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N° 58 • July/August 2021

MAGAZINE European Defence Review The rise of Asian rotary-wing UAVs

Russia behind the UAV technology curve

European main rotary-wing military and civil advanced programmes: key to succeed

Airborne maritime surveillance and anti-submarine warfare evolves


I S S U E N°

58

2021

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 www.edrmagazine.eu

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A Royal Australian Navy Camcopter S-100 in flight; Schiebel developed the S2 heavy fuel engine that will increase S-100 capabilities, the RAN planning to expand its evaluation on VTOL UAVs ahead of the SEA 129 Phase 5 programme. © Royal Australian Navy

The rise of Asian rotary-wing UAVs By David Oliver

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European main rotary-wing military and civil advanced programmes: key to succeed

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Russia behind the UAV technology curve

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Airborne maritime surveillance and anti-submarine warfare evolves

By Luca Peruzzi

By David Oliver

By Luca Peruzzi

EDR | July/August 2021

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The rise of Asian rotary-wing UAVs By David Oliver

The Royal Australian Navy’s 822X Squadron operates Schiebel Camcopter S-100 vertical take-off and landing unmanned air systems. © RAN

Australia has been at the forefront of maritime unmanned capabilities development and evaluation. The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Unmanned Aircraft Systems Development Unit (NUASDU) was formed in 2012 with the purpose of developing an in-depth understanding of the potential capabilities of Maritime Unmanned Aerial Systems (MUAS). RAN’s 822X Squadron was commissioned in October 2018, its mission to conduct experimentation and evaluation activities with contemporary UAS and advanced payloads to develop operational knowledge and experience, and procedures supporting safe maritime UAS operations for the future Fleet. In February 2017, the RAN awarded a contract to provide an unrevealed number of Schiebel Camcopter S-100 vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) UAS, plus three-years support to be operated by 822X Squadron.

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Leonardo’s AWHero VTOL UAV has been shortlisted for Australia’s SEA 129 Phase 5 progamme © Leonardo

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n March 2020 Schiebel announced that it had successfully completed the acceptance tests for the RAN of the new heavy fuel S2 engine for its Camcopter S-100 UAS. The new engine is intended to be a next-generation replacement for the current propulsion unit that will further increase the unmanned aircraft’s operational capabilities as well as its maintainability. The enhancements will enable the RAN to continue to expand its test and evaluation programme, examining advanced VTOL UAS capabilities ahead of the SEA 129 Phase 5 Programme. This programme will select the future UAS capability for the RAN’s new Arafura Class Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) as well as other ships. A comprehensive series of test flight activities was developed in order to demonstrate the endurance and maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with multiple payloads. The UAV was equipped with a L3 Harris Wescam MX-10 real-time Electro-Optical/ Infra-Red (EO/IR) camera, an Automatic Identification System (AIS), a L3 Harris Bandit transceiver and a Mode-S Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) transponder. The configuration allows operators to locate and confirm the identity of vessels at sea, and to transmit this information in real-time to users equipped with Rover remote video terminals. In March 2021, Canberra shortlisted five companies for its SEA 129 Phase 5 progamme for a

MUAS designed to deliver a deployable intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting (ISR&T) capability to the RAN. Northrop Grumman Australia and Leonardo Australia’s team’s proposal includes Leonardo’s AWHero VTOL platform and subsystems, which includes a variant of Northrop Grumman’s Distributed Autonomy/Responsive Control (DA/RC) command and control system. Other contenders are BAE Systems with an as-yet-undeclared air vehicle, Insitu Pacific with the fixed-wing ScanEagle, Raytheon Australia and Schiebel Pacific with the Camcopter S-100, and Textron Systems Australia with the Aerosonde HQ hybrid quadrotor. Another company developing a new surveillance UAV for the RAN is the Australian Innovaero. Full-scale testing of its FOX FTA-1 (VTOL) and FOX FTA-2 (Conventional Take-off and Landing) platforms will occur later this year.

AVIC’s China Helicopter Research and Development Institute (CHRDI) is developing the AV500 VTOL UAV for the People’s Liberation Army. © CATIC

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China has produced a range of successful large fixed-wing medium altitude, long endurance (MALE) UAVs that have attracted worldwide export sale, particularly to Middle East countries. However, its development of VTOL UAVs has been less successful. In 2010 China purchased 18 Camcopter S-100s to operate from People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) frigates. In May 2011 the Weifang Tianxiang Aviation Industry company flew an unmanned V750, based on the US-designed Brantly B-2B twoseat helicopter, but development has since been abandoned. The Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) has been developing a series of VTOL UAVs including the AV500B which made its first flight in 2013. In 2020 a new variant was test flown by AVIC’s China Helicopter Research and Development Institute (CHRDI) equipped with a chin-mounted dummy EO/IR sensor turret. The AV500C is a further development of CHRDI’s AV500B and has been specifically designed for high-altitude operations. The AV500B has a MTOW of 500 kg with an overall length of 7.2 meters, a rotor diameter of 6.3 meters and can carry a 160 kg payload. CHRDI is also developing a larger armed version, the AV500W which has been tested by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). It has a maximum endurance of eight hours, a cruising speed of 170 km/h and a service ceiling of 4,000 meters. AVIC is also producing a series of armed, reconnaissance quadrotor VTOL UAVs. The A-Hawk I is powered by eight electric engines and has an MTOW of 175 kg and is able to carry a sensor payload of 65 kg including small rocket launchers, to an altitude of 3,000 meters. The 3.47 meters UAV has a maximum speed of 60 km/h and an endurance of 30 minutes. Although it was described as a surveillance platform, the model on display was shown carrying two small rocket launchers. The A-Hawk II, or Cloud-2, powered by four tilting ducted fans has a maximum take-off weight 6

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AVIC is also developing a series of armed, reconnaissance quadrotor VTOL UAVs including the A-Hawk II. © David Oliver

of 120 kg and carries a payload of both sensors and short-range missiles. It can also fly at 60 km/h to a ceiling of 5,000 meters with an endurance of four hours. Its typical applications are reported to include attacking terrorists and their bases, safety of secure areas, suppressing firepower and the destruction of high value targets. Its civilian applications include tall building surveillance and cargo transportation, such as medical supplies, over short distances. These multi-rotor UAVs, which have only been seen as quarter-scale models, are being developed by the Beijing based X-Cloud UAV company. The TD220 co-axial unmanned helicopter has been developed by the Beijing Science and Technology company. Powered by a 65 hp piston en-

The Ziyan Blowfish has been successfully trialed by the PLA at high altitude along the border with India. © Ziyan


gine, the TD220 has a 300 kg MTOW and can cruise at 100 km/h to a ceiling of 4,000 meters carrying a 50 kg payload. Another co-axial VTOL UAV, the CH500 has been developed by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC). With a MTOW of 150 kg its dual rotor arrangement eliminates the need for a tail rotor, and makes its size more compact. The manoeuvrable CH-500 can be armed with two HJ-10 anti-tank missiles. The Norinco Sky Shaker H300 is a larger armed VTOL UAV with a conventional main rotor and tail rotor. It has a 300 kg MTOW and can carry 100 kg payload. Apart for its strike role, it can be used for battlefield surveillance and battle damage assessment. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Tibet Military Command troops stationed at the border with India have deployed two locally built unmanned helicopters designed for high-altitude operations.

The VTOL UAVs, Blowfish A2 and Ranger P2-X, were built by the Zhuhai Ziyan UAV company. They can perform strategic support, material transport, logistics support, and plateau intelligence reconnaissance and tactical strike missions, In July 2018, the Ziyan series UAV was used for border patrol and surveillance in the plateau with an altitude of more than 3,500 meters. During a test of its training mission, Parus, the smallest VTOL UAV from Ziyan, successfully took off from an altitude of 4,000 meters and flew to an altitude of 7,000 meters. The Blowfish A2 is a versatile multi-mission unmanned helicopter with a MTOW of 50 kg that can carry a 15 kg payload, allowing the system to be fitted with a wide variety of payloads such as EO/IR cameras, LiDAR scanners and weapons systems. With a high wind resistance and the ability to take off and land in a very small space, the Blowfish A2 is also offered as a maritime ISR platform. It can be

The TD220 co-axial unmanned helicopter has been developed by CATIC’s Beijing Science and Technology company. © David Oliver

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Taiwan’s National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology Magic-Eye II is under development for surveillance and maritime operations. © NCSIST

equipped with an AIS transceiver and has a wider coverage area than patrol vessels. The aircraft also supports long-range HD video links and 4G communications modules for real-time image transmission. The 1.75 meters-long Ranger P2-X has an MTOW of 15.8 kg and can carry a sensor payload of 7 kg to a service ceiling of 5,000 meters. To date, none of China’s indigenous VTOL UAVs have been reported to be in operational service. Taiwan’s only VTOL UAV, the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology Magic-Eye II, 2.5 meters long unmanned helicopter with an MTOW of 35 kg, a 15 kg payload and a one hour endurance, is under development for short-range high altitude surveillance and target acquisition, and maritime operations. South Korea, Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) has been developing an unmanned tiltrotor aircraft with Korean Air, the KUS-VT. The Smart UAV programme was launched in 2002 and a prototype flew in 2013. Powered by a 550 shp Pratt & Whitney Canada PW206C turboshaft driving twin three-bladed proprotors, the 3.5 meters-long KUS-VT has an MTOW of 200 kg, can carry a 30 kg payload and has an operational radius of 200 km with an endurance of six hours, and a maximum speed of 108 kt. It is designed to perform autonomous VTOL high speed and ceiling surveillance missions and shipboard operations.

based on the MD 500MD helicopter since 2014, in cooperation with Boeing which has developed an optionally-manned version of its Little Bird H-6U. Flight endurance has been extended to four hours with the installation of a large fuel tank in place of the rear passenger seats. With a payload of 400 kg, the KUS-VH could be armed with unguided and guided rockets and anti-tank missiles. The Korean Foosung Group has produced a number of VTOL UAVs including the RemoH M-100 powered by a two-stroke 32 hp piston engine, which has an MTOW of 100 kg and a sensor payload of 30 kg. Designed for surveillance and reconnaissance, communications relay and NBC detection, it was based on the RemoH C-100 designed for agricultural spraying but has failed to attract any military contracts. Japan has also developed a successful range of crop-spraying VTOL UAVs since 1991. The 2.75 meters-long Yamaha RMAX was powered by a 20 hp L12 water-cooled two-stroke piston engine, and had a MTOW of 95 kg and a payload of 30 kg. The more advanced military variant, the RMAX Mk IIG, is fitted with an improved engine, flight

Korean Air plans to meet customer requirements by the end of 2021 for civilian and military use at home and overseas. Korean Air has also been developing the KUS-VH which is a high-performance Strategic MALE UAV 8

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Singapore’s Defence Science Organisation National Laboratories had developed the country’s first fixed-wing UAV with a VTOL capability, the V15. © David Oliver


stability, and safety functions. The UAV featured an upgraded navigation system, a CCD video camera and a thermal imager and saw limited service with the JSDF ground units. Singapore’s Defence Science Organisation National Laboratories V15 is the country’s first locally developed fixed-wing UAV with a VTOL capability. Its main features include a modular design for portability and quick set up, requirThailand’s Naval Research and Development Office has developed a hybrid ing just two men to assemble it in fixed-wing UAV with a VTOL capability, the Fuvec, for maritime operations. less than 10 minutes. The V15 is © David Oliver equipped with a day/night camera and is designed specifically for use in urban environments and has a three hour encompany-level reconnaissance and fire-support durance. It is also able to operate autonomously platform. The company is aiming for an endurwith other unmanned systems, such as flying in ance of over 30 minutes when carrying high-defisynchrony and even taking off and landing on nition daylight and thermal imaging cameras, a an unmanned ground vehicle during a mission. fire-control system (FCS), and a 5.56mm calibre Ultimax 100 Mk8 light machine gun. ST Engineering’s Stinger Unmanned Aerial Multi-Rotor Gunship is a semi-autonomous, The ST Engineering Universal Surveillance and Tracking Rotorcraft-X (USTAR-X) is a 1.5 kg quadrotor UAV designed for reconnaissance, SAR, and disaster response, It can carry a 0.25 kg payload at a speed of 16 kt for up to 45 minutes. The larger USTAR-Y is a similar design with an MTOW of 5 kg with a 1 kg payload and a one hour endurance. Thailand’s Naval Research and Development Office (NRDO) has developed a VTOL UAV similar to the ST Stinger, the Tarem tactical assault rifle-enabled multi-rotor being designed for Marine operations with a communications and C4ISR payload. The NRDO Fuvec is a hybrid fixed-wing UAV with a VTOL capability for reconnaissance, surveillance, observation and target tracking missions for land and maritime operations.

ST Engineering’s Stinger Unmanned Aerial Multi-Rotor Gunship is a semi-autonomous, company-level reconnaissance and fire-support platform. © David Oliver

There is a plethora of VTOL UAVs being developed by the Asian countries but few have yet to reach the operational level attained by Western systems such as the Schiebel Camcopter S-100. EDR | July/August 2021

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The French MoD is expecting to receive first deliveries of the new joint light helicopter (Hélicoptère Interarmées Léger, HIL) Guépard H-160M in 2026, with the programme launch planned for 2021. © Airbus Helicopters

European main rotary-wing military and civil advanced programmes: key to succeed By Luca Peruzzi The European rotary-wing industry, led by Airbus Helicopters and Leonardo Helicopters, together with main and smaller suppliers, research agencies and academic organizations, is continuously maintaining the Old Continent developments in the rotorcraft domain up to the edge. However the big investments in the US industry are challenging, and attract European customers and industries. The rotocraft cluster of the Old Continent is working on current and future military programmes throughout NATO and European Union organizations to develop new platforms and markets without forgetting the developments in the civil sector where the European Union with the Clean Sky programme is looking to tomorrow’s mobility and green technologies.

Joint armed forces light rotarywing programmes for France and Italy The French MoD has accelerated the entry into service of the new joint light helicopter (Hélicoptère Interarmées Léger, HIL) Guépard to 10

EDR | July/August 2021

replace five different types of helicopters (Gazelle, Alouette III, Dauphin, Panther and Fennec), in service with all three French services, with a single platform and joint support for a total new 169 H-160Ms. According to the pre-development and support package contract awarded in February 2020 to an industrial team including Airbus


The Leonardo AW-169M Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) has been selected as the joint armed force rotary-wing platform by the Italian MoD. The same helicopter was selected by the Austrian MoD to replace its fleet of Alouette III. © Austrian MoD

The UK MoD has approved the plan for a new medium lift helicopter to be in service by the mid-2020s, enabling a consolidation of the Army’s disparate fleet of medium lift helicopters from four platform types to one, including the Puma fleet. © UK MoD Crowncopyright

Helicopters and Safran Helicopter Engines, the new military platform developed from the Airbus H-160 helicopter is scheduled to be delivered from 2026, with a programme launch planned for 2021. With a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 6,050 kg and powered by two new generation, reduced fuel consumption, Safran Helicopter Engines Arrano 1A 1,100-to-1,300 shp-each class engine, the H-160M will come in two different configurations for land and navalbased operations. Characterized by the noisereducing and performance-enhancing Blue Edge main rotor, a new canted fenestron and a horizontal biplane stabilizer, the new H-160M will be equipped with the Thales FlytX avionics suite and a tailored mission package. This includes Thales new Air Master C AESA compact radar and Safran Euroflir 410 EO/IR system, a selfprotection suite, as well as the capability to carry side-mounted gun, rockets pods, and launchers

for MBDA ANL/SEA VENOM anti-ship missiles. The H-160M is expected to give a strong push on the international market, alongside the Airbus’ HForce arming and firing suite for the company’s H145M twin-engine light helicopter already adopted by Serbia and Hungary. A joint armed forces requirement for 117 new helicopters to replace more than five different types of legacy platforms with the Leonardo AW169M Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) has been approved mid-last year by the Italian MoD. The first receiver of the new platform is the Italian Army, which in late 2020 accepted the first two AW-169M LUHs in a basic training configuration, while Leonardo, the Italian MoD and the service are working on the operational advanced multirole configuration called Multiruolo Avanzato (MA). A contract for a second batch of 15 helicopters was awarded in June 2020 while EDR | July/August 2021

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avoidance warning system and advanced selfprotection system. The AW-169M has already attracted the interest of the Austrian MoD, which has selected the Leonardo platform (18 helicopters) to replace its fleet of Alouette III. The bigger AW-139M continues to be procured by both the Italian MoD and internationally, the main customer to be the US DoD with up to 84 Boeing MH-139A Grey Wolf in a customized version for the US Air Force. To satisfy the UK MoD New Medium Helicopter (NMH), Leonardo is proposing to manufacture the AW-149 at the Yeovil plant, establishing an in-country supply-chain. The AW-149 has already reached the international market. © Leonardo

the overall requirement is for 50 platforms. With a MTOW of 4,800 kg (and 5,100 kg alternate gross weight) and a powerplant based on two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW210A 1,000 shp-each class engines, the AW-169M LUH is derived from the well-known parent platform with fully articulated main and tail rotors, alongside skids instead of wheel-based undercarriage, featuring a 6.3 m3 transport cabin and digital cockpit suite. According to Italian Army documentation, the mission suite is interoperable with the Forza NEC Army digitalization programme command and control system and includes Leonardo multiband software defined radios, HF, SATCOM and data, together with EO/IR turret, helicopter terrain

The UK Puma replacement, the Polish and the German sagas The main rotary-wing manufacturers are lining up to offer their best solutions for the expected launch by the UK MoD of the so-called New Medium Helicopter (NMH) to replace the Royal Air Force’s aging fleet of 22 Puma HC.2, in addition to Bell 212s, Bell 412s and Eurocopter SA-365 Dauphin. In the ‘Defence in a Competitive Age’ document published last March, the UK MoD states that ‘investment in a new medium lift helicopter in the mid-2020s will enable a consolidation of the Army’s disparate fleet of medium lift helicopters from four platform types to one; including the replacement of Puma’. The total should be of 35-40 new platforms,

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Airbus Helicopters has indicated its super-medium H-175 platform with local assembly opportunities and possibly the H-225M, alongside the NH-90 as potential candidates for the UK MoD New Medium Helicopter programme. © Airbus Helicopters

although a one-to-one replacement may not be realistic. As the Puma is to be retired by 2025, the requirement is expected to restrict the tender to already available platforms. For the UK NMH requirement, Airbus Helicopters has indicated its super-medium H-175 with industrial opportunities and possibly the H-225M, Leonardo is proposing the AW-149, while Lockheed Martin/Sikorsky is expected to offer the S-70M/S-70i Black Hawk and NHIndustries the NH-90, among the potential contenders. Leonardo Helicopters is proposing to manufacture the AW-149 in the

The Lockheed Martin/Sikorsky’s PZL Mielec-built S-70i is being delivered to the worldwide customers of the Black Hawk. © PZL Mielec

UK, at its Yeovil plant while Airbus offers the potential development of the military variant of the H-175, in both cases also for export. The Polish MoD isn’t relaunching its programme to replace its existing fleets of W-3s, Mi-8s and Mi-2s, although these are ageing and need upgrading. The Polish rotary-wing industry including both PZL-Świdnik, a Leonardo company and PZL-Mielec, a Sikorsky-Lockheed Martin company, can satisfy modernization or replacement requirements. Last fall, the German MoD has cancelled, over cost worries, the new

The New Exploration and Escort Helicopter (NEES, Nuovo Elicottero da Esplorazione e Scorta), also known as AW-249, is being developed by Leonardo to provide a new generation of multirole combat helicopters for the Italian Army. © Leonardo

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heavy transport helicopter tender to replace the CH-53G, although the requirement would be re-examined but a contract would not be ready in 2021. The two contenders industrial teams were led by Lockheed Martin/Sikorsky with the CH-53K Stallion and Boeing with the H-47 Chinook.

New and upgraded attack helicopters The Central and Southern European armies are set to begin fielding new or upgraded fleet of attack helicopters by the middle of the decade. Launched with a contract awarded to Leonardo in 2017 to replace the current fleet of Italian Army’s Mangusta AH-129s, the New Exploration and Escort Helicopter (NEES, Nuovo Elicottero da Esplorazione e Scorta) programme has a fleet requirement for 48 helicopters of which three already contracted and four additional to be procured in 2021, all in a new more capable full operational capability (FOC) configuration requested by the Italian MoD and Army. With a MTOW of 7,500-8,000 kg, the new AW-249 has been developed around the existing and proven dynamic systems of the AW-149 and a new airframe and systems to cope with the new mission, requirements calling for at least three hours endurance with a full combat load. Equipped with the same but more powerful

The long-awaited upgrade programme for the Tiger attack helicopter in service with French, German and Spanish Armies is expected to be signed in 2021 and managed, as for the helicopter procurement, by OCCAR. © German MoD

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General Electric CT7-8E6 turboshaft already used by the in-service NH90 for fleets communality, the AW-249 will maintain a tandem configuration with the same 20 mm TM-197B gun and Rafael Spike missiles of the AH-129, together with an advanced EO/IR surveillance and targeting system and a complete new mission suite. This is based on a new battle management system and interoperable C2 under the Forza NEC programme as well as equipped (fitted for) for teaming with unmanned systems. The Italian MoD has requested a study to meet the NEES requirements also through international collaborations, propaedeutic to the future participation to cooperation programmes in the Future Fast Rotocraft (FFR) domain, without providing future details. The new helicopter is also being proposed in Poland with the participation of local industry. The long-awaited upgrade programme for the Tiger attack helicopter in service with French, German and Spanish Armies is expected to be signed in 2021 and managed, as for the helicopter procurement, by OCCAR. The Tiger Mk III modernization programme is expected to upgrade the entire armament, communications and avionics systems to keep the platform upto-date up to 2038 and beyond. The French MoD has contracted MBDA to develop the new MAST-F missile, while Germany and Spain are likely to maintain the Israeli Rafael Spike missile.

Conceived for civil and governmental operations, the AW609 is designed to meet civil FAA Part 25, Part 29 and new tiltrotor specific standards for certification. It combines the vertical flight and take-off/ landing of a helicopter together with the speed and operational altitude of a fixed-wing platform. © Leonardo


The family of NH-90 helicopters provided by the NHIndustries consortium continues to earn European and international customers, being an example of European rotocraft industry working together. © Airbus Helicopters

NATO’s Next-Generation Rotorcraft Capability Last April, NATO has published an unclassified list of required and desired attributes for its Next Generation Rotocraft Capability (NGRC) through its Support and Procurement Agency in preparation for industry days currently scheduled for September. The NGRC programme calls for the development of a new medium helicopter aiming to replace approximately 1,000 rotarywing platforms ranging from Mi-8/17s to Pumas, as well as from UH-60s to AW-101s. The aim of the NGRC initiative, launched in October 2020 by the Defence Ministries of France, Germany, Greece, Italy and the United Kingdom, is to find a replacement for a significant amount of platforms reaching the end of their life cycle in the 2035-2040 timeframe in a timely and cost-effective manner, while concurrently leveraging a broad range of recent advances in technology, production methods, as well as operational concepts. A team of experts from the five nations led by the UK has been defining a robust statement of requirements for informing an envisioned concept phase and a multi-phase

cooperation plan for defining, developing and fielding of the NGRC capability. The broad set of attributes released last April includes the ability to act as an optionally unmanned/remotely piloted vehicle; interior room enough for 12 to 16 combat-ready troops; and configurable to perform special operations, anti-surface warfare/ electronic warfare, search-and-rescue (SAR), personnel recovery and medevac missions. The attributes also include a Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) inclusive of the digital backbone and artificial intelligence aided multisensor fusion, allowing cost effective and simple integration of upgrades and spiral developments (including sensitive/proprietary equipment). The NGRC must have a load lifting capacity of at least 4,000 kg, a range of 900 nautical miles (1,650 kilometers), a combat radius of 400 nm with 30 minutes of loiter time, a cruise airspeed of at least 180 knots, with an optimal 220 knots speed request, and a target MTOW of 10,000 to 17,000 kg. NATO wants all that at a flyaway cost of no more than € 35 million and a cost per flight hour optimally set at € 5,000 but not greater than € 10,000. The NGRC attributes also call for a common airframe with land/ EDR | July/August 2021

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air and maritime variants (full wet-assembled) which has to address all land/air and maritime requirements. In case they cannot be addressed, development of separate land/air and maritime variants should be considered. The Naval variant should be able to be deployed for medium-long periods (6-9 months) and fully operate from frigates and destroyers class vessels, presenting a not larger footprint or dimensions of either the NH-90 (NFH) or the AW-101, including optional capability of folding main rotor/tail to be moved onto ship’s elevator/hangar for maritime operations. The list of 10 desired attributes runs from specifying certain mission equipment to a two-minute automated rapid start, fly-by-wire controls, and air-to-air refueling capability, a complete mission suite with equipment for both land- and naval-based operations, together with advanced teaming of organic and third parties unmanned vehicle (MUMT) including the capability to manage swarm of drones, launch and recovery of small drones, as well as the capability of full range of scalable, lethal and non-lethal effects, including available hardpoints and mountings for weapon systems

and sensors package. According to the work carried out with the collaboration of industry through the dedicated NATO Industry Advisory Group (NIAG), the NGRC will be focusing on cost, timeline, sustainment, interoperability and regulatory approval while developing the new requirements for the future rotorcraft capability. A high-level consultative and advisory body of senior officers from member countries, the dedicated NIAG is also expected to complete two on-going studies by 2023. Running in parallel, these two-year studies address respectively survivability and effectiveness against ground based air defense (GBAD) and NATO rotorcraft interoperability and survivability. Originated after the US DoD launched the development of new rotorcraft platforms under the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) efforts, including the Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA), the NGRC could be informed and influenced by US progresses. The United Kingdom signed in 2020 an agreement with the US to look into the feasibility of the FVL, while Italy has shown interest indicating the FVL into the MoD’s multi-year planning document 20202022, the Minister of Defence Lorenzo Guerini

Heading a team of some 70 companies, research agencies and academic organizations across Europe, Leonardo Next-Generation Civil Tiltrotor (NextGenCTR) will evolve the platform concept to cope with mobility and green sustainability. © Leonardo

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Leonardo Helicopters is advancing towards final assembly of the technology demonstrator of its NextGenCTR by year-end, on schedule for a first flight in 2023. © Leonardo

having said last November that the dialogue among parties, both institutional and industrial, is on-going.

Leonardo prepares for AW-609 tiltrotor type certification Last April, the fourth AW-609 tiltrotor aircraft, fully representative of the final production configuration, arrived at Leonardo Helicopters’ headquarters to support the final stage of programme testing ahead of civil certification and allow, when appropriate, customer-dedicated demonstration activities in both Europe and the US for worldwide customers. Conceived for civil and governmental operations, the AW609 is designed to meet civil FAA Part 25, Part 29 and new tiltrotor specific standards for certification. With a MTOW of 8,165 kg, a 14.1 meters length and 18.3 meters wide with proprotor diameter of 7.9 meters, the AW-609 can lift off with up to 12 passengers and two pilots like a helicopter, and then accelerate to reach up to 510 km/h max cruise speed operating at a service ceiling up to 7,620 meters avoiding weather in pressurized cabin conditions to cover long distances before reaching the area of operation. Capable of using autorotation and presenting a downwash similar to helicopters, according to Leonardo, the AW609 represents a game changer on the vertical market for both civil and government response missions, offering a new level of flexibility to a variety of applications, including para-public and national security missions like special operations,

utility, homeland security, naval, search and rescue, alongside casualty/medical evacuation.

European civil developments in rotorcraft domain Clean Sky is the leading protagonist of Europe’s aeronautical research and innovation, championing the air transport needs of tomorrow’s increasingly mobile and growing population. Under the European Union’s Clean Sky 2 research and technology initiative, the fast rotorcraft innovative aircraft demonstration platform (IADP) consists of two concurrent concepts: the Next-Generation Civil Tiltrotor (NextGenCTR) and the Racer compound rotorcraft demonstrator. Heading a team of some 70 companies, research agencies and academic organizations across Europe, Leonardo Helicopters is advancing towards final assembly of the technology demonstrator by yearend, on schedule for a first flight in 2023. The enabling feature of the new tiltrotor, the tilting mechanism enabling vertical take-off and landing – was completely redesigned, incorporating a fixed engine installation with a split gearbox to provide the proprotor tilting mechanism. The NGCTR will use an AW-609 fuselage, adapted to fit a straight wing and its distinctive V-tail and landing gear. The NGCTR is expected to reach a cruise speed of 280 knots and promises to reduce carbon emissions and noise levels respectively by 50% and 30% compared to the AW-139. The Racer project aims to demonstrate that the compound rotorcraft configuration – implementEDR | July/August 2021

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The Racer project aims to demonstrate that the compound rotorcraft configuration opens up new mobility roles that neither conventional helicopters nor fixed-wing aircraft can currently cover in a sustainable way. © Airbus Helicopters

ing and combining cutting-edge technologies from the Clean Sky 1 programme - opens up new mobility roles that neither conventional helicopters nor fixed-wing aircraft can currently cover in sustainable way, for both the operators and the industry. In all some 50 companies and academic institutions from across Europe are involved, and major components for the Airbus new compound rotorcraft are now coming together for a targeted mid-2022 first flight. The Racer is an evolution of the company’s X-Cubed approach to high-speed rotary-wing flight, using the combination of a box wing with pusher propellers to drive aircraft beyond conventional rotorcraft speed and range without severe pen-

Some fifty companies and academic institutions from across Europe are involved in the new Racer compound rotorcraft, and major components for the Airbus are now coming together for a first flight scheduled in mid2022. © Airbus Helicopters

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alties in emissions, noise and operating costs. The high-speed demonstrator targets a speed of 220 knots. Development of key technologies across the entire rotorcraft spectrum thanks to the two promising advanced concepts in the civil and green domains will further enrich the know-how and capabilities of the Old Continent cluster of rotary-wing industries, research agencies and academic organizations. The European industry shows it has significant potential to compete in the world arena of the new fast rotorcraft technologies, also considering the evolving government and military sector scenario.


Russia behind the UAV technology curve By David Oliver

The Russian Forpost tactical UAV is a license-built Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Searcher Mk.II. © Russian MoD

Russia is far behind in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology compared to the United States, or even Israel and Turkey. The Soviet Union developed the jet-powered Tu-243 Reis tactical reconnaissance UAV in the 1970s, weighing 1,500 kg on take-off from a self-propelled launcher vehicle. The 8.29 meterlong Reis required a rocket booster to accelerate to the first 550 meters of flight before the turbojet took over. It could accelerate to 875 km/h and climb to 5,000 meters, but it had an endurance of only 13 minutes. A more practical short-range battlefield UAV was the fixed-wing Yakovlev Pchela. Powered by a 32 hp Samara piston engine, the 138 kg UAV had a maximum speed of 180 km/h, a ceiling of 2,500 meters and an endurance of two hours. It was deployed against rebel forces in Chechnya in 1985 and remained in service until 2010.

F

ollowing the 2008 military conflict in South Ossetia when Georgian forces used Israeli UAVs, Russia had to rely on Tu-22M3 long-range bomber aircraft for reconnaissance of the enemy. It was then that the Russian military realised the acute need for UAVs although none were being produced in Russia in the post-Soviet era.

Russia’s involvement in the Syrian conflict since 2015 further highlighted the importance of UAV operations for reconnaissance, target designation and monitoring air strikes. Russia’s Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu admitted that only 180 UAVs were in service in 2011 although this number had risen to 1,720 by 2016. However, the most advanced system in service EDR | July/August 2021

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was the Forpost, a license-built Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Searcher Mk.II multi-mission tactical fixed-wing UAV. The 436 kg Forpost can carry a 120 kg payload of Russian manufactured electro-optical sensors. It has a maximum speed of 204 km/h, a ceiling of 7,000 meters and an endurance of 18 hours. Russia also builds the IAI BirdEye 400 mini UAV dubbed the Zastava. Other Russian UAVs deployed over Syria include the fixed-wing Granat-4 tactical UAV which has a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 30 kg, a payload weight of 3 kg, a cruising speed of 90 km/h, an operational range of up to 70 km and a service ceiling of 3,500 meters. Izhmash Unmanned Systems is the designer and manufacturer of the Granat-4 and has been developing and supplying UAVs to the Russian Armed Forces since 2007 and is now part of the Kalashnikov Concern. A company with a similar history is ENICS which has been producing the Eleron, a tactical miniUAV since 2008. The tailless delta Eleron 3 has a wingspan of 1.47 meters, a launch weight of 5.3 kg and can carry a one kilogram payload. The larger Eleron -10 has a wingspan of 2.2 meters, a 12 kg launch weight and a 4.5 kg payload.

Another ‘flying wing’ design mini-UAV is the two-meter wingspan Tachyon that weighs 25 kg with a 5 kg payload. Powered by an electric motor, it has a maximum speed of 120 km/h and a two hour endurance. A product of the Izhmash company, the Tachyon was specifically designed for use in harsh climatic conditions and has been issued to Russian Special Forces in the Kola Peninsula. The Zala Aero Group has produced yet another family of ‘flying wing’ mini-UAVs, the Zala 42116s designed for all-day ship- or land-based reconnaissance and surveillance. In April 2021, the company announced that its five metre wingspan, 29 kg Zala 421-16E5G was the “world’s first” light UAV to be powered by a hybrid powerplant combining an electric motor and an internal combustion engine. During the flight, the internal combustion engine is not the main driving force but feeds the generator and the battery. The most widely used, and arguably the most successful Russian designed tactical UAV, is the fixed-wing Orlan-10 produced by the Special Technological Center in St. Petersburg. With a length of 1.8 meters, a wingspan of 3.1 meters, an MTOW of 18 kg, it can carry a 2.5 kg payload

The tailless ENUCS Eleron 3 is used by the Russian Armed Forces for local short-range ISR. © Russian MoD

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The Izhmash Tachyon was designed for use in harsh climatic conditions such as the Russian Arctic region. © Russian MoD

The Zala 421-16E5 short-range tactical mini-UAV has been fitted with a hybrid powerplant. © Zala Aero Group

at a speed of up to 150 km/h over 150 km with a service ceiling of 5,000 meters. The pistonengined Orlan-10 is catapult launched and recovered by parachute. More than 1,000 have been produced. Army specialists in unmanned aviation from all the Russian Military Districts, the Northern Fleet, the Airborne Troops, the Strategic Missile Forces, and the Far Eastern Military Command School take part in the annual Falcon Hunting

competition. During the competition, the teams demonstrated their skills with Orlan-10 and Eleron-3 UAVs. Theoretical and practical exercises were conducted with the UAV crews performing aerial reconnaissance missions to search for targets in specified areas and adjusting artillery fire. In 2021 personnel of the Joint Russian-Turkish Centre continued to fulfill the tasks of monitoring the ceasefire and military operations in the

Developed by the Specialist Technological Center, the Orlan-10 is the Russia Armed Force’s primary multirole tactical UAV. © Russian MoD

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The Luch Design Bureau Korsar is being developed to replace the Forpost tactical UAV. © Russian MoD

zone of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict using Forpost and Orlan-10 UAVs. The joint RussianTurkish centre was deployed on the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan in accordance with a memorandum signed by the Russian Federation and the Republic of Turkey in November, 2020. More than 50 Russian UAVs have been lost in Syria since 2015 from technical failures or by being shot down by rebel forces, while more than 15 Orlan-10s have been shot down in the disputed Donbass region of Ukraine, and Russia has yet to develop an operational unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV).

The Kronstadt Orion-E is the first Russian made armed medium altitude, long-range (MALE) UAV. © Kronstadt

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The Luch Design Bureau medium-weight pistonengined Korsar is intended to replace the Forpost, to perform reconnaissance, strike and electronic attack missions for the Russian Ground Forces. The 6.5 meter wingspan, piston engined Korsar has an MTOW of 400 kg, a maximum speed of 150 km/h and an endurance of 12 hours. Although Russian sources claim that it has been successfully tested in Syria, targeting rebel forces, its development has been protracted and none are yet in operational service. Another UCAV with a protracted development is the twin-engined Sokol Altius. The programme


Kronstadt is developing the Grom ‘Loyal Wingman’ which will be capable of controlling a swarm of Molniya mini-UAVs. © Kronstadt

was launched in 2011 but only three prototypes have been built. Powered by two Klimov vVK800C turboprop engines, the 8,000 kg Altius has a 1,000 kg payload and an endurance of 24 hours at a ceiling of 12,000 meters. The Reaper-class Kronstadt Orion-E is the first Russian-made armed medium altitude, longrange (MALE) UAV and although one crashed during a test flight in November 2019, three systems have been delivered to the Russian MoD for evaluation and training. During combat evaluation in 2018, an Orion-E was deployed to Tiyas Air Base in central Syria. Powered by a Russian-built Rotax 914 fourstroke piston engine, with a wingspan of 16 meters and an MTOW of 1,200 kg, the Orion-E can carry up to a 200 kg payload of sensors and smart munitions. In April 2021 it was announced that the Russian Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation had not ruled out the possibility of delivering the Orion-E to Armenia. The projected Helios is a larger version of the Orion, classified as a high altitude, longendurance (HALE) UAV. Weighting 5,000 kg with a wingspan of 30 meters, it will carry a 200 kg payload to a ceiling of 7,500 meters with an endurance of 24 hours. The first flight is scheduled to take place in 2023. Kronstadt is also developing the Grom ‘Loyal Wingman’ which will be capable of controlling a

swarm of 10 Kronstadt designed Molniya miniUAVs and carrying Kh-38M short-range air-tosurface missiles. With a length of 13.8 meters, a wingspan of 10 metres, the Grom will have an MTOW of 7,000 kg and carry a 2,000 kg payload. Kronstadt has begun construction of a new plant for the production of its UAVs which is expected to open in November 2021 at a cost of US$52 million. The S-70 Okhotnik heavy stealthy UCAV has been under development by Sukhoi for almost a decade before the prototype made its maiden flight in August 2019. The 20-ton tailless flyingwing design has a wingspan of 20 meters and a reported maximum speed of 1,000 km/hr. The Novosibirsk Chkalov Aviation Plant is now building three more prototypes of the S-70 with multiple improvements in particular related to the sensor systems, onboard radio-electronic equipment and structural elements of the airframe. Flight testing is scheduled to begin in 2022. The Russian MoD wants to integrate the Okhotnik with the fifth generation Sukhoi Su57 Felon multirole fighter aircraft, envisaging that two or three Su-57 squadrons would have a single S-70 assigned to them which would have the possible role of a ‘Loyal Wingman’ with first deliveries expected by 2024. Russia has attempted to develop vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) capable UAVs but few have materialised into viable in-service EDR | July/August 2021

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Developed by Sukhoi, the S-70 Okhotnik stealthy UCAV will operate alongside manned Su-57 Felon fighter aircraft. © Russian MoD

solutions for the Russian Armed Forces and the navy in particular. The Zala Aero Group began developing a range of small tactical rotarywing UAVs in 2003 including the Zala 421-05H and 421-06 with MTOWs of 10 kg and 12.5 kg respectively which saw limited production until 2011. The Russian research and development company Radar MMS has also developed a small unmanned helicopter, the GSV-37 Breeze, for the Russian Navy. The Breeze is designed for providing search and rescue, patrol and security, and counter-terrorism support. Powered by an internal combustion engine, the MTOW of the UAV is 35 kg, its mission payload 12 kg and it has an endurance

of 90 minutes operating up to 1,000 meters. Following collaboration with the Austrian company Schiebel in 2011, the Russian company OAO Gorizont has been building the successful Camcopter S-100 under license. Based in Rostovon-Don, Gorizont is offering potential customers the option of equipping the UAV with its own EO/IR sensors and radar payloads. The Russian version of the S-100 has been evaluated by the Russian Coast Guard and successfully tested aboard Russian Border Guard of the Federal Security Service (FSS) patrol vessels. After trials carried out on an icebreaker in the Baltic Sea, the Gorizont S-100 was selected to operate from Russia Navy’s new generation icebreaker, Viktor Chernomyrdin. However, the Russian Navy has yet to place a significant contract for a maritime unmanned aerial system and is following the other Russian forces in being behind the curve on unmanned technology.

The Groizont S-100 is a licensebuilt variant of Austria’s successful Schiebel S-100 Camcopter VTOL UAV used for maritime applications. © David Oliver

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The latest generation of the AMASCOS airborne mission system is part of the ‘The Force Multiplier’ ISR special mission platform based on the Bombardier Dash-8 Q300, which is promoted by PAL Aerospace, Thales and CarteNav Solutions. © PAL Aerospace/Thales

Airborne maritime surveillance and anti-submarine warfare evolves By Luca Peruzzi

The continuous expansion of the submarines threat as well as the complexity of littoral warfare are pushing industries and customers towards more sophisticated airborne mission suite solutions with reduced size, weight and power (SWaP), capable to be accommodated and networked on a wide range of both manned and unmanned aerial platforms to accomplish distributed maritime operations. The trend towards business jet-based special mission and unmanned platforms, and the expansion of multi-mission requirements, together with more capable rotary-wing mission suites are driving the market, this analysis trying to provide a general overview of major systems development.

Airborne Mission Systems Thales is proposing the AMASCOS which has evolved though its previous iterations towards a new generation mission management system, employing state-of-the-art technologies in terms

of human machine interface (HMI) and mission data management. In service in previous versions on board different airborne platforms, the Thales suite is currently offered, according to customers needs, in an advanced configuration which has been integrated on ‘The Force Multiplier’, EDR | July/August 2021

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suite which typically employs up to five consoles or a lightweight version for surveillance tasks with a reduced number of operator stations.

The latest iteration of the ATOS airborne mission system, devoted for the specific customer to maritime surveillance, is in service with Italy’s Guardia di Finanza customs service. © Leonardo

an on-demand, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) special mission platform based on the Bombardier Dash-8 Q300, being promoted by PAL Aerospace, Thales and CarteNav Solutions. At the heart of the new configuration we find the innovative operator station based on two wide-area multi­function colour touchscreens; it is particularly user-friendly thanks to easy-tolearn interactive modes. The system makes maximum use of the latest display technologies and is linked to the latest generation of sensors, including radar, ESM, communications, sonobuoy processing and electro-optical systems, being built around a tactical command system. Based on a modular architecture, the network centric system can be configured to optimize the crew task sharing for either a full-capable ASW and/or ASuW

Airbus has recently successfully concluded a flight test campaign of its FITS (Fully Integrated Tactical System) mission system that features a new capability enabling it to be remotely operated by ground-based crews. © Airbus

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Leonardo’s ATOS (Airborne Tactical Observation and Surveillance) proven airborne mission system has been sold to six international customers in addition to the Italian Air Force, Coast Guard and Guardia di Finanza. Available in various configurations and already in operation on-board more than 10 different aircraft and helicopter types, with more than 60 systems installed on platforms including the ATR 42MP and ATR 72MP, DA-62 MSA, Dash-8, Beechcraft King Air 350, Casa CN-235, Piaggio Aero P-166, A-109, AW-139, AW-169, Bell 412 and AS-300B3 helicopters, the ATOS modular and open architecture allows the suite to perform highly demanding surveillance missions such as ASW and ASuW, in addition to support the inclusion of additional capabilities and extra operator consoles. The HMI and sensor integration has been carefully designed to minimize the operator workload while increasing the situational awareness during the mission. The ATOS suite comes in three main baseline configurations managing an increasingly extended suite of sensors, respectively devoted to rotarywing applications and based on a single operator console, short and medium range aircraft with one or two multifunction consoles (MFC) with two large colour screens, and long range platforms, the latter equipped with four or more MFCs and capable to manage ASuW, ASW and ISR missions. ATOS modularity and open architecture allowed


Leonardo to develop an ‘Ultra Light’ version for unmanned applications while HMI developments include 27-inch touchscreen displays that further enhance the suite capabilities. Airbus has recently successfully concluded a flight test campaign of its FITS (Fully Integrated Tactical System) mission system that features a new capability enabling it to be remotely operated by ground-based crews. The FITS has been developed and continuously updated by Airbus for its family of tactical transport aircraft in the maritime surveillance, ASuW/ASW and ISR versions or new widebody platforms, including C-212, CN-235, C-295 and third party airframes such as the P-3. The latest system iteration, called Next Generation FITS includes new dual-screen consoles with large 24-inch high-definition displays that greatly enhance situational awareness, a new tactile interface for intuitive operations, and faster and more powerful system processors allowing for shorter start-up and booting sequences, reduced mission data up/download times, and higher reliability rates. During the campaign carried out in April in southern Spain, with a manufacturer C-295 ISR testbed equipped with a Collins avionics package, Airbus said the aircraft performed standard maritime patrol missions with all sensors controlled in near real time by a mission operator based at a ground station at Airbus’ Getafe site. During tests, the ground operator’s situational awareness was complete, sharing the same set of tools and apps available in onboard FITS workstations, transforming the COMMOMISS ground station into an effective additional operator’s node.

In addition to the ELM-2022 multirole surveillance radar versions for fixed- and rotary-wing and unmanned platforms, Elta is offering both the ELM-2022ML model for SwaP requirements and ELM2022ES with AESA antenna and advanced capabilities. © Elta/IAI

flexible interfaces and antenna design, enabling it to be installed on a wide range of platforms. In addition to the ELM-2022 versions for fixedand rotary-wing and unmanned platforms, Elta is offering two more versions. The ELM-2022ML lightweight version is designed for reduced size, weight and power (SWaP) and consists of two LRUs located directly behind the antenna, with a total weight of 54 kg and 1.1 kW power consumption. The ELM-2022ES features an AESA antenna, provides enhanced performances and capabilities and weighs 95 kg weight with a 3.2 kW power consumption. With a maximum detection range of up to 200 nautical miles, the family of ELM 2022 radars provides detection and automatic tracking of small targets in adverse sea conditions, range profile, ISAR and CSAR classification modes, with automatic classification to

Surface sensors Elta of Israel, part of Israel Aerospace Industries, proposes its family of ELM-2022 radars. In service with a range of customers and platforms including P-3 Orion, B-737, C-130J, Challenger, Q-400, C-295 and C-235, Do-228, Heron, Aerostat and AS-365, the ELM-2022 is a combat-proven family of long-range airborne multimode maritime surveillance radars operating in the X-band, characterized by modular hardware,

Thales Searchmaster AESA multirole surveillance radar found national and international success, and is promoted as part of ‘The Force Multiplier’ special mission aircraft. © Quentin Reytinas/Thales

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Leveraging on hundreds of Seaspray AESA radars in service with operators around the world on a variety of platforms, Leonardo offers the V2 version including processor and receiver developments within new generation Osprey compact radar. © Leonardo

class of ships (ISAR library), strip and spot SAR imaging and GMTI for ISR missions support, together with an integrated IFF/AIS/ADSB system. In service with the French Navy’s Dassault Aviation ATL2 modernized platforms (standard 6) and recently selected by the same customer for the new Albatros Maritime Surveillance and Intervention (AVISMAR) programme based on the Dassault Aviation Falcon 2000LXS modified business aircraft, the Thales Searchmaster airborne multirole surveillance radar has found international success having been selected by an undisclosed foreign operator for a business aircraft integration, while being promoted as part of The Force Multiplier special mission aircraft. Equipped with an AESA antenna employing GaN technology transmitter/receiver modules (TRM) and radar technologies derived from the Rafale combat aircraft mission suite, the X-band Searchmaster features a lightweight and modular design based on a 360° rotating antenna and back-end including three LRUs for a 78 kg total

In addition to versions for fixed- and rotary-wing applications, the Gabbiano multirole surveillance radar family includes the Ultra Light TS 20 model developed for reduced SWaP applications, such as small unmanned platforms like Leonardo AWHero and Falco Evo. © Leonardo

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weight and a typical power consumption of 1.92 kW. Featuring multi RF channels for high accuracy tracking, digital beamforming generation and highest throughput COTS-based processor, the ITAR free Searchmaster offers high-quality maritime and coastal tactical picture, maritime imaging modes available in all sea conditions, dedicated non-Doppler and Doppler modes for detection of small targets in all sea-conditions, GMTI mode for detection of slow and fast moving land vehicles, very wide area imaging modes (64 Megapixels) up to very high resolution, longer range air target detection and tracking, and up to 1,000 simultaneous tracks applicable to all target detection modes.

The latest addition to the multi-mission surveillance radar sector comes from Hensoldt’s new family of PrecISR radars, which features the latest achievements in AESA technology and SWaP requirements. © Hensoldt

Leveraging on more than 500 Seaspray radar systems centered on a GaAs technology AESA antenna delivered to operators around the world on a variety of platforms, ranging from helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft to fast patrol boats, Leonardo is also offering the new V2 variant of its Seaspray 7000E and 7500E models, together with the new generation Osprey compact AESA radar, as well as the conventional Gabbiano airborne surveillance radar family. The new V2 variant of the Seaspray family leverages processor and receiver technologies from the new generation Osprey solution, further enhancing Seaspray performances particularly in the maritime environment, where the radar’s small target detection mode continues to stand out as a major differentiator, according to Leonardo. Already under cooperative integration with General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GAASI) on the MQ-9B Predator B in the maritime-


Teledyne FLIR offers its family of new Star Safire 380 imaging systems which provide superior image stabilization, ultra-long range imaging performance and exploit Star Safire 380X advanced image-processing aiding features. © Teledyne FLIR

or belly-mounted antennas of different sizes, the Gabbiano Ultra Light TS 20 was developed for reduced SWaP applications, such as small unmanned platforms like Leonardo AWHero and Falco Evo. The ITAR free Gabbiano family offers the full range of sea search modes including high sea state surveillance, ISAR, TWS, MTI and sea target classification, ground search modes including high-resolution modes (Spot SAR and Strip SAR) granting sub-meter resolution over wide swath areas, long-range GMTI as well as air-to-air, weather and navigation modes.

optimized SeaGuardian configuration, the Seaspray 7500E V2 radar modes are implemented through software within the new processor, allowing for enhancements to GMTI, Sport/Strip SAR, ISAR and air-surveillance modes while processor developments increase significantly the number of tracked targets. Already installed on a variety of manned fixed-wing, rotary-wing and unmanned platforms in service with 23 worldwide customers, the Gabbiano X-band multi-mode/multi-mission family of radars with fully coherent solid state transmitter, currently includes the NG TS-20 (3 LRU configuration), the Ultra Light TS-80 (2 LRU configuration) with respectively 20 and 80 W average transmitted power, and the Ultra Light TS-20 (2 LRU with 20 W) versions. While the former two are devoted mainly to fixed and rotary-wing manned and unmanned platforms with both nose-mounted

The latest addition to the multi-mission surveillance radar sector comes from the Hensoldt’s new family of PrecISR radars. According to the German group, the new product translates the latest achievements in AESA technology into a low SWaP high-performance and scalable radar, designed for a wide range of airborne platforms including UAVs, helicopters as well as special mission aircraft. The X-band software-defined radar family features the latest scalable GaN AESA antenna design, which can fit different platforms, providing an instrumented range up to 200 nautical miles, SAR modes up to ultra-high resolution (30 cm) and state-of-the art moving target indication. The PrecISR 1000 rotating gimbal version radar has passed factory acceptance tests last November, according to Hensoldt, for its launch customer QinetiQ Gmbh and installation on a modified Pilatus PC-12 aircraft for special mission operations.

L3Harris promotes its family of Wescam MX-15 imaging systems, which support seven payload simultaneously and employ Wescam Video Engine (WAVE) and MX-GEO software suite. © L3Harris Wescam

Safran Electronics & Defense new generation EuroFlir 410 imaging system provides ultra-long range observation and precision targeting capabilities thanks to up to ten sensors. © Safran Electronics & Defense

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Elbit systems offers the combat proven, ultra-long range Spectro XR multispectral imaging system that provides 20” payload performance in a 15” payload package. © Elbit Systems

Electro-optical US main manufacturers of EO/IR imaging systems continue to hold the international market but European and Israeli producers launched new products. The trend in imaging systems is to balance dimensions, weight, multi-spectral and geo-location capabilities to provide a system that can be hosted by a variety of platforms and provide a full range of sensors including high-definition MWIR imager, daylight, lowlight and SWIR cameras, and multi laser payload options to provide 24/7 imaging and targeting. Latest technologies trends allow to introduce artificial intelligence, virtual reality and HMI through mainly software and firmware to further enhance ‘situational understanding’. Teledyne FLIR offers its family of new Star Safire 380 gim-

bal systems. The baseline Star Safire 380-HD provides superior image stabilization, ultra-long range imaging performance, and true metadata embedded in the digital video. Exploiting the new Star Safire 380X advanced image-processing aiding features package, the system is fully hardened for military fixed-wing and helicopter operations. It can work continuously in all conditions - even while sitting on the tarmac with no airflow. L3Harris promotes its family of Wescam MX-15 imaging systems, supporting seven payload items simultaneously. With 4-axis stabilization and solid-state IMU together with Wescam Advanced Video Engine (WAVE) and MX-GEO software suite, the MX-15 features advanced images processing and high target location accuracy. Leonardo has successfully sold on the national and international markets its new LEOSS (Long Range Electro Optical Surveillance System) EO/IR imaging system. Capable to accommodate up to seven payloads, the 4-axis gyro-stabilized system features a single LRU turret with embedded computer and IMU/GPS for state-of-the-art performance. Safran Electronics & Defense has successfully introduced the new-generation combat-proven Euroflir 410 system for applications ranging from fixed- to rotary-wing, UAVs and Aerostats. Already in service with NH-90 and AS-565 platforms and selected for French Navy’s AVISMAR maritime patrol aircraft programme and H160/Guépard helicopter, the new 4-axis gimbal system provides ultra-long range observation and precision

The Elta Systems ELL-8385 ESM/ELINT suite features a compact design allowing easy adaption and installation on various platforms, from maritime patrol or special mission aircraft to UAVs, from ships to submarines, ground vehicles and fixed locations. © Elta/IAI

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The Elettronica ELT/800 ESM/ELINT suite found success on both national and international markets, and is installed on-board Leonardo ATR 72MP and Bombardier Q400 platforms. © Elettronica

targeting capabilities thanks to up to 10 sensors, in addition to advanced embedded functions, all in a single LRU. Elbit Systems offers the combat proven Spectro XR day/night, ultra-long range, multi-spectral EO/IR imaging system that provides 20” payload performance in a 15” payload. The heart is a multi-spectral imaging system that combines multiple optical channels into one and improves performances without increasing size and weight. Being suitable for land, naval, fixedwing and rotary-wing platforms, the Spectro XR is equipped with a variety of digital imaging, high definition sensors and laser payloads.

Electronic Support Measures (ESM) Elta Systems offers its ELL-8385 ESM/ELINT suite, which compact design allows easy adaption and installation on various platforms: from maritime patrol or special mission aircraft to UAVs, from

Thanks to its favourable SWaP characteristics, Leonardo SAGE ESM suite can be integrated with other sensors and mission systems, providing packaging opportunities on many platforms including small UAVs. © Leonardo

ships to submarines, ground vehicles and fixed locations. Designed to intercept, geo-locate and analyze radar signals over a wide frequency range, the system operates in terrestrial, aerial and maritime domains, supporting multiple operational applications including ESM, passive air situation picture and ELINT for in-depth analysis of the intercepted signals. According to Elta, the ELL-8385 has already found application on P-3C, B 737, G 550, B 707, C-130, Il 76 and Fokker 50 platforms. Developed for maritime patrol and special mission aircraft, the Elettronica ELT/800 ESM/ELINT suite found success on both national and international markets, installed on-board Leonardo ATR 72MP and Bombardier Q400 platforms. It is based on a dual receiver architecture (wide open and wide band superheterodyne digital receiver) through a new system approach and modern technologies, according to Elettronica. The system performs tactical surveillance (ESM function) providing

Leonardo is proposing the lightweight and modular new generation ULISSES (Ultra-Light SonicS Enhanced System) suite characterized by enhanced and multistatic capabilities. It is being promoted also in pod-based independent configurations. © Leonardo EDR | July/August 2021

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Leveraging state-of-the-art developments in sonobuoy processing performed for UK and French naval programmes, Thales offers the new BlueTracker Sonobuoy Processing System (SPS) product range. © Thales

warning and self-protection through cooperation with defensive aid subsystem (DASS) capability combined with highly accurate data analysis for Intelligence (Technical ELINT function). Leonardo SAGE suite is already operational with worldwide customers in both fixed and rotarywing applications. This state-of-the-art ESM can be fitted to all platforms and is configured to support a variety of requirements. Its favourable SWaP characteristics, according to Leonardo, allow it to be integrated with other sensors and missions systems, providing packaging opportunities on many platforms including small UAVs. With a reduced weight, approximately 20 kg, SAGE key features include among others single platform geo-location enabling accurate sensor cueing at tactically significant range, identification and categorization of complex emitters, enhanced platform survivability through advanced radar warning capability and data recording for further analysis and sovereign EW database creation.

Anti-Submarine Warfare Leonardo is proposing the lightweight and modular new generation ULISSES (Ultra-Light SonicS Enhanced System) characterized by enhanced and multi-static capabilities but reduced weight and footprint, allowing the installation on a wider range of fixed- and rotary-wing platforms, including lightweight assets such as unmanned air vehicles (UAVs). The core of the ULISSES suite is composed of the sonobuoy processor with software and an embedded data recorder, both developed by Leonardo, a digital VHF receiver 32

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and a common function transmitter unit devoted to the UHF downlink to buoys. The processor is capable to perform passive and active multi-static processing of up to 64 sonobuoys in parallel, sonobuoy processing, localization and classification of targets through advanced and proprietary tracking algorithms. It consists of a small 6.5 kg unit, while the complete core sonics suite including the acoustic processor, receiver and transmitter weighs less than 20 kg and occupies 20 liters volume. The sonobuoy dispenser depends on the application and requirements. Leonardo is proposing configurations based on a pod-mounted self-contained solution with a fully-independent ASW suite including a pre-processing unit, the dispenser for Ultra Electronics miniaturized sonobuoys and datalink, which can be applied to multi-purpose platforms, both fixed- and rotary-wing, manned and unmanned. Leveraging state-of-the-art developments in sonobuoy processing performed for the UK Royal Navy and the French Navy in the framework of the AW101 Merlin CSP (Capability Sustainment Plus) and Atlantique 2 STAN (Sous-système de Traitement Acoustique Numérique de dernière generation) projects respectively, Thales offers the new BlueTracker Sonobuoy Processing System (SPS) product range. It includes the “BlueTracker Mk1” dedicated to multi-purpose aircraft, dimensioned to process up to 16 buoys simultaneously, and the “BlueTracker Mk2”, for aircraft specialized in ASW missions, which can process up to 64 buoys simultaneously, including the new SonoFlash sonobuoy also developed by Thales. The BlueTracker SPS features a COTS-


The French DGA recently awarded Thales a contract to develop, qualify and manufacture the new SonoFlash air-droppable sonobuoy, which offers the best of both passive or active sonobuoy modes, combining powerful, optimized lowfrequency transmitter with a high-directivity passive receiver. © Thales

base acoustic processor with digital wideband VHF sonobuoy receiver (99 channels) capable to process active and/or passive acoustic data from the latest analogue and digital types of sonobuoys. Fully sea-proven in worldwide operational deployment in mono and multi-static modes, the BlueTracker provides powerful data fusion techniques covering a large amount of acoustic information, and allowing the detection, tracking, localization and classification of surface and subsurface targets in all environments. The French DGA recently awarded Thales a contract to develop, qualify and manufacture the new SonoFlash air-droppable sonobuoy. Characterized by innovative design and advanced technologies, unlikely the current either passive or active sonobuoys, the SonoFlash offers the best of both modes, combining a powerful, optimized low-frequency transmitter with a high-directivity passive receiver. Combining these two capabilities, and with the added advantage of long endurance, the SonoFlash is suitable for a wide array of deployment scenarios, opening up promising new opportunities for multi-static operations with Thales sonars. To be delivered to the French navy from 2025, it could be available, according to Thales, on export markets to equip all modern fixed and rotary-wing as well as unmanned platforms, including autonomous surface vehicles, rotary-wing and fixed-wing UAVs equipped with a suitable multi-sonobuoy dispenser.

Another key ASW sensor is the magnetic anomaly detection (MAD) system. Having designed and supplied MAD systems for over 40 years to military forces around the world, CAE of Canada currently proposes the MAD-XR (Magnetic Anomaly Detection-Extended Role) with reduced SWaP requirements allowing it to be fitted to smaller platforms such as UAVs, helicopters and small fixedwing aircraft. Compared to the much larger in-service CAE AN/ASQ-508, with a total weight of circa 40 kg, the MAD-XR is a 2.3 kg suite including only the sensor unit and the interface unit. Maximum power requirement is also reduced from 200 W to 60 W. The MAD-XR is being integrated on US Navy’s first six MH-60Rs and has been acquired for testing by both Canadian and UK navies.

Having designed and supplied MAD systems to military forces worldwide, CAE of Canada currently proposes the MAD-XR (Magnetic Anomaly Detection-Extended Role) with reduced SWaP requirements allowing it to be fitted to smaller platforms such as UAVs, helicopters and small fixedwing aircraft. © CAE

EDR | July/August 2021

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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° 57 • May/June 2021

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