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THE TRUSTED SOURCE FOR DEFENCE TECHNOLOGY INFORMATION SINCE 1976
Contents 5/2013 INTERNATIONAL www.armada.ch | www.armadainternational.com
06 MINI INFRARED CAMERAS
THERMAL EYES: SMALLER AND SHARPER I Luca Peruzzi With constant pressure on increased performance and size, weight and power (SWaP) consumption reduction to cope with the demanding battlefield requirements in terms of target detection, recognition and identification in all weathers and light conditions, the mid-wave (MW) and long-wave (LW) infrared thermal devices capabilities continue to evolve
C-RAM SHIFTING TO MISSILES AND LASERS?
STANDARDISATION AND FLEXIBILITY
I Paolo Valpolini
I Paolo Valpolini
I Tom Withington
47 PAS REPORT PARIS AIR SHOW 2013
INFANTRY FIGHTING VEHICLES & ARMOURED PERSONNEL CARRIERS
I Tom Withington
I Paolo Valpolini
I Paolo Valpolini
Index I INDEX TO ADVERTISERS 3M PELTOR
ARMADA WEBSITE AD
Entries highlighted with Red numbers are found in Radio Compendium 2013 and Entries highlighted with Blue numbers are found in IFV & APC Compendium 2013
I INDEX TO MANUFACTURERS Companies mentioned in this issue. Where there are multiple references to a company in an article, only the first occurence and subsequent photographs are listed below 3M
Emirates Advanced Research and Technology Holding
15,47,22,24 6,10,20,48,24,25 17,22,29,30 26
Rohde and Schwarz
Blue Bird Aero Systems
CMI Defence Codan
Kongsberg Krauss-Maffei-Wegmann L-3 Communication Lockheed Martin
Mack Defence MBDA
Delta Military Scientific Technical Centre Denel
Diehl BGT Defence
13,45,46,50 46 30,31,28 25
Tbilisi Aircraft Manufacturing
Opgal Optronic Industries
UTC Aerospace Systems
Digital Force Technologies
Elbit Systems Elektrobit
Oto Melara Otokar
28,29 6,17, 34,20,21 8,16,24,26
Wojskowe zaklady Mechaniczn
From the mere cable-controlled types of yesteryear, ground robots are moving at an accelerating pace towards the representation one has of a true robot: a vehicle that can move about almost autonomously, although truly intelligent vehicles are still quite a few miles down the road. This armed Oto Melara TRP2 on patrol photographed by P. Valpolini can nevertheless ruin and intruder’s weekend.
Volume 37, Issue No. 5, October-November 2013 INTERNATIONAL
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UNCOOLED THERMAL SIGHTS
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© 2013 Raytheon Company. All rights reserved. “Customer Success Is Our Mission” is a registered trademark of Raytheon Company.
Mini Infrared Cameras
Recent developments in thermal imagers in terms of performances, size and power consumption offer unprecedented capabilities in terms of support not only to battlefield but also homeland and commercial operations, such as shown by this image taken with FLIR Systems equipment. (FLIR Systems)
Thermal Eyes: Smaller and Sharper With constant pressure on increased performance and size, weight and power (SWaP) consumption reduction to cope with the demanding battlefield requirements in terms of target detection, recognition and identification in all weathers and light conditions, the mid-wave (MW) and long-wave (LW) infrared thermal devices capabilities continue to evolve.
ome C-Ram systems have been fired in anger for a while, commencing with the Raytheon Gatling gun-based Centurion in Irak, while others came slightly too late to be deployed like the Rheinmetall Mantis, based on the 35 mm Millenium gun firing an adapted Ahead munition, which was nevertheless delivered to
the German Air Force air defence regiment in late November 2012. In Italy, Oto Melara is now proposing the 20mm Porcupine system to the Italian Army. For the Draco 76 mm self-propelled system, on the other hand, is said to be developing a new ammunition in co-operation with an Israeli company. Key parameters for both for the higherperformance cooled and the smaller uncooled systems include sensitivity, resolution and signal-to-noise ratios.
Imaging developments in the short-wave infrared (SWIR) portion of the electromagnetic spectrum (between 0.9 and 1.7 micron) are moreover expected to be applied to a wide range of military sensing and imaging applications. Sensor fusion has become a predominant requirement for battlefield operations, leading to dual-sensor devices for dismounted operations. ITT Exelisâ€™ i-Aware Tactical Mobility Night Vision Goggles (TM NVG), which integrates
an image intensifier with an uncooled thermal imager, as well as multiple electrooptical/IR systems payload for ground- and airborne-based applications provides a good example. In the case of small drones, these developments also allowed payloads to evolve from single to dual-sensor configurations, while electronics advances in on-board sensor data fusion enable soldier situational awareness to be improved by reducing the time required to identify targets. The third and latest generation of infrared
systems provide enhanced capabilities such as large number of pixels, higher frame rates, better thermal resolution, as well as multicolour functionality and other on-chip signal processing both for cooled and uncooled
Sofradirâ€™s QWIP-based 384x288, 25 micron pixel LWIR is a very compact photodetector and thus well suited for vehicle-mounted systems such as the Thales Catherine-XP TI, but here in its tripod-mounted version. (Thales)
focal plane arrays (FPAs). In the third generation class of systems, three detector technologies are now being developed: l Mercury Cadmium Telluride (MCT) also known as HgCdTe, l Quantum-Well Infrared Photodetector (QWIP) and l Antimonide based type-II SLSs (strained layer superlattices). At present MCT is the most used semiconductor material for IR photodetectors and it is expected that the envelope of its capabilities will continue to expand because of its properties. As QWIP photodetector technology is at an early stage of development, the relatively new type-II InAS/Galnsb (Indium Antimonide/Gallium Indium Antimonide) super lattice structure has potential to be an alternative to MCT in the long wavelength spectrum. At present VOx (vanadium oxide) microbolometer arrays are the most used technology for uncooled detectors, which are produced in larger volumes than all other infrared array technologies put together, and this trend is expected to increase in the near future for both military and civilian applications. In meantime developments in thermal cameras are continuing, as exemplified by DRS work on miniaturising LWIR-based cameras under the Darpa Advanced Wide-field-of-view Architecture for image Reconstruction and Exploitation (Aware) programme. The later has been launched to address what Darpa describes as the important need to increase field-of-view, resolution and day/night capability at reduced SWaP and cost. Developments in shot wavebased thermal imagers provide additional support for battlefield operations. Short-wave infrared provides several advantages, including operations down to starlight conditions, receiving adequate illumination from the weak natural phenomena known as atmospheric nightglow, presentation of images that closely represent what is seen in the visible spectrum, covert target recognition in darkness, camouflage negation and the ability to image beacons and lasers used with night vision goggles. I AMERICAN SUPPLIERS
Flir Systems provides a variety of camera modules and cores for integration into larger systems. Flirâ€™s long wave sensor portfolio has recently expanded with arrival of the Quark and the Tau 2 uncooled cores. Available in 640x512 or 336x256 resolution focal plane array/digital video display formats with a 17-
Mini Infrared Cameras
Available in 640x512 or 336x256 resolution focal plane array/digital video display formats with 17-micron pixel pitch, Flir Systems’ Quark uncooled VOx Microbolometer core is believed to be the smallest in the world. (FLIR Systems)
micron pixel pitch, the Quark uncooled VOx Microbolometer core is reported as the world’s smallest. Measuring a mere 17x22x22 mm, weighting between 18.3 and 28.8 grams (depending on applied lens) and consuming less than one watt, it is reported an unrivalled option for small drones. The very compact size allowed Sky-Watch in Denmark to replace a single-payload with a dual-payload version in its 1.5 kg Huginn X1 drone, which is capable of operating a Quark 640 thermal and normal cameras simultaneously. Aerovironment is continuing to upgrade hundreds of its Ravens with Quark-based Mantis gimbals. Startup firm Trillium
launched a new Quark-based gimbal that is 6.35cm and 227grams. The new-generation Tau 2 family of uncooled thermal imagers comes with enhanced electronics and in three formats (Tau 640x512 , 336x256 and 324x256) and two pixel pitches (17μm for the 640/336 and 25μm for the 324) for different applications including remote-control vehicles, like the Canadian vertilift Draganfly X6, Lockheed Martin’s Desert Hawk III and Aerovironment’s Pumas. Zhe Tau has been employed in hundreds of unattended ground systems for situational awareness by companies including NGC Xetron, L-3 Nova
Engineering and Digital Force Technologies. Among medium-wave cooled camera cores, Flir provides the Photon HRC, one of the smallest available 640x512 format core. Based on a 15-micron, InSb array, it weighs less than 454 grams, permitting a range of applications. In the same band, Flir provides the smallest and lightest OEM’s Neutrino 640x512 InSb 15micron camera, together with µCore-275Z and Min-Core HRC families of extremely compact MCT 640x512 based detectors with continuous optical zoom lens, which eliminates the need for multiple lenses, advanced image processing and multiple fields-of-view optics. The µCore-275Z baseline
MAXIMUM CLEARANCE. TWICE THE RANGE. FLIR Systems continues to pioneer ground-breaking broadcast-quality high definition EO/IR imaging systems. The new Star SAFIRE® 380-HDc is the world’s first stabilized multi-sensor system specifically engineered for long-range, low-altitude police air support, military special ops and SAR missions. The lightweight & compact Star SAFIRE® 380-HDc will change rotary-wing and light-aircraft tactical surveillance operations forever. The revolutionary new design combines low-weight and maximum ground clearance flexibility with long-range performance. These significant size, weight and cost advantages now mean safer low-altitude flying and more successful missions.
BECAUSE IT’S NOT JUST YOUR JOB, IT’S YOUR LIFE.
For more information visit www.flir.com/380HDc /flirhq
Mini Infrared Cameras
The new generation of Flir Systems Tau 2 family of LWIR uncooled imagers comes with enhanced electronics and in different formats and pixel pitches for different applications including small drones, like the Canadian Draganfly X6 and the Lockheed Martin Desert Hawk III seen here. (Lockheed Martin)
model is claimed to offer man and vehicle detection, recognition and identification at respectively 9.2, 2.9, 1.2 and 15.5, 6 and 3.3 km. To complete spectrum coverage, Flir has the Tau camera, which incorporates 640x512 or 320x240 Indium Gallium Arsenide (InGaAs) 25-micron pixel pitch focal plane array, both weighting only 130 grams with M24 lens mount making ideal for small vehicles and battery-powered viewers. I RAYTHEON
Raytheon, also a world leader in thermal cooled and uncooled imagers, provides a comprehensive range of products for space, naval, airborne, ground and dismounted applications. Raytheon offers an extensive range of airborne multi-sensors suites integrating medium- and long-wave thermal cooled cameras for normally operated and remote-controlled platforms.
Its uncooled detector technology, on the other hand, is mainly devoted to land applications, with rugged and extremely light PhantomIRxr bioculars and thermal weapon sights for engagement of targets equally in day or night, smoke or fog. Tracked and wheeled vehicles equipped with Raytheon's DVE provide 24-hour manoeuvring capability, including full vehicle mobility in fog and haze. Raytheon offers uncooled VOx Microbolometer long-wave focal plane array in both 320x240 and 640x480 format with 25 micron pixel pitch, while in the SWIR spectrum band, it offers uncooled 640x512, 1280x1024 and 1920x512 formats with 20micron pixel pitch cores. I L3
At AUVSI, L3 Cincinnati Electronics unveiled its new NightWarrior ÂľCam 640 Medium-wave system, one of the smallest cooled thermal imagers, according to the company. Based on 15-micron pitch, 640 x 512 focal plane array and High Operating Temperature (HOT) technologies, this engine runs at higher temperatures that InSbbased products, delivering superior imaging quality compared to systems based on uncooled imagers. Weighing and consuming
respectively less than 500 grams and six watts, the NightWarrior 640 is about the size of a Ccell battery, which allows it to be added to systems that previously could only use uncooled systems. L-3 CE engineers designed the NightWarrior 640 for easy integration into a variety of applications, from hand-held to remote-control weapon stations. L3 CE is looking into different options of optics, including a medium 250mm-capable lens, adding 7.6-10 cm. I BAE
At the same exhibition, BAE Systems unveiled what it says is one the smallest multi-spectral camera available - weighing just 144 g â€“ for small drones. The company also provided the system with on-board processing for sensors data fusion in order to improve soldier situational awareness by reducing the time required to identify targets. The innovative sensor blends low-light-level camera covering from full daylight down to starlight, with long-wave infrared uncooled thermal (supplied by BAE Systems for weapon sights) image in a single display, thanks to a new Digitally Fused Sensor System (DFSS), allowing soldiers to intuitively assess a scene using a remote-control vehicle in time-critical
conditions. With sensor fusion, soldiers don’t need to switch back and forth between the daytime and infrared cameras, according to BAE Systems. The multispectral sensors package was shown on Air Robot AR-100B quad-rotor drone, The system adjusts its own settings to each mission’s environmental conditions, so operating forces don’t need to choose between a daylight or an infrared sensor before launch. BAE Systems is investigating the use of a camera providing full-colour starlight, in addition to laser designation and uncooled imaging. The system is being tested by the US Special Operations Command. A longer range capability, to provide digitally fused pictures at ranges approaching 3500 metres, is being investigated.
BAE Systems’ innovative sensor blends low-light-level camera covering from full daylight down to starlight situations, with long-wave infrared uncooled thermal (supplied by BAE Systems for weapon sights) image in a single display, thanks to the new Digitally Fused Sensor System (DFSS). (BAE Systems)
Mini Infrared Cameras
UTC Sensors Unlimited’s SWIR and LWIR thermal cameras are used by sister company Cloud Cap Technology to populate the Tase family of low-cost micro gimbal turrets, including the Tase 150 for small drones. (UTC Cloud Cap Technology)
microbolometer and cooled MCT-based cameras and OEM cores, DRS Technologies was first to market uncooled 17μm pixel imagers and more recently 12μm cooled MCT imagers, being core supplier for US Army and various drone manufacturers. Designed to be light (30 grams), low power (750 mW) and ultra-compact, the Tamarisk 320 uses 320x240 VOx microbolometer with 17 pixel-pitch, Long-Wave (LWIR) uncooled technology, being offered as complete camera or as configurable module with lens options and frame rate. In February 2013, DRS Technologies launched the 640x480 version of the Tamarisk TI, that provides superior performance while maintaining small size (46x40x31 mm without optics), low weight (<60 grams) and power consumption (<1.5 W). The Tamarisk family applications include vehicles, dismounted soldiers and drones, with the 640 being used on the Falcon drone.
UTC Aerospace Systems - Sensors Unlimited offers a complete line of products for image sensing in the SWIR band. Last April, Sensors Unlimited presented new generation Indium Gallium Arsenide (InGaAs) SWIR camera designed for reduced SWaP and high sensitivity, which features a 640x512 pixel image sensor with 12.5-micron pixel pitch, utilizing company's proprietary image enhancement algorithms. Weighing less than 55 grams and consuming under two watts, this camera provides real-time daylight to low-light imaging for persistent surveillance, laser detection and penetration through fog, haze and smoke. In April 2012, Sensors Unlimited introduced a new GA640C-15A 'Cubic Inch' uncooled camera, featuring a 640x512-pixel resolution with a 15-micron pitch. Weighing a mere 26 grams sans lens and consuming only 1.5W, it is an ideal candidate for integration in dismounted soldier solutions. Both short- and long-wave thermal cameras are used by sister company Cloud Cap Technology to populate its Tase family of low-cost micro gimbal turrets, including the Tase 150 for small drones. I DRS
Leading manufacturer of uncooled VOx
EUROPE AND THE REST OF THE WORLD The smallest of the low-cost micro gimbal turrets family provided by UTC Cloud Cap Technology includes the 900-gram Tase 150 that offers full motion EO and 640x480 LWIR imager with onboard miniaturized GPS/INS and interface. (UTC Cloud Cap Technology)
Sofradir is one of the world leaders in Mercury Cadmium Telluride applied technologies. With the acquisition of facilities and technology developments in InSb from Sagem, QWIP and InGaAs from Thales
through an agreement signed last December, Sofradir has reinforced its leading market position in Europe and around the world as the supplier of a complete range of cooled and uncooled technologies and products, the latter though its Ulis subsidiary. Base in France, the group offers a new InGaAs-based 640x512, 15-micron pixel (42x30x9mm) SW uncooled detector called Snake. It offers high sensitivity and resolution, being well-adapted to a large range of applications such as hand-held and vehicle-based night vision, surveillance and airborne gimbals. The QWIP-based 384x288, 25 micron pixel LWIR is a very compact photodetector well-suited to applications in vehiclemounted systems such as the Thales Catherine-XP TI, while the long-wave Scorpio is the latest addition to the widely used 640x512 format 15-micron pixel family, providing high sensitivity, high resolution and long-range ground-based applications. Sofradirâ€™s infrared detector production covers a full range of well-proven applications, including the MBDA Storm Shadow/SCALP EG missile, the Thales Damocles targeting and Navflir navigation pods, the Thales
Sophie hand-held and Catherine thermal imagers, and the Sagem Iris and Sada II (for American armoured vehicles). The company is working on new detectors with the aim of introducing innovation, added performance and compactness. These new offerings involve e-APD (avalanche photodiode), dual band, very low noise equivalent temperature difference (NETD) focal plane arrays and other emerging applications. A major thrust at Sofradir is to further reduce the size of pixel pitch, thereby increasing the number of pixels per detector as well as keeping the global size of the system constant: a 10Âľm pitch has thus already been demonstrated. Sofradir is also looking into increased operating temperatures, up to 150K, in order to offer more reliable cooled arrays, smaller and lighter products to build SWaP systems. I CASSIDIAN
Cassidian Optronics provides cooled and uncooled thermal imagers part of the Attica family (Advanced Thermal imagers with Two-dimensional IR CMOS Array), employing state-of-the-art technology for MW and LW cores. These can be deployed
With the acquisition of facilities and technology developments in InSb from Sagem, QWIP and InGaAs from Thales though an agreement signed last December, Sofradir reinforced its leading market position not only in Europe but also at global level. Here depicted is the Scorpio LW detector, the latest member of the 640-x512 format 15 micron pixel family. (Sofradir)
Mini Infrared Cameras
on tripod and vehicles for reconnaissance duties while the uncooled UCM (Un-Cooled Module) miniature LWIR thermal camera will be preferred for handheld devices. Cassidian Optronics offers a range of applications, including the Goshawk-II HD/HDT airborne observation systems. I AIM
Equally owned by Diehl BGT Defence and Rheinmetall, Aim Infrarot-Module (Aim) company provides core and modules to cover the whole 1-15μm spectral range based on MCT and Type II-superlattice (InAs/GaSb) infrared technology detectors. Today Aim
offers HiPIR-640 MCT-based MWIR or LWIR 3rd Gen 640x512 formats, 15-micron pixel pitch arrays, with MWIR detectors operating at temperatures exceeding 120K. In Aim’s portfolio is the μCAM-640 cooled MWIR MCT-based and uncooled LWIR microbolometer thermal imagers for the German armed forces’ Luna and Aladin drones, in addition to the HuntIR/RangIR thermal targeting sight for the German army. Dual-colour MWIR/MWIR IDCAs based on Type II superlattice technology provide breakthrough solutions for missile warning systems, while dual band 640x512 MWIR/LWIR IDCA are under development
The smaller member of the Controp Stamp family, the M-STAMP weighs just 1.2kg with a daytime zoomed camera and a uncooled thermal camera. It is well suited for light drones such as Elbit Systems’ Skylark-I and the Aeronautics Orbiter seen here. (Controp)
to power next-generation camera. I THERMOTEKNIX
Thermoteknix Systems in Britain offers the Miricle family of focal plane arrays with shutterless XTI technology. This includes the ultra-compact uncooled 110KS model devoid of moving parts (being devoid of shutter), while Belgium-based Xenics Infrared Solutions introduces a family of high-resolution cameras based on the socalled ‘Xenics Cores’. Built on a modular, common SWIR and MWIR FGA platform, the Xenics SWIR XSW-640 and LWIR XTM640 camera modules respectively weigh and consume less than 100 grams and two watts. They can be easily combined, with respective images to be overlaid and fused to a spectral composite with increased content under all weather and light conditions.
Sofradir’s sensors are used for a wide range of well-proven applications that include the MBDA Storm Shadow/Scalp EG missile, the Thales Damocles targeting and Navflir navigation pods, the Catherine and Iris cameras and the Thales Sophie family of handheld systems seen here. (Thales)
To cope with national and international market needs, Aselsan developed a family of payload for both large and small drones, with two-axis gimbal stabilisation configuration, containing a laser pointer and a single sensor – either a day zoom colour camera or a night uncooled infrared camera. The latter types were displayed at IDEF 2013 on fixed-wing minidrones and ARI-1T rotary-wing air vehicles. The armed forces, and later export requirements, pushed the Israeli industrial establishment to develop a national capability in the sector. Opgal Optronic Industries is equally owned by Rafael and Elbit Systems, and offers a wide range of ultra-compact, low-power thermal imaging engines that serve as the core to OEM and its thermal vision systems. With support for both VOx and ASi Microbolometer detectors, Opgal’s thermal cores are ideal for dismounted, ground and airborne applications. Also equally owned by Elbit Systems and Rafael, SemiConductor Devices (SCD) develops and manufactures a full spectrum of infrared detectors, mastering InSb, MCT and VOx technologies and is the largest supplier of InSb 2D arrays worldwide.
Controp, a specialized company equally owned by Rafael and drone manufacturer Aeronautics, is one of world leading light drone payload manufacturers, although it also caters to other ground, aerial and naval platforms. The smallest member of its Stamp family, the M-Stamp weighs just 1.2kg with a daytime zoom camera and an uncooled thermal camera, is well-suited for drones like the Elbit Skylark-I and the future Aeronautics’ Orbiter and other Bluebird Aero Systems products. Last June, Controp presented the threesensor T-stamp housing day and night observation cameras and a laser pointer, in a fully gyro stabilized package weighing less than three kilos. The thermal camera is available in either cooled or uncooled form, yet both options have the unique optical zoom lens, like most of Controp’s thermal cameras. The company also provides the FOX family of cameras with x22, x36, x55 zoom lens, which incorporate 3rd generation medium-wave 320x258 or 640x512-pixel focal plane arrays, as well as uncooled longwave microbolometer focal plane array detectors, with the proprietary continuous optical zoom lens.
Controp recently unveiled its treble-sensor TStamp, which houses a day camera, a night observation imager and a laser pointer in a fully stabilised ensemble weighing less than 3kg. The thermal camera is available in either cooled or uncooled form, yet both options feature the company’s unique Continuous Optical Zoom lens. (Controp)
C-Ram Shifting to Missiles and Lasers? The withdrawal of allied forces from Afghanistan planned for next year will certainly ease the pressures exerted on the need for force protection measures, particularly against rockets and mortars. Although some crash “counter-rocket, artillery, mortar” programmes (C-ram) had been established to provide troops deployed downrange with an defensive “umbrella” against rocket and mortar attacks in particular (insurgents thankfully lacking true artillery), the Afghan mission highlighted a threat that might go crescendo in any other asymmetric scenario. 16
Since these barrelled systems have been extensively reviewed by Armada in the recent past, we shall here concentrate on later developments, notably based on lasers and missiles. Lasers have some unique attributes, such as a very low cost per engagement (which boils down to f electricity or fuel consumption) a virtually unlimited “magazine,” and minimal collateral damages as no extra substance or explosive is fired up in the air. Lasers nevertheless have their drawbacks, being limited by fog, rain, cloud and smoke. I EAPS MISSILE
Late 2013 should bring the first intercept flight of Lockheed Martin Eaps (Extended Area Protection and Survivability) minimissile. Leveraging experience garnered with the PAC 3 and Thaad programmes, it is currently considered at TRL-6. The aim of the scientific technology development programme launched by the Army and Lockheed Martin is to generate a system able to cope with all threats and saturation attacks, with low ammunition cost and collateral damages. To maintain costs as low as possible it was decided to put the defunct N-los launcher to good use. The Eaps is less than 750 mm long, has a diameter of less than 70 mm and weighs less than three kilos in flight. Its high-frequency seeker guides it to a direct hit, as the missile is indeed based on a hit-to-
kill concept with an intercept range of 2.5 – 3 km depending on target type. The warhead will be purely KE and will not contain explosives, reducing collateral damage. Its killing capability has been successfully demonstrated in summer 2007, proving that it could defeat the hardest and thickest mortar and artillery shells under tactical conditions. Each N-los Containerised Launch Unit (CLU) hosts the Missile Computer & Communication System and 15 All Up Round (AUR) units, with one of theses containing Eaps, meaning that a CLU carries ready-to-fire missiles. The All Up Round weighing less than 50 kg, reloading is easy. In fact a CLU is transportable by Humvee, while a single HEMTT will carry 405 interceptors in three CLUs. Each side of the pyramidal fire control high frequency, frequency-agile aesa radar carries an aerial to provide 360° coverage in azimuth and up to 90° in elevation. The whole fire control system can be mounted on an MTV truck that fits into a C-130 together with a Humvee-carried CLU. This is the first portion of a Battle Element, that ensures the protection of a battalion-size area. The second comes in a further Hercules that transports the remaining three Humveemounted CLUs, for a total of 540 interceptors. Affordability has been the mantra during the design phase, the aim being to use a single
An artist impression of Raytheon’s AI3 system used to defend a forward operating base; in the middle is the Ku Band Multi-Function RF System radar. (Raytheon)
ome C-Ram systems have been fired in anger for a while, commencing with the Raytheon Gatling gun-based Centurion in Irak, while others came slightly too late to be deployed like the Rheinmetall Mantis, based on the 35 mm Millenium gun firing an adapted Ahead munition, which was nevertheless delivered to the German Air Force air defence regiment in late November 2012. In Italy, Oto Melara is now proposing the 20mm Porcupine system to the Italian Army. For the Draco 76 mm self-propelled system, on the other hand, is said to be developing a new ammunition in co-operation with an Israeli company.
Oto Melara is proposing two different systems for C-RAM use, the Draco, based on its 76 mm gun, and the Porcupine, based on a Gatling 20 mm gun. (Armada/P. Valpolini)
Lockheed Martin’s Extended Area Protection and Survivability is based on a hit-to-kill mini-missile that weighs less than 3 kg and features a high frequency seeker. (Armada/P. Valpolini)
round per target at less than US$ 16,000 per bang at 2006 values. Lockheed Martin is already considering growth potential with an external rocket motor zo increase the range while the missile’s free space could house a newly developed warhead, giving birth to a C-UAS system able to defeat Category 1, 2 and 3 drones. I AI3 MISSILE
Raytheon, for its part, was awarded a US$79 million contract on 7 February 2012 for the development of a system that will detect and destroy incoming rockets. A demonstration was planned 18 months after the contract signature, the system using existing technologies to keep costs and risks down and shorten development times. A further contract worth US$45 million was awarded to Raytheon a few months later to produce a prototype of the Ku Band Multi-Function RF System (MFRFS) Sense and Warn (S&W) radar, reusing the Ka-band radar technology developed as part of the defunct FCS programme. Known as the Accelerated Improved Intercept Initiative, or AI3, the Raytheon programme is running on time, with a series of key milestones expected to be reached in the next few months. The low cost AI3 missile uses a semiactive millimetre-wave homing seeker (a
scaled down version of the MFRFS radar itself), a high-explosive warhead supplied by ATK while the rocket motor is borrowed from the AIM-9M air-to-air missile. The AI3 uses the Avenger launcher with minimal technical modification to the fire control. It can be mounted on an FMTV for mobile operations or on a pallet for based protection. The MFRFS radar ensures surveillance, tracking, data-link, and illumination, an AN/TQP-64 Sentinel radar providing longer range surveillance. Based on an existing, but modified type, the warhead was the first item to be tested, with success, in July 2012. Essentially intended to sort out the 107 mm rockets used by insurgents in Afghanistan, the AI3 took on a heavy challenge as the target is small with a
pretty high speed. According to Raytheon officials the sensitive portion that has to be destroyed is very small, has thick walls, and thus needs a very lethal warhead. In the end, given the capabilities provided by the rocket motor and the seeker, Raytheon was able to tell the Army that the AI3 was able to kill not only the 107 mm rockets, but also artillery shells and mortar bombs, as well as cruise missiles and unmanned aircraft systems. Since, in May 2013 two control test vehicle (CTV) were were put through their paces first to verify the missile’s aerodynamic behaviour along a pre-programmed path, while the second included trajectory updates via the radar data-link. The AI3 first flies under MFRFS radar control via an RF datalink, then switches to its own seeker when within target range. The first of the recent August guided test vehicle flights verified proper handover from the radar to the onboard seeker. The kill is achieved via high speed fragments generated by the warhead that is detonated at optimal distance, an RF target detection device also acting as proximity fuse. A second guided flight carried out in late August destroyed a low quadrant elevation 107mm rocket. A full live fire demonstration conducted together with the Army is planned for early Q4 2013, well within the planned 18 months stated by the contract. The overall mission system integrator for AI3 is the C-Ram Program Office, part of the US Army PEO Missiles and Space, based in Huntsville, Alabama. The live fire engagements are key to the Army’s decision to eventually fund 754800 missiles, as included in the initial contract. If supported, the Army would
A control test vehicle launch of Raytheon Accelerated Improved Intercept Initiative; the missile is heavily based on the company’s AIM-9M air-to-air weapon. (Raytheon)
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Raytheonâ€™s Centurion, derived from the Navy Phalanx CIWS system, has been now deployed for years downrange to protect American FOBs. (S Army)
turn in some 20 Avengers for modification, with an AI3 initial operational capability planned around FY15-16. Raytheon is already looking at ways of further increasing the system capacity to cope with the threats in the Army Indirect Fires Protection Capability Increment 2 - Intercept (IFPC Inc 2-I) requirement, cruise missiles and drones becoming a serious concern for the service. While the AI3 warhead and seeker should satisfy the IFPC Inc 2-I requirements, Raytheon is already working on the range
issue; the current missile has a semihemispherical radome, the lower cost and easier solution for calibrating the seeker, however a new ogive radome representing a good compromise between cost and performances has already been developed, which should double the missile range thanks to its better aerodynamic characteristics. I MISSILE FROM ITALY
MBDA Italy unveiled a C-Ram demonstration programme in early July 2013, which
A concept drawing of a vehicle with a vertical launcher armed with MBDA C-RAM missiles; this programme is led by MBDA Italy. (MBDA)
has been partly financed by the Italian MoD with two contracts, one signed in December 2009 and the second a year later. The first step of the programme aimed at identifying emerging technologies within the missile and sensor fields that would fit the bill, while the second lead to the development of a A drawing showing the different ranges at which artillery C-RAM systems and minimissiles based systems can neutralise a 81 mm mortar round and a 107 mm rocket. (MBDA)
technology demonstrator involving a minimissile with automatic target acquisition and alarm distribution. Again system and ammunition costs were key issues and so was mobility since such systems may be called upon to protect temporary combat outposts. Killing two birds with one stone, the minimissile was also to be a V-Shorad component. The problems that MBDA had to face were those typical, namely low radar signature and hard skins. Following a thorough analysis of threat scenarios and operational concepts, MBDA confirmed the effectiveness of a missile solution, with cost issues leading to a semi-active laser guidance system. The missile can be launched vertically or from a trainable launcher, respectively in lock after launch and lock before launch modes. The demonstration phase will see the production of the laser aiming unit oriented thanks to the simulated tracking data provided by the sensor chosen for the subsequent laboratory tests. Drawings shown at the conference organised by the Italian Army Technical Officers Association, depicted a 4x4 vehicle containing eight vertically launched missiles and a 4x4 carrying a trainable turret similar to those in service for V-Shorad missiles. Technical data provided indicated a two metre-long, 127 mm diameter missile, with a launch weight of 43 kg, a maximum speed of 1,600 m/s and a maximum acceleration of 50 g, generating an average speed of 1,000 m/s – or over Mach 3. The missile’s high speed increments the fragments own speed when the warhead is detonated, boosting kinetic energy and thereby their lethality. The mass and shape of those fragments was thoroughly analysed by MBDA which then determined the potential effectiveness of a “multirod forward firing” warhead. This generates a forward cone of fragments ensuring maximum lethality. In parallel, MBDA also carried out studies and preliminary analysis on the proximity fuse. MBDA is well aware that weather condition might alter the system’s effectiveness, however an RF solution was considered too expensive to match the cost of the burst of artillery rounds that would be used to achieve a similar result. The system will of course use a command and control centre, a 3D radar for acquisition and tracking with a range of about 20 km, a battery with four launchers providing a six-kilometer radius zone of intercept with launchers deployed 400 metres apart. Considering that to maximise C-Ram capacities a layered defence must be deployed, MBDA is looking at ways of integrating gun systems into its command and control
element, which might also accept a Shorad system should a longer range defence against non-RAM threats be required. I ADAM LASER
Lockheed Martin has been developing the Area Defense Anti-Munitions (Adam) on company funds for approximately three years with the aim of providing a practical, affordable directed-energy solution to the realworld problem of close-in threats, such as improvised rockets, drones and small boats. The system can track targets at a range of more than 5 km and destroy them at 2 km. It can be used as a stand-alone system to defend against rockets such as the Qassam, and it can engage unmanned aerial systems with an external cue. The Adam system is at prototype stage. Currently demonstrating the system’s capabilities, Lockheed Martin plans to conduct additional testing and explore system enhancements in the next few months. Lockheed Martin based the design on commercial hardware paired with the company beam control architecture, software and algorithms to provide the performance needed to counter these threats. The Adam prototype system uses a 10-kilowatt commercial fibre laser. The rest of the system’s hardware components, including the beam director and associated sensors, also are commercial off the shelf. Lockheed Martin demonstrated that the commercial 10 kW laser, when focused by the innovative beam control software, has sufficient power to
negate the close-in threats against which the Adam system is designed to defend. The 10 kW power is currently the highest singlemode power available in a commercial laser with sufficient beam quality for this application. However for more complex threats, such as mortars or artillery shells, the company will evaluate the need for more powerful lasers. The same applies for range increase. The Adam is operated from a single laptop computer and is being designed to be operated with minimal personnel requirements. Control can be integrated into higher-echelon battle management and user interfaces. The Adam prototype is integrated in a container mounted on a trailer; however specifications for the operational system are not yet available, but the cots approach should keep cost under control. The Adam was successfully tested at a Lockheed Martin testing facility in California.where it engaged numerous different targets. In 2012 it destroyed an Osprey drone with a wingspan of approximately 3.5 metres, as well as 11 smallcalibre rockets flown tethered to a cable in “simulated flight” to control the engagement conditions. The system acquired, tracked and engaged each rocket at a range of approximately two kilometres, as it would in an operational scenario. In March and April 2013 it successfully engaged eight free-flying Qassam-like rocket targets a range of approximately 1.5 km. The Adam also tracked several drones at longer ranges,
Boeing’s High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator is based on a 10-kilowatt solid-state laser and will soon be equipped with a more powerful emitter. (Boeing)
Rheinmetall has successfully tested a 50 kW C-RAM laser at its Ochsenboden facility in Switzerland and is looking for further tests with higher outputs. (Rheinmetall)
demonstrating its capability to perform as a sensor for target tracking and identification. I HEL-MD LASER
In mid-2007 two Phase I contracts were assigned to Boeing and Northrop Grumman for the development of a ground-based mobile laser system. In 2009 Boeing was allowed to prosecute its effort and to produce a demonstrator mounted on a HEMTT chassis. Low-power system testing was completed in 2011 at White Sands, demonstrating the systemâ€™s ability to acquire, track and target moving projectiles. In October 2012 a follow-on contract from the US Army Space and Missile Defense Command allowed to continue such development. Known as Phase II HighPower Testing follow-on contract, it will see Boeing incorporating into its High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD) a 10kilowatt, solid-state laser. An optional further step would see the integration of more powerful laser, the aim being risk reduction in
The Mantis system was transferred by Rheinmetall to the German Air Force that will have responsibility for base protection in any further deployment abroad. (Rheinmetall)
The current technology demonstrator build by MBDA Germany uses four 10 kW laser modules, but the company aims at an overall power of some 100 kW. (MBDA)
view of high power lasers integration. The upgraded HEL MD will carry out field tests against targets showing its ability to acquire, track, damage and defeat them. I BEAM SUPERIMPOSING TECHNOLOGY
In Europe Rheinmetall is working on a High Energy Laser (HEL) solution, the company having already developed a C-Ram artillery system known as the Manta (see top of article). In late November 2012, one year after testing a 10kW system, a 50 kW high energy laser system was tested at the Ochsenboden Proving Ground in Switzerland, the entire operational sequence from target detection
and tracking to target engagement having been verified. Rheinmetall employs the Beam Superimposing Technology to be able to irradiate a single target using separately located HELs; the “firing” involved a 30 kW weapon station integrated into a Rheinmetall Air Defence Revolver Gun air defence turret used for static and dynamic tests, and a 20 kW weapon station integrated into a static turret. A static test was carried out with the 50 kW configuration, which cut a 15 mm-thick girder at one kilometre distance. The 30 kW dynamic weapon station was then used to destroy within a few seconds nose-driving drones flying at 50 m/s. Finally an 82 mm steel
ball, replicating a mortar round, also flying at 50 m/s, was “killed” by the 30 kW laser. Here the fine tracking was carried out by the beam forming unit of the laser module. Rheinmetall managed to reduce weapon stations dimensions, thanks to a considerable increase in power density that was nearly doubled. The company plans for late 2013 testing with a 60 kW laser, while integration with Ahead-firing Revolver will be pursued to allow Rheinmetall scientists to study possible synergies between guns and lasers. A 120 kW laser might be integrated around 2015, with full development and qualification of a laser-based C-Ram system being foreseen for 2020. The company is also looking at vehicle-mounted solutions. A first attempt with the installation of a 1 kW laser on a TM170 has already been carried out. I INFLATION? WATT INFLATION?
If MBDA Italy is looking at a C-Ram longrange solution based on mini-missiles, MBDA Germany is active in the field of power laser. Following research work on chemical lasers that started in the ’70s, MBDA changed its philosophy when solid state lasers came to maturity in the late 2000. Based on
several research and technology contracts with the German government and EDA, the use of commercial solid state lasers for military application has been investigated in the late 2000. A single-mode fiber laser was initially acquired to carry out first experiments. This led to an intense cycle of terminal effect testing against various types of ammunition, optimizing the spot diameter and the tests on revolving objects, leading MBDA Germany to draft the concepts for a laser-based C-Ram system. The development focused initially on the beam director, the analysis of energy, and geometric complexities. A technology demonstrator has been produced, currently featuring four 10kW lasers, that was tested in the Schrobenhausen at ranges up to 500 metres and managed to drill holes into a construction
The effect of the MBDA laser system on a grenade; increasing the power will allow to decrease the time needed to neutralise the threat. (MBDA)
An artist impression of MBDAâ€™s laser-based C-RAM system loaded into an A400M aircraft. This programme is led by the German branch of the company. (MBDA)
steel â€œTâ€? 6 mm thick. However, fighting against RAM munitions represent other technical challenges. These difficulties result from the high speed of artillery munitions, small signatures of mortar munitions, the required combat distance in excess of 1,000 metres and the necessary combat velocity. MBDA scientists evaluate that a laser power of about 100 kW will be required in order to shoot down an ammunition keeping the high quality focused beam on target for a few seconds, at a range of up to 3 km. Through the coupling of commercially available lasers MBDA Germany has demonstrated in several trials that its laser technology demonstrator is already able to deliver high laser power and a high quality laser beam at a moving target over long distances. Currently the technology demonstrator is
considered TRL 5-6, the entire kill chain having been demonstrated in early October 2012 at WTD 52 testing site in Oberjettenberg, Germany. The Cassidian Spexer 2000 search radar together with the Meos II IR optronic system acquired the target, cueing the laser illuminator that allowed to focus the telescope, then the power laser was triggered putting the energy on the object. The target was a dummy the same size of common grenade flying at 22.5 km distance and about 1,000 meters height. The system managed to put down energy even if the object was moving in a chaotic way. It was the first ever demonstration of the entire kill chain from detection to neutralization of a flying target with 40 kW laser power in Europe. The company now wants to optimize the system progressively. The next steps will look at increasing its power, speeding up the engagement chain and make it able to engage faster targets, while making it more compact and demonstrate its various system applications. The current system is based on modules, for power supply, cooling system, fire control system and the laser using 40 kW of laser power. Laser power modules currently providing 10 kW each can realistically increase to more than 20 kW per single unit. The company forecasts at the beginning of the next decade a first operational laser weapon system acting in the C-Ram role, while C-UAS systems might be available at an earlier date. The C-Ram laser weapon system designed by MBDA Germany should have dimensions comparable to those of a Caesar truck-mounted gun, and should be able to be deployed by A-400M aircraft.
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A test convoy involving three trucks where only the third one actually has a driver on board. The Terramax developed by Oshkosh can be used in various modes. (Oshkosh Defense)
Standardisation and Flexibility Uninhabited flying systems are now commonplace and are dominating the battlefield as far as short term and persistent surveillance are concerned. Their ground counterparts took some more time to develop, considering the difficulties of autonomous movements on an uneven surface. Since the first remote-control robots used by EOD teams, they have evolved considerably, although artificial intelligence is just entering the arena following a lengthy maturation process.
Reliability has always been an issue, especially when robot dimensions may put human lives at risk and if weaponisation is involved, when full control on the firing mission by a human being is (normally) required. While initially uninhabited ground vehicles (or UGVs, or more simply robots) tended to be specialised systems covering one mission, the trend is now for multimission robots, that can be equipped with plug-and-play payloads. Not only does this reduces acquisition costs, but also the logistic burden. Three main categories of UGVs have emerged: light manpackable (for infantry teams) and their throwable subcategory that can be lobbed into a room through a window, medium (carried by a larger vehicle to extend the latter vehicleâ€™s reach in terms of
An Oshkosh truck equipped with the company's Terramax kit moves autonomously on a test track; the system is being proposed for US Army and Marines requirements. (Oshkosh Defense)
reconnaissance or that can be used to defuse bombs), and heavy (used as load carriers by soldiers on patrol). Another, and perhaps the latest application of robotics has been surfacing in recent years, is giving a standard military vehicle the possibility of switching into autonomous vehicle mode. I OPTIONALLY PILOTED
In asymmetric warfare scenarios the logistic teams are those that are most exposed, being favourite targets for remotely (telephone) controlled mine and roadside bomb attack, which ad to the many casualties resulting from road accidents caused by stress and tiredness. Replacing truck drivers by robotic systems and keeping only a minority of convoy trucks driven by soldiers might be a good way to reduce risks. A system that can easily be installed on a truck and then removed is a flexible solution that would reduce costs associated with the acquisition of dedicated vehicles and enable that robot to be normally driven within the fleet whenever needed. The use of such systems
avoid the need for expensive and cumbersome add-on armour solutions, or that of specialised protected vehicles, those being used only when human life is at risk. The same solution can be used also on patrol vehicles, for instance to send a first vehicle ahead to double-check the safety of an itenerary, or to patrol base perimeters, using unarmoured vehicles available in stock. Resupply in combat areas can also be a potential use as well as casualty evacuation. Numerous companies worked on that concept and such systems might soon be seen in theatre. An example of the above concept is the Oshkosh TerraMax developed under the auspices of Darpa in the early 2000s. The TerraMax is a modular system that can be integrated in any military vehicle, and which relies on a multi-modal sensor suite comprising a lidar, radar, vision and militarygrade Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). It can work in four different modes, manual, full autonomous, leader-follower
and teleoperated (remotely controlled). While the manual mode allows the driver to take full control of the vehicle, the full autonomous mode exploits the pre-planned route while using the system’s sensor for obstacle avoidance. In the leader-follower (or “shadow mode”) the driver leads, and the TerraMax vehicles behind simply follow the same path in a way that does not require the vehicles to be in line-of-sight, meaning that a dust storm or an urban environment will not hamper operations. In teleoperated mode an operator drives the TerraMax-equipped vehicles via a playstation-like console in a way that enables one operator to control multiple vehicles, its control unit selectively displaying map data and video feeds. The TerraMax’s advanced machinelearning algorithms allow it to improve its autonomous behaviour in terms of perception, various types of terrain and obstacle recognition and, in terms of motion planning, to select trajectories to be followed in rough terrain.
Terramax-equipped vehicles can be controlled via a playstation-like remote command recently added to the system by Oshkosh. (Oshkosh Defense)
The company recently improved the drive-by-wire actuation as well as other safety features such as collision warning, breaking and steering The system commands are fed via the vehicle’s Cambus, which also provides a full feedback of the vehicle’s status to the remote operator. The TerraMax is being
proposed for the Autonomous Mobility Appliqué System (AMAS) programme launched by the Robotics Systems Joint Project Office that requires a kit capable of fully exploiting a platform’s mobility, whci includes operating its CTIS, axle lock, engine brake, etc. Moreover Oshkosh responded to
two RfIs, one from the US Army and one from the US Marine Corps, both aimed at route clearance missions. In this instance the TerraMax will mostly work in supervised autonomous mode with an operator seated in a following vehicle to supervise the situation and sensors inputs. Torc Robotics jas been working since 2001 on the Ground Unmanned Support Surrogate (Guss) together with the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division and Virginia Tech. The team was tasked by the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory (MCWL) to design, develop, and test a fleet of four optionally uninhabited and autonomous troop resupply vehicles. They can also be used as load carriers to lighten the burden of dismounted Marines, as well as for casualty evacuation. Leveraging the experience acquired with its ByWire, Safe-Stop and PowerHub kits aimed at transforming standard vehicles into robotised vehicles of increasing levels, Torc installed its building blocks onto four Polaris MVRS700 6x6s, the end result being the nearly 900-kilo payload capacity Guss. Autonomous navigation is provided by the AutonoNav device, which
Resupplying troops in combat should become the main task for Torc Robotics Ground Unmanned Support Surrogate. (Torc Robotics)
includes all computing modules, localisation module, and relevant software in charge of processing sensor data and autonomous decision making that make autonomous operations possible. The man-machine interface is the WaySight, a half-kilogram handheld unit that allows the operator to command the vehicles in three different modes that are target mode (by clicking
Selex ES Acme kit can quickly be installed on many types of vehicles transforming them in a robots that can drive autonomously or be remotely controlled. (Armada/P. Valpolini)
waypoints to the target), follow-me, and wemode for teleoperation. An 11-day limited technical assessment of the Guss was carried out in May 2013 by the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory. Kairos Autonomi developed its Pronto 4 appliquĂŠ kit to provide by-wire capabilities to manned vehicles. The core of the system is made of an electronic unit, a steering ring,
and actuators for brake, throttle and transmission. Numerous other utility modules are available such as video server, power over Ethernet, analog and digital input/output, while the roof mount can include augmented GPS, camera, inertial unit, Ethernet radio, etc. The Pronto 4 can support sensing packages as well as artificial intelligence modules used to obtain semi-autonomous behaviours, and can be installed on wheeled as well as skidsteering vehicles. The latest evolution of the Kairos Autonomi system is the Pronto4 Uomo, that can be installed in 10 minutes on any vehicle. Introduced at AUVSI 2013, the interface between the system and the car mimics a man (“uomo” in Italian), a metallic structure being installed on the seat with pedal actuators and a steering unit. In 10 minutes a normal vehicle can thus be transformed into an unmanned system capable of teleoperation and GPS path following. The overall system weighs less than 25 kg and fits in a briefcase. The system features slots for add-on capabilities and can be powered either by the car itself or by an auxiliary battery. The company already started low-rate production of the Pronto4 Uomo. Selex ES has developed the Acme, for Automated Computerised Mobility Equipment (nothing to do with the Road Runner cartoon!), that has been developed in cooperation with Hi-Tec, a Milan based Italian company. Selex ES is responsible for all narrow field and 360° vision systems (both infrared and visual), infrared lighting, systems analysis of sensor data, and simulators, while Hi-Tec implemented the remote guidance system with actuators, navigation systems, processing and software. Navigation is provided by inertial and satellite based systems, Acme accepting GPS, Glonass and Galileo. The sensor suite, based mostly on electro-optic systems but tailorable to the mission, is vehicle agnostic, while the driving system differs only in some actuators and in the control software, the whole system being installed in a time that varies from 40 minutes to 2 hours. In automatic mode maximum speed is 40 km/h while in teleoperated mode Selex ES advises not to exceed 100 km/h. The Acme is capable of repeating a predetermined path with a 2 cm accuracy in position and 0.5 km/h in speed. The steering Ruag of Switzerland is developing step by step its Vero kit currently installed on an Eagle. From left to right, the “invisible driver”, the remote control station, and the Eagle Eye pod, which is currently being redesigned. (Armada/P. Valpolini)
IAI Lahat has developed a kit capable to provide considerable degree of autonomy to robots used in explosive disposal operations. (IAI Lahat)
robot has a weight of 7 or 12 kg, depending on the materiel used, steering torque being 28 Nm while rotating speed varies between 18 and 180 rpm, an electrical stepping motor being used. Similar motors are used for the accelerator actuator, that provides a 14 kg force with a velocity of 300 mm/s, while the clutch and brake actuators generate a 60 kg force with a 300 mm/s velocity, but in that case the electric stepping motor can be replaced by a pneumatic system. For navigation the path mapping can save the track either in a "real" or "synthetic“ mode while the system features automatic speed control, programmable for different sectors of the track, or manual speed control. Launched in 2011, the system is now mature and has been demonstrated in numerous scenarios. Ruag Defence’s Vero (VEhicle RObotics) is a kit that contains all the electronic components and sensory equipment needed to convert any existing vehicle into a supervised autonomy vehicle. Shown at ELROB 2012 in Thun in the form of a teleoperated system installed onto an Eagle 4 light armoured vehicle, the Vero has evolved into a higher autonomy system and is now proposed on the market. The system
maintains a man-in-the-loop facility, the operator acting only as supervisor and receiving a constant flow of information from the vehicle. Four configuration stages are available, the simpler being the transformation of a standard vehicle into a teleoperated one. Then comes the semiautonomous step where the vehicle is able to drive autonomously under human supervision, follow specific coordinates, learn paths, recognise obstacles and stop to receive instructions. Autonomous capabilities are
part of step 3, the vehicle being now capable of avoiding obstacles and continuing with the mission. Stage 4 adds the capability of automatic vehicle following. In Fall 2013 the first two stages of development were finalised. Five modules are part of the Vero kit, the Com-Module that takes care of communications with a throughput of 4-6 Mbps and can also be configured as a relay, the AV-Module for autonomy and video processing and compression that is the interface for all cameras, the DIS-Module that ensures energy distribution and provides interface for all vehicle signals, the DCSModule the acronym standing for Driving Computer System that acts as vehicle or C2 computer depending on the software function selected, and finally the DBWModule for drive-by-wire that includes also collision avoidance functions triggered by the system radar and optical sensors. The latter are housed in the Eagle Eye pod mounted on the front part of the vehicle roof. The pod, incidentally, has enough spare room for further sensors and future functions though it is being redesigned and a new version will be available in late 2013. The Vero has a learning function, cameras and sensors providing the system with the data that allow it to “learn” a route that can otherwise entered via waypoints. A remote control function is always available. Israel Aerospace Industries’ Lahat Division developed the Sahar, a system that transforms remote controlled devices into autonomous combat engineering systems to reduce unexploded ordnance disposal and
The Guardium Mk1 on patrol duty at Tel Aviv Ben Gurion airport and the MkIII armed version, developed by G-nius, a JV between IAI and Elbit. (Gnius)
mine-clearance personnel exposure. The high level of accuracy required, and the heavy data and information flow exchanged with the operator slow down the use of remotely controlled robots. Able to perform autonomous driving and autonomous manipulator operations, the Sahar can handle the whole route clearance process including environmental terrain mapping, surveillance, road blocks removal and bomb disposal. This increases speed and safety, operators standing much further than those of teleoperated systems. The accuracy of manipulator operations are based on realtime sensors and mapping, that provide superior performances compared to operations based on camera pictures. The same applies to navigation, based on realtime terrain mapping carried on thanks to a suite that includes laser line-scanners, electro-optical cameras and a differential GPS, rather than on driving cameras. The Sahar is based on seven building blocks, UGV platform, mission management, autonomous navigation, command and control, communication, autonomous manipulator and supplementary systems.
The Italian Army is deploying downrange a number of Oto Melara TRP2 in the armed configuration; these devices will patrol FOB perimeters. (Armada/P. Valpolini)
One of the most heavily armed robotic vehicle seen on exhibition is this demonstrator based on an Arctic Cat quad and developed by the Emirates Advanced Research and Technology Holding. (Armada/P. Valpolini)
Building blocks are based on the JAUS architecture, the system being based on open-architecture technologies. A multi-functional Operator Control Unit allows autonomous mission assignment and control, as well as control of each subsystem, such as remote platform driving, manipulator. I ON PATROL?
Another Israeli product strictly connected to IAI is the Guardium, developed by Gnius, a joint venture between IAI and Elbit Systems. Their Guardium Mk1, equipped with electro-optic sensors, is currently on duty at Tel Aviv Ben Gurion international airport for patrolling the perimeter. This 1,400 kg wheeled vehicle powered by a diesel engine can reach 50 km/h in semi-autonomous mode and has an endurance of 24 hours. It was later joined by the Mk2, based on an offroad chassis with a 400 kg payload capacity. The last addition to the Guardium family is the Mk3; the trend is now to use existing chassis, and this is based on a Ford 4x4 providing a maximum speed of 120 km/h in semi-auto mode and a payload of 2,000 kg, which grants the installation a medium caliber turret. A weaponised robot that will soon be deployed downrange is OtoMelara TRP-2 This 100kg maximum weight tracked platform is 1.15 metres long and 0.6 metres wide and is equipped with an inertial/GPS navigation system, four day/night vision systems and a laser rangefinder. Its cradle can host a Beretta ARX160 assault rifle or a Minimi light machine gun, both in 5.56 mm caliber, and a 40 mm single shot grenade launcher. It features a cocking mechanism that allows one to load the automatic weapon when the TRP-2 reaches a safe area. This robot can reach a maximum speed of 15 km/h and its Li-Ion batteries allow it four hours of operation. Acquired by the Italian Army as part of a Mission Need Urgent Requirement, the two first units are completing their qualification process and will soon be deployed to the Bala Baluk forward in Afghanistan where they will ensure base perimeter patrolling as part of the Integrated Force Protection System deployed in that base in early 2013. A TRP-2 equipped with an ISTAR package is being developed for Italian Army cavalry units. One of the most heavily armed robots was seen at IDEX 2013 in the Emirates Advanced Research and Technology Holding (Earth)
Lockheed Martin Squad Mission Support System has been thoroughly tested in Afghanistan and is being developed for intelligence gathering missions. (Lockheed Martin)
two tonnes and a payload of over 680 kg. It can operate in numerous modes such as follow-me, GPS waypoint navigation, goto-point, teleoperation and others, and has a range of 200 km. Four such systems have been deployed for five months to Afghanistan in 2012 as part of US Army Project Workhorse, while in 2012 it was evaluated as a C-IED system equipped with a roller-rake. The latest evolution was the Developed by IAI Lahat the Rex is designed to support an infantry teams, carrying a good portion of their logistic burden. (Armada/E.H. Biass)
stand. No details were provided of what was defined as a technology demonstrator, however the system was based on an Arctic Cat quad chassis fitted with the Tiger Trax tracked kit and was armed with a 12.7 NSV heavy machine gun and four RPG-7 launchers. Patrolling does not only mean weaponised robots. Lockheed Martinâ€™s Squad Mission Support System (SMSS) is a 6x6 platform with a gross weight of nearly
A typical logistic load carried by the IAI Rex.The company is considering to develop an intelligence gathering payload for this robot.(Armada/P. Valpolini)
installation of a Gyrocam 9M Tactical Surveillance Sensor on a telescopic mast, as part of the development of a series of mission equipment packages. Lockheed Martin also demonstrated satellite control capability at a range of over 300 km. Also based on the experience acquired downrange with the SMSS the US Army is developing a programme known as Squad-Multipurpose Equipment Transport (S-MET), currently planned for a FY 2016 launch. Lockheed Martin is also looking at opportunities for expansion of the SMSS technology beyond the military application, such as border security and firefighting. IAI Lahav recently unveiled its Rex, a 4x4 robotic logistic carrier with a 250 kg payload capacity capable of following an infantry team on rough terrain thanks to a follow-me function. With a maximum speed of 12 km/h, it can also be fitted with an recce package that allows the team to employ it as an intelligence gathering asset. Currently powered by a conventional diesel engine, IAI is looking at hybrid propulsion to considerably reduce the systemâ€™s acoustic signature when operating close to the enemy.
Hard-Hitting Television Just 15 years ago the idea of being able to watch video on your cellphone would have appeared fanciful. Today, it is as normal as making a call or reading a text message. The military demand to see video on-the-move has resulted in the production of a clutch of Remote Video Terminals, or ‘RVTs’
hanks to the significant advances in communications technology over the last two decades, it is now possible to use your cellphone as a miniature mobile television, or even cinema. Teenagers take for granted that they can watch YouTube films of skateboarding dogs, or the latest pop sensation. On the battlefield, such capabilities assume an altogether more serious dimension. The ‘drone revolution’ which has seen the unprecedented proliferation of uninhabited aircraft allow soldiers not only to see “what is over the next hill”, to use Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington’s definition of the collection of military intelligence, but to also watch huge swathes of land or sea to provide almost satellite-like operational- and strategic-level reconnaissance. The advent of video receivers on the battlefield allow individual troops to view imagery gathered by drones, along with other optronic systems like targeting pods; land or airborne imagery collection systems, or even pictures gathered by satellites. Unsurprisingly the current and recent military campaigns in Afghanistan, Iraq, Mali and elsewhere around the globe, and their heavy employment of drones, have helped to propel the development and the proliferation of such receivers. This article will survey a selection of the products currently available from manufacturers.
Joining forces with QinetiQ in Britain, AAI Corporation has developed a remote video terminal in the form of the Wearable Remote Video Terminal (WRVT). Several companies surveyed in this article have developed terminals that can be easily carried by soldiers or worn about their person which provides them with the ability to view imagery wherever they go. The WRVT leverages much of the technology developed by AAI for its One System Remote Video Terminal (OSRVT) which has been delivered en masse to United States forces based in Afghanistan and, latterly, Iraq. Weighing below seven kilograms, the WRVT can receive C-band (4-8 Gigahertz/GHz), L-band (1-2GHz), and S-band (2-4GHz) imagery transmissions with the display being carried on the soldier’s vest, and the antenna and transceiver housed in an accompanying backpack. The OSRVT can be used with a wide range of drones including AAI’s own RQ-7 Shadow, Northrop Grumman’s RQ-5 Hunter and Aerovironment’s RQ-11 Raven, General Atomics’ MQ-9 Predator and MQ-1C Grey, but may naturally also receive imagery from conventionally piloted aircraft such as McDonnell-Douglas/Boeing AH-64D Apache and Bell OH-58D Kiowa Warrior AAI Corporation in the United States has developed the One System Remote Video Terminal, better known by its ‘OSRVT’ acronym. This has now been deployed extensively with the US Army. (US Army)
Israelâ€™s Elbit Systems produce a range of remote video terminals which include vehicle-mounted products such as the Transportable Drop-In Tactical Video Receiver which can display imagery on a number of screens inside a platform. (Elbit)
reconnaissance rotorcraft. The ORSVT architecture includes a ruggedized computer running any version of the Windows operating system. It can handle C-band analogue and digital, L-band, S-band and Ku-band band (12-18GHz) traffic and its modular design allows it to be configured for portable, fixed, vehicular, airborne or shipborne applications. As well as accepting imagery from the platforms discussed above, the ORSVT can display video transmitted from Lockheed Martin AN/AQQ-28(V) Litening targeting pods. I AERONAUTICS
Given the years of experience that the Israeli Defence Force has accrued operating drones, it is of little surprise that Israeli manufacturers such as Aeronautics offer RVTs for use with unmanned aircraft. As well as displaying imagery Aeronauticsâ€™ terminal can depict a map with the coordinates of the drone, and of the target in its field of regard.
omnidirectional aerial range of ten kilometres, though this increases to 20km when a directional antenna is used.
Aeronautics of Israel has developed a remote video terminal which enables so-called ‘Level 3’ drone control, as well as viewing imagery. Level 3 control allows the user to operate the aircraft’s payload. (Aeronautics)
Broadcast Microwave Services (BMS) of the United States has developed the CarryViewer III. Unlike several of the systems under discussion in this article, the CarryViewer III has not only been developed with military customers in mind, but can equip civilian workers such as emergency services first responders. Drone usage is showing real potential for disaster management and industrial inspection applications, although outstanding issues regarding the acceptance of these aircraft in unsegregated airspace have still to be solved before this occurs writ large. The Carry-Viewer III has a highresolution display, up to three hours’ battery time and is viewable in direct sunlight. AES128/256 (US Government Advanced Encryption Standard-128/256) encryption can be optionally added to improve security while the terminal itself can record and playback gathered imagery. Several frequency bands can be handled by the Carry-Viewer III, with both NTSC and PAL analogue outputs. All of these capabilities are
This is particularly useful if the drone is supporting artillery fire control. Imagery can be viewed by the soldiers on their wearable console worn over their body armour, or on an optional eyepiece with the aerial positioned in their backpack. The system is not too cumbersome, but imposes a weight penalty of five kilograms, and offers a range of circa 30 kilometres. Power can be provided by either rechargeable batteries, or from a vehicle’s output. I BLUEBIRD AERO SYSTEMS
Israel’s BlueBird Aero Systems provides not only drones, but an video terminal to accompany them. The company has designed its terminal to have a small form factor thus making it highly portable. Weighing a mere three-and-a-half kilograms BlueBird Aero Systems’ terminal is one of the lightest such products on the market. It can be powered by a twelve-volt car battery, or an internal battery which provides four hours’ operation and is comfortable working in extreme temperatures from -25° C up to +50°C. The terminal is capable of storing up to 64 gigabits worth of data and has an
One of the key considerations for remote video terminal design is how to make terminals smaller for the soldier to ease their portability. Handheld systems such as the one illustrated offer some potential in this regard. (US DoD)
enclosed in a package weighing a mere 1.3kg. I ELBIT SYSTEMS
Like Aeronautics, Elbit Systems of Israel is involved in the technology. The firm’s MRS2000M All Digital Manpack Receiving System is a backpack-based system. The soldier can view transmitted imagery on a console, with the transceiver and antenna handling the communications carried in a backpack. In addition to displaying video and imagery, the MRS-2000M can depict telemetry from a drone and still pictures. The MRS-2000M accepts imagery transmitted over the C- and S-bands, with options to include L-band transmissions too. When operating in the C-band with an omnidirectional antenna the MSR-2000M has a range of circa eight kilometres (four nautical miles), or 35km (19nm) when using a directional antenna. In the S- and Lbands these ranges are twelve kilometres (six nautical miles) and 50km (27mn) One of the handy features of Elbit Systems’ VRAMBO (Video Receiver and Monitor for Battlefield Operations) remote video terminal is its wrist-mounted display to enable a soldier to instantly see streaming imagery without needing to set up a separate system. (Elbit)
The V-RAMBO’s architecture includes a manpack receiver unit which can receive imagery transmitted in the C and S frequency bands and has a small form factor and low weight of under 1.2kgs. (Elbit)
respectively. The MSR-2000M can accept RS-170A, NTSC, CCIR (Comité Consultatif International pour la Radio) and PAL video input standards, and can
store up to 30 minutes of footage. Tipping the scales at 12 kilo, it will operate for 3.5 hours on a single battery charge. I GENERAL ATOMICS
Although drones such as the MQ-1 Predator can share their imagery with a Rover terminal, as discussed below, General Atomics, the Predator’s manufacturer produce their own RVT, which is marketed under that designation. The C-band terminal can display so-called
General Atomic’s RVT has a range in excess of 200km (180nm), with the entire system being easily carried within a soldier’s backpack. The terminal also enables ‘Level-2’ drone control allowing the receipt of imagery and data from the aircraft. (General Atomics)
be carried in a soldier’s backpack with the entire ensemble including a ruggedized laptop, receiver; omnidirectional antenna and data processing unit; plus replacement rechargeable batteries. I HARRIS
Harris’s RF-7800T RVT was launched by the company in 2009. Operating in the C-, L- and S-bands it has been designed to be compatible with the waveforms developed via the US Department of Defense’s Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) initiative. Users can view the terminal’s imagery either on a tactical display or on a monocular eyepiece. Modifications rolled out onto the RF-7800T RVT include the introduction of the Small Unmanned Aerial Systems Digital Data Link waveform allowing the user to view imagery
RF-7800T remote video terminal allows the display of imagery either using a conventional tactical display or directly onto a soldier’s eyepiece. The product was launched in 2009 and has been cycled through a number of enhancements. (Harris)
IMINT of Sweden can transform ruggedised laptops into RVTs via its Ihvert software. This avoids the user having to purchase a dedicated remote video terminal, and has been used to display imagery transmitted from an Elbit Systems Skylark drone. (IMINT)
‘Level-2’ payload data to users based in the field, or in vehicles, ships or aircraft at ranges of up to 200km (108nm). General Atomics has designed their terminal to be highly portable and, to this end, it can be carried in a soldier’s backpack with the entire ensemble including a ruggedized laptop, receiver; omnidirectional antenna and data processing unit; plus replacement rechargeable batteries.
Harris’s RF-7800T RVT was launched by the company in 2009. Operating in the C-, L- and S-bands it has been designed to be compatible with the waveforms developed via the US Department of Defense’s Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) initiative. Users can view the terminal’s imagery either on a tactical display or on a monocular eyepiece. Modifications rolled out onto the RF-7800T
RVT include the introduction of the Small Unmanned Aerial Systems Digital Data Link waveform allowing the user to view imagery transmitted by numerous small drones. I IMINT
Sweden’s Imint provides the Ihvert RVT software which can be run on ruggedized laptops to transform these into remote video terminals. Crucially, this provides both costs
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Along with AAI Corporation’s ORSVT terminal, the US armed forces’ Remotely Operation Video Enhanced Receiver (ROVER) has been cycled through several versions which have differed according to size and functionality. (USAF)
and logistics savings as it enables the user to employ their standard rugged laptops in the RVT role, thus removing the need to take additional kit with them to support the viewing of imagery. The Ihvert has been used to stream imagery from an Elbit Systems Skylark-I/II hand-launched drone. I ROVER
Arguably the most well-known system of its kind on the market, the Rover (Remotely Operated Video Enhanced Receiver) displays imagery gathered by aircraft or drones on a laptop-style device. During its lifetime, the Rover has been cycled through several variants: the Rover-2 entered service in 2002 allowing troops to view imagery transmitted
from General Atomics MQ-1 Predator drones and Lockheed Martin AC-130H/U Spectre/Spooky-II fixed-wing gunships. However, the Rover-2 was a large affair requiring carriage in an AM General High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV). Despite its size, the Rover-2 was revolutionary as soldiers could now directly view drone imagery without having to remain in constant contact with an unmanned aircraft’s ground station to ask the pilots what they were seeing. Miniaturization efforts resulted in the size of the Rover-2 terminal being reduced to a man-portable five-kilo device. Not only has the Rover’s size progressively decreased, but its capabilities have widened. L-3 Communications replaced the Rover-2 with the Rover-3. This multiband terminal could accept imagery across the C-band, L-band and Ku-band. Over 2,000 Rover-3s were produced and was supplied inter alia to American allies. In 2007, the Rover-4 débuted, which
added S-band communications. It also employed Global Positioning System coordinates which allow the terminal operator to click onto areas which they would like investigated by the drone – a process that then provides the aircraft the coordinates to fly to. In addition, Rover-4 lets users to liaise directly with ground attack aircraft performing close air support sorties and thereby improve coordination between Joint Terminal Attack Controllers and pilots. Crucially, from an air support perspective, being able to share imagery between a Roverequipped attack controller and an aircraft overhead ensures that the correct target is being attacked and helps to reduce incidences of fratricide and collateral damage. Later incarnations of Rover, such as Rover-5 and Rover-5i (also known as mRover), are designed as transceivers which can handle imagery data offering robust encryption at US National Security Agency Type-1 standards plus compatibility with the US military Common Data Link (CDL) Ku-
band communications protocol. The Rover-5i is the export version of Rover-5 offering AES256 encryption and became available for purchase in 2010. As of January 2013, the United States Air Force was testing the Net-T wireless router for the Northrop Grumman AN/AQQ28(V) Litening and Lockheed Martin AN/AAQ-33 Sniper targeting pods to enable the Rover-5 terminal to exchange voice and data traffic, as well as imagery, between soldiers equipped with Rover-5 via the aircraft’s targeting pod communications relay. The US Air Force hopes to field the NetT capability by 2014. Meanwhile, although the Rover-5/5i terminals are designed as portable devices, the Rover-6 is arguably better suited for semipermanent installations such as field headquarters, ships or vehicles. In itself the Rover-6 is a development of the erstwhile Rover-3/4 (see above). Along with utilizing the communications bands discussed above, Rover-6 can handle Ultra High Frequency (UHF) transmissions (300 Megahertz3GHz). Furthermore, the Rover-6 connects to the Digital Data Link used by the RQ-11 Raven drone. Security is assured via the employment of Triple-DES (Data Encryption Standard), AES and Type-1 encryption. As the Rover-6 is a dual-channel system, the two channels can be used to handle traffic across two different frequency bands, or combined to accept imagery from a single source. The smallest incarnation of the Rover family is L3’s five band (UHF, C, L, S and Ku) Tactical Rover which is designed as a wearable receiver equipped with AES encryption. I SAGEM
One could be forgiven for thinking that it is chiefly companies in the United States and Israel that are supplying RVTs, yet France’s Sagem produces the Tactical Remote Video Terminal (TRVT). This is built around a rugged handheld touch screen which can operate with a Panasonic Toughbook CF-19 ruggedized laptop. Operating in the C-, Sand UHF bands, the TRVT has a range of around 20km using an omnidirectional antenna. It also includes an embedded GPS and updateable maps, with the option for the customer to request encryption. The weight of the entire TRVT system is eleven kilograms, and it can sustain up to four hours’ operation on a single battery charge. I TADIRAN SPECTRALINK
Tadiran Spectralink in Israel has taken an
Although remote video terminals are most often associated with viewing imagery gathered by drone payloads, they can also be used to view imagery gathered by inhabited aircraft targeting pods such as Litening. (USAF)
innovative approach. The firm’s V-Rambo takes its name from the acronym for ‘Video Receiver and Monitor for Tactical Battlefield Operations’, rather than a reference to John Rambo, the hero of the eponymous action movies. While the screen element of the V-Rambo can be carried on a soldier’s wrist, the accompanying antenna, video receiver and
battery are carried in the solder’s vest. The V-Rambo can accept C-band and S-band imagery, and includes an embedded GPS. Continuous operations of up to five hours are possible, with the entire weight of the system being a shade over one kilogram. The V-Rambo is one of a clutch of such terminals available from Tadiran Spectralink. The wrist-wearable SL-Rambo, for example, can include optional AES encryption, although it receives only Sband imagery rather than the S- and Cband traffic handled by V-Rambo. It accepts imagery at a rate of up to 1.4 megabits-per-second and can either perform fixed-frequency or frequency-
Combat proven, and used by the company’s Sperwer drones, Sagem’s TRVT remote video terminal will also work with the company’s new Patroller medium-altitude, long endurance drone for the display of imagery. (Sagem)
hopping operations. The SL-Rambo performs up to four hours’ operation and is slightly lighter in weight than the V-Rambo. Finally, for vehicular applications, the Tadiran Spectralink’s VTVR (Vehicle Tactical Video Recorder) handles S-band and C-band traffic and can use omnidirectional, directional and hemispheric transmitters. The V-TVR can equip a range of vehicles from jeeps to Main Battle Tanks. I EVOLUTION
Why does the military not simply utilize the smartphone technology that one finds in the civilian world and adapt this to its needs? After all, the technology is already there and proven. From a defence standpoint, a full-spec I-phone or Samsung
I DIFFERENT MILITARY SOURCES, DIFFERING SOUNDS Without questioning the opinion of the engineer interviewed by the author of this article on Iphones or Galaxies, Armada’s Editor-in-Chief heard almost at the same time, but from another American company, that there indeed was a trend to gradually move to socalled smart phones. They can be rapidly adapted via software to meet confidentiality requirements and automatically erase memory contents if broken. Justifying this trend is the immensely growing price gap between the military-specific ruggedized systems that will inevitably break eventually and the cheaply protected civilian types. “Broken? There, have a new one!” He even added that given their weight and dimensions, two could be carried for the fraction of the cost of a militarised unit.
Galaxy is cheap as chips compared to its defence equivalent. A recent conversation involving the author and a senior engineer from a defence communications company provided an instructive answer: “We could use civilian cellphone technology tomorrow to provide similar video on-themove technology for troops. But we would have to ensure that the technology was secure, that it could work in a wide range of environments, that it is robust and that it can accept several different formats of pictures and videos to say the least.” They continued that such considerations keep adding significant cost, and this is before the price of an exhaustive testing schedule is factored in. Ultimately, it becomes more effective to design and build a dedicated RVT system for the military from scratch. Of course, some Commercial-Off-TheShelf components can be included in RVTs which may help to reduce cost. Nevertheless, much as has been witnessed in the civilian world, the size, weight and power consumption of RVTs is almost certain to diminish in the future.
Paris Air Show 2013 Paolo Valpolini (All photos from Paolo Valpolini except the Excalibut, courtesy of Raytheon) navigation update data link that also relays battle damage indication by transmitting the last image before impact. The seeker is activated close to the target, mid-course guidance being performed via waypoints thanks to GPS/INS navigation. A scenematching algorithm ensures accurate homing. In the planning phase the pilot can insert the desired heading of attack and impact angle, up to 80° to allow maximum efficiency in urban warfare. The Spice 250 is in production and has already chalked up an order from an undisclosed customer. I CV 302 HOPLITE: MBDA MISSILE ARTILLERY FOR 2035
Two different missiles are MBDA’s answer to the needs of ground artillery in 2035. Congested and conflicted airspace, short reaction time, surgical precision imply a new approach, proposed by the 2013 edition of the company’s Concept Visions. A key technology is the air-turbo-rocket propulsion that provides the Mach 3+ speed I SPICE 250, THE JUNIOR MEMBER OF RAFAEL SMART BOMBS
Carrying four times the amount of ordnance and reducing collateral damage by using smaller systems was the aim of Rafael when it developed the last member of its Spice family. Reduced dimensions and weight allows an F16 to carry up to 16 gliding bombs, giving it a considerable flexibility in terms of targeting. Cost was the other issue as too often pilots have to release very expensive ordnance on low-cost targets. The Spice 250, here Photographs by P. Valpolini, is currently equipped with the electro-optical seeker developed for the larger Spices, but Rafael intends to develop a new seeker to further reduce the cost. The Spice 250 is typically carried by the Smart Quad Rack (SQR), which includes all the electronics that allow real-time airborne data insertion into the weapon before launch. The bomb is installed on the rack upsidedown, and when dropped it turns over to deploy its wings, which give it a range of 100 km. The SQR contains an after–launch
required to decrease reaction time. The two missiles are identical but for a fee features, the Hoplite-S being the utility round while the Hoplite-L has higher capabilities. Both photographed at le Bourget by P. Valpolini use the same 180 mm motor. They are launched vertically thanks to a piston system derived from that of the British Common Anti-Air Modular Munition. The low initial velocity requires a thrust-vectored nozzle to orient the missile towards its target before cruciform wings can take over aerodynamic control. The Hoplite-S features a ladar that is used in four different roles, namely radar altimeter, proximity fuse, 3D imager, and semi-active laser receiver, the flight being programmed via waypoints. The airframe is accelerated in the terminal
phase to provide sufficient kinetic energy to the penetrator, which penetrates the target and detonates inside it to reduce collateral damage. High angles of attack can be programmed, up to 90째, making the Hoplite S ideal for urban targets. The Hoplite-L multimode seeker allows to discriminate targets in difficult environment; following a high speed transition it dwells thanks to two small wings, allowing target designation for Hoplite-S missiles, before hitting its own designated target with a penetrator that is accelerated by a booster, as in the last phase the Hoplite-L flies at subsonic speed. Because of the booster, the Hoplite-L is 3,750 mm long and weighs 135 km, compared to the 3,200 mm and 120 kg of the S, respective ranges being 160 and 140 km.
I RAYTHEON UNVEILS SAL EXCALIBUR
The Excalibur GPS-guided ammunition has been fielded and tested downrange for a while, its current iteration being Increment I-a2 having proved its worth in Afghanistan, with an accuracy of three to four metres compared to the 10 originally indicated. In Paris, Raytheon announced the launch of a company-funded programme to develop a digital semi-active laser for the 155 mm ammunition, which will allow it to deal with moving targets. All technologies have been already tested and now the company is solving integration problems and electronics hardening to withstand the accelerations. A nine-month test progamme is envisaged, with first firings
installation, as only 30 minutes are required to do so. The system is fully certified for landing on board any civilian aircraft in the world. As for the J-Music this is dedicated to be integrated into larger aircraft. More details on mini-Music can be found in Armada International’s recent Israel Defence Industry Profile. I MC-27J: TOWARDS PHASE 2
The black prototype MC-27J gunship developed by Alenia Aermacchi and ATK was well visible on the the Italian company’s display area. The palletised system, the aim being to propose full modular solutions from Istar to C2 to armed versions, has been tested in the United States with the GAU/23 30 mm gun in a fixed position. Aiming is achieved by the pilot using an optronic sight coaxially mounted on the gun and a display in the cockpit to bank the aircraft into an orbiting pattern around the target. Shooting took place in single shot, five- and eight-round salvos. PGU-46B rounds were used as well as an unidentified “new type ammo”. The gun actually is a derivative of the original, featuring a longer and heavier barrel but with a the longer recoil stroke to reduce recoil by 40%. A muzzle brake has proved useless and the longer barrel keeps the blast and pressure wave further away from the fuselage. The palletised system was installed in slightly more than one hour compared to expected before year end. In perspective Raytheon is also looking at an extended range version, equipped with a rocket motor that would keep the same guidance system but will increase range to over 80 km compared to the current 50 km, when fired from a barrel of 52 calibres. I ELBIT – MINI MUSIC
A new direct infrared countermeasures system has joined the Elbit Systems Dircm family. Tailored for light platforms such as attack helicopters and small dimension choppers and known as the Mini-Music, it weighs around 19 kg. The new system has already been flight tested and integrated with European and Israeli missile warning systems. According to Elbit officials one of the most critical issues is where to install the system on such platforms to ensure maximum efficiency. Elbit’s portfolio already features the CMusic podded Dircm used by civilian aircraft thanks to its simplicity of
the four and a half specified in the original requirement. Phase 2 tests, with a trainable gun linked to the fire control system has already started, firings being scheduled for early 2014. Phase 3 will then include guided ammunition, ATK having announced that it is working on such a type of round. Interest from Italy, from the Far East and Latin America, has been confirmed. I SAGEM TESTS MULTI-MISSION PATROLLER
The week before the Paris Air Show a Sagem Patroller drone equipped with a Euroflir 410 optronic package and a VHF/UHF comint package believed to be from by Thales flew seven missions, each totalling around one and a half hour in the Paris region. Sagem intends to offer the Patroller in that new multi-mission configuration to the French Army as a
NEXT ISSUE DECEMBER 2013/ JANUARY 2014: 1 DECEMBER, ADVERTISING: 17 NOVEMBER n Laser-guided missiles: Laser-guided missiles are increasingly perceived as a cost-effective solutions for the kind of warfare now encountered in the world. Their electronics also lend themselves to be produced as kits that can be mounted on otherwise “dumb” weapons. n Aircraft self-protection: A sine qua non in military airborne operations given the proliferation of certain types of air-defence weapons, aircraft self-protection systems now have to detect launch from longer ranges and automatically trigger countermeasures – speed of action being of paramount importance. n Drone armament: A number of weapons recently developed to minimise collateral damage
replacement for the Sperwer, as well as to the export market. Sagem employed only French subcontractors, thus maintaining full system
provide the accuracy and the lighter weights required to enable certain operations to be more covertly carried out with drones. n Fighter aircraft market: Being increasingly
expensive to buy and operate current Western world aircraft are finding it difficult to sell as the previous generations did. Some have perhaps also been developed to fight wars that will hopefully never come. This article will reveal some interesting facts. n Forward operating bases protection: Almost by definition forward operating bases are somewhat isolated and have to rely on their own resources to perform a permanent surveillance of their surrounding area. With miniaturisation (allowing the use of lighter platforms), plus increased intrinsic performance of electro-optical and even radio-frequency sensors these surveillance
mission control, including armament – the 50-kilo Brimstone from MBDA carried under Rafaut pylons, the synthetic aperture radar being the Thales E-Master. Production aircraft will have a retractable landing gear in order to reduce drag and allow full 360° coverage to the gimballed optronic turret. The Sagem data link features a Nato standard modem and allows interfacing with civil agencies protocols. In the future remote video terminals will allow commanders to control the payload, terminals provided to lower ranks being only passive viewers. The comint suite will also evolve to allow GSM emissions localisation and interception of land wave HF signals. Sagem will soon demonstate its Patroller in the Gulf region.
networks are becoming more affordable to lay out. n Csar radios: Combat search-and-rescue radios
are the last link between downed pilots or isolated commandoes and their saviours, they have to incorporate all manner of solutions to avoid detection by the enemy. Catch 22 you said? n COMPENDIUM—Mobility, Air-Sea-Land:
Armada is revisiting this topic which the current world situation is turning into an increasingly acute requirement. A degree of mobility and deployment may make the difference between success and failure of an operation. n COMPENDIUM: Our second compendium
is devoted to a subject that is gaining increased importance as such systems now enable even the lightest vehicles to adequately protect themselves without exposing their operators to hostile fire.
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