DSEI 2015

Vayu Aerospace and Defence - - Vi/2015 - Text and pho­tos: Richard Gard­ner

Septem­ber 2015 is cov­ered in de­tail by Vayu’s Edi­to­rial team, led by UK Editor Richard Gard­ner, with an overview of 8 vis­it­ing war­ships. In­dian ca­pa­bil­i­ties were also on dis­play, both from the

This Septem­ber Lon­don hosted the big­gest ever De­fence and Se­cu­rity Equip­ment Ex­hi­bi­tion at the Ex­cel Cen­tre in Lon­don. Over 1,600 ex­hibitors took part and there were na­tional pavil­ions from 42 na­tions and 8 vis­it­ing war­ships, with an ex­ter­nal ex­hi­bi­tion site for mil­i­tary air­craft and he­li­copters. But it was in the very large ex­hi­bi­tion halls that could be seen ex­am­ples of the lat­est ve­hi­cles, mis­siles, UAVs and the many sem­i­nar the­atres where a con­tin­u­ous pro­gramme of brief­ings and dis­cus­sions took place through­out the week, cov­er­ing all aspects of de­fence and se­cu­rity, from the chang­ing in­ter­na­tional threats and progress on new pro­grammes, to cy­ber de­fences for com­mer­cial and mil­i­tary or­gan­i­sa­tions. There were many se­nior rep­re­sen­ta­tives of armed forces

and se­cu­rity agen­cies from all over the world while key­note speak­ers from the UK’s Armed Forces gave pre­sen­ta­tions on cur­rent UK de­fence pol­icy and ca­pa­bil­i­ties, out­lin­ing how fu­ture pro­grammes were de­vel­op­ing. Most ma­jor in­ter­na­tional de­fence com­pa­nies were present and it was clear that the com­pet­i­tive de­fence ex­port sec­tor was en­ter­ing a new era where a new gen­er­a­tion of prod­ucts would soon be en­ter­ing ser­vice, aimed at of­fer­ing im­proved ca­pa­bil­i­ties, but with af­ford­abil­ity a recog­nised fac­tor. The show was de­cidily in­ter­na­tional and within its ex­hi­bi­tion site were ar­eas de­voted to Air, Naval and Land Forces, and also Spe­cial Forces, Un­manned 2 mis­siles from MBDA. There was also a sep­a­rate Brim­stone dis­play stand in the hall where the per­for­mance of the new Mk 2 dual-mode ver­sion of the mis­sile was be­ing pro­moted. Th­ese can be car­ried on triple launch­ers used in con­junc­tion with any stan­dard NATO py­lon. The weapon sys­tem has highly ac­cu­rate pre­ci­sion- guid­ance with en­hanced track­ing ca­pa­bil­ity against mul­ti­ple small, fast mov­ing tar­gets, which can be ar­moured ve­hi­cles, pick-up trucks or Fast In­shore At­tack Craft. They are small and light and can be car­ried on medium size UAVs or al­most any at­tack air­craft. MBDA also had a dis­play of its new Brim­stone 2 de­rived mis­sile op­ti­mised for use as a mul­ti­role pre­ci­sion weapon for the Bri­tish Army’s next gen­er­a­tion at­tack he­li­copter, which has not been cho­sen but is ex­pected to be lat­est ver­sion of the AH-64 Apache. The new mis­sile would be for com­bat­ing fast and ag­ile land and mar­itime threats.

Thales had a very large ex­hi­bi­tion stand at the show and this was di­vided into dif­fer­ent ar­eas cov­er­ing land, sea and air ap­pli­ca­tions, in­clud­ing dis­plays for air­borne com­mand and con­trol, sur­veil­lance and anti-sub­ma­rine air­craft plat­forms, radars, light­weight mis­sile sys­tems as also its Watch­keeper UAV, which is be­ing de­vel­oped fur­ther for ex­port cus­tomers. The com­pany an­nounced the Watch­keeper-X as an ex­port ver­sion of the sys­tem sup­plied to and in ser­vice with the Bri­tish Army. This new ver­sion of­fers dif­fer­ent op­tions for par­tic­u­lar cus­tomer needs and has a rough airstrip ca­pa­bil­ity and is rapidly de­ploy­able by air or sur­face trans­port. As well as hav­ing two sen­sor tur­rets, the UAV can also be fit­ted with the Thales I-Mas­ter radar for high- res­o­lu­tion sur­veil­lance and mov­ing tar­get iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and track­ing. Weapons can be car­ried and other uses in­clude elec­tronic and com­mu­ni­ca­tions in­tel­li­gence gath­er­ing.

The new AMASCOS mis­sion sys­tem is a fully in­te­grated mis­sion sys­tem for mar­itime and ground sur­veil­lance, and can be car­ried aboard a wide va­ri­ety of jet and tur­bo­prop plat­form air­craft. De­mand for mar­itime sur­veil­lance and pa­trol air­craft is grow­ing with the need for tighter con­trol Air Ve­hi­cles and a zone fea­tur­ing med­i­cal ser­vices and disas­ter re­lief. This ar­ti­cle will fo­cus mainly on air, mis­siles, UAVs and re­lated sys­tems for air and naval oper­a­tors.

News broke as the show was open­ing that Kuwait had or­dered 28 Typhoon multi-role fight­ers as an Ital­ian-Kuwaiti govern­ment-to-govern­ment agree­ment. The full de­tails have not yet been an­nounced, as the con­tract is not yet signed, but sources in­di­cate that the air­craft will be new build and to the lat­est Tranche 3 stan­dards, which will al­most cer­tainly in­clude the new Cap­tor-E AESA radar and the as­so­ci­ated avion­ics, mis­sion sys­tem and weapons up­grades. The mis­sile choice is presently un­known, but no doubt the fi­nal con­tract will in­clude crew train­ing and an ex­ten­sive sup­port pack­age. At DSEI there was a Typhoon FGR4 on static dis­play, which in­cluded Me­teor, AS­RAAM and Brim­stone

of desert and fron­tier re­gions. The new Thales of­fer­ing can deal with mul­ti­ple mis­sion re­quire­ments and is con­fig­ured with the lat­est gen­er­a­tion of sen­sor suites and in­no­va­tive, user-friendly in­ter­faces. The sys­tem is built around a tac­ti­cal com­mand sys­tem and with its mod­u­lar ar­chi­tec­ture can be con­fig­ured to op­ti­mise the crew task. A par­tic­u­larly out­stand­ing fea­ture is the touch-screen for­mat of the dis­plays, which is fully in­ter­ac­tive and al­lows a very ef­fi­cient op­er­a­tor work load thanks to high lev­els of au­to­ma­tion, in­clud­ing data fu­sion, tar­get iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and in­te­gra­tion with on­board li­brary data for clas­si­fi­ca­tion of tar­gets. There is a high level of hard­ware re­dun­dancy for en­hanced re­li­a­bil­ity with a mas­sive data­base to sup­port the sen­sors, such as in­fra-red, elec­tro-op­ti­cal and radar. Oper­a­tors can se­lect dis­plays to match the mis­sion but the lay­out of the touch-screen con­trols is move­able over­laid on the same main screen and be­comes fa­mil­iar and easy to use in a very short time.

Thales also dis­played its new, ad­vanced Light­weight Mul­ti­ple Launcher - Next Gen­er­a­tion (LML-NG), - which com­bines in one small launcher the ca­pa­bil­ity to fire sur­face-to-sur­face or sur­face-to-air mis­siles. This in­cor­po­rates a new head and sen­sor as­sem­bly for fir­ing two types of laser­beam rid­ing mis­siles, the Starstreak or the Light­weight Multi-role Mis­sile (LMM). Starstreak is a high-ve­loc­ity anti-air­craft weapon for use against any air tar­get from a UAV or he­li­copter to a fast jet, and can be fired from any an­gle. The LMM is de­signed to en­gage sur­face tar­gets, such as small boats or coastal tar­gets. The sen­sors in­clude day­light video and ther­mal imag­ing with a sta­bilised guid­ance unit and the sys­tem has a 24- hour day or night ca­pa­bil­ity. The launcher can be in the form of a man-por­ta­ble tri­pod for rapid de­ploy­ment or mounted on a light­weight ve­hi­cle or boat deck. Malaysia is the first con­firmed ex­port cus­tomer, and has also or­dered the Starstreak mis­siles for the sys­tem.

At­tract­ing much in­ter­est was Rhein­metall De­fence which dis­played two ex­am­ples of ad­vanced High En­ergy Lasers (HELs) for use against low- and slow-fly­ing UAVs. This was shown on an Oer­likon Skyshield tur­ret and also on a naval gun mount­ing in place of the usual 27mm cannon. The com­pany has de­vel­oped a range of HEL sys­tems from a 5kW unit on an APC to 10kW, 20kW and up to 50kW mod­els of­fer­ing an im­pres­sive sur­face­based air de­fence ca­pa­bil­ity, with pin-point ac­cu­racy and in­stant re­ac­tion.

An­other ma­jor ex­hibitor at DSEI was Fin­mec­ca­nica, which in­cludes Selex ES, Agus­taWest­land, and Ale­nia. Selex an­nounced a new scal­able dis­abling sys­tem for use against UAVs, known as the Fal­con Shield. The com­pany recog­nises that in­di­vid­ual or swarms of small UAVs rep­re­sent a grow­ing threat to de­fence and civil tar­gets and Fal­con Shield is a nonk­i­netic coun­ter­mea­sure which is rapidly de­ploy­able and uses elec­tro- op­ti­cal and elec­tronic sur­veil­lance sen­sors and radar to pro­vide threat de­tec­tion, iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and track­ing. It works in day or night con­di­tions and can dis­crim­i­nate from false sig­nals even in ur­ban en­vi­ron­ments to de­feat po­ten­tial threats us­ing ra­dio fre­quency in­ter­ven­tion. The threat ve­hi­cle can be dis­rupted or con­trol cap­tured and the in­te­grated se­cu­rity frame­work can in­clude ki­netic so­lu­tions if re­quired by the cus­tomer. An­other anti-drone dis­rupter was an­nounced by a con­sor­tium of UK spe­cial­ist com­pa­nies com­pris­ing Blighter Sur­veil­lance Sys­tems, Chess Dy­nam­ics and En­ter­prise Con­trol Sys­tems. Claimed to be the first Anti-UAV De­fence Sys­tem (AUDS) to go to mar­ket, this blocks com­mand and con­trol sig­nals to the UAV and (in tri­als) was able to de­tect and dis­rupt ro­tary wing and fixed wing small UAVs within 15 sec­onds.

Agus­taWest­land have re­sponded to UK MOD re­quests for ca­pa­bil­ity demon­stra­tion flights for a Ro­tary Wing Un­manned Aerial Sys­tem ( RWUAS). This is aimed at forth­com­ing Royal Navy stud­ies into what it may need to de­ploy to pro­vide a fu­ture mar­itime un­manned air sys­tem. The use of small Scan Ea­gle UAVs from Royal Navy ships has con­firmed the ex­tra flex­i­bil­ity th­ese give in pro­vid­ing short-range sur­veil­lance and track­ing in­for­ma­tion. The UK tri­als, now com­pleted, in­volved 27 hours of

sim­u­lated un­manned demon­stra­tion fly­ing and 22 au­to­matic sim­u­lated deck land­ings us­ing the SW-4 RUAS Solo tech­nol­ogy demon­stra­tor. The tri­als in­cluded launch and re­cov­ery, mis­sion man­age­ment and mis­sion sys­tem in­te­gra­tion with the ship Com­bat Man­age­ment Sys­tem. The se­cond set of tests in­volved sim­u­lated deck land­ings and the third phase in­volved the use of mis­sion sen­sors to iden­tify var­i­ous tar­gets of in­ter­est. The Solo demon­stra­tor air­craft was flown as an Un­manned Air Sys­tem un­der au­to­mated con­trol from a ground sta­tion, but with a safety pi­lot on­board. The Royal Navy is re­port­edly con­sid­er­ing re­sults of the demon­stra­tion to as­sess see how such a sys­tem could pro­vide per­sis­tent mar­itime ca­pa­bil­ity from a ro­tary- wing plat­form op­er­at­ing from the deck of a frigate-size war­ship. The demon­stra­tion pro­gramme also looked at us­ing ro­tary- wing UAVs for mine hunt­ing, hy­dro­graphic sur­vey and air­borne sur­veil­lance. Agus­taWest­land also gave an up­date on progress of the new AW159 Wild­cat mil­i­tary he­li­copter in ser­vice with the Bri­tish Army and Royal Navy.

Ex­ist­ing ro­tary wing UAVs in­clude the Schiebel Cam­copter S-100, which has re­cently been tested by Tu­nisia. The test flights took place over dif­fer­ent ter­rain and coastal ar­eas, with use of an L-3 Wescam multi-sen­sor tur­ret. It can fly by day or night and is ro­bust, en­abling flight to con­tinue in bad weather.

Raytheon was ac­tive at DSEI with its full range of mis­sile and weapon prod­ucts on dis­play. The new SeaRAM is a close-in rapid re­ac­tion sur­face-to-air mis­sile launch sys­tem com­bin­ing Raytheon’s Rolling Air­frame Mis­sile (RAM) in a new 11 round launcher, which re­places the 20mm chain gun in a Pha­lanx tur­ret. The ex­ist­ing ar­chi­tec­ture of the Pha­lanx sys­tem is re­tained, com­plete

with mul­ti­ple search and track sen­sors and SeaRAM can re­place a stan­dard Pha­lanx mount­ing with mi­nor mod­i­fi­ca­tions, open­ing up op­tional close-in air de­fence so­lu­tions for ma­jor war­ships, in­clud­ing the US Navy’s de­stroy­ers. Raytheon also briefed jour­nal­ists on the lat­est Paveway 4 and Small Di­am­e­ter Bomb II pre­ci­sion weapon de­vel­op­ments and live fire tests.

The sub­ject of Multi-Mis­sion Mar­itime Air­craft was a ma­jor theme at the show even as the UK con­sid­ers re­place­ment of its re­tired Nim­rod air­craft. A ‘ split so­lu­tion’ was one idea sup­ported by many with one plat­form per­form­ing spe­cialised oceanic mar­itime air cover and an­other, smaller plat­form tak­ing over more lo­calised sur­veil­lance. Air­bus is pro­mot­ing a so­lu­tion based on a com­pre­hen­sive ASW mis­sion sys­tem aboard a C-295 twin tur­bo­prop air­craft, with pro­vi­sion for search radar and anti-sub­ma­rine weapons. Fin­mec­ca­nica’s Ale­nia of­fered a C-27J multi-role MPA plat­form that could carry out a wide range of mis­sions from mar­itime sur­veil­lance and search and res­cue as well as anti-sub­ma­rine and anti-sur­face warfare, Spe­cial Forces air sup­port and lo­gis­ti­cal sup­ply. The com­pany high­lighted its ex­port suc­cesses (78 air­craft or­dered by 12 air forces) and sug­gested that as the air­craft had a proven op­er­a­tional track- record in act­ing as an Elec­tronic Warfare plat­form and bat­tle­field sup­port trans­port, as well as be­ing cho­sen by the US Coast­guard with a search radar and open sys­tems ar­chi­tec­ture, it could be­come a very flex­i­ble air as­set.

Lock­heed Martin re­vealed its lat­est pro­pos­als for a long-range multi-role air plat­form based on the SC- 130J. This would fea­ture a roll-on 5-con­sole mis­sion cabin mod­ule with ex­tra sound­proof­ing and in­su­la­tion and a mis­sion sys­tem based on that sup­plied to the Royal Navy on its lat­est Agus­taWest­land Mer­lin Mk. 2 ASW he­li­copters. It would also have a new AESA radar ca­pa­ble of de­tect­ing small tar­gets in high sea states and on land, in­clud­ing mov­ing tar­gets, with a com­pre­hen­sive suite of self- de­fence and elec­tro- op­ti­cal sur­veil­lance sen­sors. Lock­heed Martin claimed that it would be a low- risk pro­gramme, us­ing well-proven air­frames and en­gines and the mis­sion sys­tem and sen­sors were also well proven, and would be fully in­te­grated. Elon­gated side spon­sons would con­tain weapons bays for tor­pe­does and mis­siles that would be dropped at low level, and un­der­wing fuel tanks give the air­craft a max­i­mum un­re­fu­elled en­durance of 14 hours. Typ­i­cally this might trans­late into a six and a half long mis­sion on sta­tion at a dis­tance of 1,000 miles. The air­craft would have pro­vi­sion for in-flight re­fu­elling in ad­di­tion to the built-in long range.

In­dia was well rep­re­sented at DSEI 2015 with a large stand ex­hibit­ing mod­els of cur­rent air­craft and mis­siles and vis­ual dis­plays high­light­ing na­tional re­search and de­vel­op­ment ac­tiv­i­ties as well as pro­duc­tion ca­pa­bil­i­ties. There are a grow­ing num­ber of joint pro­grammes with global part­ners, in­clud­ing Em­braer, which has been closely in­volved with the new EMB-145 IS­TAR radar sur­veil­lance and elec­tronic warfare plat­form which was rep­re­sented in model form. The ‘ Make in In­dia’ theme was prom­i­nent and this mes­sage was clearly un­der­lined at DSEI 2015 by the pres­ence of the Tal­war- class guided mis­sile frigate INS Trikand, which was tied up along­side the show halls, and was one of the largest war­ships in at­ten­dance. [ see fol­low­ing ar­ti­cle].

In­ter­ac­tive Thales AMASCOS con­soles at the show

The FFLMM is a free-fall glide bomb variant of the Thales LMM mis­sile

In­dian Navy frigate INS Trikand was the largest war­ship in at­ten­dance at DSEI, ar­riv­ing af­ter com­ple­tion of the Indo-UK Ex­er­cise Konkan 2015

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