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.

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United Kingdom: Iron Lady

The Royal Navy’s Type-23 ‘Duke’ class frigate HMS Iron Duke has returned to service following an upgrade which has refitted her with BAE Systems’ new Type-997 ARTISAN (Advanced Radar Target Indication Situational Awareness and Navigation) air and sea surveillance radar.

Type-997 Artisan radar fitted to a mock-up of the Royal Navy's 'Queen Elizabeth' class aircraft carrier island superstructure. (BAE Systems)
Type-997 Artisan radar fitted to a mock-up of the Royal Navy’s ‘Queen Elizabeth’ class aircraft carrier island superstructure. (BAE Systems)

The radar was installed onboard the vessel in May 2013. The Type-997 replaces BAE Systems’ Type-996/AWS-9 S-band surveillance radar which equips all 13 Type-23 vessels in service with the Royal Navy, and the three frigates equipping the Armada de Chile (Chilean Navy).

Other radars installed onboard the Type-23 ships include a Kelvin Hughes Type-1007 navigation radar, and two BAE Systems Type-911 fire control radars for the ship’s MBDA Seawolf surface-to-air missiles.

The Type-997 is a three-dimensional, medium-range radar which makes significant use of Commercial-Off-The-Shelf components. Its design is optimised for the detection of small surface and airborne targets, particularly in high clutter conditions. Alongside its surveillance role, the radar can be used for navigation and to provide Air Traffic Management (ATM).

In terms of performance, the radar rotates at a rate of 30 revolutions-per-minute. It has a horizontal beamwidth of 2.5º, and low sidelobes; built-in sidelobe blanking and frequency agility enhance the radar’s resistance to detection. The Type-997‘s maximum instrumented range is in the order of 200 kilometres (108 nautical miles) with the detection of an aircraft-sized target at 185km (100nm) and a missile at 27nm (50km). It provides 70º elevation coverage and the tracking of over 800 targets.

The Type-997 was selected by the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence (MoD) in August 2008 to be rolled out onboard all Type-23 frigates, plus the Royal Navy’s two forthcoming ‘Queen Elizabeth’ class aircraft carriers, and the HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark ‘Albion’ class landing platform dock ships.

Onboard the ‘Queen Elizabeth’ class, the Type-997 radar will be used to perform ATM. The installation of the new  radar onboard the ‘Albion’ class will replace the Type-996 radars which are used by these ships, alongside two Kelvin Hughes Type-1007/8 radars employed for navigation and ATM.

The Type-997 radars will have completed their installation onboard the ‘Albion’ class by 2015.

United States: Making Sense

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) has provided ChainHomeHigh with an update regarding the firm’s participation in the United States Air Force Laboratory’s Multi Sensor Detect Sense and Avoid (MSDSA) programme.

The MSDSA initiative is developing an Airborne Sense And Avoid (ABSAA) sensor which can be used onboard Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). ABSAA technology developed by the company uses an X-band radar equipped with an Electronically Reconfigurable Array (ERA). This can detect flying objects approaching an aircraft, and provide over 60 seconds of avoidance time. SNC performed its first equipment demonstration as part of the MSDSA programme in October 2011.

The firm has since revealed that a second set of flight tests were performed in December 2012, with a Cessna 404 Titan twin piston engine aircraft carrying the MSDSA sensor and a Cessna 172 Skyhawk single piston engine plane acting as the intruder.

The MSDSA programme is intended to develop ABSAA technology for Tier-I, Tier-II and Tier-III class UAVs. According to Greg Cox, corporate vice president of the firm’s communications, navigation, surveillance and air traffic management business area, the MSDSA architecture is designed to; “accommodate other sensors such as Traffic Collision Avoidance Systems, Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast or Identification Friend or Foe Mode-5 transponder functions.”

Although SNCs involvement with the AFRL’s MSDSA programme is now complete, the firm; “is working an internal research and development program to improve the maturity of the MSDSA product. Additionally, SNC is working with other potential customers on continuing our role in sense and avoid.”

United States – Raytheon Round-Up

RACR Radar on F-16C (Raytheon)
RACR Radar on F-16C (Raytheon)

Raytheon provided ChainHomeHigh with an update regarding their combat aircraft radars at this year’s Paris Air Show.

The company hopes for the United States Department of Defense to make a decision by the end of the year regarding which radar will equip the United States Air Force’s (USAF’s) Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Fighting Falcon multirole combat aircraft as part of the proposed upgrade for the jet. Raytheon’s RACR (Raytheon Advanced Combat Radar) is competing for selection in this programme with Northrop Grumman’s SABR (Scalable Agile Beam Radar) system. In April 2013, RACR was chosen by South Korea to equip its air force’s F-16C/D aircraft. Once a decision is made, and should Raytheon win selection, the firm says that it could commence the delivery of RACR radars to equip the USAF’s F-16s within the next two-to-three years. Raytheon also plans to commence RACR deliveries to South Korea within a similar timeframe.

Meanwhile, the USAF is completing operational testing for the company’s APG-82(V)1 radar which is to equip the service’s Boeing F-15E Eagle jets. The radar is equipping these aircraft as a retrofit, with 221 units to be delivered from 2015, and deliveries expected to be completed by 2020. Finally, Raytheon is supplying its APG-79 radar for the US Navy’s Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet combat aircraft, and the service’s E/A-18G Growler electronic warfare platform. It will soon deliver its 400th example.

A ‘slimmed down’ version of the APG-79, which also forms part of the RACR brand, is due to be released in the immediate future and is designed to equip legacy F/A-18C/Ds in service with several air forces around the world. Raytheon have taken an interesting approach as regards the architecture of the APG-79, RACR and APG-82(V)1 as all of these radars have the same back end, helping to reduce manufacturing and maintenance costs.

AN/APG-68(V)9 Radar Order

Northrop Grumman has been awarded a $115 million (€87 million) firm fixed-price contract to supply a total of 38 AN/APG-68(V)9 radars and spare parts to the Royal Thai Air Force (16 radars) and the Royal Moroccan Air Force (RMAF – 22 radars).

The contract also includes the supply of radar spare parts to the air forces of Egypt and Pakistan. The contract is expected to be fulfilled by the end of 2017.

Northrop Grumman’s AN/APG-68(V)9 is the latest incarnation of the AN/APG-68 pulse-Doppler radar originally developed by Westinghouse. In its original form, the radar is thought to have a range of around 296 kilometres (160 nautical miles) and to operate in the X-band frequency range.

The AN/APG-68(V)9 version of the radar updates the previous AN/APG-68(V)8 with new antenna; receiver/exciter; dual mode transmitter and common radar processor line replaceable units. Furthermore, compared to legacy AN/APG-68 systems, the AN/APG-68(V)9  scans a larger volume of space and has a synthetic aperture radar mode.

Beyond the air forces discussed above, the AN/APG-68(V)9 is in service onboard Lockheed Martin F-16D Block-52+ combat aircraft operated by the Israeli Air Force, Republic of Singapore Air Force, Turkish Air Force, Hellenic Air Force and Pakistan Air Force, in addition to the F-16C/D Block-50/52+ jets of the Polish Air Force.

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.

Germany – SMART Particulars

European defence electronics specialists Cassidian have provided more details regarding the company’s SMART (Scalable Modular Aerospace Radar Technology) airborne ground surveillance radar technology demonstration project.

As reported in last month’s ChainHomeHigh (see ‘Smart Decision’, CHH, May 2013), Cassidian recently  announced its development of the prototype SMART radar which it says can outfit both Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and inhabited platforms. The radar performed flight testing at Goose Bay, Canada in June 2012.

Cassidian has told ChainHomeHigh that development of the radar has been funded by Germany’s BAAINBw (Bundesamt für Ausrüstung, Informationstechnik und Nutzung der Bundeswehr/Federal Office of. Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In- Service Support). Although not confirmed by the company, it is believed that the organisation contributed a total of €6.6 million ($8.6 million) of funding to the initiative.

Cassidian revealed that during the flight tests last year, the prototype SMART radar was flown onboard a Bombardier Learjet business aircraft. SMART has been developed to evaluate radar capabilities and technologies in response to Germany’s AF-SAATEG (System für die abbildende Aufklärung in der Tiefe des Einsatzgebiets/MALE-UAV Multi-Function Radar System) requirement. Although exact performance information pertaining to this radar remains classified, the company says that it gathers ultra-high resolution imagery at long ranges.

In terms of the programme’s next steps, Cassidian hope to develop a broadband 360º-scanning belly-mounted version of SMART. Nevertheless, the firm is keen to emphasis that, at present, the SMART radar remains a technology demonstration initiative and does not represent a production system, although some of the components and technologies developed for SMART could migrate to any production radar which Cassidian may choose to develop in response to the formal AF-SAATEG requirement. Cassidian emphasises that; “a deployable product always has to take into account specific customer requirements and platform integration specifics and therefore needs some adaptation.”

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