TIPS ON TARGET FOR NATO AGS DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT PHASE – ASTOR READY FOR TAKE OFF
2O Jul 04. The six TIPS companies, EADS, Galileo Avionics, General Dynamics Canada, Indra, Northrop Grumman and Thales are continuing their work with NATO to define the final program definition which will lead to a NATO AGS $360m design and development contract in early 2005. NATO selected the TIPS Industry consortium to provide its AGS system against the Raytheon-led CTAS Team. The radar development would cost another $1.5bn
The TIPS NATO AGS system will provide situational awareness through a shared common ground picture that will be available to NATO and national decision makers. TIPS will present the NATO Response Force (NRF) with a critical core capability by 2010 and will meet NATO’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and Command and Control (C2) requirements for the 21st century.
The state-of-the-art radar technology provided by the Transatlantic Cooperative AGS Radar (TCAR) program, which will be integrated on both the manned and unmanned platforms, draws on the expertise of both U.S. and European radar industries, the majority of whom are also TIPS industry members.
The response of the other national industries to the news has been equally positive and industries expressed their continued support for the TIPS solution as the most cost effective and best value solution to the NATO AGS core capability.
Raytheon’s Dr Richard Anderson told BATTLESPACE Editor Julian Nettlefold that the ASTOR Sentinel programme was well on course with the first aircraft being fitted out at Broughton with the other four in various stages of completion. “We have completed the design and development of the new active array radar for the Sentinel fleet,” he said. “The joint SAR/MTI radar we are providing takes its heritage from the ASARS 2 radar and incorporates a better beam shape and control which, with a new active array antenna, gives better and MTI performance. The first unit is being supplied from California and will be delivered in two weeks. Both BAE which has supplied gimbals, LRUs and the composite radar canoe and QinetiQ which has supplied processing algorithms are partners in the project. ISD is the end of 2005”
“We can achieve faster on station operating altitude of 40,000ft and better range, 6500nm than the Airbus A321’s 1500nm and have better fuel consumption and performance. The programme has been completely de-risked by the UK government, which has spent some £500m on the project. We believed that our CTAS offering was at least $1.75 better value than the Northrop offering,” he continued.
Norman Ray, President of Raytheon International Europe, told the Editor that, ”We believed that our offering for AGS offered the best value for money and less risk to the tune of some $1.75bn, due to the risk-reduction carried out on ASTOR with the UK. The ASTOR radar would be substituted with the TCAR radar with all other parameters remaining the same. However we believe that weight concerns with regard to the TCAR radar went against us as NATO believed that we could not achieve the weight of the system which is presently unknown. The Global Express is the ideal aircraft for such a mission and has a European content of 60%.”
Although TIPS is on track, Norman Ray was concerned that the AGS project, NATO’s biggest procurement, could face funding difficulties with the UK and France out of the equation. “Germany and the US will have to fund the lion’s share of this project, both countries have to confirm funds, with other countries making up the difference from the UK and French shares.” However, in spite of his company’s loss of the contract both Ray and Anderson were confident that a customer would soon sign up for an ASTOR-type system. In addition Raytheon benefits from the 50% share in the MP-RTIP/TCAR radar and a number of systems used on both the UAVs and airframe. Ray said that the company’s Space and Airborne Sys