AEW Market Report

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Nation-by-nation guide to the capabilities, future plans and requirements of the Airborne Early Warning marketplace.

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AEW Market Report

  1. 1. AEW MARKET REPORT 2009 Over the past 20 years, the AEW&C market has changed radically and emphasis has shifted from ‘blue water’ to overland operations. U.S. efforts centre on the Boeing E-3 Sentry, the Boeing 737 AEW&C, the Boeing E-767 and the Northrop Grumman E-2 Hawkeye aircraft. E-3 SENTRY Entering service with the US Air Force (USAF) in March 1977, the Boeing E-3 Sentry has gone on to see service with the air forces of France, Saudia Arabia and UK, together with a composite NATO AEW force. At the heart of what is known as the E-3 Airborne Warning And Control System (AWACS) is Northrop Grumman’s S-band (2-4 GHz) AN/APY-1/-2 radar. Here, the baseline AN/APY-1 started life as an over-land pulse-Doppler sensor that has developed into the ‘dash 2’ following the introduction of a full overwater capability. Both configurations have been upgraded, with USAF AN/APY-1 radars being given an ‘austere’ maritime capability subsequent to their entry into service and both models being the subject of the Radar System Improvement Program (RSIP). Designed to improve performance – particularly against low radar cross-section targets such as cruise missiles – the RSIP package includes a new pulse- compressed waveform to enhance sensitivity and an improved man-machine interface. The USAF’s first 24 E-3 aircraft were delivered in core E-3A configuration, which included the AN/APY-1 radar, the AN/APX-103 identification fiend-or-foe (IFF) interrogator and the CC-1 mission computer. Subsequently, all the service’s Core E-3As have been brought up to E-3B standard, which, in its Block 30 configurartion, adds over-water radar and Joint Tactical Information Distribution System (JTIDS) capabilities, together with five additional operator workstations and extra ‘Have Quick’ radios. The core E-3A was followed by the Common USAF/NATO E-3A, a nomenclature that was applied to USAF Sentry aircraft numbers 27-34, the 18 E-3s supplied to the so-named NATO AEW&C Force E-3A Component and five aircraft procured by Saudia Arabia. In baseline form, Common aircraft differed from their predecessors by virtue of their use of the AN/APY-2 radar, the CC-2 mission computer and a new data analysis and programming group. Other changes included additional communications radios and, in the case of the Saudi aircraft, CFM56 2A-2 turbofans in place of the TF33. All three Common customers have upgraded their aircraft, with enhanced USAF examples being designated as E-3Cs. Here, the E-3C Block 35 configuration equates precisely with the already- described E-3B Block 30 update with the exception of its use of the AN/APY-2 radar. The next E-3 configuration to surface was the CFM-56 2A-3-powered E-3D for the UK Royal Air Force (RAF). Equipped with the AN/APY-2 radar and the AN-APX-103 IFF interrogator, the E-3D is flown by a basic flight/mission crew of 17 and introduced the ‘Yellow Gate’ ES system. As with other users, the RAF has upgraded its Sentry AEW Mk 1s. The range of enhancements include AN/APX-103 and GPS upgrades. France terms its 17-man CFM-56 2A-3- powered E-3Fs as Systeme de Detection et de Control Aeroportee (Airborne Detection and Control System) aircraft and, over time, has introduced the
  2. 2. AN/AYR-1 ES system, a new GPS/inertial navigation system, and it is believed, French national PR4G (Poste Radio 4eme Generation) – compatible communications equipment. Again, France’s E-3Fs have been ‘RSIPed’ and, most recently, the French air force has begun investigating a possible open –architecture upgrade, which would be based on the E-3G configuration. E-767 The AN/APY-2/APX-103 combination forms the basis of Japan’s Boeing E-767 AWACS aircraft. The E- 767 developed as a response to Boeing’s closure of the E-3/E-6 production line, but only Japan has procured such platforms. BOEING 737 Boeing’s remaining AEW platform – the Boeing 737 AEW&C aircraft – is built around Northrop Grumman’s 1.2-1.4 GHz-band Multirole Electronically Scanned Array (MESA) radar. Currently, the Boeing 737 AEW&C is being procured by Australia (under Project Wedgetail): South Korea (Peace Eye) and Turkey (Peace Eagle). NORTHROP GRUMMAN E-2D HAWKEYE Hawkeye is something of a hybrid as it is carrier capable and is the primary AEW asset of the French and US navies. Land-based Hawkeyes are operated by the air arms of Egypt, Japan, Mexico, Singapore and Taiwan. Of these, the Mexican aircraft are equipped with the UHF-band (300 MHz to 3 GHz) Lockheed Martin AN/APS-135 radar, while those flown by Singapore are fitted with the UHF-band Lockheed Martin AN/APS-138. All other currently operational E-2s are equipped with the UHF-band Lockheed Martin AN/APS-145 sensor, a radar that is also installed aboard a percentage of the US Customs and Border Protection service’s fleet of P-3 AEW&C aircraft. Currently, Northrop Grumman continues to promote the E-2 as a land-based AEW&C platform. The AEW&C market has also become increasingly crowded, with aircraft like the G550 CAEW taking orders away from the Hawkeye. Northrop Grumman is fighting back with its next-generation E-2D Advanced Hawkeye. Although it looks much like the traditional Hawkeye, the E-2D is essentially a new aircraft. At the heart of the E-2D is Lockheed Martin’s AN/APY-9 radar, described as two generations ahead of the AN/APS-145. It is a solid-state, electronically scanned UHF system giving roughly twice the range of the latter radar (about 400 miles or 650km), and expanding the volume of searchable airspace by 250%. Development of the Advanced Hawkeye began in 2001 and the aircraft first flew on the 3rd August 2007. Initial production was scheduled to begin in March 2009, with service entry in 2011. The ‘Navy is expected to order 75 Advanced Hawkeyes at a cost of $17.5 billion to replace its existing E- 2Cs, which will be retired from 2013. Northrop Grumman has warned that production of the E-2D Hawkeye carrier-borne airborne early- warning (AEW) reconnaissance aircraft for the US Navy may be delayed following programme cuts of US$200 million. The navy planned to buy 12 LRIP aircraft in four annual lots of three. However, the House Armed
  3. 3. Services Committee (HASC) of the US House of Representatives, in its Fiscal Year 2009 defence budget request, cut US$165.5 million from Lot 1 and US$37.9 million from the advanced procurement for Lot 2. CHINESE AEW The Chinese AEW programme appears to have been kick-started by Israel’s cancellation of a deal to supply the People’s Republic with an AEW system based on the Elta Systems Phalcon mission suite mounted on an A-501 airframe. China recovered the prototype A-501 airframe and used it as the basis for its indigenous KJ-2000 AEW&C system. China is developing at least two other AEW platforms based on the Shaanxi Y-8 transport aircraft. In the first instance, a prototype equipped with a dorsal ‘plank’ antenna similar to that used in the Swedish ERIEYE system is reported to have made its maiden flight in November 2001. The second Y-8 based platform is equipped with a dorsal rotodome, which appears to be a rotating – rather than a fixed – structure. INDIAN AEW Asia’s other indigenous land-based AEW programme is being carried out by India. Under development by a consortium led by the Bangalore-based Centre for Airborne Systems, India’s AEW&C architecture is to be carried aboard a modified ERJ-145 airframe and includes a primary surveillance radar (PSR), an IFF interrogator, radar and communications – ES capabilities and a self- protection suite. In terms of a timescale for this ambitious project, India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation stated in March 2008 that it expects the project to be fully developed, tested, certified and inducted into service by 2011, which seems to be very optimistic. ISRAELI AEW Israeli activity in the field centres around three generations of phased –array radars that have been installed aboard Chile’s Condor platform (first generation), India’s 18-man A-50Ehl (second generation) and the eight-man Gulfstream G550-based conformal AEW (CAEW) aircraft, which has been procured by both Israel and Singapore. The third-generation CAEW radar is part of Elta Systems’ EL/W-2085 mission suite and takes the form of a dual-frequency (L- and S-band) Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) system that provides 360-degree coverage in azimuth. RUSSIAN AEW Russia’s land-based AEW capability also makes use of the A-50 airframe – itself a derivative of the Ilyushin Il-76 transport – and is equipped with the S-band Shmel (Bumblebee) 3-D pulse-Doppler AEW radar. In January 2008, the Russian Interfax press agency had reported Vega-M as having completed “a complex of scientific research and experimental design work” on an upgraded A-50 weapons system for the Russian Air Force and that state tests had confirmed and architecture’s performance ‘in full’. While the Russian Air Force wants to upgrade its fleet of approximately 16 A-50s, it remains unconfirmed as to whether or not the described update is being pursued. SWEDISH AEW Sweden’s Saab Microwave Systems produces the 3.1-3.3 GHz-band ERIEYE AEW radar that is installed aboard Brazilian EMB-145SAs (military designation R-99As), Greek EMB-145Hs, Mexican EMB-145SAs, Pakistani Saab 2000 AEW&C aircraft and Swedish S 100B/D Argus AEW aircraft.
  4. 4. ERIEYE has been progressively updated, with April 2008 seeing the latest ERIEYE configuration that incorporates new, higher-output transceiver modules and a new commercial off-the-shelf mission system computer (MSC). As of July 2008, published ERIEYE performance specifications included an effective surveillance area of 500,000 km2, a 450 km detection range and an altitude coverage that was in excess of 19,812 m. SEA KING ASaC Mk.7 The Royal Navy is preparing to deploy Sea King ASaC7 Airborne Surveillance and Control helicopters to Afghanistan to provide surveillance support to land forces engaged in Operation ‘Herrick’. They are expected to arrive in theatre sometime in mid-2009, with a roulement of aircraft and aircrew from 849 and 857 Naval Air Squadrons planned to last for two years. Introduced to front-line service in 2002, the ASaC Sea King was originally conceived as a replacement for the earlier Sea King AEW2 airborne early warning helicopter. However, operational experience in the opening phases of Operation ‘Telic’ in Iraq in 2003 demonstrated the capabilities of its Searchwater 2000AEW pulse-Doppler radar to detect and track moving ground targets. Since then, the Sea King ASaC community has undertaken additional tactical development in littoral and overland environments to promote its ground moving target indication (GMTI) capability to land component commanders. A shortfall of GMTI assets in the Afghanistan theatre has long been apparent: the Royal Navy believes that this ‘spotlight’ GMTI capability at tactical level is inherently complementary to the wide area picture provided by the RAF’s new Sentinel R1 ASTOR aircraft. MARKET AUSTRALIA The Boeing 737-based Wedgetail airborne early warning and control aircraft has demonstrated some of its performance potential in recent exercises, but continues to experience problems with radar subsystem maturity and stability and integrated system performance. The aircraft underwent an operational evaluation during Exercise Amhem Thunder, conducted in Australia’s Northern Territory in late April, with all aspects of its performance having been tested. The results will be used to support a decision on the way forward for the programme, which is running about three years late due to issues with airframe modifications, developmental problems with its electronic warfare system and Northrop Grumman multirole electronically scanned array (MESA) radar. An independent assessment of the MESA radar is also being conducted by the MIT Lincoln Laboratory, with the DoD yet to receive its report. A project summit meeting was scheduled for June 2009. INDIA India has taken delivery of its first of three Ilyushin Il-76 transports to be converted into an airborne early warning system aircraft using Elta Systems’ Phalcon radar. The delivery follows an 18-month delay attributed to technical hitches encountered while integrating the Israeli system on to the Il-76 platform. Acquired under a $1.1 billion deal, all three aircraft will be delivered by late 2010. To be based in Agra, the fleet will be used for missions including the
  5. 5. tactical surveillance of airborne targets and electronic intelligence gathering, and to manage operations with combat types including the Dassault Mirage 2000 and Sukhoi SU-30MKI. India wants to further bolster its AEW capabilities, and is negotiating the purchase of additional Phalcon-type systems. An Elta-developed variant of the Gulfstream G550 business jet is one candidate, with the system – already in service in Israel and Singapore – having been demonstrated to the Indian air force earlier this year. Northrop Grumman is currently in negotiation with the US government to gain export release clearance for India regarding the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye. The Indian Navy (IN) has a requirement for about six maritime surveillance aircraft and has earmarked the E-2D as a possible contender. The IN’s requirement for the E-2 is very similar to the US Navy’s (USN),and as such, would require very little modification. Northrop Grumman has carried out a feasibility study into operating the E- 2D from the IN’s aircraft carriers but has concluded that, although technically feasible, the aircraft would require extensive modifications to allow it to take off using a ‘ski-ramp’. As such, any IN E-2Ds would be land-based. ISRAEL Israel Aerospace Industries’ (IAI) Conformal Airborne Early Warning (CAEW) aircraft – which entered Israeli service earlier this year – represents an original solution to producing an affordable advanced technology airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) platform. Working in concert with US contractor Gulfstream Aerospace and its own electronics subsidiary Elta Systems, IAI’s CAEW takes the form of an extensively modified Gulfstream G550 long-range business jet equipped with Elta’s EL/W-2085 mission suite. The package comprises a dual-band Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) AEW radar; an integrated identification, Friend-or-Foe (IFF) sub- system; supporting Electronic Support/ELectronic INTelligence (ES/ELINT) and COMmunications INTelligence (COMINT) sub-systems; a defensive aids capability; and a multi-element communications system. SINGAPORE Singapore has received its first of four Gulfstream G550 business jets modified to carry airborne early warning and control system equipment supplied by Israel Aerospace Industries’ Elta Systems subsidiary. To replace the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s current four Northrop Grumman E-2C Hawkeyes, which entered service from 1985, the G550 AEW acquisition is expected to cost the island state up to $1 billion. The G550 has a longer detection range than the E-2C, with a performance greater than 370km (200nm). Elta should complete system deliveries by 2010, while Singapore Technologies Aerospace Engineering is to deliver training services using an unmodified G550 from 2012 under a 20-year private finance initiative deal signed last year. OTHER COUNTRIES Several North African and Asian countries are showing interest in acquiring AEW aircraft. The UAE is also considering the purchase of a system.
  6. 6. AIRBORNE EARLY WARNING AND BATTLE MANAGEMENT AIRCRAFT OPERATORS COUNTRY AIRCRAFT/NUMBER IN SERVICE SQUADRON/UNIT BASE REMARKS AUSTRALIA BOEING 737 (6 ON ORDER) 2 SQUADRON RAAF WILIAMTOWN PROJECT WEDGETAIL BRAZIL EMBRAER R-99A (5) 2/6 GAV ANAPOLIS CHILE PHALCON (1) 10 GRUPO SANTIAGO CHINA KJ-2000 26TH AIR DIVISION CHONGMING ISLAND EGYPT NORTHROP GRUMMAN E-2 C HAWKEYE (6) 87 SQUADRON, 601 AEW BRIGADE CAIRO WEST FRANCE BOEING E-3F (4) NORTHROP GRUMMAN E-2C HAWKEYE (3) EDCA 01.036 EDCA 02.036 FLOTILLE 4F AVORD AVORD LANN-BIHOUE NAVY – 1 MORE ON ORDER GREECE EMBRAER R-99A (4) 380 MIRA ELEFSIS INDIA ILYUSHIN IL-76 (3 ON ORDER) EMB145 (3 ON ORDER) KAMOV KA-31 (?) NAVY ISRAEL GULFSTREAM G-550 NACHSON (6) 122 SQUADRON TEL-AVIV BEN GURION ITALY AUGUSTA WESTLAND AH-101 (4) 1 GRUPO LA SPEZIA NAVY JAPAN BOEING 767 (4) NORTHROP GRUMMAN E-2C HAWKEYE (13) HIKO KEIKAI KANSHITAI HAMAMATSU MISAWA MEXICO NORTHROP GRUMMAN E-2C HAWKEYE (3) PRIMESCATMAR VERA CRUZ NAVY – WITHDRAWN FROM USE
  7. 7. EMBRAER R-99A (1) EVA SANTA LUCIA NATO BOEING E-3 (17) NAEWF GEILENKIRCHEN, GERMANY PAKISTAN SAAB 2000 (5 ON ORDER) RUSSIA IL-76 (A-50) (26) TU-134 (2) 2457TH AB SDRLU IVANOVO-SEVERNYI SAUDIA ARABIA BOEING E-3 SENTRY (5) 18TH SQUADRON AL KHARJ SINGAPORE GULFSTREAM G.550 (4 ON ORDER) 111 SQUADRON TENGAH SOUTH KOREA BOEING 737 (4 ON ORDER) SPAIN SIKORSKY SH-3H (4) 5 ESCUADRILLA ROTA NAVY SWEDEN SAAB S.100B ARGUS (6) FSR DIVISION MALMSLATT, LINKOPING TAIWAN NORTHROP GRUMMAN E-2CK/T HAWKEYE (6) 2ND SQUADRON, 20TH EWG PINGTUNG SOUTH THAILAND SAAB S.100 (1 ON ORDER & 1 OPTION) TURKEY BOEING 737 (4) 131 FILO KONYA USAF E-3B/C AWACS (32) 552ND ACW TINKER AFB, OKLAHOMA U.S. NAVY E-2C/D HAWKEYE (63) VAW-77 VAW-112 VAW-113 VAW-116 VAW-117 VAW-115 NAS JRB NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA NAS POINT MUGU, CALIFORNIA NAS ATSUGI, JAPAN 24 ON ORDER, 14 STORED
  8. 8. VAW-120 SAU VAW-121 VAW-123 VAW-124 VAW-125 VAW-126 CHAMBERS FIELD, NAS NORFOLK, VIRGINIA U.K. BOEING E-3 SENTRY (7) AUGUSTA WESTLAND SEA KING ASAC MK.7 (13) 8 SQUADRON 23 SQUADRON 849 SQUADRON RNAS 854 SQUADRON RNAS 857 SQUADRON RNAS RAF WADDINGTON RAF WADDINGTON RNAS CULDROSE RNAS CULDROSE RNAS CULDROSE NAVY NAVY NAVY

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