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ISSN 1416-300X Volume 11, Issue 3 December 2008


29 Oct 08. The MoD announced a £700m vehicle procurement. The Tactical Support Vehicle requirement, worth £400m for over 400 vehicles will provide a fleet of vehicles to supply existing fleets of Mastiff (Heavy), Medium and Light (Jackal). Wolfhound, TSV Heavy, will come in two variants, an Engineer Support Vehicle and an ammunition limber for the Royal Artillery procured form Force Protection. Husky, TSV Medium, is to be procured in three variants, flatbed, ambulance and Command Vehicle, likely to be supplied by Navistar. Coyote, TSV Light, will support the in-service Jackals. The MoD would not confirm whether Babcock at Devonport or Supacat at Dunkenswell would build the vehicles. of the The MoD made further announcements including:
* The purchase of 100 more Jackals, again not confirming the manufacturer.
* The MoD also confirmed the Talisman Route Proving and Clearance UOR to keep routes clear of mines and repair when explosions have occurred. Thales is the integrator for Talisman with equipment consisting of two JCB HMEEs, two Force Protection Mastiffs one Force Protection Buffalo
* Buying 30 Cougar vehicles, a mixture of 4x4 and 6x6 which will be modified to boost the training fleets for Mastiff and Ridgback
* Providing a Theatre Entry Standard for the BAE/IVECO Panther fleet which will include a better level of protection.
* Developing a new Snatch Vixen Land Rover vehicle based on the initial 30 buy from Ricardo.
* Bringing the existing fleet of some 350 Land Rover WMIK vehicles to a common build standard using the current WMIK E as a baseline vehicle.
* Purchasing 100 Warthog cross-country vehicles to replace the Vikings currently in theatre. This vehicle, currently under negotiation, is likely to be the Bronco from Singapore Technologies. However BAE also announced the introduction of a new Viking design which may be considered. A decision will be made by next month. (See: BATTLESPACE ALERT Vol.10 ISSUE 15, 29 October 2008, MoD CONFIRMS LARGE VEHICLE ORDER FOR AFGHANISTAN)

On November 19th U.K. Defence Secretary, John Hutton unveiled, the Army's new £350m armoured support trucks, WOLFHOUND, HUSKY and COYOTE.

The preferred bidders for each category of Tactical Support Vehicle

(TSV) are:

WOLFHOUND TSV (Heavy) - Based on Cougar 6x6 flatbed made by Force
Protection Industries Inc; will support and re-supply our Mastiffs in
the highest threat areas. These vehicles will have the highest levels
of mine blast protection

* Based on Cougar 6x6 flatbed
* 4 man cab
* The Cougar 6x6 flatbed will form the base vehicle for Wolfhound. It will be uparmoured and integrated with UK specific equipment such as communications systems and protection measures in a similar way to Mastiff. NP Aerospace will be involved with this integration work.
* Cargo in excess of 4.5 tonnes

HUSKY TSV (Medium) - Based on the International MXT-MVA made by Navistar Defence; will carry out the support roles in areas where heavy vehicles, like Mastiff, cannot be used. HUSKY will come as 3 variants; utility, ambulance and command post.

* Based on International MXT-MVA
* 4-Man Cab
* Cargo in excess of 1.5 tonnes

COYOTE TSV (Light) - Based on a 6x6 derivative of the Jackal designed by Supacat Ltd, Devon; will support our go-anywhere, high-mobility Jackals across the harsh terrain in Afghanistan.

* Based on 6x6 Jackal derivative, Supacat
* 4 man crew
* Cargo in excess of 1.5tonnes

Secretary of State for Defence, John Hutton said: "Our new breeds, WOLFHOUND, HUSKY and COYOTE will give the troops in Afghanistan the additional bite they need in the fight against the enemy. They do a formidable job and deserve nothing but the best. I look forward to the vehicles being on contract and arriving in the new-year."

The Tactical Support Vehicle programme will buy over 400 new armoured support trucks to accompany our existing patrols carrying the essential supplies such as water and ammunition. HUSKY, the medium armoured support truck will form the main bulk of this purchase, carrying out support roles where heavy vehicles, like Mastiff, cannot be used.

Preferred bidder status for each of the vehicles is conditional upon the outcome of successful contract negotiations which will be in place early next year.

The contracts will also formalise arrangements with additional UK companies who will provide sub-systems for the fleet.

The numbers are believed to be 100 Heavy, 150 Medium, 50 (68) Light. The vehicles will be flatbed support vehicles. There is also a buy for a fleet of Yamamaha Quad Bikes, militarised by Roush with trailers to support the infantry.

Other bidders for the Medium Husky Requirement included Thales with its Copperhead vehicle, based on the Bushmaster.


01 December 2008. The MoD has today declared the technologically advanced ASTOR
(Airborne Stand-Off Radar) in service with the RAF, on the Sentinel R1 aircraft.

The new radar system will be operated by the RAF's Number 5 (Army
Co-Operation) Squadron based at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire providing a new all-weather intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance capability to assist commanders on the battlefield.

5 (AC) Squadron is based at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire, which is the RAF's Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) hub, also housing the E3D Sentry and Nimrod R1 aircraft.

Operating at altitudes in excess of 40,000ft, for over 9 hours at a time, the aircraft is capable of detecting and recognising moving, static and fixed targets at stand-off range. This information is transmitted in near-real time to commanders on the ground, enabling rapid tactical planning and efficient cueing of other sensor and attack systems such as Reaper and GMLRS (Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System).

The Sentinel R1 aircraft, based on Bombardier's Global Express business jet, have been converted to specification by Raytheon in Texas and at Broughton near Chester in order to incorporate Raytheon's dual mode radar system.

Other companies involved in the project include L3 Com IS (System integration and design authority), Lucas Aerospace (electrical systems), Messier Dowty (landing gear), AgustaWestland (doors), Marshalls (Tactical and Operational Level Ground Stations), BAe Systems (Defensive Aids), Selex (radar components),and Rolls-Royce Deutschland (BR710 engines)and BAE Land Systems (Pinzgauer vehicles).

Raytheon Systems Limited (RSL), the prime contractor, won the Ministry of Defence's £800m ASTOR (Airborne Stand Off Radar) programme in 1999. Bill Chrispin, DPA ASTOR Team leader said that the total value of the contract including Government Furnished Equipment and risk money totals £950m. Broughton is to play a key role in the programme and will be undertaking the modification and systems integration of both the aircraft and ground stations.

ASTOR utilises the Bombardier Global Express new-generation business jet as the radar platform to carry an enhanced version of Raytheon's well-proven dual-mode Synthetic Aperture/Moving Target Indication (SAR/MTI) ASARS2 radar. By operating at high altitude, and at considerable stand-off distances, the radar platform is able to remain over safe territory while providing an excellent "look-down" angle of the area of interest. An aerodynamically configured development aircraft has been used to validate the design. The first ASTOR aircraft is currently being modified and integrated with the ASTOR system in Greenville, Texas, and will be delivered to RSL Broughton for operational evaluation trials prior to delivery to the customer in 2005. Integration of the remaining four sets will be undertaken at Broughton.

In-Service-Date is defined as the acceptance in service of two Sentinel R1 aircraft, two Tactical Ground Stations and two trained crews.

Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, Quentin Davies said: "The new ASTOR system onboard our Sentinel R1 aircraft is a unique and technologically advanced capability that will deliver exceptional battlefield surveillance. The ASTOR radar will link up with other intelligence-gathering equipment providing commanders with a complete picture of the ground allowing them to make immediate decisions on operations.

"ASTOR is already providing a number of UK companies the opportunity to participate in a high-technology programme ensuring that the UK remains at the forefront of defence technology. I am delighted to welcome this vital asset into service with the RAF and Army. "

Defence Equipment and Support, ASTOR Project Team leader, Bill Chrispin said: "Accepting ASTOR into service with the RAF represents the initial stage in the roll-out of this entirely new capability to our Armed Forces. Only through a strong working relationship between the MoD and the prime contractor, Raytheon Systems Limited, has ASTOR matured into what we see today. 5 (AC) Squadron, re-formed on 1 April 2004, has risen to the doctrinal and training challenges of this dynamic platform, and is now well set to face the future challenges."

The ASTOR system is designed to communicate with a wide-range of other systems and networks and is therefore at the heart of the UK's Network Enabled Capability (NEC). NEC facilitates the build-up of a complete picture of the operating environment on land aiding decision making by commanders on the ground, in the air and at sea.

As part of the ongoing operational development process ASTOR will undertake an overseas deployment prior to achieving Full Operating Capability about two years from now.

The fully operational ASTOR system will comprise five modified Bombardier Global Express business jets (dubbed Sentinel R1) crewed by two aircrew, at least three radar operators, and eight ground stations.

Wing Commander Harry Kemsley, Officer Commanding RAF 5 (Army Co-Operation) Squadron said: "ASTOR is a unique, cutting edge, ground surveillance capability for the UK Armed Forces. It will provide battlefield commanders with critical, all-weather wide area, Near-Real Time intelligence, which will enhance the effectiveness of Land operations. Training of Sqn personnel and development of the System has progressed exceedingly well over the last 18 months and the Sqn is now in a position to make a positive contribution to current operations in the very near future."

James Klein, vice president of Raytheon's Mission Systems Integration
business said: "We are confident that ASTOR will be a critical asset, providing the actionable intelligence necessary to help protect British and coalition forces worldwide. Raytheon is excited to see ASTOR enter service as a valuable asset for the UK. This world-class capability is the product of great teamwork with the MoD, RAF 5 (AC) Squadron, and our industry partners."

ASTOR was the second C4I contract to be studied by BATTLESPACE after BOWMAN and thus we have covered this Requirement for eleven years! ASTOR formed the basis for our first BATTLESPACE Technologies ‘glossy’ edition for the Farnborough Air Show in 1998 and Raytheon Systems Limited were the first sponsors of our Email Alerts and Updates.

It was a stiff battle involving the largest defence contractors in the world Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman with its Wizard solution. In early 1998 we ran the story ‘Lockheed Martin Poised To Win ASTOR,’ which caused a flurry of activity and back-to-back briefings form the other contenders.

The resulting award was a blow to the losers but also to Gulfstream where it saw its domain in C4I platforms invaded, for the first time, by Bombardier.

It also gave Raytheon an opportunity to develop its ASARS 2 radar sensor to SAR/GMTI standard originally developed for the U2 aircraft.

In March 2003 The Rt. Hon. Lord Jones P.C. formally opened Raytheon Systems Limited's new £3.5m ASTOR facility at Broughton, North Wales site during a ceremony yesterday. The event, hosted by Bob McIntyre, Managing Director of Raytheon Systems Limited, was being attended by a number of senior Government, Ministry of Defence and Raytheon personnel including Lord Bach, Minister for Defence Procurement, Sir Robert Walmsley, Chief of Defence Procurement, Tom Culligan, Chairman & CEO of Raytheon International, Inc., and Jack Kelble, President of Raytheon Space & Airborne Systems.

On May 27th 2004. The first ASTOR (Airborne Stand-Off Radar) aircraft, ZJ690, flew on the 26th May for a flight lasting nearly 4.4 hours. The flight was made from L-3 Communications in Greenville, Texas, where the modification and integration work has been carried out.

The crew reported that the aircraft performed well in all parameters of flight and its handling differed little from that of a standard Global Express. “The aircraft wanted to leap into the air," said L-3 Capt. Joe Wiser, a flight test veteran with 22 years experience. "All major systems performed optimally." Capt Wiser went on to report, “During 4 hours and 24 minutes of flight time, the aircraft reached 15,500 feet, its low altitude objective. Overall, modifications to the aircraft produced very little drag. The more than 300 hours of risk reduction efforts during the aerodynamic testing phase really paid off; the aircraft flew extremely well without vibration and handled predictably." He concluded: “Based on my experience with functional flight testing, this flight was remarkable.”

This flight follows a two year work programme in Greenville involving personnel from Raytheon Systems Limited (RSL), the prime contractor, Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems (SAS), L-3 and the UK MoD. The remaining four aircraft in the £800 million (USD 1.3 billion) dual-service (Royal Air Force / British Army) programme are being modified at RSL’s facility in Broughton in North Wales.

In July 2006 during Farnborough, Justin Monger U.S. ASTOR Programme Manager, Raytheon Systems, unveiled the ASTOR system in its entirety for the first time at Farnborough today, the Operational Level Ground Station mounted in an ISO container and the Tactical Ground Station with satellite dish mounted on a Pinzgauer 6x6 vehicle and the star of the show, the Bombardier Global Express Sentinel R Mk I in the colours of No 5 Squadron RAF. The ground segment elements have now completed environmental testing and speed and mobility tests in the U.K.

Having followed this Programme from fruition to today it was a very special moment for BATTLESPACE to see the system in full operational mode. The Sentinel aircraft was certainly roomier than expected with 3 work stations and seating for seven and two pilots.

The flight test programme for the ASTOR programme is progressing well in the U.S. and the U.K. As of today a/c #1 has been delivered whilst a/c #2 is well into its series of check flights while, in the U.K., had completed its first phase of flight testing, a/c #3 has just had its first flight and the ISD is expected to be November this year with the Training Programme starting almost immediately.

Successful system connectivity was demonstrated on the first attempt with virtual end-to-end data flow demonstrated from the aircraft to the ground station in near real-time. Hand in hand with the radar and system testing regime, software release-vetting continues with additional image-manipulation features enabled such as pan and zoom controls. The aircraft had also conducted data exchange tests with J-Stars confirming the interoperability of the aircraft. Monger confirmed that the company has a new contract to link ASTOR Ground Stations with J-STARS Ground Stations.

Monger, said, "We are well into the flight test programme and making very good progress, especially regarding the radar and its imaging quality. The ASTOR integration and test programme is proving out the revolutionary capabilities of this system and securing its role in network enabled coalition operations - from SAR and GMTI, connectivity with air to ground and interoperability with systems like Joint STARS."

Monger then went on to describe a series of SAR and GMTI images taken by the ASTOR DMR radar and explained the significance of these images in that the quality was excellent first time around. The GMTI images had proved to be of excellent quality following further development and tests in the second quarter.

Now it is entering service, the MoD's ASTOR system is the most advanced of its type in the world. The complete system will include five Sentinel R Mk I aircraft, each equipped with dual-mode (SAR and Moving Target Indicator) radar and operator workstations where the mission management and imagery can be exploited and then transmitted to the various brigade and divisional/joint level ASTOR ground stations by datalink. The system operates in near real time to give battlefield commanders rapid access to highly accurate information about what is happening in their area of interest.

Tom Culligan of Raytheon said that a team from the U.S. DoD had been given a conducted tour of the system and came away hugely impressed.

There is little doubt that now that the sensor and the aircraft are totally de-risked and about to go operational that there will be renewed interest in the system from many quarters, particularly the U.S. Army/U.S. Navy for its ACS replacement system after the demise of the Lockheed Embraer-based offering. There is little doubt that the Army will want a proven and de-risked system next time it goes down that road and ASTOR fits the bill nicely.

In addition with growing budgetary pressures on NATO AGS and the decision to drop the A320 airborne element could, politics apart, these countries take another look at an ASTOR-based system.

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