Russia: The Moscow Criteria

Russian press reports state that four mobile radars have been pressed into service to enhance the defence of Moscow. The announcement was made by Major General Kirill Makarov, the deputy commander of the country’s Aerospace Defence Forces.

The four radars which are to be activated are thought to be 96L6E systems. Built by the Lianozovo Electromechanical Plant, the 96L6E has an Active Electronically Scanned Array antenna. It can be acquired in either a mobile configuration (96L6E), or a tower-mounted version (966A14).

The radar itself is a C-band system which can cover ranges of between five kilometres (three nautical miles) and 300km (162nm). It provides 360° azimuth scanning and angles of elevation between 0° and +20°. In addition, the radar can be used in a sector-scan configuration watching a 120° area with 0°-60° elevation coverage. The radar also has a low-altitude detection mode.

The 96L6E can track up to 100 targets with between three and five false target indications during every 30 minutes of operation. The radar’s architecture uses frequency hopping to provide electronic counter-countermeasures protection.

The 96L6E is used as the target acquisition radar for the S-400 Triumf (NATO reporting name ‘SA-21 Growler’) medium-to-high altitude Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) system, and can provide target information to S-300 family medium-altitude SAM batteries.

The 96L6E was developed as a replacement for the legacy 96D6 (NATO reporting name ‘Tin Shield’) and 76N6 (NATO reporting name ‘Clam Shell’) target acquisition radars. However, it is thought that the 96L6E systems being acquired to protect Moscow are  stand-alone systems not accompanying S-300 or S-400 SAM batteries. There is no word on when these new radars may formally enter service.

New Saudi Radars

On 31st May, the United States Air Force (USAF) Life Cycle Management Centre published a Notice of Intent to Award a Sole Source Contract to ITT Exelis to provide Ground Control Approach/Precision Approach Radar (GCA/PAR) systems to the Saudi Arabia National Guard (SANG) via the USAF.

ITT Exelis’ offering includes the company’s GCA/PAR-2000 product and is also believed to comprise its TASR-2020 Tactical Air Surveillance Radar. These radars will be installed at a single SANG airbase.

The company’s GCA/PAR-2000 Ground Control Approach/Precision Approach Radar provides airport surveillance at a range of 30 nautical miles (56 kilometres) at an altitude of 8,000 feet (2,438 metres). It provides precision approach coverage at a range of 20nm (37km) with azimuth and elevation angles of 30 degrees and eight degrees respectively. The precision approach radar is available separately as the PAR-2000.

In the secondary surveillance role, ITT Exelis’ TASR-2020 Tactical Air Suveillance Radar can be used to perform air traffic management along with military ‘gap-filler’ coverage. With a range of 100nm (185km) when operating at between five and ten revolutions per minute, the L-band TASR-2020 has an accuracy of 0.15 degrees in azimuth and 275ft (83m) in altitude.

Space Fence Developments

The United States Air Force (USAF) has included provisions for the full funding of the first increment of the service’s Space Fence space debris tracking system as part of its Fiscal Year 2014 (FY2014) budget proposal.

The unclassified budget proposal states that $400.3 million ($527.60) in research and development funds for Space Fence will be requested. This figure also covers the development of a C-band radar in conjunction with Australia.

Both Lockheed Martin and Raytheon are competing to construct Space Fence which replaces the existing Air Force Space Surveillance System. Space Fence will use S-band radars to track up to 200,000 targets, including those as small as a tennis ball in size, at a range of up to 1,930 kilometres (1,042 nautical miles).

The value of the Space Fence contract is estimated at €3 billion ($4 billion), and the system is expected to be declared operational in circa 2017. On 28th September 2012 the USAF revealed that the first radar will be constructed on Kwajalein Island, part of the Republic of the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean. Radar imagery from the Space Fence will be relayed to the United States Strategic Command’s Joint Function Component Command for Space at Vandenburg Air Force Base, California.

Although the allocation of funding for the programme in FY2014 seems likely, Space Fence could still be vulnerable to cuts during the following fiscal year.

Russia: New 1L121 Variant

This year’s Aero-India 2013 air show in Bangalore saw Russian radar specialists NNIIRT showcase the export variant of its 1L121 mobile, three-dimensional air defence radar, known as the 1L121-E.

This vehicle-mounted system operates in the Ultra-High Frequency (UHF) segment of the spectrum, and is thought to have a range of circa 49 nautical miles (90 kilometres) when operating with 60º elevation. When the radar’s Field-of-View (FoV) is increased to 90º elevation, it is able to track up to 64 targets, although this brings a range decrease to around eleven nautical miles (20 km).

The accuracy of the 1L121-E is in the region of one degree in elevation and azimuth, while it is capable of performing electronic target classification. In particular, the radar is optimised for the detection of small battlefield targets such as unmanned aerial vehicles, and precision-guided munitions.

The baseline 1L121 radar is not a new system, having debuted in 2011. It is not clear how the 1L-121-E variant differs from the original baseline radar.

In terms of vehicles, the 1L121 has been seen on a number of different chassis in the past, including a MT-LB tracked vehicle and a GAZ-3937 four-wheel drive truck, although the version showcased in India was displayed mounted on a BTR-80 eight-wheel drive armoured personnel carrier.

Israel: RADA Graduate

Israel’s RADA Electronics Industries Limited has demonstrated the Counter-Rocket Artillery and Mortar (C-RAM) capabilities of its RPS-40 Multi-Mission Hemispheric Radar.

Designed to provide protection for forward-deployed troops, the RPS-40 can scan up to 360º in azimuth using four radar panels, and up to 90º in elevation. It uses Active Electronically-Scanned Array antennas and has a hemispherical search range of 1.6 nautical miles (nm) (five kilometres) and 5.3nm (ten kilometres) for sector searches. The radar’s minimum detection range of 30 metres (98 feet).

In terms of accuracy, the S-band RPS-40 has a speed accuracy of one metre (3.2ft) per-second, a range accuracy of ten metres (33ft) and has an average transmitting power of up to 60 watts per panel.

Recent testing completed in Israel revealed that the radar was capable of detecting multiple incoming mortar and rocket rounds soon after their launch, thus maximising the early warning capability that it offers. For the C-RAM mission, the RDR-40 is able to perform both Point Of Origin and Point Of Impact prediction.

The company expects to perform additional tests of the RPS-40 in the coming months. RADA Electronics Industries has remained quiet on the radar’s customers, although it is thought that it will equip the Israeli Defence Force.

Taiwan: PAVE-ing The Way

Taiwan’s Raytheon AN/FPS-115 PAVE PAWS low-frequency air surveillance radar has been formally declared as operational, according to local press reports in late-January.

The radar is based at Loshan Mountain in Hsinchu Country, northern Taiwan. It has been the subject of long-running controversy on the island. For example, in November last year, the country’s Ministry of National Defence ruled out sharing information from the radar with the United States. The United States Air Force (USAF) operates five PAVE PAWS radars positioned at various locations around the continental United States to provide air surveillance for the detection of ballistic missile launches.

Taiwan purchased the AN/FPS-115 from the United States via a USAF purchase in February 2004, following a Notification to Congress for the sale of two PAVE PAWS radars for €1.4 billion ($1.8 billion). However only a single radar was subsequently purchased from Raytheon via the USAF in June 2005 at a cost of €583 million ($752 million). Following its installation at Loshan Mountain, testing of the radar commenced in November 2011.

The Taiwanese Government had planned to pursue the purchase of the second radar originally included in the Notification to Congress, although this was reported as abandoned in September 2012. That said, some open source reports have stated that the decision to abandon the purchase of this second system was actually made back in 2007.

The AN/FPS-115 radar has been the target of domestic criticism in Taiwan regarding its cost. As reported in ChainHomeHigh in October 2012, the total value of the radar’s procurement, installation and preparation for service has been quoted as €930 million ($1.2 billion). A report by the news agency AgenceFrancePresse has stated that Raytheon required an additional €105 million ($136 million) to complete the radar’s installation at the Loshan Mountain site; and for maintenance, repair and overhaul of the radar during its service life. This has taken the total price of the radar to around €1 billion ($1.4 billion).

The radar operates in the 420-450 megahertz range, has a range of 4,827-kilometres (2,506-nautical miles) and is designed to provide ballistic missile detection. Its location enables it to provide surveillance of the entire Korean Peninsula, along with coverage of the South China Sea. In addition, its gaze is sufficient to provide surveillance across much of China’s territory.

Its acquisition was a direct reaction to the Third Taiwan Strait Crisis of 1995-1996. During the Crisis, the People’s Republic of China performed a series of missile tests in the Taiwan Strait. The move was largely seen as an attempt by Beijing to warn Taiwan’s government of President Lee Teng-Hui from pursuing further independence for the Island which China regards as an integral part of its territory. The Crisis also saw China perform a series of missile tests prior to Taiwan’s 1996 Presidential Election.

Local press reports note that the AN/FPS-115 was activated in time for North Korea’s controversial space rocket launch on 12th December 2012. Pyongyang announced that the launch had been performed to place a satellite into orbit.

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