Aero India 2017: Rafael scores big in airborne SDRs
Rafael is getting ready to supply its BNET-AR, part of the Israeli company’s software-defined radio family, to the Indian Air Force (IAF) in serious quantities. Speaking to Shephard at Aero India 2017 in Bangalore, a Rafael spokesman said a contract should be signed by the end of March after the company was earlier selected to supply the BNET-AR for the IAF’s Sukhoi Su-30MKI (pictured above), Jaguar and airborne early warning aircraft fleets. When units for both aircraft and ground stations are counted, the quantity amounts to 1,000 radios, each of which weighs 7kg and measures 130 x 250 x 250mm. Rafael noted that there is potential for the IAF to later fit this family of SDRs onto other aircraft platforms too.
BNET is a self-healing, mobile, broadband ad hoc network (MANET) system, and the radios provide both air-to-air and air-to-ground functionality. BNET-AR will replace the existing Integrated Radio Communication (INCOM) set on aircraft.
To comply with Indian procurement regulations, Rafael is working with local partner Astra Microwave via a joint venture. Meanwhile, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) will perform integration of the radio system, while Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) is responsible for the ground stations. In related news, the Indian Army issued an RfI for SDRs a couple of months ago, and Rafael will respond to this also. Other areas of focus for Rafael in India are air-to-air missiles and surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems.
Yaniv Rotem, business development and marketing manager for the air superiority systems division, said Rafael is offering a suite of weapons for India’s indigenous Tejas light fighter. These include Derby Mk III and Python-5 missiles plus the SPICE family of guided munitions (250, -1000 and -2000). The IAF already operates the SPYDER SAM system, so outfitting the Tejas with the same Derby and Python-5 missiles would allow each other’s stockpile to be fully exploited. The Derby Mk III is an Indian version of the beyond-visual-range I-Derby ER. The improved missile with longer 100km range was unveiled two years ago at Aero India, and it features a dual-pulse rocket motor and software-defined radio frequency seeker.
The Tejas has already been successfully configured to carry baseline Derby missiles, and it is believed that the IAF is evaluating this missile type in competition with the MBDA Meteor and Raytheon AIM-120D. The SPICE 250, mounted on a quad rack and offering a 100km range, is currently undergoing acceptance testing in Israel. Rotem said it offers better range, accuracy, penetration and frangible effects than the 500-pound Mk 82 bomb. It can be used independently thanks to a data link and automatic scene-matching, or it can combine with a Litening pod to hit moving targets on land or sea. Both the Litening 5 navigation and targeting pod and the Lite Shield electronic attack pod for close protection and escort jamming are on offer to India.
In terms of SAM systems, Rafael was promoting Iron Dome at Aero India 2017, with the famous system performing more than 1,700 interceptions to date. Pini Yungman, head of the missile defence systems directorate, said Iron Dome could be combined with the Barak 8 missile that India will be inducting in significant quantities. C-Dome is the shipborne variant of Iron Dome, giving naval vessels an area defence capacity. Yungman said it would make a good replacement for the older Barak 1 missile currently installed on Indian Navy vessels. The Indian Army has already selected the Spike anti-armour missile and a contract for 321 launchers and 8,356 missiles is approaching.
A company executive stated, ‘I would like to emphasise that we are seeking to enlarge our partnerships in India, and we are negotiating with the local industry to make this happen.’
As well as the aforementioned tie-up with Astra Microwave, Rafael also has partnerships with Bharat Forge, Reliance Defence and Engineering (formerly Pipavav) and Bharat Dynamics Limited.
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- ^ Gordon Arthur (www.shephardmedia.com)
- ^ BNET (plus.shephardmedia.com)
- ^ Tejas light fighter (www.shephardmedia.com)
- ^ SPYDER (plus.shephardmedia.com)
- ^ Lite Shield (plus.shephardmedia.com)
- ^ Iron Dome (plus.shephardmedia.com)
- ^ Barak 8 missile (www.shephardmedia.com)
- ^ Indian Army has already selected the Spike anti-armour missile (www.shephardmedia.com)
A security booth (right, light on top) sits at the base of the George Washington Bridge on the New York side.(Photo: Danielle Parhizkaran/Northjersey.com)
- The Port Authoirty investigation was sparked by a Record article in which guards complained about numerous health and safety issues.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will take measures to improve safety for unarmed guards at the George Washington Bridge following an investigation sparked by an article in The Record and NorthJersey.com in January. John Bilich, the Port Authority s acting chief security officer, announced during an agency board meeting on Thursday that a guard booth will be moved farther from the shadow of the span and that foot patrols have been adjusted after current and former guards told The Record they feared being struck by objects falling from the bridge, including people who commit suicide. Port Authority chairman John Degnan requested the investigation following The Record article, in which guards complained about numerous health and safety issues.
Security experts told The Record that poor working conditions prevented guards from properly securing the bridge, which carries 330,000 motorists daily and is considered a terror target. The bridge s attractiveness as a terror target was underlined last week when two New York City men pleaded guilty to terrorism charges in federal court in Brooklyn. One of the men, Munther Omar Saleh, 21, was questioned in 2015 after he was spotted by Port Authority police officers loitering on the George Washington Bridge on two consecutive days.
Port Authority approves $32B capital plan
Second suicide sparks GWB safety fear
As for guards, their complaints include shacks that lack proper heating in the winter and cooling in the summer, and equipment and vehicles they claim are in a poor state of repair. They also say that because of a shortage of colleagues to hold their post during bathroom breaks, they are sometimes forced to relieve themselves in bottles. Bilich said that his investigation included interviews with guards in private, away from their employer, Summit Security Services. He said that those conversations did not reveal evidence of serious issues with guard booths, equipment or a lack of access to bathroom breaks.
Nevertheless, he said that Summit has been instructed to send daily reports to the Port Authority on the condition of its equipment, so that problems can be addressed promptly. Bilich added that although the Port Authority believes that guard booths at the foot of the bridge are a safe distance from falling objects, at least one booth would be moved farther from the span. He did not specify which one. Guards stationed below the bridge, in parks in New Jersey and New York, said they feared being hit by objects falling from the span 200 feet overhead. In particular, they said they feared being hit by people, who jump off the bridge, on average, at least once a month.
A security booth, below the light at the bottom right of photo, sits at the foot of the George Washington Bridge, close to the Little Red Lighthouse. (Photo: Danielle Parhizkaran/Northjersey.com)
During the past few weeks, two people have jumped from the bridge landing close to guard booths, one in Fort Washington Park and the other in Fort Lee Historic Park. Guards have said the weeks that followed The Record’s report, the heating in their booths has been fixed and that Summit has taken extra care to ensure that their equipment and vehicles are in working order. But guards say issues remain. In particular, guards say there still is a shortage of relief workers, forcing them to relieve themselves in bottles.
They also say that supervisors who usually allow them to make fewer foot patrols during harsh weather conditions have sent them out in extreme weather as punishment for speaking out. Guards also told The Record about their safety concerns at night. Some guards working in the parks said they felt so unsafe that they sometimes locked themselves in their shack when groups of men congregated nearby. Bilich said that Port Authority police officers and Summit supervisors would increase the frequency of their nightly checks on those locations and that the Port Authority would improve closed-circuit television surveillance of those areas.
Degnan approved of the report, saying he was confident that the agency s security department is going above and beyond to ensure security staff at the bridge are fully able to participate and function.
More on the investigation:
GWB guards say harsh working conditions hurt security
GWB security guards fear overhead dangers
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Australian air defence proposals emerge
Australia is seeking to further improve its mobile Short Range Air Defence capability. Sources have told Shephard that this could develop into a request for proposals release in 2017. The requirement is part of the Land 19 Phase 7B capability where it will provide close protection in the Air 6500 …
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