Lockheed Martin’s IRST Achieves Milestone B

The Infrared Search and Track (IRST™) sensor system developed by Lockheed Martin for the US Navy’s F/A-18E/F fighter aircraft has received Milestone B approval, paving the way for the company to proceed into the engineering, manufacturing, and development phase of the program. The IRST sensor system (see figure) helps search, track, and engage targets in dense threat environments.

The passive IRST system features long-range detection capability. Its high-angle accuracy also provides the ability to track closely-spaced targets at maximum ranges. This information can be used alone or combined with other sensor data to further enhance the pilot’s situational awareness.

Paul Hey, IRST Senior Program Manager in Lockheed Martin’s Missiles and Fire Control Business, explains: “In air-to-air engagements, IRST provides a discriminating capability to counter threats at greater standoff distances enhancing survivability. The successful Milestone B achievement sets the foundation for delivering IRST capability to the warfighter, and is a testament to the hard work and collaboration of the US Navy and industry team.”

First integrated aboard F-14D aircraft on aircraft carriers, IRST sensor systems have accumulated over 200,000 flight hours. Lockheed Martin, which also has an active variant of the IRST sensor system, is currently subcontracted to the Boeing Co. to supply IRST sensor systems in support of the US Navy F/A-18E/F and U.S. Air Force F-15C IRST programs.

Curtiss-Wright Corp. Acquires IMR Test Labs

Curtiss-Wright Corp. has acquired the assets of IMR Test Labs (IMR), a leading provider of mechanical and metallurgical testing services for the aerospace, power generation, and medical markets. IMR, which had sales of about $14 million in 2010, will become part of Curtiss-Wright’s Metal Treatment segment. IMR, headquartered in Ithaca, NY, offers a complete range of testing capabilities, including fatigue testing, metallurgical analysis, chemical analysis, mechanical testing, failure analysis, and training. Its facilities are A2LA- and Nadcap-accredited.

Notes Martin R. Benante, Chairman and CEO of Curtiss-Wright Corp.: “This acquisition is consistent with our strategy of diversifying Curtiss-Wright’s portfolio of metal treatment services. The addition of IMR enables us to enter a highly technical service niche in the manufacturing value chain for components used in premium industrial markets. Material testing is utilized in the on-going quality assurance of raw materials for production manufacturing, as well as for the validation of new component designs.” He adds that “IMR will become the cornerstone of a new engineered service business unit for Curtiss-Wright that is synergistic with our Metal Treatment segment’s current capabilities.”

Raytheon IDS Recognizes Rochester

For the second consecutive year, Rochester Electronics has received the Supplier Excellence Award from Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems (IDS). Rochester, a leading manufacturer and distributor of end-of-life and mature semiconductors, received the award at a ceremony held this past April. The award is granted based on three key factors: on-time delivery measures, sustained performance on quality, and commitment to continuous process and quality improvement.

“To be recognized as a high-quality semiconductor supplier with exceptional customer service by Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems is an honor for Rochester Electronics,” says George Karalias, Rochester’s Director of Marketing and Communications. “Receiving the Supplier Excellence Award is further evidence of customer satisfaction resulting from dedication to delivering authorized, high-performance end-of-life and mature semiconductor products in a timely manner.” When critical devices are no longer available from the original manufacturer, Rochester’s advanced re-creation process provides customers with a replicated device that matches the original semiconductor’s physical features, layer-by-layer and pin-for-pin, and is guaranteed to perform exactly as the original.

Rochester is an approved member of the Class V Qualified Manufacturer List (QML) by the Defense Supply Center of Columbus (DSCC), and manufactures devices that meet MILPRF-38535 space-level certification requirements. The company is also certified to IS0 9001:2008, AS9120, EN 9120:2002, JISQ 9120 standards; and is QSLD-certified to supply Federal Supply Class (FSC) 5962 microcircuits and electronic devices.

Unmanned EUROHAWK Touches Down In Germany

Earlier this summer, a EURO HAWK® unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) took off on July 20 at 2:50 PDT (11:50 Central European Summer Time) from Edwards Air Force Base, CA, and landed at 10:06 Central European Summer Time July 21 in Manching, Germany at Manching Air Base. The EURO HAWK is the first high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) UAV with signal intelligence (SIGINT) capability based on the RQ-4 Global Hawk produced by Northrop Grumman for the German Bundeswehr. The aircraft (see photo) will carry a new SIGINT mission system developed by EADS Deutschland GmbH (Cassidian Air Systems) and integrated in Manching. The EURO HAWK is the first international version of the RQ-4 and the first HALE SIGINT UAS in Europe. It has a flight endurance of 30 hours and altitude of more than 60,000 ft.

Notes Nicolas Chamussy, Head of UAVs for Cassidian Air Systems and member of EuroHawk GmbH’s board of directors: “The arrival of the EURO HAWK on German soil marks a significant step in delivering this highly capable and unique system to the Bundeswehr. Our trans-Atlantic partnership with Northrop Grumman has helped the entire team achieve this outstanding milestone, which also reinforces Cassidian’s role as a leader for complex UAS solutions in Europe.” Delivery of the first EURO HAWK demonstrator to the Bundeswehr is scheduled for mid-2012, with another four systems scheduled tentatively between 2015 and 2017.

Rockwell Collins Aids Turkish UAV Efforts

Rockwell Collins and its Athena® inertial navigation system (INS) and global positioning system (GPS) have been selected to provide guidance and navigation for the Anka Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The Anka MALE, developed by Turkish Aerospace Industries, Inc. (TAI), was created for day and night real-time image intelligence for surveillance, reconnaissance, fixed/moving target detection, identification and tracking missions. It can reach altitudes to 30,000 ft with 24-hour endurance time.

Rockwell Collins will provide its Athena 511 integrated INS/GPS and air data sensor suite system for the Anka MALE. The Athena 511 weighs just 6 lbs. Claude Alber, Rockwell Collins’ Vice-President and Managing Director for Europe, Middle East, and Africa, adds that its reliability has already been demonstrated: “Because our Athena guidance and navigation system has uniquely surpassed more than 1 million operational flight hours, we’re bringing the highest levels of proven reliability to this program.

Boeing Gives Giga-tronics’ Microsource The Gold

Microsource, a wholly owned subsidiary of Giga-tronics, has been recognized by the Boeing Company with a 2010 Boeing Performance Excellence Award. Boeing issues the award annually to recognize suppliers who have achieved superior performance. Microsource maintained a composite Gold performance rating for each month of the 12-month performance period, from October 1, 2009, to September 30, 2010. It was one of only 141 suppliers to receive the Gold-level recognition.

According to John Regazzi, CEO of Giga-tronics, “We are honored to have earned the Gold Supplier status from Boeing for our part in supporting the F/A-18 and F-15 aircraft. Our Microsource division personnel have worked to assure the unique synthesized YIG tuned filters we deliver are of the highest quality and reliability for these important programs.” Microsource is a leading supplier of YIG-based tunable oscillators, filters, and frequency synthesizers.

SAXBA Tests Check On X-Band Satcom

A recent collaborative demon-stration between CERDEC and the Program Executive Office—Command, Control and Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T) evaluated the military applicability of the Small Aperture X-Band Antenna (SAXBA), Blue Force Tracking terminal at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD. The evaluation was based on using X-band frequencies, rather than continued use of L-band frequencies, for satellite-on-the-move (SOTM) applications. During the demonstration, three units of SAXBA terminals were mounted on tactical vehicles to show on-the-move communication operation over live satellite links. The testing used the military application of PEO C3T’s next-generation Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below, Joint Capability Release to successfully show location updates, as well as to transmit and receive command and control messages. The SAXBA terminal was also used with an external modem for demonstrating high-quality voice communications.