Monday, 30 September 2013

New Naval Radar Detects Swimmers

Along with the fulfillment of traditional missions of ships and crews worldwide, new missions occur in order to meet new threat scenarios. These are mainly driven by asymmetric characteristics, facing Navies and security forces worldwide with new tasks in changing environments. The new Tactical Radar for Surface Surveillance (TRSS) developed by CASSIDIAN, an X-band radar that has been specifically designed to meet these new conditions, offers the technical capabilities to detect even the smallest objects and to cope with difficult environmental conditions in littoral waters.

Design Characteristics

The TRSS radar has been developed for the detection of very small targets in all surface environments. Due to its high resolution, TRSS is able to detect swimmers, periscopes, and drifting hazardous objects like seamines. For onshore surveillance, TRSS detects asymmetric threats such as slow moving land vehicles. Unlike conventional naval radars, it provides optimal detection capabilities, no matter whether over land or sea. Additionally, TRSS can provide helicopter approach support on naval ships. With these versatile characteristics, TRSS is suited to all sorts of defence, security, and safety missions.
TRSS, as the latest member of CASSIDIAN’s naval radar family, is benefiting from the company’s long-standing expertise in radar development. The core sensor is a development of CASSIDIAN’s latest AESA radar technology. Compared to mechanically scanned radars, the beam pointing has greater flexibility due to its AESA-based technology. High Doppler resolution with one to eight beams in parallel accounts for high update rates, the detection of small objects, and slight object movements. Threats can be detected more quickly and effectively, even under harsh environmental conditions. Additional software elements derived from CASSIDIAN’s TRS-3D and TRS-4D naval radar expertise complete the new solution.
On-board a naval ship, the full functionality of TRSS is ensured by using electronic stabilisation with high-performance, 3D antennas that compensate for the ship's movement. There is no need for heavyweight equipment like mechanically stabilised pedestals or below-deck cabinets that makes the radar deployable aboard smaller ships.
According to CASSIDIAN, the low weight of TRSS gives customers the full flexibility for its installation and configuration. The flexible antenna design supports any ship construction either with a single antenna (with radome) or by a multi-panel configuration. Thanks to a redundant design and low error rate, its life cycle costs will be remarkably low.
With its compact design, flexibility, and technical advantages, the TRSS is a solution for a wide range of applications, including
- Detection of targets close to naval platforms
- Detection of land targets from sea
- Ship-controlled helicopter approach (SCA) support
- Support of mine warfare
- Drone detection and guidance
- Surface gun fire control with splash detection
- Support of search and rescue operations
- Harbour surveillance

TRSS combines many years of expertise in the radar business with state-of-the art technology. The new naval radar is complementary to CASSIDIAN's existing naval radar portfolio, including the TRS-3D surveillance and target acquisition radar CASSIDIAN provides to the US Coast Guard for its National Security Cutters and the TRS-4D radar that is available in rotating and fixed panel configurations. The latter is being supplied to the new Type F125 frigates of the German Navy. TRSS' capabilities have also drawn from  CASSIDIAN's experience in the security radar market. The new radar is therefore best suited to support the protection of ships, crews, and mission teams in all naval and littoral environments.

Navies Seek Lightweight Remote Weapon Systems

Nexter Advances with Lightweight Naval Remote Weapon Systems

“Smarter and lighter” appears to be the name of the game in the next generation of naval remote weapon systems. They form an integral part of modern ship self-defence architectures. There are many challenges facing maritime forces and the industry in terms of remote weapon systems capable of combating all sorts of asymmetric threats. The biggest one is how to use them effectively to combat completely new threats as posed by swarming attacks carried out by fast inshore attack craft (FIAC) or suicide fast craft. As any solutions for fighting tyranny at sea are being designed to go to be 100 percent effective, remote weapon systems can be brought in today as a valuable part of a shipboard security inventory.
Naval ships will have to be shaped-up to better defend against asymmetric threats. A key factor of the presence of maritime fleets in blue and brown waters is that modern threats will not only include Cold War-style threats like manned aircraft, helicopters, anti-ship missiles or even anti-ship cruise missiles, but most notably unmanned aircraft and very small, but highly agile surface threats as represented by powerboats, interceptors, rigid inflatables, and jet ski-type vehicles carrying dangerous weapons, including machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, and other explosives.
A gun-based CIWS used to combat such threats typically consists of a rapid-fire, small- to medium-calibre (20-35mm) gun placed on a rotating gun mount plus a combination of EO fire control systems or EO director (EOD), radars, and C2 elements.
Nexter Systems developed the fully stabilised NARWHAL (Naval Remote Weapon Highly Accurate Lightweight) rapid-fire gun system in two variants: NARWHAL 20A with a 20mm M621 cannon and NARWHAL 20B with a 20mm M693 cannon. The company acknowledges that a 20mm remote weapon makes absolute sense to defeat the range of small objects manoeuvring on the water surface and in the air like FIAC, jet ski-type vehicles, and highly miniaturised unmanned aircraft (drones). For exactly this purpose, the gun mount can be easily integrated into modern shipboard self-defence architectures. Nexter Systems delivered the NARWHAL system to a number of customers operating patrol vessels, light frigates, fast patrol boats, FAC, and inflatables.
The 20A configuration consists of a gyro-stabilised mounting armed with a 20mm M621  cannon firing 20mm x 102 NATO rounds (offering a rate-of-fire of 750rds/min), a daylight camera, and a C2 terminal. The magazine contains 200 ready-to-fire rounds, weighing in total 390kg. Nexter Systems said the M621 cannon has a muzzle velocity of 1,005m/s (armour-piercing) and 985m/s (high explosive incendiary).
The French Navy selected the NARWHAL 20B configuration for its 11 “Aquitaine” class (FREMM) frigates. DCNS, the builder of the vessels, ordered 22 systems in November 2011. Consisting of a 20mm M693 cannon, this configuration forms a force protection system best suited to defend against the spectrum of airborne and surface threats that also include ‘leaker’ missiles. The French Navy declares that the 20mm x 139 rounds fired by the 20B variant will also be able to hit mortar rounds fired from a hostile craft.
According to Nexter Systems, the 20B’s rate of fire is up to 800rds/min, which gives the weapon sufficient stopping power in case of a terrorist attack. Firing one burst of 20-25 rounds, small airborne targets can be destroyed at ranges of at least 1.35nm (2.5km). The missile kill range is reportedly in excess of 1.1nm (2nm), compared with existing CIWS where this range is typically less than 0.27nm (0.5km).
Nexter Systems also confirmed that DCNS ordered a single 20B system for the FREMM frigate “Mohammed VI” the shipyard is building for the Royal Moroccan Navy. Nexter Systems said the gun mount carries approximately 200 rounds of 20mm M693 ammunition in the magazine inside the turret, with the ammunition weighing in total some 470kg.
In the ‘see first-decide-act’ triad, which is most characteristic of today’s and tomorrow’s operations at sea, the grade of automation of the NARWHAL remote weapon station can be increased through the use of other shipboard sensors, including radars, IR search and track (IRST), and FLIR suites.

The gyro-stabilised NARWHAL 20mm cannon pictured here in Le Bourget is optimised for close-in defence against all kinds of asymmetric threats, including suicide fast boats, frogmen, and low-speed flying aircraft and drones.
(Photo: Stefan Nitschke)

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Long-Range Cameras for Demanding Environments

Copenhagen Sensor Technology A/S (CST) based in Herlev, Denmark, promotes a complete family of ruggedised cameras named SPECTREL. They consist of a high-performance zoom lens, high-sensitivity CCD (Charge-Coupled Device) camera, and control hardware for operating in the visible spectrum. A special Extended Night Mode allows imaging under low-light conditions.
SPECTREL stays on target when zooming in on an object of interest – commonly referred to as bore-sight retention, where SPECTREL has a bore-sight retention within 0,2mrad (= 20cm precision at 1,000m distance). The cameras recognise a human at 8,000m, with more features such as fog/haze penetration, Autofocus-on-Demand, and graphical overlay. Additionally, the cameras endure temperatures ranging from -40°C to 70°C, and have a protective sealed housing to withstand high moisture and extremely high shock and vibration.
A new product showcased at the recent DSEi Exhibition in London is the SWIR Zoom Camera that has been designed for demanding environments, making it a perfect choice for military and security applications. SWIR (Short Wave IR) technology is used to increase visibility by enabling the device to see through fog, haze, and smoke. The technology can be used in conjunction with an laser illuminator laser (1,5µm) that is invisible to the human eye.
CST is a global market leader for EO cameras, with the products sold through a worldwide distributor network. CST is characterised by four core features: easy to integrate (all CST standard products are easy to integrate); ruggedised cameras; reliability; and flexibility.
For more information please visit
The SPECTREL series of cameras are designed for demanding mid- and long-range surveillance applications, such as day and night coastal surveillance, camp perimeter protection, and asset protection.
(Photo: Copenhagen Sensor Technology A/S)

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Syrian Crisis

Verify And Verify

After weeks of uncertainties over military strikes against Syria, diplomatic efforts now seem to have the best chance for a settlement of the crisis. The conditions for a political settlement enshrined in a framework were agreed by Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva on 14 September. The settlement calls for the complete elimination of chemical weapons in Syria. Within this framework, the chemical weapons possessed by the Assad regime will be handed over to and come under the control of the international community. There are specific timelines, however. Damascus has to submit, within a week (by 21 September 2013), a comprehensive listing of its chemical weapons. Damascus must also provide the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) with an immediate and unfettered right to inspect any and all production and storage sites in Syria. International inspectors will be on the ground no later than November 2013, Secretary of State Kerry said. According to Kerry, a stated goal within the framework is to complete the destruction and removal and/or removal by halfway through 2014. Should these attempts fail, a military option will remain on the table, Washington said.
Russia, a key backer of the beleaguered regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and principal supplier of weapons, has an interest in a political settlement, as Moscow currently maintains a naval facility at the Syrian port of Tartus. It is Russia’s only military foothold in the region, and has also caused consternation in Tel Aviv. Syria is the largest buyer of Russian weapons in the Middle East. Arms contracts with Russia amount to at least US$3Bn to US$5Bn, Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency reported in July 2013.
Immediately after the “egregious use” of chemical weapons against Syrian citizens near Damascus on 21 August, with the loss of hundreds of civilian lives, President Obama threatened to order strikes against Syria. Washington, on the basis of human, geospatial, and communications intelligence, believed that the Syrian military was responsible for attacking opposition areas with rockets or artillery shells carrying chemical warfare agents. Early September reports said that the regime in Damascus was responsible for the attacks that were aimed at clearing their enemy from strategic parts of Damascus. French President François Hollande called for immediate intervention. Downing Street warned the Syrian President that he would face consequences for the (not spontaneous) chemical gas attack by Syrian forces near Damascus. However, Prime Minister David Cameron faced heavy opposition following a decision by the British Parliament not to participate in any military action against Syria, leaving, in the West, the US isolated with France. Meanwhile, the US Congress is divided over whether to authorise military strikes against Syria as a clear response to the use of chemical weapons against civilians.
However, in August opposition groups in Syria warned that every passing day reduced the effectiveness of military intervention, as the government in Damascus and the Syrian armed forces would be able to prepare their own measures against any attack. Also, London warned that the five-day gap between the attack and the inspectors’ visit might have allowed the Assad regime the opportunity potentially to tamper with evidence and continue shelling the area to destroy remnants of the chemical weapons that were used.
So what are the options of a military strike if political efforts fail? Potential target lists have being reviewed in recent weeks and various Western military assets pre-positioned. The US Navy now has four “Arleigh Burke” class destroyers in the Eastern Mediterranean in addition to the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group on station in the Red Sea and the Truman Carrier Strike Group in the Gulf of Oman. Land attack cruise missiles launched from the destroyers have a range of over 1,000nm (1,850km). Cruise missile strikes are a likely option, avoiding air strikes by manned aircraft. The latter could be endangered by Syria’s strong air defence assets, although B-2 stealth bombers, perhaps from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, would be able to evade those assets. Syria could counter-attack with long-range anti-ship missiles received from Russia. The 72 Yakhont missiles delivered by Moscow equip one Bastion coastal battery comprising 18 mobile launchers each carrying two Yakhont missiles capable of striking surface targets at a range of 300km. The missile carries a 200kg warhead. Russia claims that the missile system will “enable Syria to protect its entire coast from a possible seaborne attack.” With these parameters, the missiles could put at risk elements of the US Navy’s Sixth Fleet patrolling in the Eastern Mediterranean.
As a consequence, missile launch sites, associated C2 facilities, and missile- and gun-based air defence systems could be the top priority targets during the first minutes of a strike from the sea. In addition to the establishment of a ‘no-fly’ zone to prevent the Syrian government from using its air power to strike rebels on the ground and to re-supply isolated bases around the country, cruise missile strikes could be undertaken to destroy chemical weapon sites primarily located in the western part of Syria. However, striking the chemical weapons production facilities near Homs, Latakia, Al Safir, and Hama could result in a leakage of toxic chemicals that could lead to significant local damage.
Syrian Air Force bases and command centres located in the complex landscape between Homs and Damascus might also be engaged as a warning. Possible targets near Damascus include the Mezzeh Air Base, the Marj Ruhayyil military base, and at least three Army division/brigade-level headquarters. Unmanned aircraft could be another option, but only few long-range, long-endurance systems deployable with precision-guided ammunitions are believed to be in the region. Most of them remain on station in the Middle East and central Asia to respond to emerging threats in Yemen, Pakistan, and the Horn of Africa. If more firepower is needed, the two US aircraft carriers could launch air strikes.
French air power could also play a part. The French aircraft carrier “Charles de Gaulle” is currently in the western Mediterranean, while French Rafale and Mirage combat aircraft can also operate from Al-Dhahra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates. According to a source close to French Defence Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, the aircraft carrier could reach the Mediterranean theatre somewhere between Cyprus and Syria, joining US ships already on station, which, however, was denied by the Staff of the French Armed Forces. “The carrier is presently docked and has received no order”, said Col. Gilles Jarron, Spokesman of the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces who denies that such a decision has been taken.
Looking forward, consider the successful Israeli military attack on a munitions storage facility some 15km inland from the Syrian port of Latakia on 5 July 2013. This munitions cache was believed to be used to store the Bastion coastal defence variant of the P-800 Yakhont anti-ship missile system Russia had delivered to Syria. Damascus claimed that Israeli forces either conducted an air strike or employed long-range missiles fired from an Israeli Navy ship operating in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Moscow claimed the attack was carried out by Israeli combat aircraft operating from inside Turkish airspace – a claim subsequently denied by Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu. In the meantime it is clear that the Israeli Air Force conducted the attack using precision-guided munitions such as the GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb (SDB). In conclusion, partially-successful military intervention by the West could make the situation even worse.

Admiral Jonathan Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations, said at the American Enterprise Institute on 5 September 2013 that sustaining a Carrier Strike Group on station conducting combat missions would cost about US$40M a week. A destroyer costs about US$7M a week and a TOMAHAWK cruise missile about US$1.5M, meaning that if a US military intervention were to expand into FY2014 (which begins on 1 October) then supplemental funding would be required to extend operations into October.
(Photo: US Navy)

IP-W Project Provides Extra Service Life for “Walrus” Class Submarines

The Royal Netherlands Navy is upgrading its four indigenously built “Walrus” class diesel-electric submarines under an approximately €200M (US$155M) modernisation programme called the Walrus Engineering Support Programme (WESP). Part of the programme is a new anti-corrosion treatment of the submarines’ hulls, since the original protection has worn off and the hulls are now vulnerable to corrosion, said State Secretary for Defence Procurement Jack de Vries. Also of significance will be the integration of the SCOUT mine and obstacle avoidance sonar received from Germany’s L-3 ELAC Nautik GmbH and the upgrading of the submarines’ Mk48 Mod 7AT torpedo weapon. This wok will allow the Royal Netherlands Navy to postpone to think about a replacement project for another five to seven years.
Cdr. (E) E.P.M. van der Klip, Programme Manager, Heavyweight Torpedoes and Submarine Sonar Systems, at the Defence Materiel Organisation, said to NAVAL FORCES in Hamburg that several systems aboard the four “Walrus” class submarines, within the scope of the Life Extension Programme (called IP-W Project), need modifications, replacements or have to be added to the submarine in order to meet these requirements. Examples are the update of the Mk48 torpedoes, the replacement of one periscope by an optronic mast, and the installation of a Super High Frequency SatCom system. The upgrade of the sonar system is split into a two-way approach. Already prior to the LEP programme, a sonar pre-LEP contract was signed in 2008 for several sonar safety functionalities. It was anticipated that, due to obsolescence problems, essential sonar safety functionalities would not be serviceable until the submarines would enter their LEP. The other sonar functionalities would be upgraded during the LEP.
Cdr. van der Klip noted that WESP is the cooperation of three companies (Imtech, Nevesbu and Verebus) with the task to carry out the necessary engineering to allow embedding of all modifications (including the new systems) on-board of the submarines. The WESP group is tasked for making an inventory of systems for decommissioning. Further steps in the process include the design of the new arrangement, allocating space for the new hardware and (as an architect) give all new and existing equipment a place in the submarine. WESP is further responsible for designing the foundations of the equipment, cable ducts, piping and suspensions, electrical systems, the cooling system, including monitoring aspects like power distribution, heat balance, and the vessels’ weight/volume/stability and strength.
The pre-LEP sonar safety programme is called the MANTA project. “The contract was awarded in 2008 to ELAC (Kiel) with ISL (San Diego) as sub-contractor”, he said. “The first system is operational on the submarine HrMs “Bruinvis” since 2011 and performed well during Operation OCEAN SHIELD in 2012. The second system will enter operational service later this year. The remaining two systems will be installed during the LEP programme.”
The LEP sonar programme is called the Sonar Suite Project. “Within this sonar suite project, the three existing sonar systems (LRS, MRS and PRS) will be integrated into one sonar suite system”, Cdr. van der Klip said. “The upgrade comprises replacement of the complete set of signal processing for the long-range, medium-range, and passive range sonars. This includes software and hardware, but does not include the replacement of the various sonar wet-ends. The new combat management system will integrate all sonar data and display the results to the operator.”
Regarding the upgrading of the Mk48 Mod 7AT torpedo weapon, Cdr. van der Klip said that the main reasons to update the torpedo weapon are obsolescence and improvement of performance in shallow water. “The Mk48 update mainly features a hardware upgrade of the front section of the torpedo. The aft section will not be replaced but only slightly modified. The guidance and control upgrade replaces the obsolescent guidance and control unit with current technology, improves the acoustic receiver, and adds additional memory and improves processor throughput. Included in the upgrade is a Common Broadband Advanced Sonar System (CBASS) programme, which will develop a fully digital wideband sonar capability to enable the torpedo to operate effectively both in shallow water and deep water environments”, he concluded.

Cdr. (E) E.P.M. van der Klip from the Defence Materiel Organisation said that the Life Extension Programme (called IP-W Project) for the “Walrus” class is to prolong the service life to at least 2025 and to increase their operability in coastal waters.
(Photo: Stefan Nitschke)

Hale Hamilton Celebrates Success of Engineering Apprenticeship Scheme

London-based Hale Hamilton (Valves) Ltd., part of the Circor International Group of companies, celebrated a success of its engineering apprenticeship scheme at DSEI 2013 in London. Every year, Hale Hamilton takes on at least three apprentices from schools close to their Uxbridge site, giving them a four-year work based training programme that provides an opportunity to gain knowledge, skills, and competence in mechanical engineering.
The Apprentice Challenge Awards are being presented by Rear Admiral Parker, Director (Carrier Strike), in recognition of the success of two teams of apprentices in rising to the challenge of designing and constructing a model warship and submarine, using only scrap materials from the factory, within a budget of £500 and within 200 hours. Each team chose a naval subject for their model as this is representative of one business sector in which Hale Hamilton operates. The models have been on display at DSEI 2013 on Hale Hamilton's stand in the Naval Zone.
“Our modern Apprenticeship in Engineering is absolutely crucial in attracting young people into our business. It helps to sustain our manufacturing and skills base and plays a key role in helping to improve and maintain core engineering skills in British industry”, said Bill Dormer, Sales Director and responsible for the defence business at Hale Hamilton.
To support the continued growth and success of the Apprentice Scheme for young engineers, Hale Hamilton has also launched a new dedicated Apprentice Training Centre at their facility in Uxbridge, making this one of the largest SME Engineering Apprenticeships in the UK.
Hale Hamilton is a leading provider of high-performance, high-pressure valves and valve systems for fluid and gas control solutions. The company’s primary strength and significant track record is in the provision of highly engineered solutions to customer’s fluid control requirements, used on-board naval surface ships and submarines, at typical supply pressures from 5,000 pounds per square inch (psi) or 350bar, down to pressures lower than 100psi or 7 bar. Typical submarine applications include pressure hull fluid transfer, isolation of stored compressed air, emergency ballast tank blow, direction control of hydraulic fluids, and emergency breathing air. Typical surface ship applications include main gas turbine and diesel engine starting air, diesel generator starting air, high- to low-pressure reduction, and weapon firing and aviation Services. Surface ship programmes include the UK’s Type 45 destroyers, the UK’s new "Queen Elizabeth" class aircraft carriers and the Indian Project P-28 ("Kamorta" class) anti-submarine warfare corvettes built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Limited (GRSE), on all of which Hale Hamilton’s AUTOCHARGE Breathing Air (BA) and Diving Air (DA) charging system has been specified and supplied.
The most recent naval submarine programmes using Hale Hamilton valves are the UK’s "Astute" class submarines, the Spanish S-80 submarines, and the German Type U212 and U214 submarines.

Rear Admiral Henry Parker, Director (Carrier Strike), presents two Apprentice Challenge Awards to Hale Hamilton apprentices for model warship and submarine made from scrap materials.
(Photo: Stefan Nitschke)