EDR Magazine No. 47 sept-october 2019

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N° 47 • September/October 2019

MAGAZINE European Defence Review

Improving bridging capabilities Low-frequency Towed Active Sonar (LFTAS) Improving European defence capabilities Passive protection for forward military bases ESM/ELINT for UAVs

I S S U E N° 47 2019

Publisher: Joseph Roukoz Editor-in-chief: Paolo Valpolini Aviation & Space Editor: David Oliver Naval Editor: Luca Peruzzi European Defence Review (EDR) is published by European Defence Publishing SAS

British and German Army engineers building a bridge over the river Weser in Minden, Germany, using M3 amphibious rigs during a combined exercise. Š UK MoD



Improving bridging capabilities


Low-frequency Towed Active Sonar (LFTAS)


Improving European defence capabilities


Passive protection for forward military bases



By Paolo Valpolini

By Luca Peruzzi

By David Oliver

By Paolo Valpolini

By Luca Peruzzi

EDR | September/October 2019


Improving bridging capabilities By Paolo Valpolini

Turkish Land Forces tanks and APCs crossing a bridge assembled with Otter elements; FNSS is currently improving the characteristics of its system. © FNSS

In Europe many armies are seeking new or upgraded gap crossing capabilities. In the UK Project “Tyro” aims at acquiring a heavy forces Close Support Bridging (CSB) capability for until at least 2040 while Project “Triton” looks at delivering future wide wet gap crossing capability (WWGCC) to the British Army, replacing M3s by 2027, which will mark the end of life of systems in service. The Bundeswehr might link up with the British programme, the German Army being also equipped with the M3 Amphibious Rig since the Cold War era, its systems expiring in 2030. Discussions are ongoing between the two countries on this subject. The Czech Land Forces are looking at procuring a wheeled bridge-layer in the 2021-23 timeframe, a pontoon bridge being among planned acquisitions in 2021-24. The Turkish Land Forces are aiming at increasing

their gap crossing capability, while the French Army launched an upgrade programme for its PFM motorised floating bridge, mostly aimed at improving its deployability, the Italian Army looking at a similar solution possibly also increasing the MLC class capability. To cross a wet gap two are the main methods, building a self-sustaining mechanical structure or exploiting floating elements. In the meantime NATO is working on defining the requirements of future bridges. So far for tracked vehicles MLC100 seems being the identified target, while that for wheeled vehicles has not yet been established, the same being for maximum river speed. The industry is thus awaiting those data before starting designing new generation bridging systems, expected to become a reality in over a decade, many companies being busy in upgrading existing systems. EDR | September/October 2019


A British Army M3 exit the river at the end of an exercise; the UK is looking for a successor of its bridges which will end their life in 2017. © UK MoD

Floating bridges and ferries


mong amphibious bridging systems we find self-propelled systems, buslike vehicles that open up prior to entering the water becoming bridge or ferry modules, or self-powered systems, modules transported on board trucks that are launched and move in the water using their own engines, or finally floating modules requiring motorboats to be positioned and maintained in position against the river flow.

Among self-propelled systems, General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS) M3 is probably the most widely used, being in service with the British, German, Indonesian, Singaporean and Taiwanese armies. Developed by EWK (Eisenwerke Kaiserslautern), it became part of GDELS’ portfolio when in 2002 this acquired the German company, it replaced the previous M2 designed in the early ‘60s, increasing the tracked load capacity from MLC70 to MLC85 tracked, 132 wheeled, allowing transporting the heaviest western MBTs of the 1980s, its design starting

The German Bundeswehr is the other user of GDELS M3 bridge; Germany and the United Kingdom are discussing a possible common solution for replacing these systems. © GDELS


EDR | September/October 2019

The 350 meters long M3 bridge built by British and German engineers built over the Vistula river. During Exercise during exercise “Anakonda 2016” in Poland represents a record. © GDELS

in 1982, while it entered service in the mid 90s. The 28 tonnes 4x4 system is powered by a 400 hp diesel engine allowing a maximum speed of 80 km/h, the two water pump jets providing a 3.5 m/s speed in water. GDELS underlines that his system is lighter and smaller than its competitors, thus with better cross country capabilities also thanks to CTIS, and that it has a higher specific power in water, retractable axles reducing drag in the water. According to the company the secret to M3’s success is the unique 4x4 configuration with allaxle steering which was the result of extensive

mobility studies, Germany and UK investigating also 6x6 and 8x8 configurations. Solutions with more axles are heavier, and as outer dimensions are limited by road, rail and air lift regulations, added weight represents a corresponding loss of buoyancy, while additional axles also disturbs hydrodynamics, reducing water propulsion efficiency. The M3 4x4 configuration with large tires also ensures more traction when the vehicle exits the water. According to GDELS M3 tires combined with the highest ground clearance allow operations in very rough terrain and achieve the highest vertical obstacle capability. The 4x4 configuration also helps in reducing life cycle cost.

A French Army Leclerc main battle tank crossing a river aboard an EFA ferry; made by CEFA, a single vehicle can constitute a ferry on its own. © CEFA

EDR | September/October 2019


A two-bay ferry assembled using FNSS Otter. The Turkish company is increasing the system MLC to cope with new requirements. © FNSS

Once the M3 reaches the water obstacle, it operations; the company is investing heavily in unfolds the side pontoons, width increasing those fields, with upgrade packages that can be from 3.35 meters of the road configuration to retrofitted to existing systems. 6.57 meters, and enters the water, maximum slope being 60%, then rotates 90° to take its In the early 1990s the French Army received its operational position. The command deck in water first Engin de Franchissement de l’Avant (EFA is at the rear of the vehicle, a crane located at or front line crossing system). Similar to the M3 the front of the M3 allowing to put in position in concept, it is bigger and heavier, 45 tonnes, the ramps, the usable roadway being 4.76 meters and it is powered by a 730 hp diesel engine, the wide; these either connect one M3 to the other or two pivoting waterjets having a power of 210 kW connect the M3 to the shore. A 2-bay ferry can be each. Beside the size, the major difference is that built in around 3 minutes by six soldiers, while a a single EFA is capable to form an MLC70 ferry 100 meters bridge requires eight M3s and needs on its own in around 10 minutes; before entering approximately 10 minutes to be completed, water the vehicle inflates the floats then it enters employing 24 soldiers, each element having a the water, deploys the ramps, half of them being crew of three. With the optional single raft control fitted with floats, vehicles being loaded along kit only 16 soldiers, two per rig, are required. the longitudinal axis of the EFA, an MLC150 raft During Exercise Anakonda 2016 in Poland, British being obtained linking two EFA. With only two and German engineers built a record-breaking crewmembers per vehicle, a 100 meters bridge 350 meters long M3 bridge over An FNSS Otter exits the water at the Vistula river. In terms of upgrades, the M3 can be fitted with lightweight armour for the cabin, the aim being maintaining speed of action and maximum payload. What GDELS is intensively working on is automation, customers looking for autonomous capabilities starting from crane operations up to ferrying and bridging


EDR | September/October 2019

the end of an exercise. In service with the Turkish Land Forces, the Otter is being proposed to South Korea. © FNSS

French Leclerc main battle tanks crossing a 160 meters long bridge built with CNIM’s PFM modules, each being equipped with two outboard motors. © CNIM

made of four EFA requires only eight soldiers and can be assembled in less than 15 minutes. France operates 39 such systems, while the United Arab Emirates acquired the EFA in the upgraded X1 version that is fitted with an MTU 750 hp engine allowing quicker manoeuvres in the water. The EFA remains peculiar, being able to work as a stand-alone system, the ferry being capable to carry a Leclerc MBT.

French Army VABs crossing a river aboard a PFM ferry; this CNIM floating bridge is in service with France, Italy, Malaysia and Switzerland. © CNIM

maximum gradient being 50%. At the rear of the rig we find the water operation panel while at the front a crane allows installing the ramps, two per side being carried on a single AAAB, ramps linking one rig to the next. The current AAAB in service with the TLF can form a 2-bay ferry carrying an MLC70 tracked load, a 3-bay ferry carrying an MLC100 wheeled payload, while when forming a bridge maximum loads remain the same. To cope with new MBTs present in the NATO inventory FNSS is upgrading its AAAB, which is now known as Otter Rapid Deployable Amphibious Wet Gap Crossing, which can carry the maximum tracked load currently part of NATO vehicles, the MLC85 British Challenger 2; two elements of the upgraded version will be capable forming a ferry

FNSS of Turkey developed its Armoured Amphibious Assault Bridge (AAAB) to cope with the Turkish Land Forces (TLF) requirements. Based on an 8x8 chassis with all steerable axles, powered by a 530 hp diesel engine, it has a crew of three and weighs 36.5 tonnes. To ensure good off-road mobility and maximum Italian Army 2nd Bridging Engineers Regiment is equipped with CNIM’s PFM stability when travelling on since the mid 1990’; the service is looking for an upgrade of its floating bridges. © P. Valpolini roads, its suspensions can be adjusted, maximum height being 650 mm while minimum is 100 mm, ground clearance varying between 600 and 360 mm, the CTIS adding to its offroad capabilities. On road it can reach 50 km/h, while the two waterjets, one at the front and one at the rear, allow for a speed in water of 2.8 m/s. Once the vehicle has reached the riverbank, the sides are unfolded and the rig enters the water gap,

EDR | September/October 2019


Ramp modules were added at the extremities, in both ferry or bridge configurations.

Answering new French Army requirements CNIM developed the PFM F2, which is much easier to deploy downrange due to its reduced logistic footprint. © CNIM

carrying that load, while using three Otters it will be possible to carry an MLC120 wheeled load, typically the MBT and its transporter. A single Otter can form a ferry carrying an MLC21 tracked load, while 12 systems can form a 150 meterslong bridge carrying an MLC85 tracked or an MLC120 wheeled load. FNSS is offering its Otter to the Republic of Korea, Hyundai Rotem having been selected as partner, the Korean company acting as prime contractor. Stepping to self-powered systems, in the 1980s CNIM of France developed the Pont Flottant Motorisé (PFM, motorised floating bridge) which modules were transported on a truck trailer that allowed launching them, each module being then powered by two Yamaha 75 hp outboard motors. The prototype of the new PFM F3XP under development by CNIM should be ready for mid-2020; based on shorter modules, these can be transported by 8x8 trucks. © CNIM


EDR | September/October 2019

A few years ago CNIM started thinking about an update of its product, taking in count new requirements and lessons learned from recent operations. The French Army required improvements in air transportability, technical matters, and manpower reduction, which led to the PFM F2 configuration. Deployability was improved developing a new short ramp, fixed at the floating module extremity (the standard ramp is fixed well inside the module), thus allowing forming an MLC40 ferry using only two 10-meters long modules and two ramps. The logistic burden is thus halved, as only two trucks and two trailers are needed. Four A400M Atlas missions or a single Antonov An-124 Ruslan mission are sufficient to deploy that ferry. To maintain the ramp angle within established limits the riverbank height must be less than one meter. The upgrade process includes full disassembly of the modules, a number of mechanical elements being replaced, adding 20 years of operational life. Outboard motors are replaced with Yamaha 90 hp motors. Manpower reduction is obtained adding a wireless control system allowing a single operator to control both motors allowing to orient each of them and to trim the throttle independently, also improving the night operations capability as no coordination between the two operators is needed anymore. When two modules are linked together, a single operator can control all four outboard motors. Renault TRM 10 000 trucks are being replaced with new Currently under development by CNIM, the PFM F3MAX will be capable to cope with loads up to MLC100(T) and MLC120 (W) thanks to its add-on buoyancy elements. © CNIM

An element of the Improved Ribbon Bridge is being opened in the river, the tugboat being ready to position it along the other elements. © GDELS

Scania P410 6×6 tractors, around half of them provided with armoured cab. The French Army has concluded the evaluation and CNIM is now receiving the modules to be upgraded, the work being due to start in fall 2019 to be concluded by mid-2020. The company is proposing the same upgrade to the customers of the original PFM, Italy, Malaysia and Switzerland. One thing that the F2 upgrade did not took into consideration, as it was not within the French Army scope, was an increased load capability, modules remaining capable of carrying MLC70 tracked loads. CNIM went further on, developing the PFM F3 family, which will be available in different configurations, all of them capable to cope with MLC85 tracked and MLC100 wheeled loads. To do so the F3 is a wholly new design, still aluminium based, improvements in materiel and welding technologies allowing CNIM to produce a module of similar weight but with increased load capacity. The same applies to the ramps, which maintain their dimensions but are mechanically stronger to withstand heavier loads, up to MLC100 tracked and MLC120 wheeled. The F3 will also have more powerful engines, details lacking for the time being as the selection process is still underway. Beside the baseline F3 the company proposes the F3XP, based on a 7 meters-long module compared to the standard 10 meters one, that can be transported on an 8x8 truck without the need of a trailer, a medium ramp having also been developed, two of which can be transported on a similar truck, the vehicle being eventually fitted with a DROP palletised loading system. According to CNIM this answers

A “multinational bridge” built by American, Dutch and German engineers during exercise Anakonda using Improved and Standard Ribbon Bridge elements. © GDELS

the requirements of many northern-European countries, which are used to deploy their bridges on that type of truck without using trailers. From an expeditionary standpoint, to deploy an F3XP 21 meters ferry four trucks are needed, three for the modules and one for the ramps. To allow the crossing of heavier loads CNIM developed additional solid floaters that increase buoyancy, generating a bridge capable to withstand MLC100 tracked and MLC120 wheeled loads. The buoyancy elements are transported on a separate truck and fitted underneath the floating modules prior to launch. This configuration is known as F3MAX; shorter buoyancy elements are being developed to fit the F3XP bringing them to the MAX load capacity. Last but not least comes the PFM F3D where the “D” stands for “drone”. Here the modules are fitted with a navigation system and an automatic locking system, allowing building a bridge with nobody on board. Both the

A German Army ferry built with Improved Ribbon Bridge bays; this materiel will reach the end of its operational life in 2030. © GDELS

EDR | September/October 2019


The latest product from CEFA of France is the Steel Ribbon Bridge, which can cope with MLC85 (T) and MLC120 (W) loads, such as this Leclerc mounted on its transporter. © CEFA

F3MAX and the F3D use the long ramp, being mostly considered for bridges rather than for ferries. A key issue in terms of interoperability is that F3 modules can be fitted with locking systems compatible with the Improved Ribbon Bridge. CNIM started developing the F3 and F3XP in January 2019, a prototype being expected in mid-2020, probably in time for Eurosatory. The F3MAX elements will follow six months later. The F3D development will start once all the rest will be finalised; that said, the F3 modules are being designed since inception for integrating relative positioning as well as automatic locking systems. Coming to floating modules, the most popular is definitely GDELS’ Improved Ribbon Bridge (IRB), which is used by the US Army, German, Australian and Swedish armies, and most recently by the Iraqi and the Brazilian armies as well. The IRB key element is the interior bay, which is 6.71 meters long and 8.63 meters wide when unfolded, 3.30 meters in transport conditions. The modules are launched folded and are unfolded once afloat. In the bridge configuration it allows the crossing of MLC80 tracked and MLC96 wheeled loads on a single 4.5 meters wide roadway, two-lane traffic being admitted using a 6.75 meters wide roadway but with loads being limited to MLC20 tracked and MLC14 wheeled. Ramp bays are fitted at the extremities, while tugboats are needed, usually one every 2-3 bays, allowing to

A US Army Abrams main battle tank crossing a Medium Girder Bridge; the key feature of the MGB is that it can be assembled by hand, without using any mechanical aid. © WFEL

operate in currents up to 3,05 m/s; 13 interior and two ramp bays allow building a 100 meters long bridge, 30-45 minutes being the average build-up time. Three interior bays and two ramp bays are needed to build an MLC80T/96W ferry, which can be readied in 15 minutes. The IRB is compatible with the aforementioned M3 system as well as with the 1970s Standard Ribbon Bridge/Foldable Float Bridge capable to carry MLC60 loads. In the already mentioned Anakonda 2016 exercise a 350 meters bridge was built by US Army and German Army engineers using the IRB and Dutch engineers using the SRB. The IRB in service with Germany has a similar end-life date of the Bundeswehr’s M3s, therefore a replacement for those systems will start soon. Apparently Germany would like to acquire a

Italian Army engineers belonging to the 8th Airborne Engineer Regiment pictured during training while assembling a Medium Girder Bridge. © P. Valpolini 12

EDR | September/October 2019

system that merges together the properties of the M3 and the IRB, a tough challenge for GDELS designers. The company stresses that its MLC classification follows STANAG 2021 theoretical vehicles and that upgraded MBTs like the M1, Challenger 2 or Leopard 2 can be loaded and crossed by its bridging systems at MLCs of 120T and more. Four years ago the French company CEFA considered the trends in bridging and decided developing a new bridge very similar to the Russian PMP or the German IRB, the Steel Ribbon Bridge (SRB), which prototype was produced in early 2019. The key word is “steel”, used for interior bays while those of the IRB are in aluminium. The French SRB is thus stronger (and heavier) and copes with MLC85 tracked and MLC120 wheeled loads. Its interior bays dimensions are pretty similar to IRB ones

Wet gap crossing on a Medium Girder Bridge for this VAB 6x6; the MGB can be built in different configurations allowing to deal with different gap spans at different MLC capabilities. © WFEL

although weight is higher, 7,950 versus 6,350 kg. Another key issue is that the launching system is fitted to a pallet and not directly to the truck, this allowing to quickly installing the system onto any PLS-equipped heavy truck with a 10 tonnes payload capacity. The locking system allows SRB elements to be used together with IRB modules, ensuring interoperability. Here too the propulsion is provided by tugboats, CEFA proposing its Vedette F2 which two waterjets ensure a 26 kN combined thrust, however the SRB can be operated with any boat providing sufficient thrust. The Vedette F2 is fitted with a Cummins diesel


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EDR | September/October 2019


engine of automotive origin, which ensures easy of maintenance, the engine being air-cooled. The number of bays and building time for ferries and bridges are similar to those of the IRB. The SRB has already been tested by the French Army. CEFA will make the new bridge available for production in 2020.

meters long bridge, the time trebling at night, the crew needed being of eight soldiers and one NCO, a 31 meters MLC70 double storey requiring three times more personnel and 40 minutes in daytime, 70 minutes at night. The floating variant uses pontoons made from marine grade aluminium alloy. A single-storey floating MGB is built in a continuous construction, allowing one bay of the bridge to be added every 30 seconds whilst the double-storey floating MGB can cope with extreme bank heights of up to five meters and can be built in either multi-span or continuous form, depending on the length of the crossing. MLC

The Swiss Army chose Iveco’s Trakker 10x8 for its Dry Support Bridges; the DSB is also integrated on Oshkosh and RMMV 10x10 trucks. © P. Valpolini

Assault bridges Originally produced by Fairey Engineering Ltd in Stockport, England, now WFEL, the Medium Girder Bridge (MGB) is probably among the most widely used bridging systems in the western world, over 500 MGB systems having been sold to 40 countries, WFEL being currently delivering MGBs in sub-Saharan African countries. Designed to be assembled by hand, the heavier elements can be transported by six soldiers. It is available in five different configurations, Single Span, MultiSpan, Double Storey with Link Reinforcement Set (LRS), Floating and MACH (Mechanically Aided Constructed by Hand), the latter reducing the manpower needed for construction to less than a half. This is not the place where to detail construction sequences, but typically a roller beam is used to reach the far bank, a launching nose being installed ahead of the bridge. MLC versus span for the three main configurations is detailed in the table; typical building time is of 12 minutes in day for a single storey MLC70 9.8


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Single Storey

Double Storey

Double Storey LRS


9.8 m

31.1 m

42.0 m


9.8 m

31.1 m

49.4 m


9.8 m

34.8 m



11.6 m

38.5 m



15.2 m

42.0 m



19.0 m

47.6 m


Considering deployability, WFEL developed the Air Portable Ferry Bridge (APFB), a lightweight and portable solution capable to generate MLC35 tracked and wheeled bridges or ferries. It can be easily transported by land, sea or air using its own foldaway trailers, pallets or ISO containers, and can be carried by C130 aircraft, underslung under helicopter or even dropped by air on Medium Stress Platforms. A complete APFB system requires six standard and two dedicated

Swiss Army engineers build a Dry Support Bridge during “Odescalchi 2017”, a Swiss-Italian exercise dealing with a major man-induced disaster. © P. Valpolini

A BAE Systems Bridging Vehicle fitted with an armoured cabin and a cage armour add-on against RPGs carrying General Support Bridges elements, pictured in Afghanistan. © UK MoD

pontoon DROPS flatracks, a reduced number of flatracks being required depending on specific roles, the minimum being three for a fly forward over bridge configuration. This allows to build a 14.5 meters span bridge with a 4 meters width, one NCO and 12 engineers requiring 50 minutes to complete it; the reinforced APFB increases the span to 29.2 meters, requiring twice the personnel and two hours to be built. As for the ferry configuration, this includes six pontoons, two of which powered, and requires 14 personnel and two NCOs for a two hours period. However the newest system proposed by WFEL is the Dry Support Bridge (DSB), which is deployed using a launch vehicle integrated on a variety of military vehicle chassis, usually a heavy truck; the US Army uses the Oshkosh M1075 10x10, the Swiss Army the Iveco Trakker 10x8, and Australia the RMMV HX 10x10. The launching system installed on the truck allows building a beam that reaches the opposite bank, bridge modules being then pushed forward suspended to the beam until the bridge has reached the opposite bank, then the beam is dismounted. The maximum span of this MLC120 bridge is 46 meters with a 4.3 meters road width, less than 90 minutes and only eight personnel being needed to complete the bridge. The DSB has already been acquired by the US, Turkey, Switzerland and Australia, the latter having recently bought for its Land 155

Project both the DSB and the MGB. The MLC for the DSB at 46 meters is tested at 120 (W) and 80 (T) in accordance with TDTC1996 and testing continues in accordance with STANAG 2021 to determine greater MLC capability BAE Systems has been active for years in the bridging domain, and produced the Modular Bridging System (MBS). In July 2019 Rheinmetall and BAE Systems launched RBSL (Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land), an independent UK-based joint venture for military vehicle design, which also includes BAE Systems’ bridging activities. In 1993 the British Army ordered the MBS in two versions, the Close Support Bridge (CSB), deployed by the Tank Bridge Transporter, and the General Support Bridge (GSB), the two sharing many common modules. The GSB is composed of panels, 2, 4 and 8 meters-long panels being available, 8 meters ramps, and accessories, and can be built in different configurations. Two types of vehicles are required, the BV (Bridging Vehicle), and the ABLE (Automotive Bridge Launching Equipment), both of them being available in unarmoured or armoured versions. The latter is used to launch the bridge, first deploying a launch rail to the far side of the gap, assembled bridge sections being then attached using wheel-mounted trolleys to the rail and pushed forward until the bridge has reached the opposing bank, the rail being then retrieved; the far bank can be 3 meters higher or lower compared to the launch one. The ABLE is parked with the back to the gap, while BVs can be

British Army engineers training to launch a General Support Bridge; produced by BAE Systems, this bridge is among those for which UK is looking for a successor. © BAE Systems

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either parked aside or in line, the latter solution allowing to exploit restricted areas. A Single Span Un-reinforced GSB can overcome a 16 meters or a 32 meters gap, the materiel being carried by one ABLE and two BVs. To increase the length, the Single Span Reinforced configuration is available, allowing to build 34, 44 and 56 meters bridges, respectively four, four and five BVs being used to transport the needed elements. When a support feature is available within the gap a Two Span Fixed Pier can be launched, using a fixed pier; the un-reinforced configuration allows building 30 or 64 meters bridges, the reinforced version allowing building 34 and 64 meters bridges, the same length provided when using a floating pier. All those configurations require one ABLE and five BVs to carry the bridging materiel. The minimum crew required is of 10 personnel, the maximum being for the two span floating pier, which requires 15 of them. RBSL guarantees its GSB for 10,000 crossings at MLC70 tracked or 6,000 at MLC90 tracked(1); the company incorporated a UMS (Usage Monitoring System) into the key elements which transmit data via a wireless system to a computer, allowing fatigue damage to be kept under control. The company is also designing a new bridge aimed at answering the British Army Project Tyro requirements. The RBSL solution exploits the current in-service bridge launch systems for both the CSB and GSB; all new bridges have been designed and tested in the Tyro Assessment

Phase. This new MBS is designed to meet the UK MoD’s requirement for MLC100 (Tracked). The bridge panels have been tested on RBSL’s Bridge Testing Facility in Telford against the requirement. The UK MOD’s requirement for wheeled vehicle crossings continues to be matured. RBSL is also working on increasing its MBS capabilities, i.e. reaching 100 meters length with a multi-span configuration. RBSL has conducted company funded concept analysis of the potential to develop a 100 meters span General Support Bridge. Schemes using Tyro build standard bridge panels would provide a bridge of about 65 meters at MLC30(T), with carbon fibre launch mechanisms. RBSL also continues to work on longer span bridges and launch systems, although this is outside the UK MOD Tyro requirement. In 2010 Turkey acquired two MBS systems from BAE Systems, Land Forces aiming at increasing their capabilities acquiring five more, evaluation still pending. FNSS answered the TLF requirement in Q2 2018; the Turkish company would act as system integrator, RBSL providing the materiel. (1) - MLC combined with fatigue life is not a formal NATO standard as individual users have different requirements the Tri Lateral Design and Test Code does not specify fatigue life requirements. Some, like the UK, will state a maximum MLC and then a number of crossings at that maximum MLC. Others may specify the maximum MLC and then a fatigue life requirement based on a “mixed usage”, for example 2000 MLC120(T)/(W), 3000 MLC50(T)/(W) and 5000 <MLC50(T)/ (W). Either way it all adds up to explaining the life of the bridge.

Royal Engineers from 44 HQ and Support Squadron installing a General Support Bridge in the northern part of Nahr-e Seraj District of Helmand Province, Afghanistan. The ABLE vehicle is fitted with passive and cage armour. © UK MoD


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The Thales four-ring CAPTAS-4 towed body here installed on Italian Navy’s ASW FREMM, has been specifically designed to provide extended surveillance capabilities. Š Italian Navy/NATO

Low-frequency Towed Active Sonar (LFTAS) By Luca Peruzzi The low-frequency towed active sonar (LFAS) has established itself as the sensor of choice for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) vessels including reduced-dimensions and -displacement platforms, such as light frigates, corvettes, OPVs and even unmanned and autonomous vehicles. In the last years, the proliferation of quiet, conventionally and air independent propulsion submarines and the technology developments in acoustics electronics have pushed the manufacturers to shrink the weight and quarterdeck footprint of LFAS arrays and their associated launch-and-recovery systems to widen the portfolio of suitable platforms.


hales has been further expanding its already well-established and successful family of Combined Active Passive Towed Array Sonar (CAPTAS) low-frequency variable depth sonars and is looking to insert advanced technologies to edge in the underwater battlespace. Based on the


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free-flooded ring (FFR) transducers and triplet receiver array technology (to resolve left/right bearing ambiguity), the CAPTAS family was initially based on two products: the four-ring CAPTAS-4, specifically designed for ASW frigates of 3,500 tonnes and above and characterized by extended range surveillance capabilities,

and the smaller CAPTAS-2 for installation on board ships down to 1,800 tonnes. With 9002100 Hz active frequencies coverage and wide bandwidth against reverberation effect, the CAPTAS-4 offers extended range simultaneous active and passive 360° surveillance with typical detection range up to 150 km (second oceanic convergence zone) and permanent all-round torpedo alert, according to Thales. The CAPTAS-4 is operational in two variants respectively onboard Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigates (Sonar 2087), and on French and Italian FREMMs (CAPTAS-4) including foreign customers (Royal Moroccan and Egyptian Navy). Thales is however looking to further enhance the CAPTAS-4 capabilities. Novus is the name for a collection of passive sonar algorithms and human computer interface developments already in service with Sonar 2076 on board UK submarines. Thales and the UK’s Royal Navy has been trialling with success this software package with Sonar 2087 (CAPTAS-4) on board Type 23 frigates thanks to the open architecture introduced with the same sonar’s multi-year and multi-phase technology refresh programme to keep the system up-to-date with new threats and operational requirements. The latter development is promoted in Australia

where the SEA 5000 programme’s new Type 26 ASW frigates require a dedicated suite including a capable VDS. Designed for both deep and shallow water operations, the smaller CAPTAS-2 offers long range simultaneous active and passive 360° surveillance (typically up to 60 km – first oceanic convergence zone) and torpedo alert. The CAPTAS 2 is operational with Royal Norwegian Navy’s Nansen-class and Royal Saudi Navy’s F4000 frigates, while being provided for Royal Malaysian and Egyptian Navies’ Gowind corvettes, UAE Navy’s Abu Dhabi-class corvette and Mexican Navy’s POLA platform. Both VDS systems allow bi-static and multi-static operations with hull-mounted, heliborne dipping sonar and sonobuoys, and feature new user-friendly Human-Machine Interface (HMI), introducing 3D analysis and chart underlay to increase situation understanding. Thales also offers the compact version of the CAPTAS-4 system to satisfy market requirements of medium-size frigates. Thanks to reusing and rationalisation CAPTAS family components and hardware Thales achieved a 20% weight reduction and a 50% reduction in footprint compared to the CAPTAS-4 (weighing 34 tonnes and featuring an 84 m2 footprint), while maintaining about 90% of the latter’s

The CAPTAS-4 sonar suite used by French and Italian FREMM frigates uses independent tow drums for respectively the four-ring transducers towed body and the receiver array, the latter including torpedo detection capabilities. © Italian Navy/NATO

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performances. In comparison, the CAPTAS-2 has a minus 16 tonnes weight (on the quarterdeck) and minus 39 m2 footprint (including maintenance area). The CAPTAS-4 compact version comes in two configurations, which share the original system’s towed body and drum: the independent tow model, which retains separate towed body and receiver array (25 tonnes weight and circa 45 m2 footprint), and the dependent tow model with the receiver array attached to the towed body (20 tonnes and circa 43 m2 footprint), the latter same configuration used by smaller CAPTAS-2 and CAPTAS-1. The launch platform for the CAPTAS-4 compact version is the French Navy’s FDI programme, but interest has been shown by the Spanish Navy for its F110 programme, among

The CAPTAS-4 compact version, here depicted, was developed for medium-size frigates market, with a 20% weight and a 50% footprint reduction compared to original CAPTAS-4. © Thales

other bids. Both the CAPTAS-2 and -4 compact versions are also offered as mission modules to provide cross-platforms ASW capabilities. Engineered to allow installation on offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) down to about 800 tonnes, the CAPTAS-1 uses a single dependent tow for both the active sonar source (a single free-flooded ring transducer operating at a centre frequency of about 1.5 kHz) and a triplet receiver array. Thales developed a compact and lightweight towed array handling system that uses a single automatic winch with a deck footprint of 15 m2 and about 8 tonnes weight. The CAPTAS-1 is also available in containerised form, including a 20 ft and 10 ft shipping containers mounted adjacent.


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Designed for both deep and shallow waters, the CAPTAS-2 became the towed sonar suite-of-choice for corvette-type platforms. © Thales

At-sea trials conducted by Thales showed that the CAPTAS-1 can be operated up to 12 knots and depth down to 100 meters. Typical detection range is in the 20-30 km region, depending on target type and environmental conditions. The UK-based Ultra Electronics group’s towed LFAS come as part of the Integrated Sonar System (ISS) ASW suite. The latter is a softwareintensive, multi-sensor sonar suite combining technology and subsystems from Ultra business in Australia, Canada, UK and US. In addition to an active/passive hull-mounted sonar, the ISS suite provides the functionality of the VDS, towed array and towed torpedo defence system (TDS) in a single tow from one winch. Comprising a horizontal projector array (HPA), towed lowfrequency source (TLFS), passive receiver array (which can include left/right bearing resolution)

The CAPTAS-1 has been developed for installation on small-ships and OPVs down to about 1,800 tonnes. © Thales

The UK-based Ultra Electronics group markets an Integrated Sonar System (ISS) ASW suite including a single-towed horizontal projector array (HPA), towed low-frequency source (TLFS), passive receiver array and torpedo defence system package. A version is in service with Australian Hobart-class frigates © Australian DoD.

and torpedo defence system, the single tow drum lightweight system can be operated by two personnel up to Sea State 6, without requiring the hard-body VDS. Thanks to its modularity and flexibility, an ISS variant equips the Royal Australian Navy’s Hobart-class destroyers, while components have been purchased by the UK Royal Navy (mainly the hull-mounted for Type 45 destroyers, Type 23/26 ASW frigates) and the Turkish Navy. The VDS and towed array have been developed for the Canadian and Dutch Navies by Canadian-based Ultra Electronics Maritime Systems (UEMS), following demonstration at sea by the Canadian research organisation, DRDC. The optional TLFS is an adaptation of proven sonobuoy technology. Signal processing software is common for both HPA and TLFS. In February 2019, UEMS announced to have been subcontracted by Lockheed Martin Canada as part of Canada’s Combat Ship Team, based on BAE Systems’ Type 26 Global Combat Ship and selected as the winning bid for the Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) programme by Irving Shipbuilding. The latter is prime contractor to build the 15 ASW frigates. Leading the ASW capability, Ultra will provide the low-frequency active and passive towed sonar system paired with its next-generation all-digital UK Sonar 2150 hull-mounted sonar and will lead the integration

with sonobuoys and other capabilities for widearea underwater battlespace surveillance to meet Canada’s future strategic needs. The towed lowfrequency active sonar, which has its roots in the advanced developments from the Defence Research and Development Canada, will be manufactured in UEMS’ Dartmouth facility as it was for the Royal Dutch Netherlands Navy, in addition to the Sonar 2150 third-generation hullmount sonar for Ultra. UEMS is also providing a new in-line transmitter and receiver array as part of the General Dynamics Systems-Canada’s Underwater Warfare Suite Upgrade (UWSU) programme for the Royal Canadian Navy’s Halifax-class frigates. As prime contractor, General Dynamics Systems-Canada will provide an integrated ASW system centered on an upgraded hull-mounted sonar, the new single towed low-frequency active sonar and receiver array, and additional active intercept sensors. Atlas Elektronik is marketing a family of active towed array sonars based on the Active Towed Array Sonar (ACTAS) system, which derives from the LFTAS system prototype extensively tested by the German MoD. ACTAS is a low-frequency ASW The Canadian-based Ultra Electronics Maritime Systems company will supply the ASW sonar suite for new Type 26 Global Combat Ship under Canadian Surface Combatant programme. © Ultra Electronics

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Atlas Elektronik is marketing a family of active towed array sonars based on the Active Towed Array Sonar (ACTAS) already in service with Thai and Indian navies. © Atlas Elektronik

Leonardo defence systems is offering its Active Towed Array System (ATAS) already contracted for the “full combatant” version of the new PPA multipurpose combatant patrol vessel. © Leonardo

sonar system that operates simultaneously in active and passive modes and provides high-resolution target detection. Designed to detect, track and classify submarines, torpedoes and surface vessels, including speed boats, ACTAS features over-the-horizon surveillance capabilities at ranges considerably above 60 km (depending on propagation conditions), Atlas Elektronik claims. The ACTAS’ “wet-end” includes a towed body housing the vertical transmitter array providing full 360° range coverage - with twin depressors for stabilization and associated passive reception array with triplet array to instantaneously resolve left/right bearing ambiguity. The towed body can operate to depth up to 280 meters, depending on customer requirements. The launch and recovery equipment, associated power system and ancillaries have a shipboard 35 m2 footprint while the complete system weighs 20 tonnes. Atlas Elektronik has so far secured two ACTAS line export contracts: the first obtained in December 2013, comes from Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) for the supply of a single system (plus an ASO series bow sonar) for the new DW-3000F Tachin-class frigate delivered to the Royal Thai Navy, with an option for a second ship. The second followed in late 2014 from the Indian MoD and regards six ACTAS ship sets for the Indian Navy. These are reported to outfit three Talwar-class frigates and three Delhi-class destroyers, the latter under equipment. The contract is reportedly including options for 10 22

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additional systems to be built locally by Bharat Electronics Limited under a technology transfer agreement. Leonardo Defence Systems Division is offering its Active Towed Array System (ATAS) already contracted for the “full combatant” version of the new Thaon di Revel-class PPA multipurpose combatant patrol vessels for the Italian Navy, which is to be delivered in 2024. Designed to fulfil these vessels’ ASW operational requirements, relying exclusively on the passive/active VDS capabilities, the ATAS system is a low/medium frequency sonar, characterized by reduced size, weight, and footprint. No operating bands have been disclosed but EDR Magazine understood the ATAS works in a passive-active frequencyrange between less than 350 Hz and over 5,000 Hz. With a total weight of less than 9 tonnes including launch and recovery system (LARS), towed body and array, power and processing electronics cabinets and local console, the ATAS has a single tow line for both transmitting towed body and receiving array. Every single module of the LARS weighs less than 3 tonnes to be easily installed/removed, based on Italian Navy’s requirements to equip also the “Light”and “Light Plus” versions, according to ship availability. The LARS is less than 2 meters high, the ATAS’ wetbody weighs less than 600 kg and is less than 2 metres long; it incorporates a vertical array transmitter consisting of free flooded rings, which

Kongsberg Maritime’s ST2400 VDS was selected to equip Royal Swedish Navy’s Göteborg-class and Finnish Navy’s Hamina-class corvettes for their respective upgrading programmes. © Kongsberg Maritime

provides omnidirectional transmission with good vertical directivity and high source level, according to Leonardo. The connected receiving linear array consists of multiple hydrophone triplets allowing left-right ambiguity resolution. The towed body cable has a maximum length of 400 meters, while the connected smaller-diameter cable adds less than 150 meters and features the trailing passive array of 20 meters length. The ATAS has a maximum operating depth of 300 meters at typical ASW patrolling speeds, even with its limited weight and its automatic depth regulation, allowing good acoustic coverage in any propagation condition. The latest towed body configuration unveiled at Euronaval 2018 presents a new main rear cruciform stabilizer mounted on the top trailing edge, which EDR Magazine understood providing enhanced stability even at higher-than-required towing speeds. Capable to be installed on shallow and blue waters platforms, the ATAS can perform active and passive target detection, tracking and automatic classification, as well as interception of sonar pulse emissions (including torpedo acoustic head pulses), torpedo alarm and training. According to Leonardo, the ATAS has a detection range, on “modern submarines” without specifying, beyond the first oceanic convergence zone. Kongsberg Maritime offers the ST2400 VDS which has been selected for the mid-life upgrade of the Royal Swedish Navy’s Göteborg-class corvettes by Saab Defence Group as well as for

the Finnish Navy’s Hamina-class corvette under the SQ2000MLU programme. The ST2400 is a towed, lightweight, multiple frequency active sonar for ASW as well as detection of mines and unmanned underwater vehicles with an emphasis on performance and operations in shallow waters. The towed unit contains a fixed cylindrical array encapsulated in a robust hydrodynamic body. Operating from 22 to 29 kHz, the ST24000 features a compact design, weighing under three tonnes and can be rapidly deployed for high speed maneuvering in addition to full stop (dipping mode). The unique ST2400 VDS is a compact package with omni-directional coverage, and performances that can overcome challenging acoustic environments while not limiting the vessels maneuverability. The requirements for utilizing towed-sonar systems from low-displacement vessels and unmanned surface and underwater platforms, have pushed Systems Engineering & Assessment (SEA) UK company, part of the Cohort Group, to develop the Krait Defence Anti-Submarine Warfare system centered on the family of KraitArray low-profile miniaturized acoustic arrays suitable for low-speed towed or static applications. Launched in 2017 and building on original version strength and follow-on proprietary technological developments, SEA has developed and tested a 150 meters-long KraitArray low-profile array which uses digitized EDR | September/October 2019


Northern America solutions

ASW MP includes the Raytheon-developed dualmode array transmitter (DART), a Multi-Function Towed Array (MFTA) and sonar signal processing. In May 2017, Raytheon received a contract to develop the dual-mode array transmitter (DART) VDS, leading an industrial team including Curtiss Wright Defence Solutions, L3 Adaptive Methods, Pursive Systems and Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute. Meeting all the US Navy’s design and performance requirements, said Raytheon presenting the system, the new VDS, identical for both variants, features reduced weight to minimize ship impact, increased maneuverability, and it provides the opportunity for increased warfighting payloads. No information has been provided by both the US Navy and Raytheon about the capabilities of the VDS, which according to the latest images includes both the active sonar and the passive MFTA on the same towed cable. The VDS features a towed body incorporating the sonar with “slotted cylinder ceramics” design to improve acoustics, the latter deploying vertically under operations, according to released images and video. The ASW MP will take advantage of improvements developed under the submarine Advanced Processing Build (APB), Advanced Surveillance Build (ASB) and Advanced Capability Build (ACB) and will in turn share unique improvements developed under the submarine, surface combatants, and ASW communities, within the common development process titled AxB, according to US Navy documentation.

The US Navy has put to pace the final component of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) ASW mission package (MP), in advance to the embarkation of the complete suite on the Fort Worth (LCS 3) platform to start the developmental testing (DT) in September 2019 followed by initial operational test & evaluation (IOT&E) in order to reach the initial operational capability (IOC) in Q2 2020. Production is expected in the same fiscal year, when shipboard integration will initiate on the Independence LCS variant. The same sonar package has also been chosen for the multirole FFG(X) programme. To provide ASW area search and high value unit (HVU) escort missions, the

Tracing its sonar heritage from EDO corporation, the today Harris offers its Model 980 ALOFTS (Advanced Low Frequency Towed Sonar), which has received international orders, respectively from the Republic of Singapore Navy in 2000 for installation aboard its six Formidable-class multimission frigates and later-on from the Israeli Navy for an undisclosed platform installation, reported to be the Sa’ar 5-classe corvettes. The ALOFTS combines a high-powered active source in a variable depth towed array with a directional towed array to receive active and passive signals. Capable of simultaneous active and passive operations and torpedo detection, the open

The requirements for utilizing towed sonar suites from lowdisplacement vessels and unmanned platforms pushed Systems Engineering & Assessment (SEA) UK company to develop the family of KraitArray low-profile acoustic arrays. © SEA

multi-module assembly philosophy and is now established in-service for use with ASV, AUV and small surface vessels. According to SEA, this new array extends the range and increases the bearing accuracy enabling a full ASW capability on small ships and OPVs. In addition to the ability to link modules together with a length up to 150 meters (5-to-20 kHz receive bandwidth), SEA increased the acoustics sensors number up to 192 as well as the non-acoustic to 24, improved hydrophone performance, increased the strength to support tow speed of 30 knots and adding smart power management. The KraitArray now delivers, SEA claims, similar performance to much larger and costlier towed arrays but is more efficient to launch and recover, minimizing the footprint on the host vessel and handling requirements.


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GeoSpectrum, a wholly owned Canada-based subsidiary of Elbit Systems Ltd is proposing its Towed Reelable Active Passive Sonar (TRAPS) characterized by a very compact and lightweight design. © GeoSpectrum The US Navy is to begin testing the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) ASW mission payload centered on Raytheon-developed dual-mode array transmitter (DART), here depicted, a Multi-Function Towed Array (MFTA) and sonar signal processing, by next September from Fort Worth (LCS 3) Freedom-class LCS. © Raytheon

system architecture and modular system with scalable interfaces to torpedo fire control and countermeasures can be configured for small and large platforms, offering high speed towing. Another US contender in the international LFAS marketplace is L-3 Ocean Systems, which is offering its lightweight LFATS VDS-100 system, being already sold to the Egyptian Navy. Using proven technology derived from the HELRAS helicopter DS-100 dipping sonar, the VDS-100 system consists of a towed body integrating separate transmitter and receiver arrays operating at 1.38 kHz and depths between 15 and 300 meters, with easy installation, removal and handling from a range of ships, including frigates, corvettes, small patrol boat and platforms of opportunity. GeoSpectrum, a wholly owned subsidiary of Elbit Systems Ltd based in Canada, is offering and continuing to conduct trials of its Towed Reelable Active Passive Sonar (TRAPS) ASW sonar system with the Royal Canadian Navy. Designed to meet the requirement for a compact, lightweight and low-cost active/passive VDS that can be accommodated on smaller ship, the TRAPS is considered unique, claims the company, as it employs a 2 kHz active sound source that uses a single-tow vertical projector array (VPA), which is stowed on a single winch drum together with the receiver array and tow cable. The TRAPS has a maximum operating

Locheed Martin is providing the TB-37U Multi-Function Towed Array (MFTA) as part of the US Navy’s AN/SQQ-89(V) undersea warfare and anti-submarine warfare combat system, which forms the basis of new LCS ASW Mission Package’s signal processing. The MFTA is in service or will equip the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, Ticonderoga-class cruisers, Independence- and Freedom-class littoral combat ships, and Zumwalt-class land-attack destroyers. © US Navy

speed of 17+ knots and a survival speed of 25 knots, although there are plans to upgrade this to 22 knots and in excess of 30 knots. Minimum and maximum operating depths are 10 and 150 meters. With a Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions provided winch of 1.8x2.3x2 meters footprint which can accommodate a maximum 650 meters towed cable for a total weight of 1,200 kg, in addition to 250 kg for the operator console and the power amplifier, the TRAPS is also being offered to customers in containerized solutions. Thanks to its reduced weight and compactness, a modified TRAPS package is being developed for deployment from unmanned surface vessels with a revised winch solution, for which CurtissWright is already under contract, in particular to demonstrate this variant from Elbit’s Seagull USV in 2020.

EDR | September/October 2019


Improving European defence capabilities By David Oliver

The EDA’s Medium-Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) RPAS Training Technology Demonstrator. © EDA

The European Defence Agency (EDA) is an intergovernmental agency of the Council of the European Union (EU). Currently, 27 countries - all EU Member States with the exception of Denmark - participate in the EDA. If and when the United Kingdom leaves the EU, the UK will no longer be a member of the EDA.


he EDA’s mission is to support the Member States and the Council in their effort to improve European defence capabilities. Co-operation with the Member States is very close, be it on the toplevel through the Steering Board that sets EDA’s priorities or at the working level in expert teams. The EDA currently connects around 4,000 national based-experts in co-operative defence projects. Member States contribute to the Agency’s annual


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budget according to a GNP-based formula and approve its work plan. Member States can decide whether or not to participate in EDA projects according to national needs. However, the results achieved by the Agency are for the benefit of all Member States. The EDA has a total budget of 93.6 million Euros. The EDA’s key capability programmes agreed by the EU leaders in 2013 include the Medium-Al-

EDR | September/October 2019


Bulgarian and Romanian Air Force C-27J Spartan transport aircraft taking part in a European Spartan exercise. © EDA

titude Long Endurance (MALE) RPAS Training Technology Demonstrator that was successfully deployed to ten designated countries. In the cyber domain, the EDA has successfully supported the establishment of the Education, Training, Exercise and Evaluation (ETEE) platform within the European Security and Defence College (ESDC) that was inaugurated in November 2018. The EDA’s comprehensive programmes of fixedwing training and exercises includes the estab-

A Portuguese Air Force EH101 helicopter taking part in a troop deployment mission during Exercise Hot Blade. © David Oliver


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lishment of the European Tactical Airlift Centre (ETAC) in Zaragoza in 2017, which provided in 2018 four European Advanced Airlift Tactics Training Courses (ETAP-C), four European Advanced Tactical Instructor Courses (ETAP-I) as well as one European Airlift Transport Training (ETAP-T), with the financial support of EDA. Work has progressed on the development of a Transport Pilot Training Capacity concept aiming at establishing a common training syllabus and a common requirement for a future training platform for the future European Military Transport Pilot. Within the Leonardo C-27J Spartan Co-operation ad hoc Programme, the EDA has also supported the development of a common type training using

existing training facilities and including an annual live exercise. With the support of EATC, work has started on preparing a common technical agreement to facilitate cross-participation of Member States in their various national exercises. Five EDA Member States operating Leonardo C-27J Spartan military aircraft, Bulgaria, Italy, Lithuania, Slovakia and Romania, participated in the fourth edition of the European Spartan exercise in May 2019 at Otopeni airbase in Romania. Observers from other C-27J user countries, including Greece, Australia and the United States also attended the event. The aim of the exercise was to increase interoperability among European C-27J operators and is the outcome of the European Air Transport Fleet (EATF) partnership signed in 2011 by 20 EDA Member States. Designed by EDA and hosted by the Romanian Air Force, the exercise aimed at promoting aircraft user type approaches to harmonise tactics, techniques and procedures as well as developing cost-effective solutions to operate and sustain the C-27J. The objective is to provide aircrews with both academic and flight training as well as to have ground crews developing harmonised procedures to eventually allowing them to perform cross maintenance on each other’s aircraft. This concept is aimed at developing a far-reaching level of interoperability amongst European C-27J operators through a variety of projects in the areas of operations and training, logistics, airworthiness, common procurement and Single European Sky ATM Research programme (SESAR). The EDA recognises that the helicopter has become a key enabler in modern crisis management operations, especially when countering an asymmetric effect. Despite having significant numbers of rotary-wing aircraft, more than 1,700 helicopters in the military inventories, successive operations have been short of vital helicopter support. In consultation with Member States, several key strands were thought to contribute to this non-employability: a lack of training for the crews, a lack of technical equipment for the aircraft, and the difficulties of logistic support to

deployed operations. The EDA is helping participating Member States address these issues with the training element being the main focus. The framework document of the Helicopter Exercise Programme (HEP) was signed by the 13 contributing Member States in November 2012 that formally transitioned the HEP to a Category B programme. By enhancing the operating skills of helicopter crews across Europe, the HEP plays a part in increasing the deployable helicopter capability for contingency operations. The exercises focus on individual, environmental and multinational training, increasing interoperability through practical experiences, sharing operational experience and developing common tactics, techniques and procedures. It is a ten-year programme, and is an integral part of enhancing European capability and interoperability. The HEP is built on three main pillars, exercises, symposia and a core planning team. Thirteen rotary-wing exercises have so far been delivered under the umbrella of the EDA. These exercises met the urgent training requirements for the participating Member States and greatly enhanced the helicopter capability available. To date, 14 Member States have actively taken part with other European countries sending helicopters, air and ground crews and observers. The initial exercise in Logroño, Spain - Exercise Azor 2010, built on the success of the first EDA Exercise in Gap in France. One of the largest multination helicopter exercises in Europe since the Cold War, Azor 2010 was an ambitious exercise providing hot high and dust training to a significant number of crews before they deployed on operations. The exercise in Italy continued this process, by focussing much more on the interoperability and “coalition” type missions. Annual Hot Blade exercises are held in Portugal introducing Composite Air Operations (COMAO) planning/execution/evaluation in a hot/ high/dusty environment and including F-16 overwatch missions to replicate current operational practices. Green Blade and Black Blade exercises in Belgium focus on Special Operations, and

EDR | September/October 2019


A Czech Air Force Mil Mi-35 Hind flying nap-of-the-earth (NOE) flight course during an Italian Blade exercise. © EDA

are integrated ground and air exercises. Italian Blade exercise in Viterbo, Italy, continued to develop joint interoperability training through the integration of multinational elements, both in the air and on the ground, again in a hot and dusty environment. By contrast, Cold Blade exercise in Finland, focused on flying in demanding environmental conditions. The exercise is developed to test the helicopters, test the aircrew and to teach and learn techniques, tactics and procedures (TTP) in cold and snowy conditions. Fire Blade exercise held in Papa, Hungary, focussed on live firing with European helicopter units executing national training combined with challenging COMAO scenarios on Hungarian live firings ranges. The 13th multinational training organised under EDA’s HEP, Dark Blade 2019 took place at Námešt’ airbase in the Czech Republic. A total of 26 helicopters from Belgium, three A-109s and three NH-90s, the Czech Republic, five Mi-24s, six Mi-171s, Germany, three CH-53s, Hungary, three Mi-24s, Slovenia, an AS 532, and Poland, a W-3A, were involved in the exercise, as well as around 1,200 military staff. Observers from Ser-


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bia, the Netherlands, Sweden and the Joint Air Power Competence Centre (JAPCC) also attended. Furthermore, a multinational Joint Tactical Air Controller (JTAC) team and an Electronic Warfare (EW) emulator system were also involved. A mentor team encompassing helicopter tactics instructors from Austria, Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK supported the academic part of the exercise and provided mentoring and standardisation during the planning and execution phases of all COMAO missions. The main objective of the exercise was the performance of eight day/night COMAO missions in a realistic, harsh and complex environment; it also included specific training such as evasion training, live firing, formation flights, paratrooper and scuba jumps, rappelling and fast roping. In total, some 290 flights were performed amounting to around 500 flight hours. The next EDA helicopter exercise, Swift Blade 2020, will take place in April 2020 and will be jointly hosted by the Netherlands and Belgium, with Gilze-Rijen Air Base as the main location.

Beside the Blade exercises, an integral part of the HEP is the Helicopter Tactics Symposium which is designed to allow helicopter crews to share experiences, gain knowledge of the current threats they face and discuss tactics, techniques and procedures. Eleven Helicopter Tactics Symposia have taken place to date. In order to ensure coherence and continuity of the HEP, a core planning team (CPT) of two personnel has been appointed in accordance with the Programme Arrangement. Together they form the helicopter team within EDA’s Cooperation Planning & Support (CPS) Directorate. The CPT is managed through the EDA Helicopter Programme Manager who will be the Project Officer Rotary Wing, ensuring that the knowledge and experience gained so far transitions into this programme. The CPT is tasked by the Management Committee formed by the representatives of the contributing Member States. The main tasks are to assist host nations in the delivery of exercises and take any lessons identified and integrate them into future exercises. Additionally, the team is also able to give training advice to assist with the national training tasks as required.

These include the Helicopter Tactics Course (HTC), a Category B programme involving seven Member States. It focuses on the understanding of the fluid and often ill-defined modern operational environment and concentrates on the judgemental and cognitive training necessary to meet the complex challenges faced. Using commercial off-the-shelf components and serious gaming technologies, the course consists of both theoretical lessons and realistic missions conducted in a synthetic environment. Thirty-six crews per year, totalling 150 aircrew members, are being trained in the tactics used on current operations. There is an opportunity for other nations to benefit from this programme if they so wish. The Helicopter Tactics Instructors Course (HTIC) has been created to provide aircrew from participating nations with the skills and knowledge to then deliver tactics training within their own organisations and to assist in delivering the HEP, HTC and future HTIC. The course comprises eight weeks of intensive training performed at the EDA Training Centre at RAF Linton-on-Ouse in the UK and in Arvidsjaur Airport in Northern Sweden.

An NH90 of the Belgian Air Component supporting Special Forces training during Exercise Dark Blade. © EDA

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The COMAO Planning Course runs for two weeks in the UK and covers the background, theory and application of COMAO planning with a focus on rotary operations. Following the theory element, a series of daily missions will be planned and briefed by the course participants. The trainees will be mentored and instructed by Helicopter Tactics Instructors and other selected specialists. To expose the trainees to the expert thinking of the other specialisations, the course is augmented with aircrew from numerous other platform types including fast jet, AWACs, Attack Helicopter and Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR). The daily missions will follow an increasingly complex intelligence-based scenario that will incrementally introduce a full spectrum of capabilities and threats. The UK Company Inzpire, now part of the QinetiQ group, also delivers electronic warfare (EW) training to personnel from five countries on

the HTIC at RAF Linton-on-Ouse. A two-week EW course aims to provide selected personnel with an understanding of the basic theory of airborne EW systems. The syllabus will include basic EW theory and doctrine, Radio Frequency (RF) and Infra-red (IR) threats, warning systems and countermeasures. It will also cover general principles of employment of aircraft equipment and Defensive Aids Systems (DAS) including coalition interoperability issues. While the course will focus on rotary issues, a range of other platforms, both land and air based, will be studied. The outcome of all those training initiatives is a high level of operational interoperability and helicopter co-operation among a large number of EDA member states. The next important step will be the transfer of all those activities and programmes (HEP, HTC and HTIC) to a future Multinational Helicopter Training Centre (MHTC) by end of 2021.

The helicopter multi-crew training device at the EDA Training Centre at RAF Linton-on-Ouse operated by Inzpire. Š David Oliver


EDR | September/October 2019

Hesco is worldwide known for its MIL defensive barriers; since 2019 the company is not only providing elements for building camps but also turnkey solutions. Š HESCO

Passive protection for forward military bases By Paolo Valpolini Base protection is definitely an integrated business, which includes passive elements, such as walls, bunkers, etc, sensors, to provide adequate warning to allow a reaction, and effectors, which can be of various types, from C-RAM systems aimed at neutralising incoming indirect fire, to automatic firearms, machine guns and cannons, to counter direct threats, to mortars or even artillery, to provide counterfire battery. All this has to be put together in a cohesive system in order to maximise the effect of single items. This article wants to give a quick overview, definitely not complete, on passive protection means.


hen considering passive protection Hesco is a name that comes immediately to the mind, its MIL units having become a standard

when building up a main or forward operating base, while its RAID system considerably improved the deployment speed of such barriers. Until now Hesco was seen mostly as a supplier

EDR | September/October 2019


To speed-up the deployment of its MIL barriers Hesco developed the RAID system, which allows to deploy up to 300 meters barrier in around one minute. © HESCO

Introduced in 2017 and completed with new modules in the following years, the Terrablock by Hesco allows to quickly erect protective barriers up to 4 meters height, capable to stop heavy trucks at medium speed. © HESCO

of stand-alone systems, but in February 2019 the UK company announced that it is now ready to provide turnkey solutions, using its systems as well as those of its partners, namely its sister companies Betafence and Guardiar, and quite soon Drehtainer from Germany, which acquisition by the Praesidiad Group was announced in late 2018 and should be finalised soon. Hesco exploits existing software for which it had modelled its systems, which allows it to quickly design custom-made solutions to be proposed to the client. Among the most recent additions to its catalogue, Hesco introduced the Terrablock system, based on a MIL-type base solution, 1,37 meters high, to which a 3-D welded mesh is fixed; once the mesh element is assembled and fixed to the base, the Terrablock is flipped in vertical position, the base being then filled either with ballast bags, the lower variants, or with direct fill; once erected each module is linked to the next.


EDR | September/October 2019

Four configurations are available, XL, without the fence, XR, with 3 meters high anti-climb fence, XS, available with a 3 or 4 meters high fence, and XV, the latter including the Energy Transfer System and other options. Barbed wire can be installed at the top of the fence to further impede climbing. The Terrablock barrier can be easily installed by two people, and depending on the model can stop a 7.5 tonnes vehicle travelling at 48 km/h or a 6.8 tons vehicle at 80 km/h. Developed as a dual-use product, as many of the Hesco catalogue items, the Terrablock has obtained considerable success not much as perimeter de-

The “XV” version of the Terrablock is fitted with the Energy Transfer System and can stop a 7.5 tonnes truck at 80 km/h with a penetration of less than 1 meter. © HESCO

At DSEI 2019 Hesco is unveiling its LOPS, for Lightweight Overhead Protection System, with the aim of providing a lighter solution for protecting shelters from indirect fire threats. Š HESCO

fence, where RAID is a better option, but to secure compounds within the camp itself; classified areas hosting Special Forces, intelligence, HQ, and other key elements are usually hosted behind a secured perimeter, with secure access control. Hesco found out that in fact internal perimeters within downrange military bases are usually longer than the external perimeter itself. Since its development, Hesco added a series of access control options ranging from pedestrian portals, to M50 P1 rated 5.4 meters gates, to the Terrablock RAB (Rising Arm Barrier), the latest addition to the access options, which gives a 6 meters wide clearance and is tested to a vehicle impact rating of M40 (6.8 tonnes at 65 km/h). A brand new system is currently under development under the acronym LOPS (Lightweight

Overhead Protection System). Until now the typical overhead protection was provided by MIL modules installed over the roof and filled with earth; steelplate-based solutions were available, but at heavy weight and high cost. The new solution will be modular, allowing two people to install it easily, either building the whole roof on the ground and installing it by means of a crane, or building it in position. The kit allows building a 7.2 x 5 meters surface, which is installed over two parallel walls built with MIL19 Hesco modules, which also provides side protection and is designed to shelter an ISO20 container or similar sized units. The LOPS can also be used to protect vehicles or other equipment, the system ensuring protection from mortar bombs and artillery grenade fragments. The LOPS should be unveiled at DSEI 2019. Developing protection systems against various kind of threats is a survival matter in Israel, thus it does not comes as a surprise that one of the most prolific companies in terms of passive defensive systems is based in that country. Founded in 1962, the 2019 Mifram Security catalogue counts 180 pages, with products ranging from anti-missile barriers to individual guard posts, to which we must add barriers against ramming vehicles. With all US military services among its customers, as well as the Israeli Defence Forces,

Mifram’s metal Protective Wall is capable to provide considerable ballistic protection as well as protection against blast and shrapnel from indirect fire. Š Mifram

EDR | September/October 2019


When a quick reaction against an unexpected threat is needed, Mifram provides the Garmoshka, a quickly deployable 12 meters long metal wall. Š Mifram

the United Nations, and numerous police and civilian customers, Mifram is able to provide complete solutions in terms of passive protection. Beside its Dune Barrier system, available in metallic and geo-technic cloth versions, Mifram proposes its Protective Wall, made of galvanised metal panels that are assembled together forming a parallelepiped which is then filled with earth. The width is 1.44 meters, the basic element being 1.25 meters long but each one can be linked to the previous increasing length at

Top protection against incoming threats is a key issue in Israel, thus Mifram developed the Sky Guard system, which can be used to protect either civil or military buildings. Š Mifram


EDR | September/October 2019

whish, while height is 1 meter although elements can be installed one on top of the other up to 5 meters. According to Mifram, and depending on wall thickness, its Protective Wall can withstand a direct hit and near miss from rockets up to 122 mm, blast and shrapnel of various types, direct hits by RPG 7, small arms fire up to 12.7 mm, direct hit and near miss from mortar shells up to 120 mm, blast from aerial explosions and detonation of car bombs with 2.5 tonnes explosives. To isolate sensitive areas Concrete Walls are available, with height between 3 to 6 meters and

Miframs’ Mantis armoured observation tower can be quickly deployed and can reach up to 10 meters height. © Mifram

thickness between 200 and 350 mm, as well as 2.5 meters high Steel Walls. Should a threat appear suddenly, i.e. from snipers, the Garmoshka Foldable Protective Wall can be used; 12 meters long and 2.5 meters high, it is made of sections hinged one to the other and thanks to a wheel system can be quickly extended towed by a vehicle. The high trajectory threat, the so-called RAM (Rockets, Artillery and Mortars), is a constant issue in military camps; Mifram’s Sky Guard is an independent, load-bearing modular system that is built according to customers requirements and protects up to 122 mm rockets. It can be installed over existing buildings, containerised structures, tents, or aircraft. Erection time is limited, movable systems as well as side protective walls being also available. When smaller systems need to be protected, a full series of Mobile Bal-

listic Shelters is available, in different dimensions and for different uses. To ensure observation and reaction Mifram has developed a full range of towers, the last addition being the Mantis; the tower is installed on a frame with four manually activated jacks, which allows unloading from a truck without the need of a crane. Once levelled, the tower is tilted vertically and is then extended reaching 10 meters height (6 and 8 meters models being also available), erection time being less than 15 minutes with a 1-4 man crew. The Mantis is in service along the Israeli border. As for car-stopping barriers, the last addition to Mifram’s catalogue is the MVB3X, unveiled at AUSA 2018, which allows stopping a 7.5 tonnes truck launched at 50 km/h; each element is 1.18 meters long, 0.53 meters wide and 0.82 meters high, and weighs only 24 kg, deployment requiring only one man and no tools. One of the latest products developed by Mifram is the Anti Missile

EDR | September/October 2019


Fence, a 28 meters-high and 4.5 km-long steel fence that was installed at the Ramon airport in Eilat, protecting the terminal and runway on one side. Talking about MOBs and FOBs protection, adopting such a solution requires an in-depth analysis on costs versus benefits, based on how long the infrastructure will remain in use (design and building requires some months) and on the threat level, however the cost of an aircraft destroyed by a ground-launched missile or a rocket-propulsed-grenade both in economical and human losses would far exceed that of the fence itself. Having integrated numerous sub-systems in a single FOB protection system deployed in Afghanistan by the Italian Army, Leonardo has pushed forward its work on base protection and exhibited at Eurosatory a mobile armoured observation tower which can easily be fitted into its integrated solution. The tower comes into a standard ISO20 container, hence its name Contower, which can be easily transported by rail, truck or ship, as well as by C-130J tactical transport aircraft when fitted with dedicated mechanical interfaces. At the two extremities we find two hydraulic legs per side, allowing self-loading and unloading from trucks as well as automatic levelling. Power is provided by a 12 kW integrated diesel generator. At the centre of one of the long sides of the container we find the access door. Inside the container three telescopic elements of rectangular section are hydraulically elevated, forming a 7.8 meters tall tower; the two intermediate sections ensure protection against 5.56 x 45 mm ball rounds, while the top element, the one hosting the two soldiers on duty, is protected against 12.7 x 108 mm API B32 rounds, the armour piercing rounds used by Russian heavy machine guns such as the Degtyarev. A cage-type add-on protection against RPGs can be installed after the tower has been raised, and must be removed prior collapsing it into the container. On


EDR | September/October 2019

Exhibited at Eurosatory 2018, Leonardo’s tower is fitted into an ISO 20 container and can reach up to 7.8 meters, a Hitrole Light RCWS being installed on the roof. Š L. Peruzzi

top of the roof Leonardo proposes to install the Hitrole-L remotely controlled weapon station, which can be armed with a 12.7 mm machine gun, such as a Browning M2HB or M2HB QCB, or with a 7.62 mm machine gun, such an MG-3. The RCWS can be controlled either from one of the two soldiers manning the tower, or from a remote control centre. The RCWS sensor suite ensures a surveillance range up to 4 km thanks to its day/night sensors, while the operational range of the effectors is around 1 km. When the tower is collapsed for transportation the RCWS is hosted inside the container, which not only avoids damages but also makes the system appearing as a standard container. The overall weight of the tower developed by Leonardo is 14 tonnes. As part of the implementation of its Force Protection capability the Italian Army filed a contract for 18 Contowers, the system being currently in the qualification phase prior the delivery of serial products. Leonardo is also considering integrating C-UAV sensors and effectors in the Contower.

ESM/ELINT for UAVs By Luca Peruzzi

Leonardo is offering its new 1300 kg Falco Xplorer unmanned air plaform with SAGE ESM, as a payload option. Š Luca Peruzzi

Significant geopolitical changes and new conflicts have reintroduced complex IADS (Integrated Air Defence Systems) to address the increasing complexity of advanced aerial manned and unmanned platforms and long-range munitions. The worldwide armed forces confront themselves with cyberwarfare, change in the battlespace which requires focusing on enhancing the capabilities for the future high-technology based network centric warfare and diverting their EW investments from counter IED to technologies to counter the AntiAccess and Area Denial (A2AD) equipment and electronic attack, increasing exploitation of the electromagnetic spectrum, as well as integration of EW systems to other war fighting assets, as well as the rising in asymmetric warfare, counterinsurgencies and global terrorism. To confront these scenarios, most Armed Forces are relying on current, under development and future unmanned platforms with Electronic Support Measures/Electronic Intelligence (ESM/ELINT) systems to define the Electronic Order of Battle (EOB) and create their own EW libraries for both intelligence and self-protection purposes. European and Israeli companies are confronting themselves with new technologies to cope with current and future scenarios.

EDR | September/October 2019


Leonardo’s SAGE ESM is based on a wing-tip configuration to offer a 360 degrees coverage. © Leonardo


lettronica is currently offering a family of ESM/ELINT and Communications ESM systems based on the ELT/1000 and ELT/1001 products but also looking to future requirements with a next generation family of systems capable also to provide self-protection capabilities. The new family of system called SISPROS is based on a common processing, analysing and reacting core centred on the evolution of the “all-in-one” Virgilius family as well as the application of new technologies, centred on direct signals sampling as well as artificial intelligence, the latter to reduce the workload and enhance the reaction of the protected platform in a networked environment. The new family of scalable and modular systems will be fully digital, highly resistant to interference, adaptive to the electromagnetic environment, and reconfigurable via software to new environments or different platforms. The new systems’ family is also equipped with by-design interconnectivity features, supporting the ability to operate in network-centric environments, contributing to the integrated and global vision of the scenarios. The next-generation ESM/ ELINT solution features a single 350x250x200 mm processing unit with a weight of less than 15 kg and circa 300 W power consumption to which antennas volume and weight must be added. The SISPROS new generation ESM/ELINT suite is capable to provide alarm, surveillance and intelligence capabilities in addition to picture compilation, threat identification, threat analysis, specific emitter identification as well as automatic or operator assisted subfunctions with an architectural structure utilizing channelised receivers and amplitude plus phase interferometry direction-finding. Additionally, Elettronica has been utilizing fully-digital signal


EDR | September/October 2019

processing and artificial intelligence. The selfprotection-offering member of the family is the ELT/162 RWR, which in addition to the warning capability performs a light Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR) function on the observed band, providing goniometry, detection, detection of received radar emissions and automatic alert in case of detection of specific signals. In support of ISR/ELINT missions, the ELT/162 can also be configured to provide detailed parameters of a designated transmitter. The ELT/162 features a single 220x200x125 LRU with antennas, power consumption of 200 W and a weight even inferior to 15 kg. The ELT/162 RWR has already been successfully qualified in laboratory and is expected to conduct safety-tofly trials on board an undisclosed platform within year-end. Capable to cover a 0.50-40 GHz band (compared to 2-40 GHz of the ELT/162), the

Leonardo SAGE ESM offers reduced dimensions, weight and power consumption to be even used by small unmanned platforms such as Schiebel Camcopter. © Schiebel

Leonardo group and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems are jointly working to integrate Leonardo’s SAGE onto the GA-ASI MQ-9B airframe. Here depicted the Guardian maritime patrol version platform © General Atomics Aeronautical Systems

ESM/ELINT suite is planned to be fly-tested in the first-quarter of 2020. Leonardo is building on the success of the SAGE ESM product solution, already available and operational on-board fixed and rotary-wing platforms, to offer the system for unmanned applications. SAGE analyses the electromagnetic spectrum across the land, sea and air domains in order to map the source of active emissions. Using highly accurate Direction Finding (DF) antennas, SAGE builds target locations and provides situational awareness, advanced threat warning and the ability to cue other sensors. The single platform geo-location enables accurate sensor cueing at tactically significant range, rapid decision making by shortening the “Find Fix” element of the F2T2EA (Find, Fix, Track, Target, Engage, Assess) timeline, identification and categorization of complex emitters, enhanced platform survivability through advanced radar warning capability, data recording for further analysis and sovereign EW capability. With a scalable, compact, modular and simple to fit design, the approximately 20 kg system operates on a 0.5-40 GHz bandwidth coverage, offering sufficient sensitivity to detect radio-frequency transmissions of -60 decibel/milliwatt (dBm), with a sensitivity of -80 dBm being achievable. SAGE provides a high geolocation accuracy and is capable to detect pulses of 50 nanoseconds duration for fixed and agile emitters, the system

having an emitter library of up to 16,000 mode lines. This state-of-the-art ESM system can be fitted to all platforms and configured to support a variety of requirements. Its favourable SWaP (Size, Weight and Power) characteristics allow it to be integrated with other sensors and mission systems, providing packaging opportunities on many platforms including small UAVs. In addition to its family of Falco UAS, which was recently expanded with the unveiling of the 1,300 kg higher-take-off weight and 48 hours mission capable Falco Xplorer during the Le Bourget 2019 air show, the Leonardo group and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) have signed an agreement during Farnborough air show 2018, that sees the two companies currently jointly working to integrate Leonardo’s SAGE electronic warfare surveillance system onto the GA-ASI MQ9B airframe. The SAGE will be offered off-the-shelf and integrated into the airframe as an available baseline configuration for MQ-9B customers of Sky Guardian and maritime surveillance Sea Guardian configurations. SAGE will be integrated into the MQ-9B airframe, as opposed to being fitted via an external pod. This fit will deliver optimal performances (with least obscuration compared with a podded solution) while maximising space for other weapons/sensors as the system will not occupy any underwing hard-points. The lack of an added pod for the ESM capability also reduces the platform mass of the equipped MQ-9B, maximising endurance.

EDR | September/October 2019


Elbit Systems’ Elisra EMERALD AES-212 is an operational and field-proven ESM/ELINT system for all types of manned and unmanned aerial platforms. © Elbit Systems Elisra

The Elbit Systems’ Hermes maritime patrol platform is being offered with EMERALD AES-212 ESM/ELINT system. © Elbit Systems

Saab is proposing the specifically-developed family of ESP products for UAV applications. The primary purpose of ESP is to provide the enemy EOB through emitter identification and location. The ESP 50 is designed to operate as a standalone ESM integrated with UAV systems and is based on proprietary emitter location system (ELS) with an improved probability of intercept (POI) for search radars. Characterized by low mass and volume with a 16 kg controller and an antenna array with low-band (0.5-6 GHz) and high-band (6-18 GHz) antennas for a total of 6 kg, the ESP 50 covers a 0.5-18 GHz frequencyrange with a frequency measurement resolution of 1 MHz and direction finding capability of 1°

RMS class above 2 GHz. Providing intra-pulse channel switching for a single pulse DF capability, high DF accuracy using a combination of phase and amplitude comparison techniques, pulse doppler radar handling and high sensitivity, the ESP 50 allows acquisition, analysis and precision DF of emissions from search, tracking and fire control radars. It provides accurate bearings and signal parameter measurement of emitters, gathering and recording detailed emitter data for ESM/ELINT analysis, and high probability of intercept for search radars using wide open acquisition receiver. The ESP consists of an acquisition and analysis receiver, as well as a controller integrated into a single unit with a

Elbit Systems new Hermes 45 small tactical unmanned aircraft system can be equipped with a multi-sensors suite including the company’s SPEAR family. © Elbit Systems


EDR | September/October 2019

wide frequency range and uses interferometric DF algorithms. A high-end digital receiver with instantaneous bandwidth performs accurate pulse processing and automatic classification in a dense signal environment. Direction finding and geo-location is performed using the platform movement. Recording facilities enables off-line analysis for ELINT purposes.

Based on Elisra’s operational experience and cutting-edge technology, the SPEAR family is based on a number of unified digital ELINT & ECM systems, each applicable to a set of operational requirements and platform constraints. © Elbit Systems’ Elta

nose-mounted interferometric antenna array. In a similar configuration, the ESP 50 has been integrated and is flying on the Denel Dynamics Seeker II. The airborne portion of the ESP acquires and analyses radar emissions. Emitter data is transferred via the UAV data link to the ground-based remote terminal (RTE) for display and control of the system. In addition to the EPS-50, Saab offers the EPS-200 ESM/ELINT system that can be installed on larger platforms such as MALE UAV’s. The EPS-200 covers a

Shifting to Israel, Elbit Systems’ Elisra company has a long experience in offering ESM/ ELINT solutions, among which the EMERALD AES-212 is an operational and field-proven system for all types of manned and unmanned aerial platforms, including Elbit Systems’ family of UAVs and combat front-line assets. Designed for the densest and most complex electromagnetic environments, it delivers sophisticated intelligence gathering capabilities for the detection and analysis of all types of radars - ground-based, airborne and shipborne. Based on the most advanced technologies, the EMERALD AES-212 simultaneously detects and identifies multiple radars, finds the direction of the radar and target positioning, acquires radar signals at a very high level of accuracy and clearly distinguishes between them. With a scalable, compact, modular design with a 20 to 50 kg typical configuration for airborne systems, it provides a 0.5-40 GHz bandwidth coverage, offering very high sensitivity, giving

IAI Malat’s Heron unmanned platform is the natural recipient for the IAI Elta’s ELL-8385 family of systems. © Australian DoD

EDR | September/October 2019


The IAI Elta’s ELL-8385 ground segment is to build and disseminate intelligence reports, including real-time Electronic Order of Battle (EOB), and to provide tactical and strategic intelligence. © IAI Elta

extensive range advantage. Combining digitalbased narrow and wide band receivers, it measures the electronic parameters emitted by each radar, rapidly processes the data and graphically displays it for the operator in realtime. The system can be integrated with standoff jamming as part of a mission aircraft suite for EW and Intelligence combined missions. Incorporating cutting edge integrated selfprotection capabilities, including an RWR display in the cockpit, the EMERALD AES-212 can detect even the most sophisticated transmitting systems, including those used for the latest surface-to-air missiles, data link transmissions, satellite transmissions and telemetry. The system runs automatically - independently performing measurement, reception and recording, as well as data processing. The ongoing process is performed while the system is operating resulting in real-time improvements without affecting performances. Data is continuously recorded at all levels for use in ongoing ELINT processing - from raw data to IF signals and processed information. The growing demand to operate and collect accurate intelligence in


EDR | September/October 2019

highly hostile environments led Elbit Systems to the development of the Light SPEAR solution, a member of the SPEAR family. Utilizing Elbit Systems EW and SIGINT - Elisra’s operational experience and cutting-edge technology, according to the Israeli company, the SPEAR family is based on a number of unified digital ELINT & ECM systems, each applicable to a set of operational requirements and platform constraints. Light SPEAR – an ESM & ECM solution for airborne, ground and maritime platforms – is a compact EW system based on multiple DRFM channels, working in parallel and covering a wide spectrum. Capable of ESM/ ELINT, accurate direction finding on received signals, spectral threat geo-location, net-centric EW applications, the Light SPEAR features digital Receiver and RF Memory (DRFM) embedded into a single compact LRU, supports various antennas and transmitters, including solid state phased array transmitters, and incorporates Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) components. With a basic 13 kg controller weight to which adds active sources in the integrated passive and active solution, the system’s 3U VPX

The IAI Malat’s Heron unmanned platform can be equipped with both Elta’s ELL-8385 ESM/ ELINT and COMINT DF systems. © IAI Malat

standard allows simple integration with an array of transmitters and platforms – and its low Size, Weight and Power consumption (SWaP) makes it an ideal EW system for multiple operational platforms, Elisra claims. With a large portfolio of space and airborne SIGINT solutions, IAI Elta is offering a range of integrated airborne SIGINT suite as well as ESM/ELINT airborne system. Centered on the ELL-8385 family of systems, it is an integrated UAV ESM/ELINT system designed to cope with the challenges of modern dense radar environments and to perform long-range, high endurance ESM/ELINT missions. According to Elta, the system’s tasks are to search, intercept, measure, locate, analyze, classify and monitor ground, airborne and naval radar transmissions characterized by high mobility, short duration, modern signals and frequent changes in signals parameters. The main purpose of the system is to disseminate intelligence reports, including real-time EOB, and to provide tactical and strategic intelligence that can be seamlessly integrated in the nation’s intelligence database. Capable of long-range, high endurance ESM/ ELINT missions, handling complex and dense electro-magnetic environment and providing real-time data transmission and EOB generation in the ground station, the ELL-8385 provides comprehensive tactical and strategic ELINT data collection and analysis. With a total weight of 30 kg in a typical airborne configuration and a power consumption of 400 W, the Elta suite provides

a compact modular ESM/ELINT UAV payload, accurate DF measurement by interferometer technique, accurate measurement of radar signal parameters, automatic emitter classification and geo-location antenna array tailored to UAV application and real-time intelligence reports and EOB generation, in addition to powerful offline support tools.

The IAI Malat’s Heron is in service or is being used by different demanding operators worldwide, requiring both tactical and strategic ESM/ELINT capabilities through Elta’s ELL-8385. © IAI Malat

EDR | September/October 2019


MAGAZINE European Defence Review European Defence Review (EDR) is the first magazine in English focusing on defence issues with a European perspective and one which is fully managed by well-known journalists specialised in defence and security. EDR addresses every topic of the defence sector: equipment and industrial issues, armed forces and operations, but also strategic and political news concerning defence and security issues. Although the articles will be mainly focused on European topics, the review also discusses the main countrie’s partners of Europe and emerging markets: Russia, the Middle East, Brazil, India… EDR distributes during the major international defence trade fairs. The readers include military decision-makers, both political and industrial, from European countries as well as traditional or potential partners of the European defence community. Finally, EDR covers all of the major defence exhibitions worldwide; privileged accasions where policy makers, military and trade-related, are attending. N° 46 • July/August 2019

Septe mber N° 47 •

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MAGAZINE European Defence Review Europe’s Rival Future Combat Air Systems Loitering munitions, observe, acquire, destroy

Modern Air-to-Air Missiles: West versus East Improving capabilities bridging ncy Low-frequeve Sonar (LFTAS) Towed Acti European Improving bilities defence capa ection Passive prot military bases for forward ESM /ELI for UAVs



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European Defence Review (EDR) is the premier English-language journal focusing on defence-related issues from a distinctly European perspective. EDR is produced by the defence industry’s most prominent and distinguished journalists. Regular contributors include: David Oliver, Jean-Pierre Husson, Dmitry Fediushko, Nikolay Novichkov, Paolo Valpolini and Luca Peruzzi. Graphic design/layout by: agnes@simonpaoli.com Advertisers in this issue: Bronco St Engineering [C2] • ExpoDefensa [4] • FNSS [13] • Singapore Airshow [17] • EDR [27] • EUROSATORY [C3] • MBDA [C4]

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Main office: 47 rue Erlanger, 75016, Paris, France Tel.: + 33 6 79 80 70 22 e-mail: edrmagasine@orange.fr President: Joseph Roukoz Main Shareholders: Joseph Roukoz, Jean-Pierre Husson, Guillaume Belan ISSN: 2260-6467 Local Representatives: JSC STATUS Russia, Moscow, 119180, 4th Golutvinskiy row, 1/18, building 4 Phone : + 7 495 585 05 39 – + 7 495 661 58 96 e-mail: status@status1.ru Printed by Printcorp

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