The Advanced Defense Systems (ADS) service has just released, “Defense Electronics Industry Review: March 2012,” covering defense industry news including business events, product announcements, milestones and contract activity for the month of March.
Some highlights include Boeing delivering the first production P-8A Poseidon aircraft and also completing delivery of the U.S. Navy's first aircraft acquired through the F/A-18E/F and EA-18G Multi-Year Procurement (MYP) III contract. Meanwhile, Saab’s Gripen project looks to be on track with commitments from the Swedish Armed Forces for 60-80 Gripens in a future air force that will involve the upgraded Gripen NG (or Gripen E/F) configuration. Staying in Europe, the Rafale fast-jet from Dassault will be amongst the first European platform to be fielded with AESA radar capabilities. Thales confirmed that it delivered the first series-produced RBE2 radar with AESA to the Dassault Aviation facility in Mérignac, France.
AESA technology was also in evidence as the US Army awarded contracts for the AN/TPQ-53 Firefinder Radar to Lockheed Martin worth up to $881 million with the base year and two option years yielding up to 51 systems. Raytheon was also involved in a number of radar contracts including efforts to improve C-RAM S&W (Counter Rocket Artillery and Mortar Sense & Warn) systems by producing a Ku-band radar.
Northrop Grumman was demonstrating its market leadership in the optoelectronics space with contracts and milestones around the company’s LAIRCM (Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures) and LITENING pod systems while communications contracts continued to be dominated by Harris in March.
Component technology development included DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) funded efforts resulting in TowerJazz and UCSD demonstrating a SiGe (silicon germanium) -based wafer-scale phased array. DARPA is also involved in a range of efforts looking at III-V-on-Silicon technologies. One of the efforts is the Diverse Accessible Heterogeneous Integration (DAHI) program which is launching the DAHI Foundry Technology effort to advance novel methods for combining a variety of devices and materials onto a single silicon chip.
On the III-V front, TriQuint released a 30W wideband GaN PA with high power and efficiency at GOMACTech 2012, providing another example of how GaN (gallium nitride) continues to cement a position as a key enabling technology for defense systems.
Overall, activity across radar, communications, electronic warfare and other systems remained robust in March from platforms down to components despite uncertainties, such as the countdown to sequestration in the US and general budgetary constraints in the global environ, that continue to dog the defense industry.
Clients of the ADS service can read the full report here