Home' Defence Technology Review : DTR FEB 2016 Contents 19
DEFENCE TECHNOLOGY REVIEW | ISSUE 17 | FEB 2016
Perhaps leveraging off the successful launch of 26 cruise
missiles on 7 October 2015 from its warships in the Caspian
Sea against land targets in Syria, the Russian Navy is
planning to integrate the Kalibr-NK land attack cruise missile
(LACM) into its new Project 22160 corvettes (or ‘patrol ships’
as they are referred to officially).
Surprising many observers, including the Pentagon, the
Kalibr-NK LACMs launched from the Caspian Sea last year
travelled around 1,500km over land to strike 11 separate
terrorist targets in Syria. The Kalibr-NK (NATO codename
Sizzler) missile has a 500kg warhead and a maximum range
understood to be approximately 2,000km.
The small size of the launch ships – a 1,900 tonne, 102m
Gepard-class frigate and three 950 tonne, 75m Buyan-M -
class corvettes – was not lost on Western analysts.
Six of the Project 22160 1,500-1,800 tonne corvettes
will be built for the Navy’s Black Sea fleet, with two already
under construction and delivery planned for 2017 and 2018
respectively. Handover of the final vessel is expected in 2022.
Scale models of the Project 22160 design were on
display at the Interpolitex 2015 exhibition in Moscow held
last October. These showed the Kalibr-NK launch modules
located astern of the flight deck, which are raised vertically
immediately prior to launch. Each launch module is outfitted
with four missiles.
– Matthew Mendenhall
Russian corvettes to receive Kalibr cruise missile
ABOVE: Concept rendering of the Russian Navy’s new Project
22160 corvette, with launchers for the Kalibr-NK LACM visible
astern of the flight deck.
Helo handling system for smaller ships
Curtiss-Wright has developed a new low-cost, single-
operator shipboard helicopter handling system (HHS) better
suited for installation and use on smaller ships.
A lighter and more compact version of the company’s
proven TC-ASSIST HHS and with elements taken from the
MANTIS handler, the new Indal Manual Aircraft Straighten
and Traverse (MAST) system is track-based and controlled
using a chestpack-mounted portable control unit worn by the
operator while working alongside the aircraft. This approach
eliminates the need for a permanent HHS console on board
an already space constrained ship.
MAST is landing grid compatible and is able to safely
and securely manoeuvre and traverse a wide variety of
helicopters, including the mid-size Lynx and Dauphin and
large aircraft such as the EH101, between the flight deck and
Designed specifically for ships with space and weight
limitations such as offshore patrol vessels and corvettes,
MAST permits helicopter operations in severe weather, day or
night, in conditions up to Sea State 6.
MAST connects to the helicopter through a simple main
landing gear interface, which removes the need for a probe to
be integrated into the airframe.
MAST operates in conjunction with a deck-lock grid system
that enables helicopter operations from initial recovery
through on-deck handling evolutions and on to aircraft
The MAST system’s reduced cost is achieved through the
elimination of the more complex automatic controls found on
the TC-ASIST system and the use of a single deck track.
showing the various
elements of the
High-speed chips could ease EM congestion
Working with semi-conductor chip manufacturer
GlobalFoundries, the US Defense Advanced Research
Projects Agency (DARPA) has developed a very high-speed
analogue-to-digital converter (ADC) that could assist in the
uninterrupted operation of military capabilities and systems in
increasingly congested electromagnetic (EM) spectrums.
The technology would be expected to allow the effective
operation of critical capabilities such as radar and
communications in contested EM environments.
The EM spectrum, whose component energy waves
include trillionth-of-a-metre-wavelength gamma rays to multi-
kilometre-wavelength radio waves, is an inherently physical
phenomenon, states DARPA. ADCs convert physical
analogue data on the spectrum into numbers that a digital
computer can analyse and manipulate, which is important for
understanding and adapting to dynamic EM environments.
Current ADCs, however, are only able to process data
within a limited portion of the spectrum at a given time. As
a result, they can temporarily overlook critical information
about radar, jamming, communications and other potentially
problematic EM signals. DARPA’s Arrays at Commercial
Timescales (ACT) program addressed this challenge by
supporting the development of an ADC with a processing
speed nearly 10 times that of commercially available, state-
of-the-art alternatives. By leveraging this increased speed,
the resulting ADC can analyse data from across a much
wider spectrum range, allowing systems to better operate
in congested spectrum bands and to more rapidly react to
The ADC advance is enabled by 32 nanometer silicon-
on-insulator (SOI) semi-conductor technologies available
through DARPA’s ongoing partnership with GlobalFoundries.
Planned ACT designs will incorporate GlobalFoundries’
more advanced 14 nanometer technology, reducing power
requirements by an additional 50 per cent and enable yet
smaller and lighter systems that can sample larger swaths of
the EM spectrum.
– Ian Bostock
ABOVE: New very high-speed semi-conductor chips can
convert analogue radar and other electromagnetic signals into
processible digital data at unprecedented speeds, increasing
the potential for uninterrupted situational awareness for
warfighters against sophisticated enemies in contested
environments. Image: DARPA
HOW FAST IS FAST?
The new ADC samples and digitises spectrum signals at a rate of
over 60 billion times per second (60 GigaSamples/sec). That’s fast
enough to directly detect and analyse any signal at 30 GHz or below –
a range that encompasses the vast majority of operating frequencies
of interest. Whereas scanning through these frequencies today
requires costly application-specific hardware with long development
cycles, the new ADC can provide a ‘one-stop shop’ for processing
radar, communications and electronic warfare signals.
Desirable as these blazing sampling speeds are, they also pose
challenges. The amount of data generated is staggering, reaching
nearly a terabyte per second. This high data rate requires on-chip
data-management circuitry that allows signals to be processed locally
on the ADC, reducing the amount of data that must be communicated
to neighbouring electronics. This on-board digital signal processing
burns quite a bit of power and also demands state-of-the-art
transistors. The 32 nanometer SOI technology offered by Global
Foundries, the only certified Department of Defense supplier of this
circuit technology, provided ACT with the leading-edge transistors
needed to sample and process the RF spectrum without exceeding
power or data-transfer limitations. – DARPA
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