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DSA 2018: Passive Progressive


ERA outline enhancements to VERA-NG passive radar system

ERA has revealed a number of enhancements to its VERA-NG ground-based passive radar system to MONCh during the DSA 2018 exhibition being held in Kuala Lumpur between 16 April and 18 April. In particular, the company stressed that it is working with Germany’s SMAG to develop an enhanced mast for the system which will have a height circa 25 metres (82 feet) and, unlike the current mast used by the system, will include a high degree of automation greatly reducing the set-up time when the system is deployed.

At the programme level, NATO is taking delivery of several VERA-NG systems as part of its overall ground-based air surveillance architecture that it is acquiring as part of the deployable element of the Thales-Raytheon Air Command and Control System (ACCS) which is rolling out a common suite of hardware and software to replace a number of disparate integrated air defence system Command and Control (C2) elements, and air operations C2 systems used across NATO’s European membership (sans Germany and the United Kingdom). The VERA-NG will be used to support deployed NATO ground-based air surveillance elements including the two Indra LTR-25 Lanza L-band (1.215GHz to 1.4GHz) ground-based air surveillance radars which the alliance has acquired to this end. All of these surveillance systems will be used to support the DCAOC (Deployable Combined Air Operations Centre) and DARS (Deployable Air Control Centre, Recognised Air Picture Production Centre, Sensor Fusion Post) both of which will be located at Poggio Renatico airbase in northeast Italy when not deployed to a theatre of operations.

ERA officials told MONCh that the VERA-NG, of which the alliance will acquire two, is currently in the process of completing factory acceptance tests, adding that both systems should be in service with the deployable elements of ACCS over the next three to five years. They continued that one of the most challenging aspects of the integration of the VERA-NG with the DCAOC/DARS architecture is connecting the system to the latter using the AWCIES (ACCS Wide Common Information Exchange Standards). The AWCIES uses the ASTERIX (All Purpose Structured Eurocontrol Surveillance Information Exchange) protocol as its base, and effectively converts the output language of the sensor being connected into the wider ACCS architecture into a language that the ACCS can then recognise and use.

Thomas Withington


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