Advancing Maritime Domain Awareness with ATAS, Leonardo Presents Next-Generation Systems at EuroNaval 2016 Exhibition

Meeting a broad variety of requirements for safety and security, Leonardo’s new systems demonstrated with a ‘virtual tour’ onboard the bridge of a multi-role ship. ATAS is the latest product of Leonardo’s 150 years of experience in underwater weapons systems. The company’s products have been selected, and are in operation, in over 30 countries.

Date: Issue 72 - March 2017

Euronaval, the major naval and maritime defense exhibition in Europe, took place 17 - 21 October 2016, in Paris, France.  The 25th International Naval Defense & Maritime Exhibition and Conference was organized under the joint patronage of the French Ministry of Defense and the French Navy.

At this year’s Euronaval exhibition, Leonardo presented its innovative next-generation “naval cockpit”, which enables the integrated management of onboard operations with a vessel’s combat system. The new Combat Management System features a modular and reconfigurable open architecture that can be customized depending on the demands of a given mission. The exhibition provided visitors with a ‘virtual tour’ onboard the bridge of a multi-role ship.  At the Leonardo exhibition stand, visitors were able to ‘virtually’ experience new naval capabilities including a new multi-functional, fixed-face dual-band radar, friend-or-foe detection and infrared sensors for acquiring and tracking targets, integrated communications systems and satellite radio. The latest developments included a “naval cockpit” for integrated ship management and ATAS (Active Towed Array Sonar) the smallest and most powerful active and passive underwater sonar on the market.  

Developed by Leonardo as part of the Italian fleet modernization program, the company is also responsible for supplying and integrating all of the onboard systems for the new naval units, including the underwater combat systems.  ATAS was designed to equip the Italian Navy’s (Legge Navale) new multi-purpose off-shore patrol vessels (PPAs) and can be used in combat operations at a variety of depths to over 300m. The sensor is dramatically smaller and lighter than other active sonars with a similar range, measuring just one meter long and weighing only eight tons. 

ATAS offers high performance detection that overcomes the first acoustic convergence zone, in the midst of the ocean, which in some seasons, is up to 40km in the Atlantic Ocean.

The new sensor uses low and medium sonar frequencies, providing simultaneous, panoramic surveillance in active and passive modes. This enables ATAS to acquire and record targetcharacteristics data. The sensor can also automatically extract the acoustic characteristics oftargets and, by comparing this data with its internal database, quickly identify the threat.

At the exhibition, Mr. Lorenzo Mariani, Head of Land & Naval Defense Electronics - Leonardo, at a press conference said “We decided to offer a full package, low risk and heavily based on what we had already developed for FREMM, with some additional concepts that were able to guarantee to the navy additional performance.” As a key player in the sector, Leonardo can provide comprehensive solutions for naval mission management which integrates many kinds of sensors including radar, electronic systems, weapons, helicopters and manned and unmanned aircraft.  They are capable of meeting requirements of the world’s most advanced naval forces, as demonstrated with Leonardo’s provision and integration of all onboard systems for Italy’s new fleet of naval vessels and the development of combat systems. 

Also on display were the large-caliber 127/64 LightWeight (LW) naval gun, the world’s most advanced in its category, and the over-bridge version of the 76/62 cannon equipped with the Strales kit, able to fire guided DART (Driven Ammunition Reduced Time of Flight) munitions as well as the latest Vulcano ammunition. On-deck, visitors were given the opportunity to see the AW101 helicopter, a multi-role military aircraft that has the ability to perform the full range of naval missions including anti-ship, anti-submarine, search and rescue, radar surveillance, utility and amphibious support.  

Mr. Gianpiero Lorandi, Head of Leonardo’s Defense Systems Division, at the exhibition press conference stated “We are investing in guided ammunition.  We believe that we are the only ones today with a value proposition, and we will continue to stay in front of everyone in ammunition worldwide.”

Through its divisions, Leonardo provides aircraft for maritime patrol (Maritime Patrol Aircraft – MPA), helicopters for surveillance and sea rescue (Search And Rescue – SAR), capabilities to combat surface threats, submarines, unmanned surface vessels and underwater robots, radar and electro-optical systems to assist with the control of coasts and borders, coastal site defense systems, maritime surveillance and scenario analysis systems, command and control systems, and more. Leonardo also provides satellite systems and services for Earth observation and geo-location, both important for marine environmental monitoring and maritime security. Leonardo also works with Fincantieri as part of the ‘Orizzonte Sistemi Navali’ joint venture, in particular for the FREMM program, and more in general in the naval military sector on the domestic and international market.

As the control of sea and resources is critical, and with the dynamics of local power, ships that can patrol the sea effectively are increasingly becoming a key capability. Mr. Lorandi, in the press conference question and answer session said “We can offer a full combat system but also a surveillance capability that can be integrated into a naval formation, starting from the manned rotary and fixed wing capabilities but also patrol vessels with ISTAR onboard aircrafts or helicopters with a full and complete avionics suite both for control of the aircraft, both for the mission suite but also the weapons systems, as well as the full domain awareness with radars, surface radars and land base command and control and communication which allows the full control of the operation in the naval domain, not only for military operations but more broadly for security and control of key resources in the area.  This is an important area, with a variety of threats, and we can provide unique solutions.”

The new IFF – currently identified as IFF CA (Conformal Array) – is the evolution of the 6 faces phased array IFF installed on board FREMM frigates. Gun Fire Control System NA-30S MK 2

NA-30S Mk 2 weapon control system is based on new generation dual band tracking radar (X/Ka band) solid state and high performance EO sensor suite (HD TV, IR and high prf LRF). The two bands X and Ka together with the EO sensors are combined in order to optimize target tracking. NA-30S MK 2 provides a superior defense against sea-skimming missiles.

The Ka band, with its very narrow beam-width, is optimally suited for measuring targets at low-elevation. The X band allows the system to perform target tracking at longer range in all weather conditions.

DSS – IRTS DSS-IRST is an automatic Search & Track full wide covered distribution system. The system uses in its configuration distributed sensors/components installed along the platform that allow an activity of full 360° coverage. DSS-IRST incorporates Leonardo’s latest high performance MWIR infrared staring focal plane array sensor technology that allows an automatic detection of traces, calculating distance actively or passively through triangulation and the possibility of video tracking of the tracks revealed.

Mr. Mariani said, in terms of technology, “We want to be very consistent and vertical sometimes, where there is a strategic capability.”  As a result of the company’s international experience, Leonardo is able to meet a broad variety of requirements for maritime domain awareness for safety and security. 

In discussing the Naval Software Defined Radio, at an exhibition press conference, Mr. Lorenzo Mariani shared, “In communications, in the past years we have developed full software radio capability for the Italian Army; this was crucial in order to provide the solider the tank and the battle space with simple radios, with 10 wave forms providing all of the capabilities, and now we are transferring this capability to the naval domain, so there will be one radio with many wave points not many radios with one capability.”  

The SWave Common Core Radio (CCR) is a new generation, multi-band, multi-role, multifunction Transceiver extending the tactical Leonardo SDR SWave family radios for installation in surface vessels, in naval communication domain, and for fixed/infrastructural use.

Compliant with the US JTNC (former JTRS) Software Communications Architecture (SCA) and the extensions of EU ESSOR Consortium, the unit supports wideband IP data or voice services by providing interoperability with naval and fielded radios and C4ISR systems.  CCR is a low-power radio working in the range 1.5-2000 MHz. The unit is housed in a light alloy 3U rack-mount drawer suitable for standard EIA 19” racks, it is wide half of 19” rack. The unit is the common component for the whole set of communication requirements in the Naval and infrastructural domains in the HF, VHF and UHF frequency ranges. The unit is remotely operated with any kind of terminal via Web interface tool or via SNMP without the need for the operators to physically access the radio itself.

Leonardo is a global company in the high technology sector, and is one of the key actors in

Aerospace, Defense and Security worldwide, with more than 4,300 employees in Italy & UK.

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