Euronaval, good hunting ground for naval systems
The Middle East is a hotbed of defence activity and two countries – Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates – are on a major buying spree. At the 23rd edition of Euronaval 2012 in Paris, which concluded recently, Saudi Arabia was under the arclights. Saudi Arabian Navy’s intent to overhaul its French-built F-2000 frigates and oilers at an estimated contract worth $1.3 billion has enthused US and French companies. Saudi Arabia’s neighbour, another oil-rich country, the United Arab Emirates has expressed interest in buying a small, corvette-sized combatant and Lockheed Martin, Austal and Fincantieri have reportedly made their offers. Lockheed Martin has on offer a scaled-down version of its 116-metre littoral combat ships, while Austal has put forth its 80-metre multi-role vessel (MRV). Fincantieri from Italy has an edge as it is already fitting out the Abu Dhabi, 89-metre-long large corvette, besides building the first two 56-metre Falaj 2 class patrol boats.
Away from the Middle East, South Korea has ordered its 100th ship-borne Sigma 40 inertial navigation system from Sagem (Safran group), confirming its confidence in the system’s laser gyro technology. The Sigma 40 is a high-performance ship-borne inertial navigation system. It is available in different versions to cover operational needs for warships, from corvettes to nuclear submarines.
This latest Sigma order consolidates Sagem’s leadership with the world’s most powerful navies. Part of the ship’s combat system, the Sigma 40’s high-precision measurements contribute to weapon accuracy and performance.
West Looking at East
That Western OEMs are increasingly looking at emerging markets to shore up their dwindling revenues is a truism and at Euronaval it became clear when there were nearly 76 official delegations from various countries. Organised under the joint patronage of the French Ministry of Defence and the Secretariat of State for the Sea, as in previous years, Euronaval reaffirmed its position as the leading international naval defence and maritime safety and security event.
The show covered spheres ranging from naval sovereignty to state action at sea with respect to maritime safety and security, including the enforcement of public order at sea, marine navigation and fisheries policing, and maritime and coastal surveillance. It sought to highlight innovations by French and international players in the naval sector and new technologies in what is a high-tech industry.
Le Bourget, the venue of Euronaval, gave adequate play for naval drone manufacturers—both underwater and aerial—and satellite applications in communications, navigation, defence and security. In all, Euronaval attracted close to 400 exhibitors from 35 countries and trade visitors from 100 countries with growing participation from Germany, Brazil, the UK and Russia, with, for the first time, a Korean shipyard among the exhibitors.
Over a period of five days, Euronaval attract market influencers and buyers from across the sector, 76 official delegations, and 300 guests of honour from over 60 countries, including highranking government figures, i.e. ministers and the equivalent, secretaries of state, navy chiefs of staff and national armaments directors. From an OEM perspective, there were key launches by several companies.
DCNS a World Leader in Naval Defence
DCNS was present in full strength at Euronaval and some of its innovative products at Le Bourget were surface combatants; submarines, besides its service offerings.
One of the highlights was FREMM-ER (Extended Range) with its enhanced anti-air capabilities. Thanks to its four-panel phasedarray antenna and continuous hemispherical coverage, the new radar can detect and track threats at unprecedented ranges enabling the combat management system (CMS) to exploit the ship’s current and future weapons systems to the full. These capabilities are particularly important for littoral operations, in bad weather and against increasingly stealthy threats.
Gowind range: DCNS is currently developing a Gowind version for mine countermeasures (MCM). The ship is being tailored to deploy unmanned vehicles designed specifically to detect, identify and destroy underwater mines.
For the Gowind Combat, DCNS is designing a new superstructure module comprising, in a single building block, the bridge, ops room and enclosed mast. This module will be deliverable to partner shipyards as part of contracts calling for local shipbuilding.
Submarines: The Andrasta compact submarine is designed to operate in shallow littoral waters as well as deep ocean waters. A direct descendent of the Scorpene, it is remarkably effective in all roles close to coasts. Recent advances have focused on improved acoustic discretion, improved sonar detection capabilities, particularly in coastal environments, and additional provision for intelligence gathering; an essential role in coastal theatres. Endurance has also been extended to three weeks.
Services: The stand also presented the Group’s global service offering. Drawing on experience acquired serving the French Navy and international customers, DCNS offers a range of services (technology transfers, teaching programmes, training, simulation solutions, etc.) to help client navies make the best use of their assets, maintain them (through-life support programmes, upgrades, etc.) and manage naval base infrastructure (design, construction, operation and/or maintenance, integration of defence-critical facilities, shipyard refurbishment, etc.).
Thales Introduces Vigile DPX Radar Systems
Following the successful deployment of the Vigile DPX radar electronic support measures system on the British Royal Navy’s Type 45 class destroyers earlier this year, Thales introduced the system to the international market for the first time.
‘This is a ground-breaking new radar system,’ Phil Naybour, head of UK maritime activity at Thales UK, told a media briefing.
Navies now see themselves in a cluttered littoral environment due to radar use from both military and civilian operators, Naybour explained, so the DPX uses a wideband digital receiver to directly sample the full bandwidth of the radar RF spectrum instantaneously. Operators can then detect signals otherwise hidden behind this clutter.
Eurocopter’s Naval and Maritime Helicopters
Eurocopter’s extensive range of helicopters for naval and maritime missions was on display. The company displayed models of the NH90 NFH, the AS365 N3+ and the AS565 MB/Panther.
Eurocopter’s participation in this biennial event underscored the decades of experience the company has acquired in naval and maritime helicopters. With a diversified product line tailored to numer- ous operational requirements, Eurocopter helicopters are counted on for such missions as anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, anti-piracy and anti-smuggling missions as well as coastal or deep-sea maritime search and rescue operations.
Built by NH Industries, a consortium formed by Eurocopter, AgustaWestland and Fokker, the NH90 was just one of the models on show. To date 122 NH90s have been delivered to customers, 18 of them the NFH naval version. The fleet has now clocked up a total of 30,000 flight hours, mainly in SAR missions performed in especially demanding environments and also in the Afghan theater of operations.
Raytheon Anschütz Launches Synapsis Command Bridge
Raytheon Anschütz launched the Synapsis Command Bride, an innovative system solution for OPVs, smaller naval and coast guard vessels. It is a combination of commercial-off-the-shelf navigation with command and control capabilities to a new, homogeneous bridge system.
The Synapsis Command Bridge aims to provide a solution that not only includes the Synapsis Integrated Navigation capabilities but also transfers enhanced command and control capabilities from the Raytheon Anschütz’ SmartBlue surveillance system to a new sea-based application.
Thomas Lehmann, System Engineer at Raytheon Anschütz, said, “The Command Bridge comes as a scalable ‘off-the-shelf’ solution which is standardised to save unnecessary non-recurring engineering costs whilst at the same time remaining flexible enough to accommodate different sensors and weapon systems appropriate for different missions. Smaller vessels such as OPVs and fast attack crafts without requirements for a dedicated combat information centre can be easily equipped to handle a variety of threat scenarios and missions efficiently and effectively.”
Atlas Electronik SeaSpider in the Front
Atlas Electronik showcased a SeaSpider and a SeaHake torpedo as models, besides the UUV SeaOtter. Also on demonstration was its “Low Frequency Active Towed Array Sonar” for surface ships ACTAS and a mine countermeasure container model. Furthermore the company exhibited its ‘Expanded Flank Array Sonar’ (EFAS), which ideally complements the submarine sonar sensor suit.
As said earlier, the highly advanced, sophisticated and scalable technologies are mainly coming from the Western OEMs, while the markets are elsewhere. Nonetheless, Euronaval will continue to be a good hunting ground for naval systems.
Eurocopter’s NH90 NFH
Andrasta compact submarine
FREMM-ER (Extended Range) with its enhanced anti-air capabilities
Vigile DPX radar electronic support from Thales