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By Julian Nettlefold, Editor, BATTLESPACE

27 Feb 07. Thales Air Defence showed the Editor the evolution to its highly successful Starstreak missile system, currently in-service with the UK Ministry of Defence. Improvements to the missile – to be called Starstreak II – include an extended range to beyond 7km, with increased coverage and altitude and improved guidance precision to provide a much sought after small target capability.

As military commanders around the world become increasingly concerned about the serious threat posed to their forces and civilians from low-level unmanned air vehicles (UAVs), attack helicopters and light-armoured vehicles, the very real need for a missile to be able to defeat this wide variety of threats becomes a military reality. Starstreak II has been designed to specifically address these threats.

To enable battlefield commanders to ensure situational awareness and exact target recognition at longer distances, Thales has added enhancements to the exiting suite of systems including the Air Defence Alerting Device and the BAE Stairs ‘C’ thermal imager as part of the new package and the DRS Commander’s Tactical Workstation (CTW).

“The addition of these enhancements has allowed Thales to develop the system, and ADAD in particular, to a situation where all false alarms are eliminated. We now have an increased field of view to 240×10, via the BAE Stairs ‘C’ thermal imager which is unique in this type of system. Visual contact to the Operator and Commander’s workstations thru the DRS CTW system allow multiple target tracking which thus reduces false alarm rate and any possible fratricides,” Ricky Adair, Director, Export Systems, Thales Air Defence, told the Editor.

Communications is via dual gigabit Ethernet, MilCan, USB, serial interfaces and, depending on the nature of the platform and applications and interfaces of interest, discrete digital and analogue I/O to weapon systems and other platform sub-systems.

The DRS Commander’s Tactical Workstation (CTW) can also host DRS’s embedded vehicle HUMS diagnostic system with its interfaces to engine ECU’s, weapon systems and other sub-systems, in order to provide a real-time condition based maintenance and training capability.

The CTW is modular by design and can be tailored to match specific processing and communications requirements.

The DRS CTW provides commanders and crew with a single point of access to platform systems and sensors enabling the concurrent display of graphical, text and video data from a number of different on and off platform sources. For example, on a fighting vehicle the commander and crew can access the battle map (BMS) application, driver’s viewer, primary thermal imager and weapon system concurrently. By doing so, it is possible to improve decision making effectiveness and significantly reduce the number of separate display devices required on the platform. For complex environments, a number of CTW’s can be linked together to configure a multi-display workstation capable of handling and displaying a wide range of data and video types.

The CTW has an embedded frame grabber providing the ability to provide picture-in-picture presentation of data and video. Input and control of the displayed data is by means of keyboard, side bezel keys, touch screen or a combination of all three.

“DRS was approached by Thales Air Defence three years ago to develop the CTW based on the user requirements outlined by the MoD. DRS provided the solution tailor-made to the Thales requirement linked to the Thales central computer processor. The software package and Electronic Architecture, which is scaleable to any requirement from the MoD or export customer, allows new requirements such as cameras and self-protection packages and other applications to be easily added. In effect the solution provided by DRS enables the user to have a Command and Control system which can utilise a v

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