission with an Ariane 5, in terms of science, reliability and fundamentals of the mission, pays back in terms of the extra investment.” The move to 2013 will allow more time for negotiating a new budget. In addition, some technology envisaged for the mission is unlikely to be ready by 2011, say scientists. One of the concerns with launching on a Soyuz-Fregat is communication between the rover on Mars and controllers on Earth. The current mission scenario envisages ExoMars using a US spacecraft called Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) for data relay. However, officials have no guarantee that MRO will still be operational by the time ExoMars arrives at the Red Planet. Upgrading the carrier module to an orbiter would sever the mission’s reliance on the US spacecraft for telecommunications. (Source: BBC)
15 Nov 06. A potent new battlefield weapon will soon be on its way to British troops in Afghanistan. The Automatic Lightweight Grenade Launcher recently made its thunderous debut during a Combined Arms Firepower and Manoeuvre Demonstration on Salisbury Plain. In front of a diverse audience, including students from the Staff College and civilians invited along to see how the Army goes to work, a Weapons Mount Installation Kit (Wimik) Land Rover fitted with the new launcher roared through the mud in front of the stand and fired grenades down the range at a mocked-up advancing enemy force. (Source: MoD DEFENCE NEWS DAILY)
09 Nov 06. Royal Navy Unveils New Amphibious Landing Ship. The Royal Navy today unveiled her latest amphibious landing ship, Royal Fleet Auxiliary Largs Bay, which is undergoing sea t