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06 Dec 17. Leonardo works on ‘Europe’s first fully digital’ radar. Italy’s Leonardo is edging closer to producing a fully digital, active electronically scanned array radar — the only one of its kind in Europe according to the firm — with initial components now being manufactured.
The L-band Kronos Power Shield radar is being built for the Italian Navy’s new Landing Helicopter Dock vessel.
“We are evolving the new Leonardo AESA radar into a fully digital system, which allows us to manage a bigger amount of data in less time, so enhancing the radar performance,” said Renzo Tosini, naval and Air Defence line of business director at Leonardo’s Land and Naval Defence Electronics division.
Active Electronically Scanned Array radars use grids of small Transmit Receive Modules, each generating an individual radar beam which can be combined to create a larger, composite, directed radar beam.
With each TRM containing its own power source, the break down of one TRM barely affects overall performance, unlike traditional radars where a sole power source behind the antenna powered the entire radar, meaning total breakdown if the power source was lost.
The key novelty in Leonardo’s new radar is that the transmitting and receiving signal is already digital at the level of the single radiating element.
“The new L band radar is based on ‘digital’ TRMs hosted into so-called ‘Digital Active Tile’ blocks,” said Tosini.
“Going fully digital means the radar transceiver is thinner and allows the radar system to process more information faster,” he added.
The roughly 40 square meter rotating radar will offer an instrumental extended surveillance range of 1,500 – 2,000 km.
Italy’s Fincantieri started work in July on Italy’s new 1.1bn euro LHD, a 25 knot, 200 metre long vessel that will enter service in around 2022.
The multi-functional radar will equip Italy’s LHD and the Landing Platform Dock that Fincantieri will build for Qatar, said Tosini.
The new technology is being developed as Fincantieri enters talks to jointly build warships with France’s Naval Group. Politicians in Italy have raised fears that the systems, like radar, which Leonardo has long supplied to Fincantieri ships might be squeezed out of the joint program by kit supplied by France’s Thales. Leonardo is also offering flat panel C and X band radars known as Kronos which will be used on Italy’s new multi-purpose PPA frigates. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/C4ISR & Networks)
07 Dec 17. Three military trends you need to know. The nature of the threat posed by terrorism and criminal organisations is changing. In recent years, military forces, border agencies, airports and transport police have had to rapidly develop new ways of thwarting those with malicious intentions. Here Graham Mackrell, managing director of military gear specialist Harmonic Drive UK, outlines the top three trends in the military sector. On a recent trip to DSEI, the major defence and security event, I came across a variety of new innovations designed to tackle attacks and security breaches in ways that would have been considered science fiction until only a few years ago. The three areas of military technology that really stood out for me were: quadcopter anti-drone weapon systems, intelligent radar, and actuators capable of operating in the most extreme environments with absolute precision.
The popularity of quadcopter drones in recent years has led to a significant rise in the number of incidents involving drones reported to UK Police. Complaints of snooping, burglary, near-misses over airports and smuggling contraband into prisons increased twelvefold from 2014 to 2016.
Authorities are now enlisting the help of net-capture anti-drone devices. The system tracks the flight of a drone and fires a projectile, which deploys a net before impact. It