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The Electronic Warfare system for the AWD
will be supplied by ITT-EDO Reconnaissance
and Surveillance Systems of the United States,
which has teamed with local companies Ultra
Electronics Avalon Systems in Adelaide and
Jenkins Engineering Defence Systems in
Sydney for system development.
The AWD Alliance says this solution was
chosen because “it was judged to provide the
best capability and value for money, balancing
technical and commercial compliance, cost,
schedule and risk.” The contract is worth
about $30 million.
“Electronic Warfare is a critical element of any
Combat System, providing a capability edge by
providing earlier detection and identification
of hostile threats” Equid said, “For this reason
it is important that the Electronic Warfare
capability remains an indigenous capability
and the AWD Alliance has made this a priority
industry capability in Australia”.
The equipment supplied by ITT-EDO consists
of the ES-3701 Radar-Electronic Surveillance
system and Southwest Research Institute
Surveillance system. Equid says these
sub-systems are variants of equipment that is
already in service on the Collins submarines
and the Nansen Frigates in Norway.
Avalon Systems will modify its Multi-
Purpose Digital Receiver, which was jointly
developed in Australia by DSTO and industry
and integrate it with the ITT-EDO system.
Jenkins Engineering Defence Systems is
contracted to provide its Radar Electronic
Surveillance low band receiver for integration
into the ships’ EW system.
Electronic Warfare integration is another
area where significant risk remains and
numerous Defence programmes which have
stumbled at this hurdle. APDR asked Rod
Equid how the Air Warfare Destroyer Alliance
was working to mitigate this risk on SEA 4000:
“Integration of the Electronic Warfare system
occurs at two levels – integration with the
platform design and integration with the
other combat system equipment” he replied,
“Prior to selecting the ITT Electronic Warfare
solution, platform integration impact studies
were undertaken in concert with Navantia to
confirm the platform integration design. As a
result of this work it has been confirmed that
no significant platform design changes are
required to accommodate the ITT solution.”
Equid also says that the key to this
integration activity will be the Australian
Tactical Interface, which will also facilitate
the necessary upgrades ad developments as
Electronic Warfare rapidly evolves. “Integration
with other combat system equipment will
require integration with the Aegis Weapon
System, which will be achieved through the
ATI” he says “This activity will be achieved in
concert with the US Navy and will build upon
the proven Aegis SLQ-32 interface to minimise
the design and integration risk”.
Raytheon’s SLQ-32(V) is the principal EW
system on major US Navy surface combatants
and, as such, is designed to work with a
number of systems, including Aegis.
The recently-released Auditor General’s
report into major defence projects notes
that procurement of an Electronic Warfare
Radar Electronic Attack capability has been
deferred as current technology does not meet
Navy’s requirements. It says however: “The
budget has been preserved to support second
generation technology being fielded in the
AWD. It is expected that the capability will be
available in the 2017-18 timeframe”.
One of the major requirements of the Air Warfare Destroyers as
weapons systems is the ability to communicate effectively and securely
with other national and coalition assets. The layers of communications
on AWD are as complex as they are varied.
Known as the Communications and Information subsystem of the
Combat System , there are terrestrial radios; a range of SATCOM options;
computer networks with servers, storage and access peripherals which
are distributed widely throughout the ship; audio visual; telephony;
and communications management. There are also the Link 11 and
Link 16 datalinks but no provision for a Tactical Datalink such as the
US Navy’s HawkLink broadband system to interface with helicopters.
These have now all been contracted, with the exception of the ships’
internal communications system. Known as the Ships’ Telephony
System, this is the last major Combat System item that has yet to be
procured. The Alliance says timing is not yet critical, as the majority
of the equipment can be installed late in the consolidation process or,
in some cases, afterwards. The Alliance says this last major contract is
scheduled to be awarded in March.
Rohde and Schwarz (Australia) was selected by Raytheon Australia,
integrators of the Communications System, in October 2010 to supply
HF, VHF and UHF radio equipment to the programme. These units
will be Rohde & Schwartz’s M3SR Series 4100 & 4400 software defined
radios and associated filters/combiners and antennas.
The company says the contract, valued at approximately AU$
30 million, is the largest system integration project it has so far
undertaken within Australia. System integration will be carried out
at its Sydney facility and the equipment, installed in racks, will be
delivered to ASC for fitment.
Thales Australia is the preferred supplier of SATCOM equipment,
with the final contract signed on December 6.
Raytheon Australia is undertaking the integration of the
Communications and Information (CIS) subsystem, as the AWD
Combat Systems Engineer.
The programme has adopted what it calls a ‘white box’ strategy for
CIS procurement, which allows it and the Commonwealth to reach
agreement on the most up to date product within the budget envelope
without affecting the delivery schedule of the ship.
“The schedule for contracting CIS procurements is planned to occur
at a time that allows the latest requirements from the Commonwealth
while ensuring equipment delivery dates are ahead of when they are
needed for the ship build” says Rod Equid, “All CIS procurements are
on or ahead of schedule, except for the Ships’ Telephony System, which
is scheduled for March 2011. One of the key capabilities of the Hobart
class Combat System is its CIS subsystem, which provides support for
Network Centric Warfare and interoperability with coalition partners”
AIR WARFARE DESTROYER
USS Cape St. George (CG 71) tests its Aegis weapons system
Credit: USN / Arif Patani
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