Sponsored by Blighter Surveillance Systems
25 Mar 20. The French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, which visits Danish waters this week, is equipped with two radar systems provided by Terma. The SCANTER 6000 radar systems are used for surveillance, search and navigation at sea – and in the air to guide helicopters on landing.
In recent years, Terma has provided radar systems to a number of vessels in the French Navy through a collaboration with the French defense company Naval Group, which among others has built Charles de Gaulle.
The French carrier has a fixed crew of about 2,000 men and weighs about 40,500 tonnes. It is accompanied by several escort ships and will be accompanied by the Danish frigate Niels Juel of the Iver Huitfeldt class during its visit.
Through its long-standing partnership with the Danish Navy, Terma has provided radar systems, self-defense systems and command-control systems to all of the Navy’s large naval vessels, including the three frigates, which also make use of the same radar type SCANTER 6000 as Charles de Gaulle.
Terma’s radar systems are used by many countries around the world on many different types of navy and coastguard vessels due to their ability to see small targets such as fast crafts and jet skis at long range and in all kinds of weather. Terma’s radars are therefore also used for coastal and traffic surveillance e.g. at VTS Storebælt.
25 Mar 20. Muzzle Velocity Radars for Mortars. Muzzle velocity radars (MVR) have been used by artillery for decades, but are still considered “exotic” when it comes to mortars. In 2019, the Danish armed forces were the first to integrate an MVR into a 120 mm mortar system (Cardom 10 from Elbit). The MVR of choice was the MVR-700 SC (Sub-Compact) from Danish radar specialist Weibel.
Weibel’s MVR-700 series was the first Doppler radar with digital signal processing and to be integrated into a self-propelled howitzer by the Swiss armed forces 30 years ago. In the meantime, over 4000 radars of the 700 series are in service with 30 armed forces worldwide, including the PzH2000 (MVR-700 C) used for Germany’s artillery. The system was presented in a more detailed manner at the Mortar Systems Conference 2020, maybe one of the last conferences this year that actually took place.
Meaning and Purpose
Internal ballistic influences are responsible for up to 70 per cent of artillery dispersion, according to Lars Krogh Vammen, Director Business Development at Weibel Scientific A/S – and former artillery officer.
Vammen said that if you want to target a combat area, then a large dispersion is certainly useful. But if you want to be able to fire more precisely at particular target, wide dispersion is more of a hindrance. This is where MVR comes into play. Using MVR makes it possible to obtain the maximum precision from an indirect firing system with conventional ammunition by eliminating several ballistic influences, Vammen assured.
Since dispersion increases with distance, the further you shoot, the more decisive the external influences become. Whereas maximum distances of six to eight kilometres were previously the standard for heavy mortars (e.g. 120 mm), several armed forces are now demanding distances beyond 10 kilometres for their future systems. In order to be able to deploy mortars at this distance with sufficient accuracy, the entire system (includes weapon and fire control systems and ammunition) must make use of every possible means of improving precision.
Artillery experiences show that MVR can compensate for the following external aspects influencing ballistics (it is assumed they are at least partially transferable to mortar firing missions):
- Weapon conditions (temperature)
- Tube tolerance (wear and tear)
- Ammunition lot variation (e. g. weight)
- Propellant conditions (temperature, humidity, age, and storage conditions)
- Recoils system conditions (Maintenance and wear and tear)
- Deployment (surface, setting rounds)
During the firing process, the Doppler radar emits a 0.5-watt pulse of approximately one second in length at up to 13 different frequencies to measure the speed of the round immediately after it leaves the barrel (muzzle velocity). As a result, the deviation of the actual value from the target value is determined.
The previously-listed factors can cause this value to deviate from the value calculated for the fire control, consequently having a negative effect on the precision of the impact on the target. Because some of the internal influences are weapon specific, theoretically four different weapon systems can produce different values of muzzle velocity when firing the same ammunition from the same lot at the same time.
Since the MVR transfers the data of the first shot to the fire control software, the measured difference is included in the subsequent shots and makes subsequent shots are significantly more precise. Weibel MVRs require little maintenance and uniquely use the shots to calibrate themselves. The measuring accuracy is specified at 0.05%. The system weight is approx. 5 kg and is already integrated in the Cardom 10 from Elbit and the Super Rapid Advanced Mortar System MK II (SRAMS MKII) from ST Engineering. Soon the integration into the ALAKran of the Spanish mortar manufacturer NTGS will be ready.
Even though the Danish armed forces have yet to release any data on their experiences with the systems in operation, Vammen was able to present real test data to the expert audience attending the Mortar Systems Conference in Bristol.
For example, the MVR-700 SC was used during a series of test firings conducted by Hirtenberger Defence Europe (HDE) from 12 to 14 November 2019 at the test site of the Military Technical Test and Evaluation Institute (VTSU) in Zahorie, Slovakia. A difference of 153 meters of dispersion at a range of five kilometres was assessed. The Hirtenberger 120mm ammunition (5. charge of practice and HE bombs) were fired from the SRAMS MKII in conjunction with the arc-fire fire control system of Hirtenberger’s New Zealand subsidiary Hirtenberger Defence Technology (HDT).
In another case study, the New Zealand-based HDT used the MVR-700 SC to verify the values stored in shooting table during New Zealand armed forces firing exercise. Firing was carried out with 81-mm bi-pod mortars that are approximately 40 years old.
At a distance of 5.5km, differences of up to 200 m from the calculated target value were detected, according to the shooting table. The results obtained were used to update the shooting tables and thus significantly increase the initial precision of the legacy systems.
Precision is essential for the successful deployment of mortars at multiple and different levels. The more precise the fire:
- the greater the possibility of effectively defeating an enemy
- the less ammunition is needed, both for area and point targets, achieving the same effect for less costs – or a greater effect for the same costs
- the less time is required to call up the fire for effect, reducing exposure of the mortars to potential enemy counter-fire and increasing the combat and firing units’ survivability
- the greater the acceptance and confidence of the own troops in using a weapon system in danger close situations
The Weibel MVR has evidenced potential to significantly increase the precision and performance of modern vehicle-mounted mortar systems and bipod mortars already in service. It can help to call in fire for effect more quickly, reduce unnecessary ammunition use, and achieve sufficiently accurate precision with conventional ammunition even at firing ranges beyond eight kilometres. (Source: ESD Spotlight)
23 Mar 20. Pentagon evaluating extending F-35 OLED helmet-mounted display life expectancy. Key Points:
- The Pentagon wants to extend the life expectancy of its F-35 OLED helmet-mounted display to reduce sustainment costs
- A former programme official believes that Lockheed Martin paid at least a share for the HMD redesign so it could meet the SDD requirement
The Pentagon is investigating how to extend the life expectancy of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter’s (JSF’s) organic light-emitting diode (OLED) helmet-mounted display (HMD), according to a Pentagon spokesman.
F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) spokesman Lieutenant Commander Keith Goodsell said on 13 March that extending the life expectancy of the HMD beyond its projected four years would reduce sustainment costs, a major focus for the Pentagon. The JPO completed a redesign of the OLED HMD in 2019 after pilots using the Generation 3 HMD reported a green glow, or a condition where light leakage around the edge of the display during low light conditions made reading the projected information difficult.
The Pentagon’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) said in his fiscal year 2016 (FY 2016) report released in December 2016 that the green glow issue, at the time, had two open “Category 1 High” deficiency reports with the most significant safety concerns pertaining to night-time carrier operations. Lt Cmdr Goodsell said that the OLED HMD redesign has been released for production and that initial deliveries from the first lot have been delivered to the US Navy (USN), operator of the F-35C aircraft carrier variant, and the US Marine Corps (USMC), which operates the F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) model. The F-35 helmet joint contract specification requirements have been met, Lt Cmdr Goodsell said. (Source: Jane’s)
23 Mar 20. China showcases SAR-equipped BZK-005 UAV in military led firefighting operation. China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Central Theatre Command has released images of an in-service BZK-005 medium-altitude long endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that has been specifically configured for wide-area intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions, offering what appears to be the first glimpse of this specific variant to the international public.
The Central Theatre Command announced on 23 March that a BZK-005 UAV, operated by an undisclosed PLA Air Force (PLAAF) reconnaissance UAV battalion, was dispatched at 1000 h local time to provide airborne real-time intelligence to support joint civil-military firefighting operations – led by the command’s 83rd Army Group – in the landlocked northwestern province of Shaanxi on 18 March.
It added that imagery and data captured by the air vehicle’s ISR payloads, comprising a ventral electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) turret and an undernose synthetic aperture radar (SAR) pod, enabled army planners to pinpoint hotspots obscured by the blanket of thick smoke in the afflicted area and direct troops to construct a 4 km long, 50 m wide firebreak to contain the blaze.
An image of the PLAAF BZK-005 clearly showed the air vehicle in its wide-area ISR configuration – a marked departure from past imagery that only showed the type equipped with only an undernose EO/IR turret – which houses an indigenous SAR system believed to be developed by the Institute of Electronics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (IECAS).
Industry sources told Jane’s that IECAS has been engaged in domestic SAR technology research and development (R&D) since the early 2000s and has successfully commercialised the D3000 family of multifunction UAV SAR payloads. According to the institute, D3000-series payloads have volumetric weights of between 5-100 kg and are designed to cover the Ka-, Ku-, X-, C-, and L-bands, enabling fixed-wing or rotary UAVs to perform a broad range of air-to-surface search and detect tasks including inverse SAR (InSAR) imaging, ground moving target indication (GMTI), spotlight-mode radar imaging, strip-mapping, as well as wide area search. (Source: Jane’s)
24 Mar 20. Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) is modernizing the Brazilian Air Force’s surveillance radars across the Amazon. Raytheon will upgrade seven legacy radars to the next-generation Monopulse Secondary Surveillance Radar system, Condor Mk3, increasing efficiency and reducing electric energy consumption. The new, more advanced Condor Mk3 introduces new features such as automatic adaptive power control, fully configurable software, a high-duty cycle transmitter and built-in ADS-B, all in a much smaller footprint.
“This modernization effort expands our long-term partnership in Brazil with the Commission for Implementation of the Brazilian Air Space Control System,” said Matt Gilligan, vice president of Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services. “The Condor Mk3 is a highly reliable and low-maintenance system that will maintain the safety of the airspace in the Amazon for many years to come.”
The legacy radars were previously installed by Raytheon in the early 2000s under the Brazilian System for the Vigilance of the Amazon project and have been in continuous operation since its installation.
“This modernization has the main goal to maintain the high levels of air traffic control quality, in compliance with International Aviation Standard through surveillance technology, ensuring operational safety conditions in the Amazon region,” said Maj. Gen. Sérgio Rodrigues Pereira Bastos Jr., president of the Airspace Control System Implementation Commission (CISCEA) in Brazil.
24 Mar 20. Lightweight Anti-Drone Gun from Turkey. Turkey’s first electromagnetic anti-drone systems manufacturer Harp Arge has unveiled its 2.5-kilogram (5.5-pound) anti-drone weapon produced with the latest antenna technology, allowing for reduced size and weight.
The technology firm, which has been working to improve capabilities of national drone systems, introduced its newest product, ES-60 Electromagnetic Anti Drone Gun, designed to inflict high-speed electromagnetic interference to disrupt communications between drones and their control units and cause enemy devices to malfunction.
The Harp Arge said the anti-drone gun has a weight of 2.5 kilograms and is capable of combating rogue drones within a 3-kilometer (1.86-mile) range. The company said the new antenna technology installed enabled the company to reduce the size and weight of the weapon to an impressive extent. The firm added that the jamming weapon is produced using more than 70% of locally sourced content and would only be provided to government agencies as per weapons regulations.
Harp Arge said they had been working on the design and prototyping of an anti-drone gun for a long time but that its production was made possible only after it was acquired by Istanbul-based Ekba Holding last week. The company has now been included in the Cemd Defense Corporation group that operates as part of the Ekba Holding and will start mass production of the ES-60 after establishing its assembly line.
Ekba Holding Chairman Cihan Ekşioğlu said the company was thrilled to see its defense and technology investments making such contributions to Turkey’s “National Technology Move,” a national plan to transform the country’s technology industry through local and unique concepts created domestically. (Source: UAS VISION/Daily Sabah)
24 Mar 20. Introducing Silent Sentinel’s fever detection camera. Silent Sentinel has a range of fixed cameras designed for temperature and fever detection, which are accurate to within 0.3 degrees. They can be deployed as a standalone system or as part of a network deployed system feeding back to a centralised command and control location.
Key features include:
- High resolution 640 x 512 imager
- SDK support
- HD visible camera
- Paired blackbody for temperature reference
20 Mar 20. Royal Danish Army buys Weibel muzzle velocity radar for mortars. The Royal Danish Army is now installing Weibel Scientific’s MVR-700 – a muzzle velocity radar (MVR) – on its recently acquired Elbit Systems/ESL Cardom 10 120 mm muzzle-loaded smoothbore mortars, which arm the service’s Piranha 5 8×8 vehicles. A total of 12 Cardom 10s have been procured by the Danish Ministry of Defence Acquisition and Logistics Organisation (DALO) and these are fitted with a load-assist device to increase the rate of fire and reduce crew fatigue. Weibel Scientific developed its family of Doppler-based MVRs using internal research and development funding. For the Danish application, the MVR-700 is mounted parallel to the 120 mm barrel, according to the company. Muzzle variation of the mortar bomb takes place because of a number of factors, including the variability of the clip-on propellant at the base of the mortar bomb and its temperature, according to a US Army study. Weibel Scientific noted that muzzle velocity and meteorological conditions are the key drivers that can affect accuracy. In the case of the Royal Danish Army, the MVR-700 is integrated with the on-board computerised fire control system (FCS) and the land navigation system (both inertial navigation and global positioning system). This enables the mortar system to come into action and carry out a rapid target engagement sequence. Finn Kobbero, regional sales director at Weibel Scientific, said, “Our MVR-700 interfaces to over 20 FCS through a simple interface which can be serial or Ethernet based, dependent on the model.” Kobbero added, “The MVR-700 incorporates … variable frequency, self-calibrating technology, motion compensation, and measurement precision of typically 0.05%.” If the mortar is not fitted with an on-board FCS computer then the muzzle velocity data can be taken manually from the MVR-700 display and used to calculate firing data manually. (Source: Jane’s)
23 Mar 20. While HENSOLDT is a global pioneer of technologies that are designed for protecting armed forces, civilians, assets and borders, the company is also actively making a difference as a protector of endangered species. South Africa is known for its iconic wildlife and is also home to one of HENSOLDT’s largest industrial sites. As a result, it came as a natural progression to protect the country’s wildlife using state-of-the-art defence and security technologies. In recent years, animals such as rhinos have been under increased pressure due to rising poaching levels, threatening the future of these animals. South Africa holds nearly 80% of the world’s rhinos and has been hit the hardest by poaching, with more than 1 000 rhinos killed each year between 2013 and 2017.
HENSOLDT responded to this threat and is now combining advanced intelligence, radar and optical surveillance systems with physical security for high-end wildlife protection.
This week, HENSOLDT celebrates three years of zero poaching on the world’s largest rhino conservancy, where HENSOLDT’s technologies have been keeping a large number of rhino safe. HENSOLDT South Africa designed and installed a surveillance and security system on the farm and since then, not one animal has been lost to poaching. “Before that, we had poaching every month, sometimes every week,” says John Hume, owner of Buffalo Dream Ranch.
A thank you from 1 800 rhinos
In 2017, Buffalo Dream Ranch, the world’s largest rhino farm, started a partnership with HENSOLDT to secure 8 000 hectares of land, where some 1 800 rhinos now live peacefully, protected by state-of-the-art HENSOLDT technology. The specially developed system combines a number of advanced sensors, including optical and radar sensors, to monitor the rhinos, farm and surrounding area. Data from these sensors are fused using advanced analytics at a command and control centre to provide complete situational awareness and early-warning of potential poachers approaching the area.
In combination with existing physical barriers and a team of security personnel, the system augments the total security approach to create a surveillance solution, with technology that is always on guard, never fatigues and which cannot be compromised. “We are for the first time in years feeling confident, with HENSOLDT, of perfecting the protection of our rhino,” says Hume.
A new market
“We are honoured to be part of important initiatives such as the conservation of our wildlife and we aim to expand our efforts,” says Hennie Venter, Chief Executive of the HENSOLDT South Africa GEW business unit. The know-how acquired through these projects can be applied for protecting other wildlife and national parks to safe-keep endangered species such as lions, elephants and even abalone.
HENSOLDT prides itself on its relationship with its clients. “For us it’s not putting down the equipment and getting the business, for us it’s rather a journey,” says Werner Muller, GEW’s Chief Executive of Spectrum Monitoring and Security. Because of this philosophy, and because each wildlife scenario is different, with its own unique set of challenges, HENSOLDT’s experts collaborate with each client to develop a solution that addresses their specific needs.
Global solutions, in South Africa, for South Africa
Through its business units, GEW and Optronics, HENSOLDT South Africa delivers solutions to clients across the world and significantly contributes to South Africa’s export industry, while it is firmly grounded in its roots as a proudly South African company, operating in South Africa for South Africa. HENSOLDT is committed to continue innovating to protect our wildlife.
20 Mar 20. India fast-tracking purchase of 10 additional Ka-31 AEW&C helicopters. India is fast-tracking negotiations to acquire 10 Russian-made Kamov Ka-31 ‘Helix’ airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) helicopters in time for the expected commissioning in 2021 of Vikrant, the Indian Navy’s (IN’s) indigenously designed aircraft carrier.
Official sources told Jane’s on 20 March that the IN wants to “imminently” finalise the Ka-31 import, which was approved by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in May 2019 for an estimated INR36bn (USD478.8m), given that up to four of the AEW&C platforms are expected to be embarked on the 37,750-tonne carrier. IN officers said Vikrant aims to field its full air complement of Russian-made MiG-29K/KUB ‘Fulcrum’ fighters and rotary-wing platforms by 2022. (Source: Jane’s)
Blighter® Surveillance Systems (BSS) is a UK-based electronic-scanning radar and sensor solution provider delivering an integrated multi-sensor package to systems integrators comprising the Blighter electronic-scanning radars, cameras, thermal imagers, trackers and software solutions. Blighter radars combine patented solid-state Passive Electronic Scanning Array (PESA) technology with advanced Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) and Doppler processing to provide a robust and persistent surveillance capability. Blighter Surveillance Systems is a Plextek Group company, a leading British design house and technology innovator, and is based at Great Chesterford on the outskirts of Cambridge, England.
The Blighter electronic-scanning (e-scan) FMCW Doppler ground surveillance radar (GSR) is a unique patented product that provides robust intruder detection capabilities under the most difficult terrain and weather conditions. With no mechanical moving parts and 100% solid-state design, the Blighter radar family of products are extremely reliable and robust and require no routine maintenance for five years. The Blighter radar can operate over land and water rapidly searching for intruders as small a crawling person, kayaks and even low-flying objects. In its long-range modes the Blighter radar can rapidly scan an area in excess of 3,000 km² to ensure that intruders are detected, identified and intercepted before they reach critical areas.