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08 Sep 05. Northrop Grumman Corporation has begun initial flight testing of the advanced fire-control radar being developed for the Lockheed Martin F-35 JSF. The radar is designed to enable F-35 pilots to effectively engage air and ground targets at long range, while also providing outstanding situational awareness for enhanced survivability. Designated the AN/APG-81, the active electronically scanned array radar was first flown on Aug. 23 and 25 on Northrop Grumman’s BAC-1-11 testbed aircraft. During the flights, the all-aspect search, air-track and synthetic-aperture radar mode capabilities of the radar were successfully evaluated against airborne and ground-based targets.

13 Sep 05. Landing helicopters safely in conditions currently considered too dangerous or impossible may soon be a regular occurrence as the result of new a helicopter landing aid sensor under development by BAE Systems in Australia. The helicopter landing aid sensor will increase the operational envelope for landing in poor visibility conditions which cause aircrew to experience spatial disorientation such as brown-out, white-out and darkness – conditions in which it is usually not possible to land. The sensor should also be able to detect dangerous conditions in the landing zone such as rocks and ditches of a size which could potentially damage the aircraft.

13 Sep 05. SELEX Communications launched the Xiphos satellite communication system at DSEi, to meet the needs of the military and other specialist users. Xiphos uses a 1-metre antenna designed specifically for use as an ultra lightweight, multi-band satellite ground terminal that can be deployed by a single operator. The antenna folds into a single ‘suitcase’ style packing case, making it very portable and able to meet the IATA checked baggage weight of 32Kg. Designed at the company’s Christchurch site, the system has been developed using rigid, strong yet light carbon fibre components, providing a very lightweight design with inherent strength and rigidity, capable of transmitting over the satellite in under 5 minutes. Capable of C, X, Ku, and Ka Band operation, Xiphos was designed for the professional military and commercial user, providing a robust solution and an active life of many years without degradation. A small 4U-transit case houses 19-inch rack-mountable equipment, such as the satellite modem, in a shock-protected frame.

13 Sep 05. Frazer-Nash develops pneumatic launcher for SSTD system. Frazer-Nash Consultancy, in association with manufacturing partners, has developed the pneumatic countermeasures launcher for the Surface Ship Torpedo Defence (SSTD) System, on behalf of prime contractor Ultra Electronics. The design builds on the company’s expertise in pneumatic launch systems for air weapons carriage. Frazer-Nash developed the concept for this naval application, as it offers logistic and safety advantages over more traditional pyrotechnic based launch systems. The SSTD system is now nearing the completion of development, and is undergoing sea trials. SSTD is a ship protection system to detect and track incoming torpedoes, which then cues the launch of decoy countermeasures to lure the torpedoes away from the ship.

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