1. Tapping new tech in aerospace

Tapping new tech in aerospace

From fascinating air displays by sleek new fighters to advanced radar systems for intelligence gathering, this year’s Aero India show provided a glimpse into the latest in aerospace technology

By: | Published: February 23, 2015 12:28 AM

The field of military technology is advancing at breakneck speed. From drones that manoeuvre without a pilot to advanced radar systems that can detect a high-speed fighter aircraft at the click of a mouse, military technology, especially air-borne, abounds these days. The Aero India 2015 show, held in Bangalore last week, provided a glimpse of how the latest war technology works.

India-based MKU introduced its 6th generation ballistic protection technology, Polyshield V6 that will reduce the weight and thickness of armour solutions by almost 40%. This will improve the performance and mission capability of armoured helicopters. This technology has been developed after extensive R&D by MKU’s team of experts and engineers based in Germany and India.

Armour panels manufactured using 6th generation Polyshield V6 technology weigh only 14 kg. Since weight is one of the three major parameters controlling the performance of a helicopter, and the only one that can be controlled, this is seen as a significant development. The use of solutions made by using Polyshield V6 technology enhances the ‘useful payload’ of the helicopter without compromising on protection or mission range. It enables the pilot of a helicopter to carry at least three extra soldiers or 250 kg of ammunition and provisions or 320 litre of additional fuel which increases its endurance, flight radius and the rate of climb. This is especially useful in critical situations which require immediate takeoff from the theatre of action.

Another company, OIS-AT unveiled its 3D multi-function, multi-mode UAV detection and tracking and air surveillance radar system. This radar system can be automatically tuned for detecting UAVs or high speed fighter aircraft and helicopters with just a click of a mouse. It includes a unique Sense-N-Avoid feature to identify UAVs that may be on a collision course, allowing the controller to take remedial action.
Another technology, Foliage Penetration Minefield, IED & Dismount Detection Radar System can identify people with weapons and other assets hidden under foliage from a fixed wing aircraft or UAV installed with this radar. With product availability slated for year-end, this system can also detect mines and buried IEDs to help sanitise routes and discover minefields to protect people.

On display was a Zen UAV mission simulator—a comprehensive system designed to support basic, operational and mission training for external pilots, internal pilots, mission commanders, observers/special payload operators and image interpreters. Another interesting display was the Zen war-gaming solutions to provide a doctrine-neutral solution for joint-services/combined and standalone operations. The advanced constructive simulation supports both conventional and non-conventional operations.

This apart, there was also the Zen smart target system—an electromechanical, software-driven, acoustical projectile detection and reporting system designed to be used in outdoor ranges for live small arms firing and the Zen TacSim with indoor tracking system,  designed to meet the training needs of forces tasked to combat enemy/terrorists operating from built-up area/buildings by physical intervention.

Unmanned air systems (UAS) and UAV solutions from Airbus Defence and Space, which were on display are suitable for airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. Solutions include Future European MALE UAS developed completely in Europe, Tracker mini-UAS, and Tanan 300 vertical take off and landing UAS. Of these, Tanan 300 is a new generation vertical take-off and landing tactical unmanned aerial system (UAS) being built by Cassidian, an EADS company (now Airbus Defence and Space). The UAS is suitable for both maritime and land applications. The UAS can perform a wide range of missions including surveillance, reconnaissance, search-and-rescue (SAR), target acquisition, anti-smuggling, harbour protection, border patrol, anti-piracy, and convoy and VIP protection. It can also be deployed for monitoring image and communications intelligence systems, critical infrastructure and illegal traffic.

The Tanan 300 compact VTOL UAS features open, modular architecture and can be easily carried and deployed by a single operator in unprepared areas and at sea. It is capable of performing protection and monitoring missions in difficult weather conditions. It can be deployed on ships and offers reduced logistics footprint and maintenance costs.

The SPEXER 2000 radar by Airbus Defence is an advanced system to support homeland security and border control operations in a wide range of environments. Designed for border surveillance and security applications facing asymmetric threats, SPEXER 2000 detects and classifies multiple ground, marine and low-flying aerial targets, including ultra-light aircraft.

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