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30 May 2014

QUAD A 2014 Report: US Army Aviation Begins to Readjust Beyond Budget Cuts and Afghanistan

The message from the leadership of US Army Aviation at Quad-A (this year labeled the Army Aviation Missions Solutions Summit, Nashville, TN, 4-6 May 2014) that it was time to think beyond the swathing cuts required by sequestration and move onto the challenge of not allowing the Army to lose its morale, skills and combat edge gained over a decade of tough overseas conflict.

High on the minds of leaders was the challenge of keeping their soldiers motivated and engaged when the force returns to home-base from Afghanistan. The Quad-A delegates (always a good mix of serving soldiers, industry representatives and retired veterans) were reminded on more than one occasion that they had the best and newest helicopters that money could buy, that the Army was divesting those legacy ones that weren’t up today’s standard, and that despite sequestration aviation’s slice of the Army budget was in fact increasing to over a quarter (close to 27%).

Our strategic focus is on resources and where they will matter most,” said Hon Heidi Shyu, Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology). She said that historically defence budgets always declined after years of war, although this time the end of a war coincides with government having to enacting sequestration to cut spending.

Shyu admitted that significant cuts to defence spending was going to be a factor that would impact the military for the next few years and although aviation was recognised as a critical enabler for the Army, it too was being resized in line with the rest of the force.

We are not starting programs that we can’t afford to finish,” was the message with regard to the government’s attitude to research and development (R&D) projects. This included the Armed Aerial Scout (AAS) which is on indefinite hold although the Army insists there is still a role to be fulfilled somewhere down the line. How long this belief will stand the test of time as the APACHE AH-64E GUARDIANs and the unmanned aerial systems (UAS) push forward their reconnaissance role to fill the OH-58D departure remains to be seen.

Where money would continue to be spend, said Shyu, was on several individual science and technology (S&T) programmes that were central to extracting better value and safer operation from the existing aviation fleet. This included the ongoing development of the Improved Turbine Engine Program (ITEP); the Joint Air Ground Missile (JAGM) system; the aircrew integrated helmet (including laser eye-protection) and a communication enhance and protection system; and the investment in the Joint Multi Role (JMR) helicopter which would lead into Future Vertical Lift (FVL) medium - the replacement of all APACHE and BLACK HAWK helicopters around 2035. 

Also important she said, were the multi-year acquisition programs that benefited both the military and industry in that both new what they were getting within a specific period, which helped to cut the overall cost of acquisition.

Brigadier General Michael Lundy, who recently took command at the US Army’s Aviation Centre of Excellence (USAACE), Ft Rucker Al, said that he was looking for opportunities that would “continue to make Army aviation the most decisive component in land warfare.” in that, he explained, there was a need to return to some core competencies that had been lost over the last decade.

The future was going to be dynamic, he said. “We have to move away from a CONUS based army….and learn to operate in smaller units, moving away from task force operations.” He stressed that the interdependence learned by operating with multinational partners and special operations forces (SOF) must not be lost because of lock of budget.

The Army may be getting smaller but requirements are going up,” he confirmed. As a leader steeped in training and its value, he underscored the value of training and leadership. He too expanded on the challenge of reinvigorating home station training. “We need to drive better training management….(and) we are lagging a bit on integration,” he pointed out.

He challenged army leaders and industry to keep improving realism and the ability to share training and collaborate in training methods. While virtual gaming technology could contribute significantly he pushed for increased flexibility and reduced complexity: “we need to focus on the art rather than the science.”

For his part he saw the need to restructure flight school at Ft Rucker, not least because of the capability that the Airbus Helicopter UH-72A LAKOTAs would deliver with their twin engines and glass cockpits: “We will restructure flight school to bring back basic combat and defence combat skills because we wont spend so much time transitioning between aircraft. A move into advanced aircraft means that we can focus more on the war fighting skills.”

Another potential problem he foresaw was the physical difficulty of restructuring the fleet geographically:  As we go through ARI we must ensure that as we move aircraft around, we don’t have a significant drop in readiness. We will be working closely with both the National Guard and the Active Component and the PEO Aviation (BG Bob Marion). There will need to be a lot of synchronisation and we don’t know what will happen operationally in 2015-16.”

LTG James Barclay, deputy chief of staff, G-8, said he didn’t want to always be the “doom and gloom” guy but numbers would fall to 490,000 soldiers by the end of 2015 and further to 450,00 fby the end of 2017. Should no solution be found to the budget dilemma that it was possible that the army could further be reduced to 420,000 by the end of 2019. But he warned that “significant challenges” lay ahead, particularly between FY16-18: “We will struggle to maintain the balance between our readiness, our manning and our modernisation programmes.”

Industry Shows Its Hand

John Garrison, Bell Helicopter’s President and CEO was the only major helicopter OEM head to brief the press at Quad-A. Justifiably proud of Bell’s display on the exhibition floor of a full size V-280 VALOR, its entrant for the Joint Multi Role competition, Garrison stressed how the project addressed cost and complexity issues through to the experience gained over three generations of tiltrotor production.

Garrison said that it had been a challenging year which had included labour disruption and unavoidable lay-offs. Even with the loss of the OH-58 and TH-57 fleets from US Army Aviation, Bell  could still count on the ongoing US Marine Corps need for MV-22Bs and AH-1Z COBRAs. He added that discussions of what to do with all the aircraft being divested from the Army ranks had still to be fully thought through, although there was a potential for Foreign Military Sales (FMS) under the right conditions.

AVX Aircraft’s President and Chief Engineer Troy Gaffey was optimistic that his company would still be involved in the JMR program whatever the result of the downselect this summer of two from four options (the others being Bell’s V-280; Boeing/Sikorsky’s SB-1 Defiant and Karem’s TR36TD optimum speed tiltrotor demonstrator). Gaffey envisaged five scenarios but believed that the company’s continuing input into the JMR project would be found to be invaluable whatever the result of the down-select decision.

Other announcements during Quad-A included Lockheed Martin revealing a $80.6 million contact for its Modernised Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor (M-TADS/PNVS). Director Matt Hoffman said that the Lot 9 contract was broken down between the US Army, who required eight of the 17 M-TADS/PVNS, with the remaining nine being supplied through FMS the Indonesian Army’s new buy Boeing AH-64E APACHEs. Col. Steven Van Riper, U.S. Army APACHE Sensors Product Manager, said that the latest version of the M-TADS-/PNVS represented a “quantum leap” in the performance of the system.

Northrop Grumman was celebrating the completion of its first year of a relationship with Vinnell Arabia to support flight training for pilots belonging to the Saudi Arabian Ministry of National Guard (MNG). With a need for continuity training before new buy aircraft were delivered, Vinnell has been ensuring the pilots and pilots-in command retain their air skills by flying 12 new MD530Fs under the instruction of Vinnell’s training team.
Andrew Drwiega

23 May 2014

ITEC 2014: Seen and Heard at the Show by Tim Mahon

ITEC 2014: Second Thales A400M simulator for RAF

Thales announced during ITEC 2014 in Köln that the Royal Air Force has awarded it a multi-million pound contract for a second full-flight simulator for the A400M military airlifter. It follows earlier contracts for full flight simulators for the aircraft from France, Germany and Spain as well as the United Kingdom. The simulator features Thales’ own state-of-the-art visual systems and motion technology with six degrees of freedom, replicating the current production configuration of the aircraft cockpit and simulating both flight and ground operations in a wide variety of tactical scenarios and geographical environments. The enhanced visual display system offers significant flexibility for training planners, supporting training in all flight envelopes, including air-to-air refuelling and low-level tactical operations. Instructor stations in the simulator and in the ground station, coupled with a record and replay system, provide for rapid briefing and after action review debriefings. To be installed at the RAF’s training school at Brize Norton, the two simulators will be managed, from a support and maintenance perspective, by A400M Training Services Ltd., a joint venture between Thales and Airbus Defence & Space. The company delivered the training school to the RAF in March 2014.


ITEC 2014: RUAG major on German award

Although without any ‘breaking news’ to impart at ITEC 2014 in Köln, RUAG Defence highlighted its recent success in Germany – in particular the award of a contract for a Counter-Improvised Electronic Device (C-IED) simulation system for the Bundeswehr. The system will be deployed at the GüZ Combat Manoeuvre Training Centre of the German Army at Altmark, the largest live simulation facility in Germany. The contract was won against fierce competition for an effective C-IED system, which is an important component of the systematic improvement and enhancement of training systems as a result of lessons learned from operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. IEDs remain a significant terrorist ‘weapon of choice’ and are not necessarily limited to the expeditionary warfare scenarios that have dominated small unit training in the last decade. Using best practice to ensure effective C-IED training for combat troops will, therefore, remain high on the requirements list of many nations, not just Germany, in most training scenarios for future operations. For this reason, RUAG is intent on celebrating the success of its solution and using the GüZ installation – the Centre has a strong reputation worldwide for being an effective and integrated training solution – as a ‘foot in the door’ reference point to put in front of the many other customers that may have imminent requirements for such a system. The RUAG solution features components that address both the early identification of IEDs and the appropriate post-detonation behaviour to ensure adequate forensic and analytical processes can be implemented to identify the device origin and disrupt the event chain for possible future devices. Visual and audio simulations ensure a realistic training environment for students, engaging all the senses and thus enhancing the all-important situational awareness of the affected individual.


ITEC 2014: Rheinmetall Leopard 2 simulators for Indonesia

By 2015 Rheinmetall will have delivered both a driving simulator and a gunnery simulator for the Leopard 2 main battle tank for delivery to the Indonesian Army, the contract for which is worth several million Euros, according to the company announcement at ITEC 2014 in Köln. The success in Indonesia follows the company’s provision of 18 gunnery simulators and two driver trainer simulators for the Canadian Army, again for Leopard 2, which have been up and running since March of this year. The Leopard Gunnery Skills Trainer (LGST) and the Driver Training Simulator (DTS) are both specifically configured for the Leopard 2A4 as operated by the Indonesian Army and will be used for training the entire crew as well as sharpening the skillsets of the individual users. A major feature of both systems is the use of Rheinmetall’s highly advanced TacSi technology and the incorporation of serious games engines in the visualisation systems for both simulators, thus ensuring the highest possible level of fidelity and providing for highly effective training and sustainable learning.


A Goddess’ work is never done

Minerva is the Roman goddess of wisdom, supporter of war (in good causes) and sponsor of arts, trade and strategy. With such a broad job description and a somewhat philosophical approach to the things she was responsible for, it is perhaps surprising she has found time to lend her name to the latest Immersive Training Service (ITS) from Selex ES. On learning a little more about Minerva, however (the ITS, not the goddess) the surprise lessens. Minerva is a simulated immersive environment based on three principal pillars – high end technological capabilities, psychological and cognitive methodologies and a total service approach. Nicola Toniazzi, Project Manager for the Platforms Business Area of the Selex ES Airborne and Space Systems Division, explained during a briefing at ITEC in Köln this week that Minerva “offers effective training in a cooperative environment, incorporating hardware and software entirely at the customer’s discretion,” thus ensuring flexibility and potentially wide customer appeal. That appeal may well be further stimulated by the intriguing approach Selex has taken in the development of a customer-specific solution. The secret of Minerva’s potential success will lie as much in the process of development as the responsive nature of the technological capabilities. After a detailed training needs analysis (TNA) conducted in close consultation with the customer, the Selex development team then sits down with a team of psychologists and human factors engineers to inject subtle but powerful behaviours into the virtual environment. Reaction to ambient noise, the effect of seeing casualties occurring before the trainee’s eyes, the visceral ‘feel’ of a combat situation, all of these are incorporated into the Minerva ITS using techniques developed in collaboration with the University of Milan. The net result is to accelerate and strengthen the learning experience for trainees, using elements that affect the psychological condition of the user before, during and after the training session. In addition to the considerable work put in at the design and implementation stage, Selex offers customers a performance-based service in which the company and the user work in concert to design a more effective training pipeline and to provide trainees with tools that will benefit them in learning how to deal with complex situation – some parameters of which are almost impossible to achieve in live training scenarios. The modelling of behaviour for the systems’ computer generated forces – there must be a significant challenge in trying to integrate a similarly wide variety of infinitely variable behavioural characteristics into synthetic entities – is being conducted with a series of experimental algorithms developed by the University of Genoa – although Toniazzi admits that this work is currently in its infancy. The other components of Minerva are fairly traditional, including facilities to support effective debfriefing and after action review functions immediately following a training session. The company has put a lot of thought into the types of training that would derive most benefit from deploying Minerva and Toniazzi provided a few examples, while stressing this was not an exhaustive list. U”UAS pilots and operators, rotary wing aircraft crew, Joint Fire Support teams, Forward Air Controllers and Joint Terminal Attack Controllers are all areas that would be particularly suitable for this type of solution,” he said. He also revealed that the initial customer for Minerva is already in discussions with the company and that a definitive requirement is even now being shaped. Minerva will sit comfortably, in addition, in the growing area of common interest between military and civil/emergency management training requirements. One area highlighted by Toniazzi in his briefing was firefighting, in which early discussions with a potential customer are already being held.


An Alliance approach to C4I Simulation….

The words ‘joint,’ ‘collaborative’ and ‘multinational’ apply in our industry not just to the manner in which the military community increasingly prefers to train, but also to the approach adopted by industry in developing fresh and innovative methods of gaining and maintaining market share. At ITEC 2014 in Köln this week, two companies from opposite sides of the globe have brought their products, expertise and executive teams together in a consortium approach to ‘joined-up’ simulation.

Ryan Aerospace, a company from Australia’s Gold Coast with a heritage of providing powerful but cost-effective COTS-based helicopter crew trainers and Rebel Alliance from Florence in Italy, whose expertise focuses on C4I systems, have joined forces to offer a “turn-key. Low cost solution to a complex and high value problem; mission rehearsal and support [for] operations in a combined arms training environment….achieved using state of the art simulation and C4I software, according to a release from the companies.

Showcasing their solution on adjoining booths at ITEC, the companies will demonstrate a COTS helicopter simulator platform incorporating virtual reality goggles and sensors, complemented by a rear door-gunner system and a deployable dismounted soldier operating in the virtual world with Safe Strike, a real world battlefield management system.

Configurable ‘on the fly’ to emulate a wide variety of attack or utility helicopters, the helicopter simulator offers flexibility of use in all aspects of the training operation, including the capability to use almost any simulation engine – Bohemia Interactive’s VBS2 and VBS3 as well as the Havok engine being among the most prevalent. This means the new trainer can be made compatible (and therefore interoperable) with existing legacy training systems in customer inventory and operation.

Incorporating the two companies’ systems into a cohesive solution has not meant an ungainly sprawl of bolted together systems, either. The fully integrated solution has a footprint of less than one square, making it easily transportable and deployable. The real value of this approach, however, lies in the application to mission rehearsal and preparation – the Holy Grail for many simulation users at the moment – in an intuitive, low-impact and cost-effective manner.

Ryan Aerospace’s helicopter crew trainers have enjoyed a growing reputation for effective solution provision for some time now. Combining this expertise with the Rebel Alliance first hand combat experience as applied to modern battlefield management requirements has resulted in an innovative, intriguing and intelligent approach to one of the fundamental problems facing planners today – how to provide cost-effective training across the broad spectrum of disciplines that characterise likely future operations, from low-intensity conflict to small unit operations on a network-centric  battlefield.


22 May 2014

ILA 2014: Enabling Joint Civil-Military Operations - R&S MR6000A: The Only Military Airborne Transceiver that Meets Civil Safety Standards

Airspace is used largely for civil purposes. Therefore military aircraft must meet civil standards in order to fly in this airspace. This also applies to the communications equipment on board. Rohde & Schwarz’ (R&S) portfolio includes the world's only military airborne radio that meets civil aviation certification requirements.

The R&S M3AR family of transceivers for airborne communications has already proven successful in a broad range of applications. More than 6,500 of these software defined radios from R&S have already been sold for airborne platforms including the A400M. (Photo: R&S)

The R&S MR6000A from the successful VHF/UHF R&S M3AR airborne transceiver family is the first radio of its kind in the world that ensures compatibility with military and civilian avionics specifications. As part of the A400M program, Rohde & Schwarz successfully subjected the R&S MR6000A to development processes in line with civil avionics standards for software (RTCA-DO 178) and hardware (RTCA-DO 254). As a result, the radio fulfils civil certification requirements for level C failure classification. Level C design assurance minimises the most serious interference that a radio can cause – loss of communications with air traffic control. Military aircraft can only operate freely around the world if they satisfy both military and civil specifications.

The R&S MR6000A is the best-performing airborne transceiver in the R&S M3AR product family. It covers a frequency range from 30-400MHz. The high transmit power of 20W in AM and 30W in FM mode ensures a long range, even in poor weather conditions or when flying at low levels. The extremely robust transceiver is accommodated in an ARINC 600 housing and offers outstanding RF parameters, such as high sensitivity and large-signal immunity. The R&S MR6000A is highly immune to radiated interference (e.g. from powerful broadcast transmitters or radar equipment) and to cosmic radiation. It contains filters to suppress shortwave and VHF interference as well as interfering signals in the same frequency band (co-site operation).

Tried and Tested in the Field

The R&S M3AR family of transceivers for airborne communications has already proven successful in a broad range of applications. More than 6,500 of these software defined radios from R&S have already been sold for airborne platforms including the A400M and KC-390 transport aircraft, the TORNADO, Eurofighter TYPHOON and F-16 fighter jets, and the NH90, TIGER, EC725 and Sikorsky CH 53 GA helicopters.

The radios can be equipped with a NATO-compatible data and voice encryption option produced by subsidiary R&S SIT. The integrated radio/crypto solution in a single box saves valuable space, weight, wiring and logistical effort. In addition to integrated encryption components, R&S SIT offers the separate ELCRODAT 4-2 (NATO) and R&S MMC3000 (non-NATO) crypto solutions, which can be installed on various military platforms owing to their ruggedisation. The R&S SITLine ETH series is available for encrypting Ethernet data transmitted via fixed network, radio or satellite. The new R&S SITLine ETH40G high speed solution rounds out the product family. It is the first Ethernet encryption device in the world with 40Gbit/s data throughput.

Rohde & Schwarz presents its new and its tried and tested solutions for the future of secure communications at ILA 2014. Visit us in hall 2, booth 2213.


ILA 2014: PREDATOR XP – Providing Persistent Surveillance and Enhanced Situational Awareness

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI), a leader in ISR technologies, is best known for development and production of the PREDATOR family of UAS that are in operation by numerous customers throughout the world today. Currently amassing more than 35,000 flight hours per month, GA-ASI UAS have accumulated over 2.7 million cumulative flight hours to date.

PREDATOR XP in flight. (Photo: General Atomics)

GA-ASI is currently in full production on its newest aircraft system, the PREDATOR XP UAS. PREDATOR XP exhibits the same physical dimensions, altitude, speed, and long endurance (up to 35 hours) as the original RQ-1 PREDATOR aircraft first flown by the USAF in 1995 and has been updated to include triple redundant avionics and an automatic takeoff and landing capability. The aircraft supports a broad customer export base, including Middle East, North African, and South American regions.
PREDATOR XP systems can be equipped with Line-of-Sight (LOS) and Beyond-Line-of-Sight (BLOS) data link systems for over-the-horizon operations. The aircraft is integrated with multiple ISR sensors, including state-of-the-art EO/IR cameras and GA-ASI’s wide-area search LYNX Multi-mode Radar. The LYNX radar features a state-of-the-art Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) mode that offers all-weather, high resolution, day/night performance for a wide-area search capability. Its Ground Moving Target Indicator (GMTI) mode provides a quick and easy method for locating moving vehicles. The radar’s Maritime Wide-Area Search (MWAS) mode provides the capability to complete a variety of maritime missions successfully, including coastal surveillance, drug interdiction, long-range surveillance, small target detection, and SAR operations. PREDATOR XP incorporates an Automatic Identification System (AIS) for maritime ship identification. Other new additions from the original PREDATOR are a new fault-tolerant tail design and winglets for increased endurance.

PREDATOR XP UAS features the CLAW integrated sensor payload control and analysis software with moving-map displays, cross-cueing of all on-board sensors, pre-mission planning, and post-mission sensor data analysis and exploitation.

Offering great ISR capabilities, PREDATOR XP is available now to support a variety of overland and maritime ISR missions for a wide array of countries.

ILA 2014: Lockheed Martin and MBDA Germany: MEADS Technology Will Enable Germany to Build its Future Air and Missile Defence System

The Medium Extended Air Defence System (MEADS) development results will enable Germany to build its future air and missile defence system. This was underscored by Lockheed Martin Chairman, President and CEO Marillyn Hewson and MBDA Germany Managing Director Thomas Homberg in Berlin on 28 April 2014.

The collaboration between Germany, Italy, and the US on MEADS is a shining example of strength in the face of today’s threats,” said Lockheed Martin Chairman, President and CEO Marillyn Hewson during a speech she gave at the German Council on Foreign Relations event. “MEADS delivers the absolute best capability to protect European air space from tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and aircraft.”

The risks from current and future threats can only be countered effectively and efficiently using leading-edge technologies, as the MEADS programme delivers,” said MBDA Germany Managing Director Thomas Homberg. “For Germany as well as its co-operation partners, the MEADS technology development results create the prerequisites for building sustainable air and missile defence tailored to current and future threats, and thus provide a substantial contribution to NATO missile defence.”

MEADS is a highly mobile and inter-operative air and missile defence system with an open, expandable plug and fight system architecture developed to replace the PATRIOT system in Germany. Following the start of development in 2004, the MEADS programme successfully demonstrated an unprecedented 360°, dual intercept against a tactical ballistic missile and an air-breathing target approaching from opposite directions in November 2013.

During her remarks, Hewson emphasised that Lockheed Martin has had a long-term strategic partnership with the Bundeswehr, as well as the German aviation and defence industries, going back more than 50 years. She added that, “Germany’s contributions to MEADS have been tremendous, and our industry partners at MBDA and Airbus have played a critical role in the development of this system. This industry partnership is exemplary.” Hewson also underscored that Lockheed Martin is absolutely committed to support planned national follow-on programmes based on MEADS technologies in Germany and Italy. For the European partners, the PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) missile will be available. PAC-3 MSE is the world’s most advanced, capable and powerful terminal air defence missile, according to Lockheed Martin.

ILA 2014: SKYHAWKs for German training

Canadian contractor Discovery Air Defence Services has recently won a contract to provide training to the German military using a fleet of Douglas A-4 SKYHAWKs. Under the five-year deal, the subsidiary of Discovery Air will fly seven jets to provide around 1,200 hours of fast jet airborne training services annually, beginning in January 2015. Discovery Air Defence Services acquired 10 A-4s after its take-over of Advanced Training Systems International in December 2013. Operating from bases in Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy, the A-4s will likely be used for missions including Joint Tactical Air Controller (JTAC) training, adversary support, target towing, and electronic warfare training.

ILA 2014: Roketsan - Introducing Precision Strike Weapons for Next Generation Platforms

At ILA 2014, Roketsan is introducing a next generation weapon system designed to enhance the air-to-surface warfare capabilities of fighter aircraft. Defined as an autonomous, long range, low observable, all weather, high precision air-to-surface cruise missile, SOM will set the threshold higher among similar systems.

Roketsan's SOM fired from an F-35. (Graphic: Roketsan)

Roketsan’s SOM is designed for the use against heavily defended, anti-access and high value stationary targets, such as surface-to-air-missile (SAM) sites, exposed aircraft, strategic assets, and C2 centres, as well as moving land/surface (ASuW) targets. Under serial production, SOM is already in the inventory of the Turkish Air Force (TAF), integrated and certified on the F-4E/2020 and F-16 Block40 fighter aircraft platforms. Lately, SOM was used in the military Exercise “Pençe 2013” and reported to have shown great success. Roketsan is in cooperation-discussions with Airbus Defence & Space for the integration of the SOM on the Eurofighter TYPHOON platform. The SOM-J, a variant which will be integrated in the internal bay of F-35 JSF will be in service in late 2017, when the TAF will receive its initial platforms. The SOM-J Integration Programme is ongoing in cooperation with Lockheed Martin Aero and Tübitak Sage under contract signed with Turkish Ministry of Defence (TuMOD).


SOM high precision air-to-surface cruise missile showing great success during the military Exercise “Pençe 2013.” (Photo: Roketsan) ))
Technical Specifications of SOM

  • Maximum Range: 250km
  • Total Weight: 610kg
  • Warhead Type/Weight: Dual Stage Tandem Penetration, High Explosive Blast Fragmentation and Semi-Armor Piercing Warheads 
  • Guidance: INS/GPS/TRN/IBN/IIR Seeker + ATA
  • Target Types: SAM sites, Exposed aircraft, Strategic assets, Ships, C2 centers, Shelters, SAM sites
  • Platforms: Fighter Aircraft 

CIRIT Has Become a Trendsetter in its Class

Still being one of the only combat proven serial production 2,75” laser guided systems in the inventory of two different Armed Forces, the CIRIT missile, produced by Roketsan and exhibited at ILA 2014, is becoming well known amongst international Armed Forces. Its unique features gives the user extensive capabilities, as well as a cost effective solution. Easy integration, long range, high accuracy, insensitive capability, and minimum logistics brings CIRIT forward as a high-end product for helicopter requirements.

CIRIT 2,75” Laser Guided Missile 

CIRIT, designed as the main weapon system of T-129 ATAK Turkish attack helicopter, is being used by the AH-1W COBRA helicopter, AT-802 ARCANGEL Border Patrol Aircraft, and is also integrated on the EC635 Light Combat Helicopter. CIRIT, with its flexible architecture, also has a vehicle mounted weapon station, stationary/mobile weapon system, and naval stabilised platforms. Recently, CIRIT demonstrated full success eliminating a target at the range of 10km, beyond its maximum range.

The deliveries of CIRIT are ongoing as scheduled for both the Turkish Armed Forces and the UAE Armed Forces. Roketsan, in partnership with MBDA Deutschland, is also promoting CIRIT for the EC665 TIGER Combat Helicopter (UH-TIGER) in the inventory of the Bundeswehr.

CIRIT 2,75” Laser Guided Missile

Technical Specifications of the CIRIT 2,75” Laser Guided System 

  • Diameter: 2.75" (70mm)
  • Maximum Range: 8km
  • Weight: 15kg
  • Propellant Type: Insensitive HTPB based solid composite propellant
  • Warhead Types: Insensitive Multi-Purpose Warhead (armour piercing, personnel, incendiary) or High Explosive Warhead 
  • Guidance: Mid-Course Guidance with MEMS-IMU, Terminal Guidance with Semi-Active Laser Seeker
  • Target Types: Light armoured / unarmoured vehicles, stationary and moving targets, bunkers
  • Platforms: Attack/Light Attack Helicopters, UAV, Land Vehicles, APCs, Light Combat Aircraft, Naval Platforms and Stationary Platforms
  • Users: Turkish Armed Forces, United Arab Emirates (UAE) Armed Forces 

21 May 2014

ILA 2014: German Defence Minister at the Turkish Pavillion

German Minister of Defence Ursula von der Leyen welcomed by Turkish Deputy Undersecretary  for Defence Industries Sedar Demirel upon arrival at the Turkish pavilion. (Photo: Ibrahim Sünnetci)

Selcuk Yasar, General Manager of Roketsan, providing German Minister of Defence Ursula von der Leyen  information about Roketsan's product portfolio. (Photo: Ibrahim Sünnetci)

Turkish Deputy Undersecretary for Defence Industries Sedar Demirel presents German Minister of Defence Ursula von der Leyen with a gift from ILA 2014 partner country Turkey. (Photo: Ibrahim Sünnetci)

 German Minister of Defence Ursula von der Leyen being greeted by TAI General Manager Muharrem Dörtkasli. (Photo: Ibrahim Sünnetci)

ILA 2014: The INDRA P2006T MRI – Spain’s Sea Searcher

The twin-engine Tecnam P2006T MRI (Multisensor Reconnaissance and Identification) aircraft, developed by Spanish company Indra, has introduced a new maritime patrol aircraft to the market. Its makers claim the aircraft’s low acquisition and operating costs, efficiency and reliability, which will enable customers to perform maritime surveillance more cost-effectively than by using helicopters and medium-sized aircraft.

The P2006T - An International Project

The international collaboration involved the P2006T’s manufacturer Tecnam Construzioni Aeronautiche of Italy, Airborne Technologies of Austria, FLIR Systems PolyTech, and CNS Systems of Sweden, Enterprise Control Systems UK, and SELEX Sensors and Airborne Systems.

The P2006T’s Capabilities

The P2006T MRI is designed for maritime patrol surveillance, which primary objective to find, track and identify every ship of interest sailing inside its patrol zone.

It is optimiaed to conduct missions between the shore and 241km (150mi) out to sea, covering an area of between 7,770km2 and 12,950km2.

The SELEX SEASPRAY radar uses both SAR (synthetic aperture radar) and ISAR (inverse synthetic aperture radar) images to identify objects and for example, make it possible to determine the approximate length of the ship, and establish the location of the bridge and the masts. SAR/ISAR makes it possible to obtain radar images from targets 185km away from the aircrafts position.

Optional Piloting

Alongside with the ongoing-operational tests, work is underway with the prototype P2006T MRI, to develop an optional pilot mode for the MRI, which will allow the aircraft to be flown either manually or as an remote piloted aircraft.

ITEC 2014: Thales Consolidate New Collective Training System

Although initially unveiled at I/ITSEC in Florida last December, Thales chose ITEC 2014 in Köln this week to showcase the latest level of integration of its collective training system, aimed at providing users with a constructive simulation environment for multi-level tactical training.
The as yet unnamed collective training system (CTS) currently features three integrated modules – a dismounted simulation environment for dismounted small unit training, which features the Bohemia Interactive VBS2 system, a helicopter tactical trainer and a platoon command trainer, the latter two of which operate with Thales-developed computer generated forces.

Vincent Megaides, Business Line Strategy Director for Thales Training & Simulation sas, points out that the advantages of multi-level training, combined with the open architecture that characterises the CTS and its ability to accept COTS-based modules from a wide variety of niche suppliers to provide more horizontal integration make the CTS what the company believes is a ‘first to market’ solution. “The idea is to present a solution that addresses current concerns but is not necessarily only a Thales solution – the integration of other possibilities makes it a strong contender to be able to satisfy requirements from the users who have already seen some of the detail,” he said.

Developed as a private venture by Thales, with no specific target programme in mind, the ultimate benefit of the CTS to the several nations showing interest in it during ITEC must surely be its suitability to cater for one of the greatest (and arguably most difficult) functions demanded of modern integrated training systems – mission preparation and rehearsal. “There is no reason why the system as it is currently configured cannot address mission preparation – not just for generic mission preparation but, if required, perhaps also for rehearsal of specific missions. That is one of the aspects of the evolving ‘customer’ reality we have had in mind during development,” said Megaides.
Tim Mahon

ILA 2014: RUAG’s German Aviation Centre of Excellence

For decades, Oberpfaffenhofen has been host to some of Germany’s most important aerospace companies. Since 2003, RUAG has also become part of Oberpfaffenhofen’s rich aviation heritage and locally the RUAG Aerospace Structures and RUAG Aerospace Services companies now provide employment for some 1,100 out of the 7,800 personnel that the overarching RUAG Group employs worldwide.

Specialising in machining, forming, and surface technologies, as well as engineering, aircraft structures, machine assemblies, and environmental technology, RUAG Aerostructures is involved in production of parts for military aircraft such as the Boeing F/A-18 HORNET, Pilatus PC-21, Enaer T-35 PILLAN, and of droptanks for both the GRIPEN and RAFALE euro-canards. However, this is mostly being done in Emmen in Switzerland and activities by RUAG Aerostructures in Oberpfaffenhofen are mainly focused on producing components for civil aviation. This includes the production of aft fuselages of A320, A330 aircraft and tailcones of Bombardier CRJ700/900/1000 aircraft. Coincidentally, RUAG is very much committed to hosting large numbers of trainees, which are provided with comprehensive, basic training for a series of professions in a technological environment. RUAG is convinced that these efforts will help it to maintain its technological edge, hereby advancing the company’s international competitiveness.

RUAG Aerospace Services is a certified MRO provider for Germany’s dwindling UH-1D helicopter fleet, while the company is also authorised to perform line and base maintenance on civilian Bell 205 helicopters. No longer in service with the Luftwaffe, a large number of ALPHA JET aircraft is still being used abroad on a daily basis thanks to the services of RUAG, which supports the German variant of the ALPHA JET. The company is involved in customer support for legacy Do-228 aircraft, approximately 150 of which still operate worldwide, including three aircraft with the Italian Army Air Corps. Special mission aircraft are also often handled by RUAG. Fairly recent upgrade projects include two Do-228 aircraft for the Royal Netherlands Coast Guard and a Gulfstream G550 High Altitude and Long Range (HALO) research aircraft for the German Aerospace Centre DLR. Since its handover the latter aircraft has also operated out of Oberpfaffenhofen under the auspices of the DLR’s test facility, which is stationed there. Meanwhile, RUAG also provides MRO services and system upgrades for Bombardier CL600/601/604/605/850, CRJ200, GLOBAL Express/GLOBAL XRS and GLOBAL 5000 aircraft.

Recently, RUAG has also been supporting efforts by the US company General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI), which are aimed at selling the PREDATOR B (also known as MQ-9 REAPER) UAV to the German military. As part of its SAATEG MALE requirement, the Bundeswehr is contemplating acquisition of a bridging solution for the Luftwaffe, which is to be provided by a military off the shelf product. Subsequently, a newly developed advanced European design could be selected as a final UAS solution.

As the Original Equipment Manufacturer of the Do-228, RUAG has recently commenced deliveries of new aircraft to the government of Venezuela. The Venezuelan government became the first fleet customer in Latin America since the Do-228 was relaunched in 2007. The country has purchased ten units of the turboprop aircraft including eight new Do-228 New Generation (NG) aircraft and two pre-owned Do-228-212s. Building on proven technology from the Do-228-212 with its renowned short field performance, RUAG’s latest Do-228NG aircraft is equipped with a digital glass cockpit with four liquid chrystal HD displays, state-of-the-art navigation and communication systems, and new five-bladed composite propellers. It also has a new landing gear design, an enhanced cabin layout with new comfort seats and some 300 other minor improvements. Powered by two 776shp Garrett TPE-331-10GP-511D engines, the Do-228NG has a maximum take-off weight of 6,400kg (or 6,575kg for special mission aircraft) and an impressive maximum structural payload of 1,940 kilograms. Fuselage, wings, and tail unit of the aircraft are manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in India and transported to Oberpfaffenhofen, where RUAG carries out final assembly and outfitting.

RUAG is also offering special mission variants of its latest Do-228NG aircraft. Under a 2011 contract, two aircraft were delivered to the Bangladesh Navy in mid-2013. Designed for maritime air patrol and rescue missions along the country’s coastline, both Do-228NGs were customised with special mission systems including a 360° Telephonics RDR-1700B surveillance radar and operator console, as well as HF, VHF/UHF and VHF FM radios. A SAR direction finder, six observer seats and two bubble windows, one on either side, further enhance the aircraft’s search and patrol capabilities. The Bangladesh Navy’s Do-228NG aircraft are also equipped with a door that can be opened in flight, as well as a marine marker and life raft. The German naval air wing 3 at Nordholz currently operates two Do-228NG aircraft, one of which is a reworked Do-228-212 while the other one is a brand new aircraft. Involved in pollution control, these aircraft conduct day and night time surveillance of the North and Baltic sea, while also providing support for SAR missions or scientific projects. On top of this, both aircraft can be used on behalf of civilian authorities as was done during the 2013 Elbe river flooding.

ITEC 2014: Rheinmetall Training Systems for RAF A400Ms

Rheinmetall has been contracted by Airbus to provide a Cargo Hold Trainer Enhanced (CHT-E) rear crew and third user group training aid for the Royal Air Force’s A400M military airlifter. Scheduled to be operational in early 2016, the CHT-E installation in the UK follows one already available for training since September 2013 at the Airbus Military International Training Centre in Seville, Spain. In addition, the German Air Force will receive a CHT-E for operations at Air Transportation Wing 62 in Wunstorf in mid-2015.

CHT-E provides users with practical, tangible training tasking in a realistic environment across all ground operations and a significant number of flight disciplines. Based on a full-seized cargo hold with fully functional loadmaster controls and systems, the trainer will cater for initial and refresher training alike as the aircraft comes into service.

The flexibility that a synthetic trainer provides – the implementation of multiple training objectives for multiple crews without necessitating the use of ‘live’ aircraft – will be of particular benefit to the A400M community, which expects the utility of its aircraft to be significantly stretched from its initial introduction to service.

Rheinmetall has also provided Loadmaster Working Station (LNWST) training aids for the A400M, both for the Airbus Military International Training Centre in Seville and the French A440M National Training Centre at Orléans. The RAF will also receive an LWST at Brize Norton in the third quarter of 2014, with the German Air Force following suit in mid 2015.
Tim Mahon

ILA 2014: GA-ASI and Rohde & Schwarz to Develop Voice Comms Certification for PREDATOR B

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI), a leading manufacturer of RPA systems, radars, and EO and related mission systems, and Rohde & Schwarz (R&S), a leading manufacturer of wireless communications, Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Test and Measurement (T&M) equipment, and broadcasting T&M equipment for digital terrestrial television, announced on 21 May at ILA 2014 that they have signed a Teaming Agreement to integrate and flight demonstrate R&S’ air traffic control radios on the PREDATOR B/MQ-9 REAPER RPAs.

We are continuing to integrate German and European payloads and communications systems into our aircraft while ensuring compliance with airworthiness standards,” said Linden P. Blue, CEO, GA-ASI (right). “R&S’ expertise in the design, development, and production of radio communications systems that carry airworthiness certifications will bring us one step closer to achieving this goal.” Dr. Thomas Nicolay, Director Sales and Business Development Europe and North America, Rhode & Schwarz is standing on left signing the cooperation. (Photo: Mönch)

The agreement supports both companies’ efforts to add additional German and European content into PREDATOR -series aircraft. At the same time, the integration of the R&S radios also supports GA-ASI’s effort to deliver a “Certifiable” PREDATOR B RPA. GA-ASI is forecasting to deliver aircraft that are fully compliant with the airworthiness certification requirements of NATO customers, including STANAG 4671.

In the final design configuration, two radio systems will be placed in the aircraft, along with potentially another two radios in the Ground Control System (GCS). The R&S MR6000A - from the successful R&S VHF/UHF R&S M3AR airborne transceiver family - is one of the first radios of its kind that meets civil aviation certification requirements and ensures compatibility with military and civilian avionics specifications. The first flight test of PREDATOR B with a single R&S MR6000A radio system is scheduled for later this year at GA-ASI’s Gray Butte Flight Operations Facility in Palmdale, CA/USA. The test will encompass verification of control and frequency management using the Beyond-Line-of-Sight (BLOS) communications path. In addition, GA-ASI foresees an adjunct demonstration of a radio relay and communication to dismounted soldiers should flight resources allow.

In April 2013, GA-ASI expanded its relationship with its German partner, RUAG Aerospace Services, to allow for increased collaboration in establishing compliance with NATO airworthiness standards. Similarly, the radio certification effort with R&S will be leveraged to market the aircraft jointly to US and European government entities.

Dr. Thomas Nicolay, Director Sales and Business Development Europe and North America, Rhode & Schwarz (left) and Linden blue, CEO General Atomics-ASI signing the cooperation. (Photo: Mönch)

ILA 2014: Increasing Demand for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)

Throughout the world, UAS are one of the the fastest growing and one of the the most dynamic areas within the aerospace sector. A study of the market by the Teal Group in 2013 predicted that annual expenditure on UAS over the next ten years will more than double from U$5.2 to $11.6 billion.

The ILA Berlin Air Show 2014 is responding to this development with a special exhibition section focusing on UAS together with specialist conferences that is attended by leading figures in this field. Together, the central ILA Plaza and the UAS Pavilion form an exclusive area in Hall 3 for this major section of the ILA, providing a platform for product presentations and for a dialogue between industry, R&D, and also between decision-makers and users. So far more than 20 exhibitors from eight countries have registered for the UAS section with their unmanned aircraft.

The larger UAS, designed primarily for military deployment, are displayed on the central ILA Plaza, which features many major exhibitors: Turkish Aerospace Industry (TAI) from the partner country of this year’s ILA, Turkey, is exhibiting ANKA, a MALE UAS system; Airbus Defence & Space (DS) is presenting its entire range of UAS products at ILA; and Elektroniksystem- und Logistik-GmbH (ESG) is exhibiting its unmanned mission equipment platform (UMAT), which is already being successfully used to trial UAS and avionics systems. Of particular importance in this respect is the associated ground station, which enables all missions to be planned, monitored and observed live. The Bundeswehr will be represented on the static display with its UAS systems ALADIN, KZO, and LUNA, which have been operating highly effectively for several years.

At ILA 2014, attention is also focused on smaller UAS. A dedicated area in Hall 3 features the latest products, services and research findings from 18 UAS manufacturers, service providers and research institutes.

Visitors will be able to see smaller UAS with innovative propulsion systems, such as combined VTOL and fixed wing or cycloidal propulsion units. These systems provide the UAS with virtually unrestricted manoeuvrability and stability. UAS have a wide range of applications from the remote sensing of large and inaccessible areas to reconnaissance and support in the event of disasters, as well as the monitoring of important infrastructures with combined UAS systems, and the broadcasting of sporting events. The quadro or octocopters used for these purposes, together with their ground components and evaluation software, also form part of the display. <rot>ADCOM Systems<P> from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is also represented in the UAS section of the hall with a number of UAS models.

The UAS exhibition is being augmented by a UAS conference programme. A UAS panel focuses on the “Possible applications of UAS.” A further panel deals with research and innovation in the UAS field. The speakers consist of the representatives of domestic and foreign UAS manufacturers and of universities. At the UAS MIDCAS Conference the focus is on Detect & Avoid Systems and RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems) Air Traffic Insertion.

ILA 2014: T129 ATAK “Now in Theatres”

The T129 ATAK Advanced Attack and Tactical Reconnaissance Helicopter, the choice of the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF), has been optimised for ‘hot and high’ operations, while providing the following key characteristics:

  • Day and night all environment capability; effective, precise weapon systems that provide combat superiority while low visual, aural, radar and IR signatures, a high level of crashworthiness and ballistic tolerance provide high battlefield survivability,
  • Excellent situational awareness through good visibility arcs and fully integrated mission and communication systems,
  • Decreased crew workload through superior performance, agility and platform stability as well as handling qualities,
  • Reduced Preparation Time augmented by off-board Mission Planning System and reduced take-off time, and 
  • Low operating cost through effective design and on-condition maintenance.

The T129 ATAK Advanced Attack and Tactical Reconnaissance Helicopter is a new generation, two-seat, twin engine helicopter specifically designed for attack and reconnaissance missions. (Photo: TAI)

New Generation Combat Helicopter…

The T129 ATAK is a new generation, two-seat, twin engine helicopter specifically designed for attack and reconnaissance missions. It is derived from the combat proven A129CBT. The new design accommodates new engines (LHTEC CTS 800-4A), avionics, electro-optics and weapon systems, a modified airframe, and uprated drive train and tail rotor.

The T129 ATAK, with, according to Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), the best power to weight ratio in its class, has survivability features and asymmetric weapon delivery capability. The weapon capability includes a 20mm turreted gun with a 500 round capacity, 70mm unguided rockets, Roketsan MIZRAK guided anti-tank missiles and CIRIT 70mm guided rockets (designed for the TAF), and STINGER missiles for air-to-air purposes.

A Success Story

The programme started in 2007 for development and production of 91 helicopters as a joint collaboration of TAI and AgustaWestland also known as the ATAK Team. Within the scope of programme, the first T129 ATAK Helicopter was delivered to the TAF in April 2014 and as of today over 4,000 test flight hours were accumulated during the flight and firing tests, qualification and acceptance as well as training activities. The overall programme is a success story of the Turkish aerospace and defence industry in terms of design, development and international collaboration.

As an outcome of the endorsement provided by the TAF, the already strong international interest in the T129 ATAK as a superior alternative is expected to intensify.

T129 ATAK Advanced Attack and Tactical Reconnaissance Helicopter  (Photo: TAI)

ILA 2014: Air-to-Surface Precision Weapon for the TIGER Helicopter

Due to their low precision, unguided rockets can be used by helicopters only to a limited extent in current scenarios. Particularly in asymmetric missions, e.g. in urban environment, precision weapon systems are required to engage buildings, bunkers but moving single targets (e.g. lightly armoured vehicles, small sea targets) as well. Unlike conventional rockets, the new weapons are designed to provide mission abort capability.

Diehl 70mm GILA (Gaphics: Diehl)

To close this capability gap, Diehl Defence is offering the German customer the 70mm GILA (Guided Intelligent Light Armament) rocket for the TIGER support helicopter.

The proven technology of the semi-active laser (SAL) seeker detecting the laser radiation reflected from the target is used for engagement. For this purpose, the target is marked by means of a laser designator. If the helicopter has no laser designator on board, the task can be performed either by ground troops, e.g. the Joint Fire Support Teams (JFST) of the ISR Corps, or by NATO aircraft (e.g. EUROFIGHTER or unmanned air vehicles).

GILA is based on the Guided Advanced Tactical Rocket (GATR) of Diehl’s cooperation partner <rot>Elbit Systemsy<P>. If GILA were procured, Diehl Defence would receive extensive work shares, such as guidance-and-control unit as well as actuation-system production, guided-rocket final assembly, simulation software, helicopter integration and logistics. GILA can be fired without any modification from the TIGER's existing 70 mm launcher. The guided rocket is a fully developed product so that its qualification and integration into the TIGER helicopter could begin immediately. In conjunction with its partner Elbit Systems, Diehl Defence offers Army aviators various possibilities of providing the pilots with important functionalities, such as “lock-on before launch,” with little integration effort.

ILA 2014: Roketsan – Exhibiting Excellence at ILA 2014

Roketsan, a leading establishment of Turkey’s rocket and missile systems, is exhibiting precision strike weapons for next generation platforms at ILA 2014. Amongst its SOM high precision air-to-surface cruise missile and CIRIT 2,75” laser guided missile (both covered in the ILA International Defence Show Daily Day 1 –still available), Roketsan is also exhibiting the MIZRAK-U and MIZRAK-O.


MIZRAK-U, which was developed by Roketsan primary for use from attack helicopters, is an anti-tank missile system, highly effective against all armoured threats in the field. MIZRAK-U, with its maximum range of 8km and minimum range of 500m is capable of operating all weather conditions and day/night. The missile, which can be used in fire-and-forget and fire-and-update modes with the flexibility provided by its target update capability, offers to fire behind the mask position, fire against targets hiding behind mask and adjust hit point and damage assessment capability. MIZRAK-U, defined as the official anti-tank system of the T-129 ATAK Turkish attack helicopter under development, can be integrated to various platforms (helicopter, UAV, land vehicle, stationary platform, light assault aircraft, and naval platform).

The missile comes in two versions, one is the Turkish Antitank Missile - Long Range (TAM-LR - UMTAS), which is a long range anti-tank missile system primarily developed to operate from attack helicopter platforms; the other is the Laser - Turkish Antitank Missile - Long Range (L-TAM-LR - L-UMTAS). Both are equipped with state of the art technologies making it effective against all armoured threats of the modern battlefield.

Tactical characteristics include, day-night and all weather operational capability; fire-and-forget and fire-and-update operation modes; the capability of target update enables, fire behind mask, fire against targets hiding behind mask, accurate aim point adjustment, and damage assessment; tandem Warhead effective against all types of heavy armoured vehicles within 8km range; effective against stationary and moving targets; wide firing envelope allows off-boresight engagement; and insensitive munition characteristics against fuel fire and bullet impact.

Roketsan’s MIZRAK-O, with its 4km maximum range and 200m minimum range, can function in all weather conditions, day and night. MIZRAK-O, which can be used in fire-and-forget and fire-and-update modes, with the elasticity provided by its target update capability, offers possibilities to fire in covered position, to fire at targets behind cover, to point precisely and to evaluate the effectiveness of the hit, can be used against fixed and moving targets.

ILA 2014: Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Reveals its SUPER HERON - Heavy Fuel UAS

At Singapore Airshow 2014, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) unveiled its new SUPER HERON heavy fuel UAS.

The Super HERON is the new and latest MALE UAS made by IAI/Malat. The Super HERON was added as a link between the HERON and the HERON TP UAV systems. The main features of the Super HERON are the following: A new advance propulsion system specifically developed for the Super Heron with a 200Hp heavy fuel (diesel) engine and fuel injection compared to the 100Hp gasoline engine of the HERON UAV. Fuselage and wings changes include: Provision for large and heavy payloads; provision for a large SATCOM antenna; and 5% lower drag for flight efficiency. A subsystems upgrade was also performed: Advanced avionics, triple redundancy and advanced computerised systems; advanced communication system including SATCOM for BLOS communication; multiple hard points for various payloads (fuel tanks, SIGINT, radar and more); as well as improved performance, increased maximum speed and rate of climb. The payload weight is up to 450kg. (Photos: Mönch / DPM)

Developed by IAI to meet growing interest among leading customers, the SUPER HERON features a heavy fuel 200 horsepower engine and an advanced propulsion system, which significantly enhances the UAS's capacity, rate of climb, and performance. SUPER HERON's air speed exceeds 150KTAS (knots true airspeed) .

SUPER HERON's advanced avionics, triple redundancy and advanced computerised systems enhance its growth potential. Enhanced processing capabilities, increased electrical power, and standard interface architecture, allow for the simple integration of new payloads. The system consists of multiple proven operational configurations for intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance missions, maritime patrol and other missions. Multi-sensor capabilities, state-of-the-art communications and proven airspace integration are among its leading features.

20 May 2014

ITEC 2014 + ILA 2014: CAE Medallion-6000 Ready for Training on RAF C-130J

As the quality and capability of advanced training systems moves further and further towards the Holy Grail of being able to provide mission training and rehearsal facilities in addition to the existing ability to master the platform (“fight the aircraft” rather than simply “fly the aircraft”), so the quality and fidelity of the components of simulators also move forward in leaps and bounds.
Thus a significant portion of the market available to the T&S community revolves around upgrading existing systems, providing additional capability, greater flexibility and better value for money already invested. CAE has a constant stream of initiatives in this regard and chose ITEC 2014 in Köln today (20 May) to announce its latest contract in the domain.

RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire is home to, among other units, both the C-130J Dynamic Mission Simulators operated by the Royal Air Force. The simulators are now ‘ready-for-training’ after a major visual systems upgrade that has integrated the company’s Medallion-6000 image generator and Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCoS) projectors with a suite of new databases built to the Common Database (CDB) standard. CDB provides users with an open architecture that can be updated with extreme rapidity and empowers correlated, distributed mission training.

A new visual system has also been installed for the RAF’s C-130J Flight Training Device (FTD), which now also features the Medallion-6000 IG on a flat panel display systems.

Combining industry-leading image quality and feature flexibility with the power of current COTS graphic processors, the Medallion-6000 suite provides high resolution for enhanced fidelity, highe end sensor simulation and extremely relaitsic virtual environments and night scenes. In the RAF it is already in service on a number of platforms, including the Hawk 128 and Navy Lynx Mk 8 full mission simulators.

Wing Commander Dorian James, Officer Commanding XXIV Squadron RAF, said: “The impressive extent of the new worldwide terrain and airfield databases combined with the latest generation visuals will provide the Royal Air Force with world-class training at a level of fidelity unparalleled in military synthetic training equipment. Our C-130J Hercules aircrews are already talking of how the new visual systems make them feel far more immersed in the scenarios, which is allowing us to explore ways to expand the training we do with a view to increasing the use of simulation throughout our training curriculum.”

Tim Mahon

ITEC 2014: Constructive Training in Germany

Almost as fareast you can go in Germany before you enter Poland lies Dresden, a city with a rich and sometimes tragic history, reflecting its close involvement in conflict in this strategically important area of Europe for hundreds of years, culminating in its bitter experiences in the Second World War. It is also a city with a long and proud tradition of providing military education and training.

There has been a military school on the site on what was once the Albertstadt Barracks in Dresden since 1692, when the Cadet Corps of the Kingdom of Saxony was established. Since 1998 the site has been home to Germany’s Offizierschule des Heeres (Army Officer School) and the facility has now been renamed the Graf-Stauffenberg Barracks. In this guise, the school uses state-of-the-art technology to educate, train and hone the skills of up to 3,500 students per year – from new officer candidates for the Bundeswehr to their counterparts from a sometimes surprising collection of foreign countries, ranging from the immediately obvious – such as France – to those somewhat less intuitive, such as Afghanistan, Korea, Thailand and Mongolia.

Students arriving at Graf-Stauffenberg Barracks are entering on an academic and military journey that will carry them through the first five and a half years of their careers. A six month period of basic training is followed by the first of two intensive three month Officer Courses – which sandwich a period of four years in which they attend one of the Bundeswehr’s two military universities (in Hamburg and Munich) during which they obtain an academic degree. On the officer courses, however, a great deal of their time is spent learning the basics of tactics and battlefield leadership, using a constructive simulation system that has now been in service, in gradually evolving form, for almost twenty years.

GESI – a constructive simulation toolkit developed by CAE as long ago as 1994 in its initial format – and developed at that time primarily for the Germany Army’s requirement – offers the user a sophisticated and effects-oriented suite of capabilities to simulate ground combat at levels ranging from platoon and company to brigade and even division. The majority of the focus in the Dresden school’s use of the system, however – the system being known as SIRA in Bundeswehr service – is on training students at battalion and even regimental level. And in this lies the first of several surprises revealed during an eventful and illuminating recent visit to Dresden, in company with senior executives from CAE.

Providing a training environment for a brand new recruit – one with no knowledge of the techniques, tactics and procedures of modern warfare and who has no experience of leadership – that exposes him to the decision-making process of commanders two or more levels above that in which he will first operate – may be seen as counterintuitive by some, who see the traditional methodology of providing experience at the squad and platoon level before ‘graduating’ the student to company and then battalion or regimental-scaled operations as being a logical and proven approach. Oberstleutnant Gonnermann, however, the deputy commander of the SIRA facility in Dresden, explains the rationale for this approach.

It is a fundamental philosophy of the German Army that we train our officers, initially, at two levels of command above their natural position. This provides us with the ability to educate the students in decision-making processes and command procedures for senior levels of command that will then inform and illuminate the lessons they learn later as platoon commanders,” he pointed out. There is a strong argument that this approach, which takes the ‘end game’ desired result into account from the very beginning of the training process, is far more effective than a traditional linear approach to training. And the proof of the pudding, perhaps, lies in the fact that it obviously works.

In order to be effective, GESI has to provide a wide variety of complex, multi-layered functions to a user community of operators that support and empower the actions, decisions and battle plans of the student teams being trained. Much of the complexity of the system is hidden from the user, with relatively intuitive menu-driven operation and an immediately engaging Graphic User Interface facilitating its easy operation. Nevertheless, a choice made by the Bundeswehr in the way it selects its operators may at first seem to be a surprising one. Instead of having the instructor cadre operate the system for each of the classroom based exercises – which are on the class agenda for at least three or four days a week during a significant part of both the three month officer courses – it is students themselves who act as the system operators.

 Eyebrows may be raised at such a seemingly radical departure from established practice. But there is an unassailable logic to it that becomes obvious once the Bundeswehr’s philosophy is taken into account. Oberstleutnant Gonnermann explains that one of the underlying principles of command and staff training at Dresden is “to ensure that everybody understands the training objective, and the process through which the objective is achieved.” Making the students themselves manage the system, therefore, as well as choosing the Exercise Director and support staff from among the trainees, facilitates a major step forward in engendering that level of understanding. The added benefit, of course, is that as officers proceed through their careers and have more and more cause to resort to SIRA as an effective command and staff training tool, they will already have an intimate knowledge of the capabilities of the tool. There is a strong argument that this provides for a better informed community of trainees at all ranks, since knowledge of system capabilities must surely inform training scenario design as well as ensuring maximum effective return from the investment the Bundeswehr has made in the system.

That investment is not inconsiderable. Since 1994 the system has been installed in multiple locations in Germany, with at least four further major sites operating the system for training operational units. CAE has continued to enhance, upgrade and improve the system, adding capabilities that now enable other agencies, such as the Academy for Crisis Management, to make similar use of nthe system for training ‘officers’ in command and leadership techniques. The so-called GESI smart iteration, developed between 2006 and 2011, provided for the system to be used in Operations Other Than War and the current product improvement process, which continues beyond this year, will enhance system capabilities and flexibility even further.

The evolution of GESI and the implementation of the SIRA system by the Bundeswehr reveals a strong and intimate relationship between developer and user that is a benchmark for the way in which training continues to evolve. The users at Dresden are obviously strong supporters of the way in which GESI has made their training more effective – and CAE has leveraged the experience with its initial customer to successfully address sales opportunities in several other countries, including Austria, Finland, Norway, Ireland, Italy and, most recently, Poland, where GESI is now installed at the Wroclaw military academy.

The German experience, as noted above, is a little different in the way it has informed a well thought out and effective training continuum, which consistently turns out well educated officers who have a broad understanding of the issues their commanders will face, which arguably makes them more effective junior officers, able to contribute to a wide variety of operational challenges and solutions. As Ian Bell, CAE’s Managing Director responsible for the company’s operations in Europe and Africa, states: “This is all about putting old heads on young shoulders.” And that, perhaps, is as appropriate a mantra for the SIRA team at Dresden as the motto of the Army Officer School itself – In Freiheit Dienen (To Serve in Freedom).

SIRA – Simulationssystem zur Unterstütlung von Rahmenübungen – Silmulation system to support (framework) staff exercises

Tim Mahon

ILA 2014: The EJ200 Engine - Benchmark for Excellence

The Eurojet Turbo EJ200 engine is one of the latest generation military turbofan engines in the 20,000lbf thrust class. It is designed to fulfil the most demanding requirements of a fighter aircraft, in particular the Eurofighter TYPHOON. The EJ200’s advanced technology delivers high thrust-to-weight ratio with a simple engine architecture. The EJ200 provides the power for the multi-role capability of the Eurofighter TYPHOON. The design of the engine allows for maximum availability and minimum operating costs throughout the life of the weapon system.

The EJ200 engine is considered to be the benchmark in the 20,000lbf thrust class military engine market. Eurojet provides the EJ200 engine with a significant export potential and an increasing number of countries are expressing serious interest. (Photo: Eurojet)

The EJ200 is a two-spool turbo-based fan with modular design. The wide-chord fan with integrally bladed discs (blisks) is light and aerodynamically efficient and possesses high levels of resistance to foreign object damage. The advanced aerodynamics employed in the fan allows optimum operation without the need for inlet guide vanes.

The origin of the Eurojet partnership lies in the collaboration of three European companies, Rolls-Royce, MTU Aero Engines, and Avio, in the development and production of the RB199 engine for the TORNADO aircraft.

The success of this earlier partnership, with a total fleet of more than 950 aircraft and approximately 6 million engine flying hours achieved, paved the way for future European collaboration programmes: Avio provides the low pressure (LP) turbine, reheat system, gearbox, and air/oil system; Industria de Turbo Propulsores (ITP) provides the exhaust nozzle, jet pipe, exhaust diff user, by-pass duct, and external dressings; MTU Aero Engines provides the low pressure (LP) and high pressure (HP) compressors and DECMU (Digital Engine Control and Monitoring Unit); and Rolls-Royce provides the combustion system, high pressure (HP) turbine and engine health monitoring system (EHMS).

On 7 June 2013, EUROJET Turbo, the European consortium behind the EJ200 engine project, celebrated the delivery of its 1000th EJ200 production engine. The landmark engine was assembled at the facilities of ITP in Madrid, Spain and delivered to the Spanish Air Force on 23 May 2013 to power the Eurofighter TYPHOON fleet.

The Eurojet consortium is responsible for the management of development, support and export of the new generation EJ200 engine system. Eurojet's shareholders comprise Avio (Italy), ITP (Spain), MTU Aero Engines (Germany), and Rolls-Royce (UK). The engine represents outstanding and innovative technology, which continually demonstrates exceptional performance in the Eurofighter TYPHOON. With its performance record, combined with multi-role capability and highest availability at low life-cycle costs, the EJ200 engine is perfectly set to meet the Air Forces' demands of today and the future.

EUROJET is contracted to produce over 1,500 EJ200 engines to power a total of 719 Eurofighter TYPHOON multi-role combat aircraft on order by seven nations. With 789 engines already in service in Eurofighter TYPHOON fleets operated by the Air Forces of Germany, the UK, Italy, Spain, Austria, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the EJ200 has amassed over 390,000 engine flying hours. More than 100,000 jobs in 400 companies are secured by the EUROJET and Eurofighter programme.