Lanza Extravaganza

The UK’s acquisition of a single Indra Lanza LTR-25 deployable radar strengthens the British armed force’s operational/theatre level ground-based air defence.

The RAF’S procurement of a new Lanza LTR-25 radar will strengthen deployed, operational/theatre level ground-based air defence. (Indra)

The UK’s acquisition of a single Indra Lanza LTR-25 deployable radar strengthens the British armed force’s operational/theatre level ground-based air defence.

The UK has again strengthened its fleet of deployable radars. On 13 May Indra announced that the UK Ministry of Defence had procured a single Lanza LTR-25 L-band (1.215 gigahertz/GHz to 1.4GHz) ground-based air surveillance radar.

An official announcement from the company stated that the radar will equip the Royal Air Force (RAF) and delivery is expected by the end of the year. The radar has an instrumented range of 239 nautical miles/nm (444 kilometres/km). Although not articulated in the company’s press release the acquisition could be worth up to $13.4 million to the firm based on the derived price for this radar.The UK joins Argentina, Ecuador, Guatemala, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, Oman, Portugal, Rwanda, Thailand and Uruguay all of which have acquired variants of the Lanza radar over the past two decades. In British service the Lanza LTR-25 will supplement several deployable ground-based air surveillance radars. These include ten Saab Giraffe-AMB C-band (5.25GHz to 5.925GHz) ground-based air surveillance radars purchased and delivered between 2008 and 2018 jointly operated by the British Army and RAF. The Giraffe-AMB has an instrumented range of up to 54nm (100km) and is arguably configured to support short-to-medium range air defence. It is expected that  the Lanza LTR-25 will be provide surveillance to support theatre-level air defence.

Spexer Specifics

Airbus Defence and Space (formerly Cassidian) has disclosed more details regarding its latest edition to its SPEXER ground surveillance radar product line, including the new SPEXER-500’s systems architecture.

The company launched its new SPEXER-500 radar in November 2013. It is designed to perform security tasks, notably perimeter and installation protection. This X-band (8.2-12.4 Gigahertz) radar has a light weight of 34 kilograms (75 lb) making it highly portable. In terms of detection ranges, the radar provides an instrumented range of nine kilometres (six miles) and can see a pedestrian at a distance of five kilometres (three miles), a small vehicle at seven kilometres (four miles) and a large truck at nine kilometres (six miles). The SPEXER-500 can also detect air targets at a range of over four nautical miles (eight kilometres) for a light aircraft, five nautical miles (nine kilometres) for a helicopter and over one nautical mile (three kilometres) for an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). The radar updates its imagery every 1.5 seconds when scanning a sector 120° in azimuth, whereas its scans a 30° sector in less than 0.4 seconds. The SPEXER-500 can track over 50 targets simultaneously.

In terms of architecture, the radar uses Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) technology. According to an Airbus Defence and Space spokesperson, this design feature facilitates: “Digital Beam Forming” (DBF) – a form of electronic scanning – that enables the SPEXER-500 to have a high Doppler resolution ensuring the reliable detection of very small and slowly moving targets such as people and UAVs, even in the presence of strong clutter.” In terms of design, the spokesperson adds that: “The radars have a very high availability and are robust in operation, certified to several international military standards. In addition, the false alarm rates are very low, even in harsh environmental conditions and in the presence of clutter.”

The SPEXER-500 is the “small brother” of the SPEXER-1000 radar which provides detection ranges of up to 36km (22 miles) also using Digital Beam Forming based on FMCW technology. For the surveillance of larger distances and coastlines, Airbus Defence and Space provides pulse Doppler radars such as the SPEXER-1500, SPEXER-2000 Coastal and SPEXER-2000 all of which use Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) technology.

Euronaval: GEM Elettronica Planning New Sentinel Family Member

Italian radar specialists GEM Elettronica is planning a new addition to the company’s Sentinel family of naval radars.

The firm told ChainHomeHigh at the Euronaval exhibition in Paris that they are developing a new three-dimensional X-band surveillance radar which they hope will be available for purchase next year. The radar is being aimed at customers requiring either vessel-mounted navigation or shore-based coastal surveillance systems.

This new product uses a phased-array antenna, and has low sidelobes and frequency agility to reduce detection and enhance the radar’s electronic counter-counter measure performance. An optional transponder antenna can be fitted, and the radar comes equipped with a navigation antenna.

GEM Elettronica told ChainHomeHigh that they have yet to name their new product, although they will reveal a designation when the radar becomes formally available for purchase next year. Currently, the firm is in discussions with the Italian Navy regarding the installation of this new system onboard a series of new patrol vessels which will equip the force.

In a separate development the company revealed that one of the coastal radar stations that it had supplied to Libya prior to last year’s civil war had been destroyed by a NATO airstrike during hostilities. GEM Elettronica has installed ten radar stations along the Libyan coast stretching from the country’s border with Tunisia to the Libyan capital Tripoli. The other nine radar stations which had been constructed remain functioning and were not attacked during hostilities. It is believed that the radar station may have been destroyed by an airstrike performed by the Armée de l’Air (French Air Force). GEM Elettronica had been contracted by the regime of former Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi to build a coastal surveillance radar network along the Libyan coast involving up to one hundred radar stations. The company hopes to reactivate this contract at some point in the near future, although it says that because of Libya’s currently complex political situation, this may not happen at any point soon.

Euronaval: Thales Unveils Surface Scout

Thales has unveiled its new Surface Scout naval surveillance radar at this year’s Euronaval exhibition in Paris.

This new X-band system has been developed using some of the technology fielded on the company’s Sea Watcher 100 naval radar, such as algorithims for detecting small surface targets.

The Surface Scout’s Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) technology enables it to perform simultaneous transmit and receive functions. Surface Scout also exploits the phenomena known as Evaporation Ducting by which the radar’s waves are trapped in a band of moist air which can reach between ten and 20m above the sea surface. This enables the radar waves to bend with the curvature of the Earth, this extending its range, although this is dependent on the height of the antenna above the surface.

In terms of enhancing the radar’s resistance to countermeasures, Thales has designed the Surface Scout with a low output power of five watts, although this can be reduced to five miliwatts if required. Frequency agility is built into the design, along with low antenna sidelobes; all helping to reduce detection.

While the Surface Scout is not equipped with an integral Identification Freind or Foe antenna, it can take aircraft transponder information from other ship-mounted systems such as a vessel’s standard Very High Frequency (VHF) communications fit.

Advanced Dopplar processing is included in the radar’s software, plus an automatic surveillance and tracking system. The Advanced Dopplar Processing enables the radar to determine targets in high clutter environments such as low-flying helicopters. The speed, and possible type of helicopter can be determined by the radar by measuring the relative speeds of the tips of the aircraft’s rotorblades and its spinning rotorhub.

In terms of performance, the radar has an instrumented range of between 16m up to 40km (52ft-22nm), depending on its operating mode (small target surveillance, navigation or helicopter guidance). Much use is made of Commercial-Off-The-Shelf components such as standard PC processing, along with solid state technology which dispenses with a wave guide.

In terms of programmes, the company is currently in discussions with the Royal Netherlands Navy with a view to equipped the fleet’s forthcoming Joint Support Ship logistics vessels with the Surface Scout.

Germany – ITT Exelis Set For ADVIS Supply

On 27th September, the US Army’s Mission and Installation Contracting Command at Fort Bliss, Texas, announced its intention to award a sole source purchase order worth €19 million ($25 million) for the supply of the AN/GSQ-235(V) Air Defence Interoperability Validation System (ADVIS). The purchase order will be awarded to ITT Exelis.

The contract will see the ADVIS system equipping the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) Air Defence School which is located at Fort Bliss, Texas.

ADVIS uses the established tactical datalinks of a ground-based air defence system to provide simulated training scenarios and a synthetic Recognised Air Picture. As well as being used for training, ADVIS can be employed to provide systems interoperability validation.

Denmark: Cambridge Pixel Supply RDAF

The Flyvevåbnet (Royal Danish Air Force/RDAF) will obtain HPx-200 PCI-based primary radar acquisition cards from United Kingdom-based radar specialists Cambridge Pixel.

The HPx-200 receives standard and moving target radar video imagery. This video footage is then compressed and distributed using the company’s SPx Server software.

The company is supplying the systems to DSE Airport Solutions, a Danish company which is rolling out its RADIS advanced air traffic management radar display system at three RDAF airbases.

Hungary – Radar Base Completion On Schedule

Hungary expects to complete, by the end of the year, the construction of a third three-dimensional air search radar base. This new base will be located near the village of Medina in the west of the country.

The type of radar, which has been provided by Selex Sistemi Integrati has not been revealed, although it is known that in the past, the company supplied its L-band 470km (253nm) RAT31-DL system to furnish a radar site located at Bekescsaba in 2007.

The activation of this third radar system will be the latest step in an ongoing process to modernise Hungary’s ground-based air defence system.

Over the long term, Hungary will replace its existing air defence system with NATO’s new Air Command and Control System (ACCS) with ThalesRaytheonSystems, the prime contractor for the ACCS programme, under contract to deliver the system to Hungary; a process which should conclude by mid-2016.

This will see the installation of a CARS (Combined Air Operations Centre/Air Control Centre, Recognised Air Picture Production Centre and Sensor Fusion Post) at the Hungarian Air Force’s existing Control and Reporting Centre based at Veszprem, eastern Hungary.

Poland – BMD System Requirement?

According to Polish press reports on 11th August, the country is planning to establish its own Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) capability, alongside the Raytheon RIM-161 SM-3 Block-IIA land-based Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAMs) that the country will host as part of NATO’s European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) BMD architecture.

The reports noted that the country’s Defence Minister Tomas Semonyak has mooted cooperation with Germany and France in developing a domestic BMD capability.

Mr. Semonyak did not specify the exact nature of the cooperation with either country. However, this may be an allusion to Poland procuring BMD-capable air defence systems from either country perhaps in the form of Raytheon MIM-104 Patriot medium-to-high altitude SAMs which the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) is looking to sell to a third party, or the acquisition of MBDA SAMP/T medium-to-high altitude SAM systems from France, along with Thales GroundMaster-400 radars which have the capability to detect theatre ballistic missiles.

It is also unclear if this BMD capability would be procured as part of Poland’s existing requirement for a new medium-range SAM system, or instead as a separate capability.

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