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Tu-142M / MR / MZ Long-Range Anti-Submarine Aircraft

The Tu-142M is a long-range anti-submarine / reconnaissance aircraft designed by the Tupolev Design Bureau and manufactured by the Kuibyshev Aviation and Taganrog Machinery plants. The aircraft is developed to provide improved naval combat capabilities. It can be deployed primarily in anti-submarine warfare (ASW) operations, maritime reconnaissance and low-range patrol runs.

The aircraft is equipped with a set of anti-submarine weapons to protect territorial waters from potential enemy submarines. The aircraft have been in service with the Indian Navy’s 312nd squadron (INAS 312) since 1988 and are deployed in anti-submarine warfare and patrol missions across the Indian Ocean.

Tu-142M orders and deliveries

Tu-142M /

Tupolev Design Bureau received an executive order to design and develop the Tu-142 aircraft, which is based on the long-range Tu-95 turboprop strategic bomber. The prototype aircraft was built at Kuibyshev Aviation Plant and made its first flight in June 1968. The first aircraft entered trail operation with the Soviet Naval Aviation in May 1970 and was officially commissioned into service in December 1972.

The first modernised Tu-142M aircraft equipped with advanced avionics performed its maiden flight in 1985. Eight Tu-142Ms (IN-311 to IN-318) in export version (Tu-142ME) were built between 1987 and 1988 at the Taganrog Aviation Plant (now TAVIA) for the Indian Navy. The aircraft were commissioned in 1988.

In 2006 and 2007, two of the Tu-142M aircraft operated by the Indian Navy were upgraded by TAVIA, a division of Beriev Aircraft Company. Two more aircraft were retrofitted in July 2010.

The Indian Navy received seventh modernised Tu-142ME (IN 317) aircraft in August 2014.


Tu-142MR / Dmitry Ryazanov – AviaPressPhoto

The Tu-142MR ‘Orel’ Bear J is the final major variant of the Bear and is a VLF band radio communications relay similar in concept to the US E-6A TACAMO. It provides a communications relay capability to submerged SSBNs, SSGNs and SSNs. The Bear J is based on the Bear F airframe but has unique systems. The ventral fairing contains the VLF antenna cable reel, also note the unique nose radome and antenna on the vertical tail. Source

Communication Equipment

Tu-142MR / Oleg Podkladov

Communication with submarines was the primary purpose of the Tu-142MR. For fulfilling its duty, it was fitted with Oryol (“Eagle”) mission equipment.

Tu-142MR / Oleg Podkladov

The Radio Communications Research and Development Institute, based in Gorkiy, designed it. This equipment was well-associated with the aircraft, which received “Oryol” as its nickname.

The communications equipment consisted of :

  • Two HF radios
  • Two VHF (very high frequency) radios
  • Two UHF (ultra-high frequency) radios
  • A VHF radio transmitter
  • Two sets of VLF receivers
  • Seven HF receivers

The power supply, Etyud relay equipment, transmitters, and receivers were reported as housed in the forward weapons bay of the marine warfare Tu-142 variants.

There were several communications antennas located on the Tu-142MR. Many of them occupied a distinctive, forward-facing spike atop the fin, while others were at the dorsal portion of the aircraft. These last antennas consisted of the traditional HF rails, as well as a Satcom dome and a large Glonass satellite navigation blister.

Additionally, there was a dielectric teardrop fairing over a satellite communications antenna. It was located just aft of the trailing edge of the wing.

Tu-142MR windows with wire mesh for electromagnetic radiation protection. (Photo by Romashov German Viktorovich, CC0 1.0)

The crew’s cabin was VLF-proof or electromagnetic radiation protected. This was done using 1-mm thick steel wire mesh and special coating. The windows have detachable frames of wire mesh. Source

Tu-142MR planes to be upgraded as part of advanced submarine communications development

Tu-142MR / vadimlvv

Russia’s Naval Forces’ Tu-142MR (NATO reporting name: Bear-J) VLF-band radio communications relay aircraft derived from the Tu-142M long-range antisubmarine warfare aircraft, will be upgraded as part of the development of a sophisticated submarine communication system, according to the Izvestia daily.

The Russian Navy’s unique Tu-142MR radio relay planes designed for communication with submarines on patrol hundreds of meters below the surface will be equipped with advanced communications gear capable, inter alia, of relaying flight missions to sophisticated sea-launched cruise missiles (SLCM) of the Kalibr (SS-N-27 Sizzler) system and Bulava (SS-N-32) intercontinental ballistic missiles. In addition to advanced avionics, the Tu-142MRs also will get unique kilometers-long towed aerials extended from the fuselage for communicating with submarines.

The working documents have been devised and approved. The upgrade will begin on Beriev’s premises in the city of Taganrog soon. The aircraft re-designated as Tu-142MRM will receive the latest electronic communications systems and towed aerials. At the same time, no detail has been available either on the characteristics and designations of the communications systems to be fitted or on the upgrade’s schedule.

Tu-142MR / vadimlvv

The Tu-142MR special communications aircraft derived from the Tu-142M long-range ASW aircraft and adopted for use in the mid-1980s has the official designation as the aircraft of the relay system of the backup naval nuclear forces command and control system. In case of a global nuclear confrontation, the Tu-142MR’s primary mission is to convey the numbers of the flight missions pre-downloaded into the missiles and the launch orders themselves to the patrolling nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines.

The central part of the cutting-edge communications and relay systems equipping the Tu-142 is the VLF towed aerial that is almost 9 km long and is reeled out of a special drum in the fuselage. During communication sessions, the length of the aerial enables the aircraft and submarines deep under water to communicate.

The communications gear fitting the Tu-142MR since as far back as the mid-‘80s is ill-compatible with the similar equipment and automated control systems of the Russian Navy’s latest Project 885 Yasen (Severodvinsk-class), Project 885M Yasen-M, Project 995 Borei (Dolgorukiy-class) and Project 955A Borei-A submarines.

The feasibility of a Tu-142MR upgrade was first mentioned in 2014, when news came that the trials of the Tu-142MRM were slated for 2014-2016 at the Russian Aerospace Force’s State Flight Test Center in Akhtubinsk. At present, Russia is developing an automated strategic forces command and control system allowing both the real-time ordering of a strategic missile launch and re-targeting of missiles in the ascent phase with their engine still operating.

No doubt, the Tu-142MRM aircraft will become a key component of the advanced automated strategic forces command and control system. Moreover, the system will be fit for use in not only an all-out war but in locals wars as well in order to transmit flight missions to and designate targets for submarines carrying Kalibr SLCMs that have earned raving reports in the Russian operation in Syria.

Currently, the Russian Navy’s air branch operates about 10 Tu-142MRs out of Naval Air Station Mongokhto of the Pacific Fleet and NAS Kipelovo of the Northern Fleet, according to the Izvestia daily.

Tu-142MR / OSP

The Tupolev Tu-142 in its baseline variant is a maritime reconnaissance and ASW aircraft derived from the Tu-95 turboprop strategic bomber. Its first flight occurred in 1968 while the latest variant (Tu-142MZ) was produced until 1994.

The aircraft is fitted with two weapon bays with a total capacity of 11,340 kg combat load for:
– Sonobuoys (RGB-15/25/55A/75)
– Up to 12 torpedoes (APR-2, APR-3 and UMGT-1)
Typical loadout being 126 sonobuoys and 6 torpedoes


Tu-142M design and features


The Tu-142M anti-submarine aircraft features monoplane, mid-wing design. It is fitted with a single-fin tail and tricycle landing gear with controlled front wheels. It features a monocoque fuselage, which has a length of 46.4m and a maximum diameter of 2.9m.


Tu-142MZ / Artyom Anikeev – AviaPressPhoto

Tu-142MZ / Sot10

The fuselage incorporates a set of longitudinal stringers, cross-set of frames with stressed skin. Two cargo compartments are located at the lower part of the fuselage. The tail section is fitted with a rear cannon mounting. The nose cone section is installed with an in-flight refuelling system. A hatch is located in the niche of the front leg to facilitate emergency access.

In-flight refueling system

Tu-142MK / Alexander Shukhov – AviaPressPhoto

Nose cone section

Tu-142MZ / Artyom Anikeev – AviaPressPhoto

The aircraft is roughly 49.5m in overall length, 12.12m high and has wing span of approximately 50m. It has a maximum takeoff weight of 185,000kg and is operated by a crew of 11, including flight crew and navigators / observers.

The aircraft is armed with a variety of defensive weapons such as Kh-35 anti-ship missile, self-guided missiles, twin AM-23 automatic cannon, depth charges and torpedoes.

Up to 12 torpedoes (APR-2, APR-3 and UMGT-1)


APR-2/APR-2M Yastreb anti-submarine missile is designed to engage modern submarines, including multipurpose nuclear missiles, at speeds up to 43 knots in the submarine (at depths up to 600m), periscope and surface positions, as well as surface ships.

The missile was developed by a cooperation of enterprises headed by the SNPP “Region” as a part of the company:  Research and Development Institute, Tomsk Research Institute of Economics and Technology, Leningrad Research Institute “Search”, Design Bureau of Petrovsky Plant, Perm NPO named after Kirov, Moscow Research Institute “Quantum” on the basis of APR-1 “Condor”. Chief Designer M.Lisichko.

Marine testing of the APR-2 began in 1969. State tests of the product with the modernized control system “Hawk-M” were completed in 1976, in the same year the product under the designation APR-2M was adopted for service.

Carriers: – antisubmarine helicopters: Ka-27PL, Ka-28, Mi-14PL – aircraft: IL-38, Tu-142M, Tu-142M3.

Export modification of the missile, designated APR-2E “Hawk-E” was released in 1984. Source


APR-3/APR-3M “Oryol-M” anti-submarine missile is designed to engage modern and advanced submarines, including multi-purpose nuclear missiles, at speeds up to 40 knots in the submarine (at depths up to 800m), periscope and surface position, as well as surface ships in any water areas of the World Ocean, including in areas with shallow depths (60-150m), when the sea waves up to 6 points.

The development of the “Eagle” rocket with turbojet engine was started by NIIPGM (later Central Research Institute “Gidropribor”, St. Petersburg, nowadays JSC SNPP “Region”) in 1969 practically in parallel with the APR-2 “Hawk” rocket. The turbojet engine was created in the Design Bureau of “Saturn” plant under the supervision of Chief Designer A.M.Lyulka. Due to the complexity of the tasks set before the creators of the rocket “Eagle”, the development time was repeatedly postponed. The development of the last version of the “Eagle-M” rocket was completed only in 1990. After it was adopted for service, the missile was designated APR-3 (export version – APR-E).

APR-3E differs from APR-2E in that it is a more efficient engine. Modernized rocket APR-3ME – further improvement of the rocket APR-3E: reduced mass and dimensional characteristics, increased range due to the operating time of the propulsion system, the response radius of the homing system increased its accuracy, speed and interference immunity, reliability of the rocket, expanded range of depths of its application. APR-3ME differs from APR-3E in the presence of an onboard integrated control system with a free inertial navigation system on a modern element base, which expands the combat capabilities of the missile as part of aircraft and marine anti-submarine systems, as well as greater ease of maintenance during operation. Source

Kh-35 anti-ship missile

The KH-35 is a subsonic, anti-ship cruise missile that was originally developed in 1983 by the Soviet Union.[1] It has a two stage, liquid fueled propellant and weighs 480 kg and can be launched from fighter jets, attack helicopters, bombers, and naval surface ships. Its modern variant, the KH-35U, was deployed in 2003 and will be equipped on Russia’s fifth-generation fighter aircraft, the Sukhoi PAK FA.[2] The KH-35U uses inertial guidance with a Glonass Receiver and an active radar seeker to find its target.[3] Russian officials claim that the KH-35U is immune to enemy countermeasures. Source

AM-23 automatic cannon


The GSh-23 was designed by V. P. Gryazev and A. G. Shipoonov at KBP (Konstrooktorskoye byuro priborostroyeniya – Instrument Engineering Design Bureau). KBP, located at the famous Tula Weapons Factory, was known until 1966 as TsKB-14.

Operating these cannons was one gunner who aimed them using the help of:

  • PS-153K sighting station (pritsel’naya stahntsiya, kormovaya – rear)
  • PRS-4 Krypton gun ranging radar with an acquisition range of some 4 km (2.5 miles). It was designed by OKB-373 (TsKB Avtomatika) and produced in Plant-373 (currently PJSC Saturn) in Omsk.
  • AVS-153 ballistic computer (avtomaht vozdooshnoy strelbyy – automatic air-to-air gunnery device)
  • ADP-153 automatic parallax compensator (avtomaht dopolnitelnovo parallaksa)

Typically left alone in the tail barbette, these operators were rather isolated. The rest of the crew spent most of their time in the cockpit or main portion of the aircraft in their various duties. Source

Box Tail [PRS-4 Krypton]

General data:
Type: Radar Altitude Max: 0 m
Range Max: 18.5 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0.2 km Generation: Late 1970s
Properties: Pulse-only Radar
Sensors / EW:
Box Tail [PRS-4 Krypton] – Radar
Role: TWR, Tail Warning Radar & Tail Gun Director
Max Range: 18.5 km

Generic Tail Gun Director [TV Camera] (2nd Gen)

General data:
Type: Visual Altitude Max: 0 m
Range Max: 185.2 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0 km Generation: Visual, 2nd Generation TV Camera (1980s/1990s, AXX-1 TCS)
Properties: Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) [Side Info], Classification [Class Info] / Brilliant Weapon [Automatic Target Aquisition], Continuous Tracking Capability [Visual]
Sensors / EW:
Generic Tail Gun Director [TV Camera] – (2nd Gen) Visual
Role: Visual, Weapon Director TV Camera
Max Range: 185.2 km


“Zircons” received ultra-long guidance

by Greasel

The Ministry of Defense has tested a unique automated control system (ACS) for aviation and ships. During the exercises in real time, at a distance of hundreds of kilometers, Tu-142 aircraft transmitted information about the conditional enemy to the strike ships and launched a strike. At the same time, the ACS itself identified the most important targets and decided how to destroy them. The novelty is primarily intended for carriers of the latest Zircon hypersonic missiles. But it can also work with missiles of the previous generation – “Yakhont”, “Vulcan” and “Caliber”. According to experts, the new product radically increases the efficiency of the Russian Navy. The combination of the latest automated control system and hypersonic “Zircons” makes it possible to destroy entire enemy squadrons in a matter of minutes.

Automated drills

Sources in the military department told Izvestia that the unique automated combat control system for aircraft and ships has already been tested. Testing was carried out during a large-scale exercise of the Northern Fleet in early August this year. According to the interlocutors of the publication, the new product will become one of the most important control tools for ships and submarines – carriers of hypersonic missiles.

During exercises in the northeastern Atlantic, two crews of Tu-142 reconnaissance anti-submarine aircraft discovered a group of imaginary enemy ships. Target information was transmitted to the strike group. According to the given coordinates, conditional electronic missile launches were carried out by the Northern Fleet cruiser Marshal Ustinov, the frigate Admiral of the Fleet Kasatonov, and the Orel nuclear submarine.

At the same time, the ACS itself identified the most important targets and decided how best to destroy them, sources in the Ministry of Defense told Izvestia. In addition to the promising Zircons, ships under the control of the system can use cruise missiles of previous generations, including Yakhont, Vulcan and Caliber.

Last week, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that the Zircon missiles had demonstrated the highest accuracy during tests with launches at sea targets, which leaves no chance for the enemy. Earlier, Deputy Defense Minister Alexei Krivoruchko said that state tests are planned to be completed this year and to begin serial deliveries of the latest hypersonic ammunition from 2022.

“Russia was the first in the world to receive hypersonic weapons, and a new ACS is needed to fully reveal all of its strengths,” says military expert Vladislav Shurygin. “At the same time, it will also receive information from radars and satellites. After detecting a target, hypersonic speed makes it possible to hit it in a matter of minutes, even at a distance of hundreds of kilometers. During the flight time, the ships simply will not have time to go far.

Looking down

The new automated fleet control system allows receiving information about the enemy not only from aircraft. It collects intelligence received from ground-based radars, satellites, and drones. The command sees the picture in real time and can make decisions on the use of ships, coastal missiles or naval aviation.

For several years now Russia has been building up its satellite constellation, which is engaged in observing the seas and the movements of surface ships in them. On June 25 this year, the first active radar reconnaissance satellite “Pion-NKS” of the “Liana” system was launched into orbit. With the help of an onboard radar, it can scan large water areas and observe the movements of both military and civilian ships at any time of the day or night, including through the clouds.

In addition to the first “Pion”, the “Lotos-C1” satellites, which are also part of the “Liana” system, have been operating in space for several years. They listen to radio broadcasts over the seas, intercept the radio signals of warships and their equipment, which allows them to track their location.

In the last century, before the creation of a space grouping and automated control systems, reconnaissance of enemy ships and target designation to missiles were provided by special Tu-95RTs reconnaissance aircraft. Developed on the basis of strategic bombers, vehicles with powerful radars on board were held in the air for up to a day and constantly patrolled the seas, the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans. These aircraft have now been taken out of service. Source

Sensors on-board Tu-142M

The Tu-142M anti-submarine aircraft is equipped with DRDO HOMI airborne electronic support measures system to identify, locate and detect enemy targets. It incorporates Korshun-K integrated automatic search and targeting system and MMS-106 Ladoga magnetometer to detect nuclear-powered submarines.

Korshun-K integrated automatic search and targeting system

Valentin Lozovik / AviMedia

Four unique variants exist, the Tu-142 Bear F Mod.1, the Tu-142M Bear F Mod.2, the Tu-142MK Bear F Mod.3 and Tu-142MZ Bear F Mod.4. A single Tu-142MRTs, a variant intended to replace the Bear D, was trialled with the Uspekh-1AV system during the 1980s, but it was abandoned in favour of  the Sistema Morskoi Kosmicheskoi Razvedki i Tselkazaniya (SMKRITs) satellite system.

The Tu-142M Bear F Mod.2 variant introduced the Leninets Korshun surface search radar, later replaced with the improved Korshun-K in the Mod.3 and Korshun-KN-N in the Mod.4, both types replacing the earlier Leninets Berkut-95 radar common to the Il-38 May the baseline Tu-142. The Tu-142M also introduced the Pingvin thermal imager, the Visla-2 towed MAD sensor, a infrared tracker and a diesel fume sniffer, with the NPK-142M navigation suite.

The Tu-142MK Bear F Mod.3 added the MMS-106 Ladoga MAD boom on the vertical stabiliser.

The Tu-142MZ Bear F Mod.4 added an upgraded Zarech acoustic system, NK-12MP engines, GSh-23 guns adopted from the Backfire, an improved EW suite, improved AAR equipment and some were fitted with enlarged weapon bays – the Tu-142MZ Bear F Mod.4 entered service in 1993. The last Bear to leave the Taganrog production line was a Tu-142MZ in 1994. Source – cropped

General data:
Type: Radar Altitude Max: 0 m
Range Max: 277.8 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0.4 km Generation: Early 1980s
Properties: Periscope/Surface Search – Fine Range Resolution + Rapid Scan [1980+], Pulse-only Radar
Sensors / EW:
Wet Eye [Korshun-KN-N] – Radar
Role: Radar, Surface Search, Medium-Range
Max Range: 277.8 km


MMS-106 Ladoga magnetometer

Mikhail Fetisov

General data:
Type: MAD Altitude Max: 0 m
Range Max: 1.9 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0 km Generation: Late 1980s
Sensors / EW:
MAD [MMS-106 Ladoga] – (Tu-142MK) MAD
Role: MAD
Max Range: 1.9 km


Russian Navy aviation began to upgrade antisubmarine Tupolev Tu-142

The Russian Navy aviation began to upgrade antisubmarine Tupolev Tu-142 aircraft. It received high precision guidance system Gefest SVP-24 which ensured exceptional precision of missile and bomb strikes in the counterterrorist operation in Syria, the Defense Ministry told the Izvestia daily.

Gefest comprises guidance, navigation and control devices. The equipment automatically calculates bomb trajectory to the target and takes into consideration the speed, altitude and weather conditions. SVP-24 provides comparable results to the engagement of precision weapons.

Gefest increases the effectiveness of antisubmarine torpedoes, depth and ordinary air bombs. The torpedo release does not need maximum accuracy, as the homing warhead will find adversary submarines both surfaced and submerged. If necessary, Gefest can place acoustic buoys at sea to search for adversary submarines. The guidance device receives information from aircraft and warships.

The long-range Tu-142 was designed to search for and destroy submarines. It is often engaged in electronic intelligence. The combat radius exceeds 5 thousand km and the aircraft can fly for hours in patrol areas of nuclear submarines. The aircraft is engaged in visual and electronic intelligence in green waters.

The Defense Ministry is testing new aircraft. In particular, Mi-28NM helicopter gunships operated this year in Syrian mountains and desert. It can hit targets in any weather day and night. The helicopter differs from Mi-28N predecessor by an above-rotor radar, new engines and controls, and a modern set to counter adversary air defense.

Due to successful trials the Aerospace Forces will receive hundreds of the helicopters by 2028, the Izvestia said. Source

Gefest SVP-24

As you can see, the line-of-sight indicator (LOS) has been replaced by a multifunctional display with a push-button frame. In the future, it is expected that the ILS will be replaced with a more advanced one.

I asked the guys from “Hephaestus” to throw the VTsU on the plane.

The photo shows the process of receiving target designation by the aircraft from the TAVKR Kuznetsov (it is possible to receive from other sources).
The coordinates of the target are shown in the upper left part of the screen, as well as from whom the target designation was received.
The type of target (in this case, “airfield”), distance and course to the target are indicated in the upper right part of the screen. In this case, the target is not indicated on the map, since it is outside the screen.

Bombing can be done automatically. After receiving the VCU and turning on the autopilot, the aircraft itself goes to the drop point. The pilot presses the “release button” and at the right moment the bombs are dropped.

This photo shows an element on the MFD (orange arrow on a black background) showing the pilot the direction to the target.


Tu-142MK / OSP

The aircraft is also fitted with a Strela onboard communication system, a NPK-142M navigation system, a Sayany onboard defence system and a Nerchinsk hydrological defence system. The sonobuoys incorporated in the aircraft include RGB-15, RGB-25 and RGB-55A.

Engines and performance

Alexey Polyakov / AviMedia

The Tu-142M anti-submarine aircraft is powered by four NK-12M turboprop engines designed by the Kuznetsov Design Bureau. Each engine develops a power output of 15,000shp. The propulsion system also consists of four coaxial eight-bladed reversible-pitch propellers. The aircraft has a fuel capacity of 87,000kg.

4 x NK-12M turboprop engines


The Kuznetsov NK -12 is a turboprop engine of the Russian producer Kuznetsov. The development started in 1952, and the NK -12 with a maximum of 15,000 horsepower to this day the most powerful turboprop engine ever to be produced in series.

Is a Einwellentriebwerk which drives via a double planetary gear, two coaxial counter-rotating propellers. It was developed in Kuibyshev in 1953 by a group of engineers from the former Junkers works under the leadership of the Austrian Ferdinand Brandner. The technicians had been spent together with numerous other aviation specialists in the Soviet Union in 1946. Source

Artyom Kuzhlev

The operational speed of the aircraft is 442mph, while the maximum speed is 574.76mph at high altitudes. The operating range of 3,977mi and the maximum range is 7,953.55mi. The service ceiling of the aircraft is 39,000ft.

Aircraft performance characteristics :

– 10 people (commander, co-pilot, flight engineer, radio operator, aft turret gunner, 5 surveillance system operators).
– 10 people (Tu-142M3 – commander, co-pilot, first navigator, navigator-navigator, navigator-operator / navigator for combat use, onboard engineer, operator of onboard communications, operator of RGP No. 1, operator of RGP No. 2, operator of CFU)

– 53.07 m (Tu-142 and its mod., With a refueling bar and a magnetometer fairing)
– 51.55 m (Tu-142M3)
– 50.04 m
– 50.2 m (Tu-142M3)
Height – 14 , 7 m (all modifications)
Fuselage diameter – 2.9 m (all modifications)
Wing sweep – 35 deg. (all modifications)
Wing area – 289.9 m2 (all modifications)

Maximum take-off weight:
– 182000 kg (Tu-142 during testing and after being put into service)
– 185000 kg (all modifications)
– 187700-190000 kg (Tu-142 / Tu-95MS, flight when refueling in flight)
Normal takeoff weight – 155,000 kg
Maximum landing weight – 135,000 kg
Empty weight:
– 91800 kg (Tu-142)
– 93,891 kg (Tu-142M3)
Payload mass:
– 5500 kg (norm, Tu-142 after being put into service)
– 9000 kg (Tu-142 after being put into service)
– 20,000-30000 kg (overload, Tu-95)
– 11340 kg (at maximum range, Tu-142M)
Fuel weight – 83,900 kg (Tu-142M3)

Maximum speed at altitude:
– 830 km / h (Tu-142 after being put into service)
– 855 km / h (Tu-142, Tu-142M3)
– 925 km / h (Tu -142M according to Western data)
Cruising speed – 735 km / h (Tu-142M) Takeoff
speed – 300 km / h (Tu-142 / Tu-142M3 / Tu-95MS, etc.)
Landing speed – 270 km / h (Tu -142 / Tu-142M3 / Tu-95MS, etc.)
Practical ceiling:
– 11000 m (Tu-142 after being
put into service) – 13500 m (Tu-142M3)
– 9100 m (Tu-95MS, with a full set of weapons)
Flight range:
– 9860 km (Tu-142 during tests)
– 11110 km (Tu-142 after modifications)
– 12300 km (Tu-142 after being put into service, with a payload of 5500 kg, take-off weight of 182 tons and the remainder of 5% of the fuel after landing )
– 12550 km (Tu-142M with a mass of PN – 11.340 kg)
Combat radius during anti-submarine operations:
– 5000 km (Tu-142)
– 5200 km (Tu-142M3)
Duration of patrolling flight:
– 14 hours 40 minutes (Tu-142 during tests)
– up to 17 hours (Tu-142)
– 12-14-16 hours (Tu-142M, Indian Navy)
– up to 34 hours (Tu-95MS , with three refueling from Il-78)
Duration of loitering (speed 450 km / h, altitude 500-2000 m):
– at a distance of 2000 km – 8 hours 40 minutes (Tu-142 after being put into service)
– at a distance of 4500 km – 3 hours 20 minutes (Tu-142 after being put into service) Take-off run
– 1800-2000 m (according to the project)
– 2150-2300 m (with full load, including Tu-142 according to test results)
– 2350 m (Tu -142 after being put into service)
– 1200 m (Tu-142 after being put into service)
Operational overload – 2.5G

Labor input of ground personnel for 1 hour of flight – 57 man / hour (Tu-95MS)

Specification source

Main material source

Images are from public domain unless otherwise stated

Main image  Tu-142MZ / Artyom Kuzhlev – AviMedia

U-2 Dragon Lady

The U-2S is a high-altitude reconnaissance and surveillance aircraft providing signals and imagery intelligence and has the ability to detect radar, acoustic, nuclear, chemical and biological signatures. The plane’s long, high-profile wings give the U-2 glider-like flight while the fuel-efficient engine eliminated the need for aerial refueling on long missions. Flying at 70,000 feet the pilot must wear a full pressure suit to survive.

The plane quickly earned the nickname “Dragon lady” because of its reputation of being difficult to fly even for the most experienced pilots. The combination of being light and needing to fly at high altitudes made it difficult to control. The thin air created a threshold of just 13mph between stalling and going too fast to control. Its bicycle-type landing gear requires a second U-2 pilot to follow the plane in a chase car, providing radio inputs to guide the pilot while landing.

Development and Design

The U-2 was the first aircraft in the U.S. to be designed from the ground-up as a reconnaissance plane. Before development of the U-2, the U.S. would mount cameras to fighter jets or bombers. These platforms flew at altitudes within range of Soviet air defense systems which made it impossible to safely penetrate Soviet airspace to gather intelligence on how far along their nuclear weapons technology was and the location of their bomber force.

Aircraft 56-6703 was one of several Air Force and CIA-operated U-2s used to perform overflights of Cuba during the missile crisis in October 1962. Images of SS-4 intermediate range Intercontinental Ballistic Missile batteries captured from U-2s on October 14 and 15, helped confirm the Soviets were basing nuclear weapons on the Caribbean island. (Lockheed Martin photo)

The U-2 was designed by the legendary Kelly Johnson, known for designing the U.S.’s first operational jet fighter (P-80 Shooting Star) and would later design the SR-71 Blackbird along with over 40 other airframes during his time as head of Lockheed Martin’s advanced development programs, also known as Skunk Works.


U.S. Air Force photo

Johnson’s small team of engineers developed the airframe in just 8 months, and submitted an unsolicited entry to the Air Force who was also requesting entries for high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft. The test aircraft, the CL-282, was an F-104 Starfighter with exceptionally long wings, one engine, no armor, no ejection seat, or landing gear. The Air Force at first selected the Bell X-16 which had traditional landing gear and two engines. The Intelligence Systems Panel, a civilian group advising the USAF and CIA on aerial reconnaissance convinced the Air Force and CIA to jointly fund the U-2 project.

Airman 1st Class Caleb Deaton, 5th Reconnaissance Squadron crew chief, places aircraft chocks and a main landing gear pin on a U-2 Dragon Lady during the recovery phase prior to the engine shutting down on Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, May 15, 2014. Crew chiefs perform a post-flight inspection at the end of the flying day to ensure the aircraft is structurally fit for its next flight. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman David Owsianka)

Tom Demerly

One of the U-2’s most unique features is its landing gear. Initially, Johnson wanted the aircraft to have no landing gear–instead taking off from a wheeled dolly and landing on its belly. The flight test program became difficult to perform as the belly of the aircraft had to be repaired after every landing. The engineers instead installed a dual-wheeled main landing gear and a dual-wheeled tail wheel along the centerline of the fuselage. Flexible struts were used to support the massive 105-foot wingspan on the ground, which would fall away when the aircraft took off.


In 1994 the Air Force invested $1.7 billion modernizing the U-2. These upgrades included a 30 percent larger airframe, a new all glass cockpit, upgraded avionics, and fiber optic communication capabilities and sensor systems.

U.S. Air Force photo

The U-2 outlasted its faster counterpart, the SR-71 Blackbird, and continues to be the go-to reconnaissance platform because of its ability to carry a large sensor payload customized to different mission requirements. Source

The U-2 also carries a signals intelligence payload. All intelligence products except for wet film can be transmitted in near real-time anywhere in the world via air-to-ground or air-to-satellite data links, rapidly providing critical information to combatant commanders. MASINT provides indications of recent activity in areas of interest and reveals efforts to conceal the placement or true nature of man-made objects.

osophie20 (flickr)

U-2 Avionics Upgrade Paves Way For Command And Control Role

Lockheed Martin says will position the spy plane for follow-on capability enhancements and a new lease on life at the heart of the U.S. Air Force’s ambitious Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) command and control plan.

  • Avionics Tech Refresh includes new mission computer and cockpit displays
  • Update provides bridge to follow-on upgrades planned under Dragon STAR
  • The ATR-configured U-2S may be used as a testbed for ABMS, Lockheed says

The Air Force’s $50 million investment in Lockheed Martin Skunk Works’ Avionics Tech Refresh (ATR) upgrade forms the latest part of a broader update plan funded through fiscal 2025 and underpins the service’s renewed intent to grow the strategic and tactical roles of the venerable intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) platform. It also confirms Air Force plans to keep the U-2S in service as a complement to the unmanned Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk, reversing earlier moves to sunset the fleet.

“We’re really breathing new life into the capabilities of this platform,” says Irene Helley, U-2 program director for Lockheed Martin Skunk Works. “Most of these jets were being built in the late 1980s and ’90s and have only averaged about 17,000 flight hours, so [they] have about 80% of their airframe life remaining and still have so much more to give.”

The upgrade is “about growing the mission,” Helley adds. “We are revamping all of the avionics [in a] system [that] really hasn’t been revisited since the early 2000s.”

Lockheed says the updated avionics system provides the backbone for enhanced mission capabilities and will build a bridge to a wider series of follow-on upgrades. Internally called Dragon STAR (Sensors Technology and Avionics Refresh), this broader long-term initiative also includes additional sensor technology and systems updates.

The core of the avionics suite update is “a replacement for the existing avionics processor, which is experiencing a lot of diminishing manufacturing sources,” says Sean Thatcher, U-2 modernization program manager. Finding a replacement “is really the genesis from where the ‘tech refresh’ components came in for the aircraft,” he adds.

Other key elements include a mission computer, which “is actually a new addition to the U-2, and that’s really what starts to grow the mission itself,” Thatcher says.

The mission computer is designed to the Air Force’s open mission systems (OMS) standard, which will enable the aircraft to integrate at various security levels with systems across air, space, sea, land and cyber domains. “We’re taking the OMS standard throughout the entire suite, so everything will be able to ride within the same network. Instead of being federated and their own little system, they’ll now be able to communicate with one another to allow that broader system to be much more capable.”

EMC2 computer –

Lockheed confirms the upgrade incorporates the Enterprise Mission Computer 2 (EMC2), a company-developed system nicknamed the “Einstein Box” that first publicly emerged in mid-2017, when it was tested on a modified U-2 taking part in demonstrations of advanced battlefield communications systems during a training exercise. Originally described as a “plug-and-play” system that bolts on to the avionics processor, the EMC2 also incorporates wider capabilities including dynamic mission replanning, ISR and electronic warfare capabilities.

The update also includes modern touch screen cockpit displays. “We are making those displays higher resolution for the pilots to see more and do more within the same physical area,” says Thatcher. “They will have a higher pixel resolution as well as add some touch playing abilities. And we are also looking at upgrading other cockpit systems, to bring it up to a more modern standard.”

There also will be a focus on software-driven display changes, he adds. “Pilots will be able to have more interaction with maps and other information that you would see in a modern jetliner.” The provider of the display system has not yet been announced.

The U-2S cockpit was last modernized under the Reconnaissance Avionics Maintainability Program, which was completed in 2007. As well as providing a new main avionics processor, three 6 X 8-in. multifunction displays and a secondary flight display system, the upgrade also included a BAE Systems ALQ-221 advanced defensive system that incorporated both electronic countermeasures and radar warning receivers.

Helley says the enhanced displays will enable pilots to “collect data and respond faster” as well as “allow them to make better and [more] informed decisions.” Part of this will include communicating and connecting with both fourth- and fifth-generation aircraft via multiple tactical data links such as Link 16, the F-35’s fast-switching narrow directional multifunction advanced data link and the F-22’s low-probability-of-detection and low-probability-of-intercept inflight data link. Given that none of these data links are compatible, the U-2S will communicate with all versions through the EMC2.

Avionics upgrades (marked in squares) will enable a raft of follow-on system updates that dovetail with others already underway. Credit: Lockheed Martin

The ATR upgrade puts the high-altitude-capable U-2 on the path toward providing the Air Force with a key node in the service’s ABMS network construct, a vision that Lockheed Martin has been steering the aircraft toward for several years. Originally conceived as the Airborne Battle Management System, the “A” now stands for “Advanced” and embraces a more comprehensive Air Force ambition to share data with and between Army, Navy and Marine Corps assets across land, sea, air and space domains. Now, as the Skunk Works begins funded work on the initial U-2 avionics modification, Lockheed also believes the company’s ability to fast-track development efforts could play a key role in early test and deployment of the ABMS.

“There’s so much talk about what the future holds for JADC2 (joint all-domain command and control),” Helley says. “Because of our ability to take the concept straight to demonstration—and then to have the capability in the field in months, rather than years—the U-2 has really become the perfect testbed to prove out those capabilities. With this avionics tech refresh effort, we’re looking to be the first fully OMS-compliant fleet out there in the Air Force today.”

The upgraded U-2 “really is going to be kind of a testbed truck for whatever those future platforms of 2030 will look like,” Helley says. “It will be able to buy down the risk of those technologies and also serve the warfighter in today’s mission abroad.” Lockheed aims to field an interim capacity beginning as early as mid-2021 and hopes to begin the whole fleet modification effort in early 2022.

Looking further ahead under the Dragon STAR plan, the ATR “bridges the way for the U-2 mission to add in next-generation sensors such as a radar or electro-optic/infrared sensor up in the nose,” Thatcher says. “We are also looking at opportunities for Sigint [signals intelligence] to be able to come in rapidly.” In addition to providing a “gateway in the sky” for tactical data links, he adds the upgrade plan “will also look at increasing the bandwidth that can go over some of the existing links as well, both on the line-of-sight and beyond-line-of-sight links.”

Many of these elements are either already underway or in planning. Flight tests of the first production version of the upgraded Raytheon ASARS-2B primary surveillance radar are due to start in 2021, although the Air Force is expected to issue a request for proposals for the follow-on ASARS-2C upgrade in fiscal 2022. The move to the -2C standard will involve upgrading the radar processor to exploit the full potential of the active, electronically scanned array antenna being introduced with the -2B.

The Air Force, Lockheed and Collins Aerospace also announced in February that flight testing and deployment of the latest variant of the Senior Year Electro-Optical Reconnaissance System (SYERS) sensor, SYERS-2C, has been completed. Meanwhile, Northrop Grumman is upgrading the Airborne Signals Intelligence Payload system that flies on the U-2 to provide cybersecurity and systems enhancements. Improvements to the BAE Systems ALQ-221 advanced defensive system are also included in the upgrade.


“We are talking about being able to host agile pods that give new mission capability at a rapid pace to support any given warfighter needs that come up,” Thatcher adds, referencing systems such as the recently developed Air Force Research Laboratory Agile Pod—a reconfigurable sensor and communications payload system.

D2 Charlie aviator watches / Garmin

The overall upgrade plan also addresses improvements to the aircraft’s future precision navigation and timing (PNT) capability. U-2 pilots are now being given Garmin D2 Charlie wristwatches that provide location and waypoint positioning information based on GPS and Global Navigation Satellite System signals to augment the aircraft’s navigation systems. However, for the near term, navigation enhancements will include improved map displays as part of the cockpit avionics upgrade.

Other, longer-term changes are planned, including adding a star-tracking system and replacing the current inertial navigation and GPS system. “We are definitely looking at being able to provide that [capability] into the backbone of the aircraft, too, and to not have the pilots need that reliance upon other technologies,” Thatcher says. “That’s not to say that they would ever get rid of [the wrist watch] or not want to have it as a comfort zone. But we ultimately want to have [enhanced navigation capability] baked in as the ultimate PNT source for the U-2, and also to have the ability to share that data with the other systems that are onboard the aircraft.”

Along with these operational improvements, other upgrades are in the works to address obsolescence concerns with airframe sustainment, the helmet and full-pressure suit, and Universal (formerly Unmanned) Aerospace Systems Command and Control Standard Initiative standards compliance. Beyond this, more upgrades—some of them secret—are planned, says Helley. “There are a number of other refresh modernization efforts that we are working on with our affiliates, but right now we’re still in the early planning phases of those efforts. We are not quite to the place where we can talk about them in greater detail, and a number of those items will probably remain on the classified side of the fence,” she adds.

Expanding U-2S mission capability forms one of three strategic program goals for the airframe, Helley says. “For the modernization, we’ve been growing our engineering and manufacturing team.” Another is growing the fleet. “So we’ve been working in ways to increase the rate at which we do PDM [programmed depot maintenance], as well as introducing another tail number back into the fleet,” she adds, referring to the refurbishment of tail number 80-1099. That aircraft is a single-seat model that was damaged in an August 2008 ground accident at Al Dhafra airbase, in the United Arab Emirates. Together with the rebuilt aircraft and four two-seat trainers, the planned upgraded fleet will number 31 aircraft.

“They recently loaded that tail [1099] into the main tool, which begins the main rework on the areas that were damaged,” Helley says. “So the restoration processes will be worked on over the next year. It will be immediately followed by program depot maintenance, and they’re anticipating a return to service as early as 2022.”  Source

U-2 receives ISR track data from F-35 in recent Orange Flag Evaluation

Lockheed Martin Skunk Works®, the Missile Defense Agency and the U.S. Air Force successfully connected an F-35, U-2 and a multi-domain ground station in a ground-breaking test demonstrating multi-domain operations and the secure distribution of sensitive information across multiple platforms.

U-2 spyplane relays and translates data between F-22s and F-35s

A U-2 spyplane has successfully acted as an airborne interpreter and data-link between an F-22 Raptor and five F-35 Lightning IIs. The Project Hydra test by conducted by Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, the US Missile Defense Agency and the US Air Force demonstrates for the first time how the 5th Generation fighters can share data.

Ever since the F-22 was introduced in 2005, it’s been recognized as one of the most advanced and capable fighter planes in the world. However, it isn’t very good at directly sharing data with anything other than other F-22s. As a result, F-22 pilots are forced to convey the data that the fighter’s system gathers by using old-fashioned voice radio calls.

That may seem like an example of bad engineering, but it’s really a matter of clashing requirements. While the F-22 can receive radio signals by the standards set for US and NATO systems, the F-22 can’t transmit over those systems because the F-22 is designed to be stealthy. This means that they have to use the Intra-Flight Data Link (IFDL) radio transmitter, which is extremely difficult for hostile forces to detect and zero in on.

Meanwhile, the F-35 has a similar problem when it comes to talking to the F-22, because it also needs to be stealthy, so it uses the Multifunction Advanced Data Link (MADL). This was also supposed to be retroactively installed in the F-22, but that was cancelled due to budget cuts.

Project Hydra aims to overcome this communications bottleneck by using an Open Systems Gateway (OSG) payload installed in a high-flying U-2 spyplane, which both translates and relays the data between the F-22 and the F-35s, and also with units on the ground over a Tactical Targeting Network Terminal (TTNT) link. In addition, it also sends target tracks to each fighter’s avionics and pilot displays.

For the recent test, the data was sent to the US Army Integrated Battle Command System (IBCS) Airborne Sensor Adaptation Kit (A-Kit), which relayed the data to the IBCS Tactical System Integration Laboratory (TSIL) at Fort Bliss, Texas, to support a simulated Army firing exercise using targeting data from the five F-35s. By using the U-2, the six aircraft remained connected with each other as well as global command and control units even when they were out of line-of-sight of one another.

“Project Hydra marks the first time that bi-directional communications were established between 5th Generation aircraft in-flight, while also sharing operational and sensor data down to ground operators for real-time capability,” says Jeff Babione, vice president and general manager, Lockheed Martin Skunk Works. “This next-level connectivity reduces the data-to-decision timeline from minutes to seconds, which is critical in fighting today’s adversaries and advanced threats.” Source: Lockheed Martin

F-22 Raptor: Details


Routinely flown at altitudes over 70,000 feet, the U-2 pilot must wear a full pressure suit similar to those worn by astronauts. The low-altitude handling characteristics of the aircraft and bicycle-type landing gear require precise control inputs during landing; forward visibility is also limited due to the extended aircraft nose and “taildragger” configuration. A second U-2 pilot normally “chases” each landing in a high-performance vehicle, assisting the pilot by providing radio inputs for altitude and runway alignment. These characteristics combine to earn the U-2 a widely accepted title as the most difficult aircraft in the world to fly.

U.S. Air Force photo / Tech. Sgt. April Wickes

U.S. Air Force photo / Airman 1st Class Luis A. Ruiz-Vazquez

The U-2 is powered by a lightweight , fuel efficient General Electric F118-101 engine, which negates the need for air refueling on long duration missions. The U-2S Block 10 electrical system upgrade replaced legacy wiring with advanced fiber-optic technology and lowered the overall electronic noise signature to provide a quieter platform for the newest generation of sensors.

Christopher Michel

General Electric F118-101 engine

The General Electric F118 two-spool turbofan engine is a derivative of the GE F101, which was developed for the Advanced Manned Strategic Aircraft Program (the B-1 Lancer). The F118 shares the core design of the F101 and was created by developing new low pressure systems to tailor engine performance to match the needs of the B-2 Spirit program, which was unveiled by the U.S. Air Force in 1988. The F118 is the non-afterburning version of the GE F110.

Another application for the F118 engine is the U-2S Dragon Lady high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft (spy plane). The U-2S is the result of the 1998 re-engining of U-2R aircraft with the F118-GE-101 turbofan. This greatly increased the service ceiling, range, control and safety of the aircraft.

Bernie C

Manufacturer: General Electric Co.
Thrust: 19,000 pounds
Overall Pressure Ratio at Maximum Power: 35.1
Thrust-to-Weight Ratio: 5.94
Compressor: Two-spool, axial flow, three-stage fan
LP-HP Compressor Stages: 0-9
HP-LP Turbine Stages: 1-2
Combustor Type: Annular
Length: 100.5 in (2.55 m)
Diameter: 46.5 in (118 cm)
Dry Weight: 3,200 lbs (1,452 kg)
Platforms: B-2A Spirit
Price/Unit Cost: Unknown
Introduced: 1988


The aircraft has the following sensor packages: electro-optical infrared camera, optical bar camera, advanced synthetic aperture radar, signals intelligence, and network-centric communication.

Sensor packages

U.S. Air Force photo / Senior Master Sgt. Paul Holcomb

The US Air Force (USAF) fleet of Lockheed Martin U-2 Dragon Lady spyplanes recently have completed flight testing and installation of the Collins Aerospace Senior Year Electro-Optical Reconnaissance System (SYERS-2C).

The electro-optical and infrared camera is to provide more precise, long-range tracking of stationary or moving targets in a wider range of weather conditions, says Lockheed Martin on 18 February. The sensor was also built with open mission systems architecture, which should enable easier sharing of data with fifth-generation combat aircraft, such as the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II and F-22 Raptor.

The multispectral camera can use its various sensors to see in darkness, as well as through haze, smoke or clouds. The range and resolution of the camera were not disclosed.

The camera was tested and installed through a partnership between Lockheed Martin Skunk Works and Collins Aerospace.

Senior Year Electro-Optical Reconnaissance System (SYERS-2C)

“SYERS-2C represents an evolutionary step forward for the Air Force, capitalizing on a high performing, mature system to insert substantial new capabilities into the battlespace of the future,” said Kevin Raftery, vice president and general manager, ISR and Space Solutions for Collins Aerospace. “The U-2 has been the cornerstone of the Air Force’s ISR inventory and with upgrades like SYERS-2C, the system can continue to provide increasingly valuable multi-intelligence information to the warfighter for years to come.”

The ten-band, high spatial resolution SYERS-2C sensor provides unmatched ability to find, track and assess moving and stationary targets. Developed with open mission systems standards to enable command, control and data exchange with 5th generation platforms, the sensor has become a critical asset to theater commanders bringing unique advantages to joint operations across the battlespace. Source

General data:
Type: Infrared Altitude Max: 0 m
Range Max: 185.2 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0 km Generation: Infrared, 2nd Generation Imaging (1980s/1990s, LANTIRN, Litening) )
Properties: Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) [Side Info], Classification [Class Info] / Brilliant Weapon [Automatic Target Aquisition], Continous Tracking Capability [Visual], Periscope/Surface Search – Advanced Processing [2000+]
Sensors / EW:
SYERS-2 – (U-2) Infrared
Role: Infrared, Surveillance Camera
Max Range: 185.2 km



Lockheed Martin Reveals Asars-3 Imaging Radar

Lockheed Martin is touting its Asars-3, its Ku-band imaging and ground moving target indicator radar, as a next-generation system for small air vehicle applications.

Lockheed Martin has revealed details of its new Ku-band imaging and ground moving target indicator (GMTI) radar, describing it as a next-generation system for small air vehicle applications, manned or unmanned. Lockheed Martin’s Integrated Systems and Global Solutions (IS&GS) division has named it Asars-3, reflecting the company’s heritage as developer of the first advanced synthetic aperture radar system for the SR-71 Blackbird. Asars-2 was another X-band system, developed for the U-2 reconnaissance aircraft by Raytheon. A Lockheed Martin official told AIN that a version of Asars-3 could replace the Raytheon system on the U-2, if funding becomes available.

Lockheed Martin has already developed another version of Asars-3 for a classified program. The configuration IS&GS officials described at the Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) Convention in Washington weighs only 165 pounds. The active-array antenna weighs just 25 pounds yet has 900 watts output. Mark Grablin, director of airborne reconnaissance systems, said that Ku-band provides much greater resolution than X-band systems and showed photo-quality images taken by the company’s Piper Navajo testbed.

X-band radars have traditionally offered longer range, but Lockheed Martin officials told AIN that larger antennas and modern processing techniques could offset that disadvantage in Ku-band systems. Grablin also told attendees that Tracer, the company’s UHF penetrating radar, has already flown on the Ikhana UAV, NASA’s version of the MQ-9 Reaper. It has been repackaged into a pod with dual antennas. He said that upcoming flight trials on a U.S. Army UH-60 “should prove that a low-frequency radar can do GMTI of targets obscured by foliage, as well as imaging,” thanks to newly developed algorithms.

Meanwhile, Northrop Grumman used the AUSA Convention to describe improvements to its small Ku-band radar. Source

U.S. Air Force photo / Staff Sgt. Andy Kin

Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar System-2B (ASARS-2B)

The United States Air Force fiscal 2021 budget request includes $120 million for the Lockheed Martin U-2 reconnaissance aircraft, including about $48 million for the “high altitude, deep look” Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar System-2B (ASARS-2B), $62 million for other upgrades, and nearly $10 million in overseas contingency operations funding. Raytheon builds ASARS-2B.

The $120 million Air Force request is $62 million more than appropriated last year, when ASARS-2B funds were not included.

The ASARS-2B program “replaces the front end components of the [Raytheon] ASARS-2A airborne radar to alleviate reduction in current ASARS-2A capability starting in FY21 [fiscal 2021] due to significant diminishing manufacturing sources and material shortages (DMSMS) issues,” according to the Air Force fiscal 2021 budget request.

“ASARS-2B fixes these front end DMSMS issues while advancing the AF high altitude long range ISR radar capabilities,” the request said. “ASARS-2B incorporates a new Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) antenna, Power Conditioning Unit (PCU), and Liquid Cooling System (LCS) while replacing the existing ASARS-2A Receiver Exciter Controller (REC) and radar data processing software on the Onboard Processor (OBP). The front-end (AESA, PCU, and LCS) together with the replaced/modified components (REC and OBP) significantly improve existing Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and Ground Moving Target Indicator (GMTI) capabilities while adding new maritime capabilities. These efforts will align with back end up grades, previously referred to as ASARS-2C.”

The Air Force said that it expects to award an ASARS-2B production contract by October next year and that the initial operational capability of ASARS-2B will come by fiscal 2023.

The ASARS-2B radar includes an open systems architecture and the radar’s range is nearly double that of the previous ASARS-2A radar, Raytheon has said. ASARS-2B is to complement the Collins Aerospace Senior Year Electro-Optical Reconnaissance System (SYERS) multispectral imaging sensor.

On Feb. 18, Lockheed Martin and Collins Aerospace said that they had recently completed flight testing and deployment of SYERS-2C, a 10-band, high spatial resolution sensor.

“Developed with open mission systems standards to enable command, control and data exchange with 5th generation platforms, the sensor has become a critical asset to theater commanders bringing unique advantages to joint operations across the battlespace,” the companies said. Source

Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar System-2 (ASARS-2)

ASARS-2 is the Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar System carried on some variants of the Lockheed U-2 reconnaissance aircraft. The ASARS-2 system was developed in the early 1980s by Hughes Aircraft, and is currently supported by Raytheon. It is capable of detecting and accurately locating both stationary and moving ground targets; target information is transmitted via a wideband data link to a ground station. The radar is capable of producing extremely high resolution images at long range.

ASARS-2 is the Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar System carried on some variants of the Lockheed U-2 reconnaissance aircraft. The ASARS-2 system was developed in the early 1980s by Hughes Aircraft, and is currently supported by Raytheon. It is capable of detecting and accurately locating both stationary and moving ground targets; target information is transmitted via a wideband data link to a ground station. The radar is capable of producing extremely high resolution images at long range. ASARS-2 was used extensively during Operation Desert Storm for target location and battle damage assessment. It has also been used to survey damage after various domestic disasters, including floods along the Mississippi River and the 1994 Northridge earthquake. In the late 1990s, the ASARS Improvement Program (AIP) incorporated several performance and supportability enhancements into the system. Making extensive use of commercial off-the-shelf technology, the AIP redesign increased on-board processing capability and upgraded the data link. The first of these ASARS-2A radars was delivered in 2001. Some features and technologies from the ASARS-2A system have been incorporated into the Raytheon Sentinel developed as the RAF’s Airborne STand-Off Radar (ASTOR) aircraft. Source

U-2s are home based at the 9th Reconnaissance Wing, Beale Air Force Base, California, but are rotated to operational detachments worldwide. U-2 pilots are trained at Beale using five two-seat aircraft designated as TU-2S before deploying for operational missions.

Nick Collins

General characteristics

Primary function: high-altitude reconnaissance
Contractor: Lockheed Martin Aeronautics
Power plant: one General Electric F118-101 engine
Thrust: 17,000 pounds
Wingspan: 105 feet (32 meters)
Length: 63 feet (19.2 meters)
Height: 16 feet (4.8 meters)
Weight: 16,000 pounds
Maximum takeoff weight: 40,000 pounds (18,000 kilograms)
Fuel capacity: 2,950 gallons
Payload: 5,000 pounds
Speed: 410 mph
Range: more than 7,000 miles (6,090 nautical miles)
Ceiling: above 70,000 feet (21,212+ meters)
Crew: one (two in trainer models)
Unit cost: classified
Initial operating capability: 1956
Inventory: active force, 33 (5 two-seat trainers and two ER-2s operated by NASA); Reserve, 0; ANG, 0

(Current as of September 2015)


Main material source

Images are from public domain unless otherwise stated

Main image by Nick Collins

Updated Sep 16, 2021

Z-20 Medium-Lift Utility Helicopter

The Z-20 helicopter is a new medium-lift utility helicopter operated by China’s People’s Liberation Army Ground Force.

The Z-20 helicopter is a new medium-lift utility helicopter operated by China’s People’s Liberation Army Ground Force.

The helicopter resembles the UH-60 Black Hawk twin-engine rotorcraft built by Sikorsky. The Z-20 entered active service with the Chinese armed forces in 2018.

First flight

The Z-20 gets air under its wheels for the first time at a snowy location in China, almost certainly at the Harbin factory. (Photo via Chinese internet)

China’s newest military helicopter made its first flight on December 23 at a location in “northeastern China,” a site presumed to be the Harbin facility. The aircraft, believed to be designated Z-20, is in the “10-tonne” class, and is thought to be a collaborative effort among Harbin, Changhe and the 602 Institute. It closely resembles the Sikorsky S-70 Black Hawk that has been in Chinese army service for nearly three decades. The first public glimpse of the Z-20 came in August 2013, when the heavily wrapped fuselage was photographed being transported by road.

China acquired 24 Sikorsky S-70C-2s in the mid-1980s, and they were pressed into service with the army for missions in the mountainous regions of China, such as Tibet, where their high-altitude performance greatly impressed the People’s Liberation Army. With further supplies and spares support from the U.S. cut off after 1989, the army began acquiring sizeable numbers of Mi-17/171s from Russia, while Changhe began to reverse-engineer parts to keep the S-70 fleet flying. This work, and access to live examples, allowed the Z-20 design team to draw heavily on the Sikorsky helicopter. Some sources allege that Pakistan allowed Chinese engineers access to the heavily modified Black Hawk destroyed during the bin Laden raid.

Although strikingly similar to the S-70, the Z-20 exhibits some differences, the most notable of which is a five-blade main rotor instead of the Black Hawk’s four-blade unit. Compared with the Black Hawk’s, the Z-20’s cabin is longer and wider, while the main rotor head appears to be positioned farther aft, making the forward fuselage seem longer than that of the S-70. The undercarriage and tail also show differences.

In terms of powerplant and dynamics, it is likely that the Z-20 draws on the same technology as employed in the Z-10 attack helicopter. Both have their roots in the China Medium Helicopter (CMH) program of the late 1990s, for which Western help was received. The prototype Z-20 may be powered by the indigenous WZ-6C turboshaft, with the more powerful (1800 kW) WZ-10 slated for production machines.

Development of a utility helicopter that can be used for assault, fire support, electronic warfare and special-operations missions is seen as important to the development of PLA Army Aviation. However, it is understood that the development of the Z-20 was delayed while the design team focused on the higher priority Z-10. As well as augmenting and expanding the army’s helicopter fleet, the Z-20 could also find a use at sea, particularly aboard the aircraft carrier Liaoning.  Source

Manufactured by Chinese state-owned aerospace and defence firm Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC) subsidiary Harbin Aircraft Industry Group, the helicopter performed its maiden flight in 2013. The Z-20 made its first public presence during China’s 70th National Day military parade in Beijing in October 2019.

The rotorcraft also performed a demonstration flight at the fifth China Helicopter Exposition held in Tianjin in October 2019. The Z-20s were presented as the static and close-formation flying displays at the event.

Designed to meet the People’s Liberation Army’s requirement for a medium-lift utility helicopter, the Z-20 is considered to be the country’s first indigenously developed medium-lift helicopter.

The development started in 2006 but was delayed due to technical issues and a shift of focus towards the development of the Z-10 attack helicopter.

Z-20F, the ship-borne naval variant, has some similarities with the US Navy’s Seahawk design.

Images suggest Z-20 helicopter has entered service with China’s PLAGF

Production versions of the Harbin Z-20 helicopter appear to have entered service with an aviation unit of China’s People’s Liberation Army Ground Force (PLAGF), as evidenced by photographs published on Chinese online forums.

A Chinese Z-20 helicopter bearing the number LH953205: a serial number format indicating that this rotorcraft type has likely entered service with the PLA Army Aviation. (Via

Although images of the Z-20 had previously emerged online, they had shown the platforms with either no serial numbers or only three-digit numbers, indicating that these were development or pre-production aircraft. The latest photographs, however, show two helicopters featuring serial numbers LH953201 and LH953205: the serial number format for aircraft in service with PLA Army Aviation.

The Z-20 is a medium utility helicopter in the 10-ton class. There have been many comments that the design is derived from the Sikorsky S-70C/Black Hawk, in part due to similarities in appearance but also because China bought 24 S-70C helicopters from the US in 1986: three years before the Tiananmen Square-related arms embargo was imposed.

There are, however, notable differences between the US and Chinese helicopters, not least in the use of a five-bladed main rotor in the Z-20 rather than a four-bladed one in the S-70. The Z-20 is thought to be powered by two WZ-10 turboshaft engines, each developing 1,600 kW, which would mean an increase of about 200 kW over that provided by the General Electric T700-701A turbines used in the exported S-70Cs. Source

Z-20 design and features

The Z-20 is widely believed to have been designed on the basis of the Sikorsky S-70 Black Hawk that was procured from the US. The Black Hawk fleet has been in service with China for over three decades. The Z-20 helicopter is identical to the Black Hawk in terms of shape, size and layout.

The Z-20 helicopter has an improved aerodynamic structure, integrating a five-bladed rotor and an angular tail-to-fuselage joint frame. It features two fairings, one installed aft of the engine exhausts and the second on the tail spine. The rotorcraft employs an active vibration control to minimize vibrations.

The rear tail wheel is wrapped by a light fairing, which reduces aerodynamic drag and slightly helps heading stability, which indirectly reduces the size of the vertical tail and further reduces weight. Source

Harbin incorporated advanced technologies into the helicopter design to reduce noise and improve stealth capabilities. Manned by a crew of two personnel, the helicopter has a take-off weight of 10t.

Naval version

Sina Weibo @苏宝访

According to pictures released by the China Defense Blog on June 20, 2020, the Chinese Navy has commissioned Z-20F also called Z-20J by other Chinese sources, a naval version of the Chinese-made Harbin Z-20 medium-lift utility helicopter produced by the Harbin Aircraft Industry Group (HAIG). A picture of the naval version of the Z-20 was unveiled on the Twitter account of Mike Yeo on October 14, 2019.

The new Z-20F helicopter is a modified version of the Z-20 designed to perform Search And Rescue operations like the American SH-60 Sea Hawk helicopter. The Z-20 layout is very similar to the Black Hawk helicopter but there are several key differences including a five-bladed main rotor and more angular tail-to-fuselage joint frame, giving it greater lift, cabin capacity, and endurance than the Black Hawk, as well as a fly-by-wire design.

The Z-20J can be operated from the small decks of warships. According to information released by the Drive website, it features apertures for a missile approach warning system (MAWS) and it has a landing gear arrangement similar to SH-60B/F and MH-60R Seahawks.

A square hole similar to those found on Seahawk and other maritime-optimized helicopters that use the RAST (Recovery Assist, Secure and Traverse) system for recovery is also clearly seen.

The helicopter’s tail boom holds a number of features, including a downward-facing UHF communications antenna and a directional data-link antenna under a dome. These are key components that give the Z-20F the capability to send large amounts of information to receivers that are located on the surface of the earth within line-of-sight. Source

Attack Version

Mission capabilities of Z-20

The multi-role helicopter was designed to operate in plateaus such as the Tibet Autonomous Region and in challenging weather conditions. It can be deployed in multiple missions including transport of troops and cargo, reconnaissance, search and rescue, and anti-submarine operations. In addition, the helicopter can perform assault and fire support missions.

The Z-20 can carry more than 11 troops. The internal payload capacity of the helicopter is approximately 1.5t, while the rotorcraft can also carry approximately 5t of cargo externally as a sling load. The Z-20 has the option to be armed with missiles and machine guns.

Z-20 cockpit and avionics

Z-20’s cockpit has large windows that occupy more than 50% area of the helicopter’s forward fuselage. It has two additional windows at the lower section to provide pilots with a wide view of the operational area.

The control panels in the cockpit feature multifunctional screens. The rotorcraft is equipped with a fly-by-wire flight control system, making it the first China-made helicopter to use the advanced technology.

The incorporation of the fly-by-wire technology is intended to reduce the burden on the pilot and enhance safety and stability during operations.

The helicopter is also equipped with a missile approach warning system (MAWS) and flare decoy dispensers.

Generic Navigation Radar

The helicopter features a glass cockpit with at least 5 MFDs. Shoulder armor plates were installed to protect the pilots. It also features a box shaped PNVS mounted underneath the chin controlled by pilot’s HMD and twin RWR antennas on both sides of the forward and rear fuselage. LWR sensors have been installed on both sides of the nose with ECM antennas on the top. A new IFF antenna was installed on the cockpit roof. A weather radar and a terrian following radar were integrated in the nose. A SATCOM antenna, two pairs of chaff/flare dispensers plus a Beidou antenna were installed on the tail boom. An FBW flight control system was installed. Active noise/vibration reduction technology was used.  Source

General data:
Type: Radar Altitude Max: 0 m
Range Max: 37 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0.4 km Generation: Early 1970s
Properties: Pulse-only Radar
Sensors / EW:
Generic Navigation Radar – Radar
Role: Radar, Navigation
Max Range: 37 km


Generic FLIR – (2nd Gen, Surveillance, 8x Magnification) Infrared


General data:
Type: Infrared Altitude Max: 0 m
Range Max: 55.6 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0 km Generation: Infrared, 2nd Generation Imaging (1980s/1990s, LANTIRN, Litening) )
Properties: Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) [Side Info], Classification [Class Info] / Brilliant Weapon [Automatic Target Aquisition], Continous Tracking Capability [Visual]
Sensors / EW:
Generic FLIR – (2nd Gen, Surveillance, 8x Magnification) Infrared
Role: Infrared, Surveillance Camera
Max Range: 55.6 km


Generic RWR – ESM

General data:
Type: ESM Altitude Max: 0 m
Range Max: 222.2 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0 km Generation: Late 1970s
Sensors / EW:
Generic RWR – ESM
Role: RWR, Radar Warning Receiver
Max Range: 222.2 km


KD-10 air-to-surface missile

The latest image (December 2021) suggested that an armed variant (Z-20W?) has been undergoing test flight while carrying KD-9/10 ATGMs and fuel tanks under the stub wings. The latest video (February 2021) indicated a new batch of Z-20s have engine exhausts facing upward to reduce their IR signature. Source

@秋秋Q30 VIA WEIBO –

General data:
Type: Guided Weapon Weight: 50.0 kg
Length: 1.2 m Span: 0.3 m
Diameter: 0.15 Generation: None
Properties: Terminal Illumination, Terrain Following, Level Cruise Flight
Targets: Surface Vessel, Land Structure – Soft, Land Structure – Hardened, Mobile Target – Soft, Mobile Target – Hardened
Sensors / EW:
Laser Spot Tracker – (Generic, Weapon) Laser Spot Tracker (LST)
LST, Laser Spot Tracker
Max Range: 27.8 km
HJ-10 ATGM – Guided Weapon
Surface Max: 9.3 km. Land Max: 9.3 km.


Engines of Z-20 helicopter

The Z-20 helicopter is powered by two locally developed WZ-10 turboshaft engines. The engine is expected to deliver a maximum power of 1,600kW.


The Z-20 has a crew of two and can accommodate around 12-15 fully-equipped troops. It has a payload capacity of around 5 000 kg. It can carry around 1,000 kg internally and 4,000 kg externally. It can transport various loads, such as vehicles and artillery pieces underslung externally. Source

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Skjold Class Missile Fast Patrol Boats, Norway

The Skjold Class missile fast patrol boat is characterised by its speed, reduced signatures, small size with heavy weapon load and its littoral combat capability.

The Skjold Class missile fast patrol boat is characterized by its speed, reduced signatures, small size with heavy weapon load and its littoral combat capability. The Skjold (‘shield’) has an air-cushioned catamaran hull (surface effect) which, with waterjet propulsion, provides high speed and maneuverability.

The first-of-class ship, KNM Skjold (P960), was commissioned in April 1999. The Norwegian Government approved the construction of five more Skjold Class vessels in June 2002. Contract negotiations were concluded in July 2003. The series of ships were constructed at the Umoe Mandal shipyard.

The other five hulls are: Storm (P961), Skudd (P962), Steil (P963, launched January 2008), Glimt (P964) and Gnist (P965). Storm (P961) was launched in November 2006 and started sea trials in January 2008.

In September 2002, Skjold completed a 13-month deployment in the US, allowing the US Navy to study the Skjold Class concept. The ship participated in a series of naval exercises and a number of tests with US Navy research establishments NAVSEA and the Office of Naval Research.

This was the result of a bilateral agreement in which the US Navy reviewed the Skjold capabilities and performance as part of their transformational activities, including littoral combat ship (LCS) development.

Norwegian Armed Forces

In September 2003, Skjold was temporarily decommissioned and returned to the Mandal shipyard for the upgrading of its propulsion system. The vessel began sea trials in November 2006, prior to recommissioning in mid-2008. Skjold has been redesignated as a trials platform.

The second ship in class, Storm (P961), was delivered in September 2010. Skudd (P962) was delivered in October 2010. Steil (P963) was delivered in June 2011. The fifth ship in the class, Glimt (P964), was handed over to the Royal Norwegian Navy in March 2012. The last ship in class, Gnist (P965), was delivered to the Royal Norwegian Navy in November 2012.

Covert operational capabilities

An important capability of the Skjold is its covert operational capability in littoral warfare, particularly in using Norway’s coastal topography with its islands and fjords, to carry out surveillance and engage hostile forces from a close distance while remaining undetected.

The shallow draught of 0.9m to 2.3m allows the ship to access very shallow waters denied to other vessels.

Air cushion catamaran (ACC) design

The ship’s configuration uses an air cushion catamaran (ACC) design, which is an advanced variant of surface effect ship (SES) technology.

The ACC is based on a catamaran hull with an air cushion between the hulls, which has been successfully proven with the Norwegian Oksoy Class minehunters and minesweepers, which entered service in 1994. The low area of wetted surface of the hulls gives an improved level of shock resistance and significantly reduced wave resistance, compared to that of a conventional displaced or semi-displaced hull configuration.

Norwegian Armed Forces

VT Maritime Dynamics provides the vessel’s stabilization systems, including a ride control system which monitors and regulates the pressure of the air cushion by controlling vent valves and a stern fan system that controls the stern seal pressure. The elevated position of the magnetic components reduces the magnetic signature.

Norwegian Armed Forces

“In September 2002, Skjold completed a 13-month deployment in the US, allowing the US Navy to study the Skjold Class concept.”

The combination of the twin hull and water jet propulsion provides very high and very responsive maneuverability. Vital systems have been duplicated for enhanced survivability and the ship remains operational with one engine room set lost.

The low draught of 0.9m on cushion gives an advantage of access to shallow coastal waters and lower vulnerability to impact against surface or tethered mines or other debris.

P 961 HNoMS Storm – Norwegian Armed Forces

The hull is of composite construction. The hulls are laminated inside and outside with fibre-reinforced plastic composed of glass fibre and carbon laminates bound with vinyl ester and polyester resin. A scrimp manufacturing process is used in construction, involving vacuum-assisted resin injection.

Carbon fibre and carbon-loaded materials have been selected for the beams, mast and supporting structures, which need high tensile strength, for example the support structures for the gun and the electro-optical and radar weapon director.

Radar-absorbent doors, hatches and windows

Radar-absorbent materials have been used in the load-bearing structures across large areas of the ship. This strategy leads to significant weight saving compared to conventional construction techniques of applying RAM cladding to the external surfaces.

P 963 HNoMS Steil – Norwegian Armed Forces

The ship’s profile has a faceted appearance with no right-angle structures and few orientations of reflective panels.

Doors and hatches are flush with the surfaces and the windows are flush without visible coaming (edge of window aperture) and are fitted with radar-reflective screens.

Senit 2000 combat management system

The command and control system for the six Skjold Class vessels is the lightweight Senit 2000 combat management system, jointly developed by DCNS and Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace.

The system has also been selected for the modernisation of the Royal Norwegian Navy’s Hauk Class fast patrol boats.

The Senit 2000 combat management system uses operating modes for littoral warfare and is interoperable with tactical datalinks 11 and 16, to be supplied by Aeromaritime. Senit 2000 gives fast response to pop-up air threats, such as helicopters or other aircraft that suddenly emerge from cover.

Weapons of the Skjold Class missile fast patrol boat

Nowergian Armed Forces

The ship is armed with eight Kongsberg NSM (Nye Sjoemaals Missiler, or Norwegian strike missile) anti-ship missiles, which have been developed for the Skjold Class ships and for the Fritjof Nansen frigates.

The NSM missile is equipped with GPS midcourse and a dual-band imaging infrared seeker guidance and has a range in excess of 150km. NSM entered serial production in June 2007.

The ship’s short-range surface-to-air missile is the infrared-guided MBDA Mistral in a portable configuration. A twin launcher will be deployed on the deck or on a land site. The missile is armed with a three kilogram warhead and has a target range of four kilometres.

Norwegian strike missile

Nowergian Armed Forces

The NSM is a very flexible system, which can be launched from a variety of platforms against a variety of targets on sea and land.

The airframe design and the high thrust to weight ratio give the NSM extremely good manoeuvrability. The missile is completely passive, has proven its excellent sea-skimming capabilities and with its advanced terminal manoeuvres, it will survive the enemy air defences. The Autonomous Target Recognition (ATR) of the seeker ensures that the correct target is detected, recognized and hit, at sea or on land. Source

The ship’s gun, for deployment against aircraft and other vessels, is the Oto Melara 76mm Super Rapid. The gun has a burst-firing rate of 120rpm, firing six kilograms shells to a range of 16km.

Oto Melara 76mm Super Rapid

Norwegian Armed Forces

The 76/62 Super Rapid (SR) Gun Mount is a light weight, rapid-fire naval gun providing unrivalled performance and flexibility in any air defence and anti surface role, particularly in anti-missile role.

Capability for very effective engagement of shore based targets is also provided for unique multi-role performance.

The 76/62 SR is suitable for installation on ships of any type and class, including small naval units.

Interface to a large variety of ship’s Combat Management System and/or FCS/EOS is provided, according to digital as well as analogical standard, including open architecture.
The Firing rate can be selected from single shot to firing 120 rds/min.

In operational condition the tactical time is less than 3 seconds and the standard deviation at firing is less than 0.3 mrad, thus providing excellent accuracy.

The 76/62 SR (together with the 76/62 Compact) is the only medium caliber naval gun available in the capable of sustained fire, which is a fundamental requirement in any scenario involving the simultaneous engagement of multiple manoeuvring target, as requested by the emerging asymmetric warfare scenarios.

Norwegian Armed Forces

Automatic loading is provided through a revolving magazine and rapid reloading is easily undertaken even during firing action by two ammunition handlers.

Standard supply includes the new Digital Control Console (DCC) capitalizing the digital technology to increase the functions available to the operator and to the maintainers.
The 76/62 SR is ready for operating the 3AP Multifunction Programmable Fuse. Source

2 × 12.7mm Browning M2HB HMGs

Norwegian Armed Forces

Calibre: 12.7 mm
Weight: 38.15 kg (gun only)
Length: 1,656 mm
Muzzle velocity: 915 m/s
Feed: 50-round disintegrating belt
Effective Range: 2,000 m
Cyclic rate of fire: 485 – 635 rounds per minute


Sensors and countermeasures of Norway’s Skjold Class vessels

The Saab Systems Ceros 200 radar and optronic fire control system provides fire control for missiles and guns. The Ceros 200 system includes a Ku-band radar target tracker, CCTV camera, thermal imager, video tracker and laser rangefinder.

Ceros 200 radar and optronic fire control system

Saab’s CEROS (Celsius Tech Radar and Optronic Site) 200 is a ship-based search and tracking radar system capable of engaging targets above supersonic speeds. The CEROS employs a variety of sensors such as infrared, electrooptical, televisual, and laser. According to a publication by Saab, CEROS is able to detect sea-skimming missiles via its patented CHASE algorithm.[i] Saab explains that this algorithm mitigates the effect of multiparty wave interference, which is when signals are sent to a receiver by multiple sources.[ii] For example, a missile may emit a signal to a receiver, which then sends it to command and control at the same time that a signal directly from the missile reaches command and control. In this instant, the two signals would arrive with different phase shifts — think: a sine wave placed in front of another, so that there’s no exact overlap. This can result in the ghosting effect sometimes observed on television in which images appear to have a shadow duplicate on them.

“The Ceros 200 FCS has been integrated on the Visby-class corvettes, ANZAC frigates, Skjold-class fast patrol boats, Finnish Squadron 2000 vessels, Rauma-class ships and Korean PKX-class patrol boats. It has also been selected for Denmark’s Combat Support Ships (CSS). Source

General data:
Type: Radar Altitude Max: 30480 m
Range Max: 46.3 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0.2 km Generation: Early 1990s
Properties: Moving Target Indicator (MTI), Pulse Doppler Radar (Full LDSD Capability)
Sensors / EW:
CEROS 200 Tracker [9LV Mk3E CETRIS] – Radar
Role: Radar, FCR, Weapon Director
Max Range: 46.3 km


EOS 500 electro optical tracking systems

The high quality stabilisation and advanced TV & IR cameras and laser rangefinder provide operators with an efficient solution for observation, target identification and fire control.

EOS 500 is capable of tracking all types of threats including sea-skimming missiles. Saab’s advanced video tracker uses simultaneous input from the TV and the IR camera in a data fusion process. The system provides automatic detection of up to four concurrent targets, thus enabling the operator to easily acquire and change targets swiftly. It uses high accuracy 3D tracking.

EOS 500 can be offered as a part of a 9LV combat system solution, or can be combined with components such as Ceros 200 radar, Electro-Optical (EO) tracking systems, gun fire control and missile control modules to form a weapon control system. Such a setup enables operators to dynamically allocate any combination of tracker and weapon for flexible handling of surrounding threats or use them as stand-alone systems. Source

EOS 500 [CCD]

General data:
Type: Visual Altitude Max: 0 m
Range Max: 185.2 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0 km Generation: LLTV, 3rd Generation (2000s/2010s)
Properties: Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) [Side Info], Classification [Class Info] / Brilliant Weapon [Automatic Target Aquisition], Continous Tracking Capability [Visual], LLTV / NVG / CCD (Night-Capable) / Searchlight [Visual Night-Capable]
Sensors / EW:
EOS 500 [CCD] – Visual
Role: LLTV, Weapon Director
Max Range: 185.2 km

EOS 500 [IR Camera]

General data:
Type: Infrared Altitude Max: 0 m
Range Max: 185.2 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0 km Generation: Infrared, 3rd Generation Imaging (2000s/2010s, Impr LANTIRN, Litening II/III, ATFLIR)
Properties: Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) [Side Info], Classification [Class Info] / Brilliant Weapon [Automatic Target Aquisition], Continous Tracking Capability [Visual]
Sensors / EW:
EOS 500 [IR Camera] – Infrared
Role: Infrared, Weapon Director Camera
Max Range: 185.2 km

EOS 500 [Laser Rangefinder]

General data:
Type: Laser Rangefinder Altitude Max: 0 m
Range Max: 7.4 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0 km Generation: Not Applicable (N/A)
Sensors / EW:
EOS 500 [Laser Rangefinder] – Laser Rangefinder
Role: Laser Rangefinder for Weapon Director
Max Range: 7.4 km


MRR-3D-NG G-band multirole radar

P 963 HNoMS Steil –

Thales Naval France had been awarded the contract for the MRR-3D-NG G-band multirole radar and associated IFF systems.

The MRR-3D-NG radar has a lightweight phased array antenna and operates as both surveillance radar and a self-defence system sensor, with automatic mode switching.

In surface surveillance mode, the MRR-3D-NG can detect low and medium-level targets at ranges of up to 140km and in long-range 3D air surveillance mode targets up to 180km; in the self-defence mode, it can detect and track any threat within a radius of 60km.


CS-3701 tactical radar surveillance system (TRSS)

The CS-3701 tactical radar surveillance system (TRSS), from EDO Reconnaissance & Surveillance Systems of Morgan Hill, California, provides electronic support measures (ESM) and radar warning receiver (RWR) functions. The system’s 360 degree circular array interferometer antennas are produced by EDO Antenna and Technologies of Deer Park, New York.

Key System Capabilities
High probability of intercept for instantaneous emitter detection
High sensitivity for long-range detection
Accurate AOA on every pulse
Wideband, narrowband and low band subsystems for comprehensive signal exploitation using advanced sapience emitter processing algorithms
Handles FMCW radars with ultra-high sensitivity and DF
Custom frequency coverage
Precision DF over elevation and dynamic range
Accurate pulse measurements
Processes narrow pulses
Extensive on-board and off-board interference rejection
Signal Processing Performance
< 1 second reaction time
Processes 1 MPPS signal environment
20,000 emitter mode library capacity


Skjold vessels are equipped with the MASS (multi-ammunition soft-kill) decoy system from Rheinmetall Waffe Munition (formerly Buck Neue Technologien) of Germany. MASS can launch up to 32 omni-spectral projectiles in a time-staggered configuration against anti-ship missiles and guided projectiles. The MASS decoy covers radar, infrared, electro-optic, laser and ultraviolet wavebands.

MASS (multi-ammunition soft-kill) decoy system

The automatic decoy system MASS provides a unique level of protection against modern sensor-guided missiles. MASS can be installed on ships of all types and can be integrated into existing command systems. The new MASS_ISS features built-in sensors for detecting radar and laser threats. Programmable and omni-spectral, the system’s innovative ammunition provides protection in all relevant wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum. Source

DUAL TRAP Chaff/Flare

General data:
Type: Decoy (Expendable) Weight: 0.0 kg
Length: 0.4 m Span: 0.1 m
Diameter: 0.0 Generation: Single Spectral IR Decoy
Targets: Surface Vessel
DUAL TRAP Chaff/Flare – Decoy (Expendable)
Surface Max: 1.9 km.


P 963 HNoMS Steil – Norwegian Armed Forces

Gas turbine (CODAG) propulsion engines

The main propulsion is by waterjet, which offers very shallow draught and extraordinary maneuvering capabilities.

P 964 HNoMS Glim – Norwegian Armed Forces

The waterjets are normally driven by gas turbines but may also be driven by small diesel engines in order to reduce infrared signature. The waterjet nozzles can be moved independently to maneuver the Skjold sideways without side propellers or bow propellers. The Skjold retains its ability to turn through very sharp angles, even at high speeds.

Norwegian Armed Forces

The prototype has a CODAG (combined diesel and gas turbine) propulsion system, with two Rolls-Royce Allison 571KF gas turbine engines, each rated at 6,000kW (8,160hp), driving two Kamewa water jets and two auxiliary engines, MTU 6R 183 TE52 rated at 275kW. These provide a maximum speed of more than 100km/h (55kt).

ST40M gas turbine on test bench –

The new series of Skjold Class ships have COGAG (combined gas turbine and gas turbine) propulsion and are fitted with four gas turbines from Pratt & Whitney, two ST18M rated at two×4,000kW and two ST 40M rated at two×2,000kW, driving the two Kamewa water jets. There are also two MTU 6R TE92 manoeuvring engines, rated at 3,700kW. KNM Skjold has been refitted with this propulsion system.

Kamewa water jets

Two MTU 12V TE92 lift fan engines, rated at 735kW, drive the air into the air cushion between the hulls.

A computer controlled ride control system controls the air cushion at a 0.5m water column pressure.


Length: 46.9 m
Beam: 13.5 m
High: 15 m (On cushion)
Draft: .7 m (On cushon)
Draft: 1.9 m (Off cushion)
Speed: In excess of 55 knots
Displacement: 260 tons
Main engines:
2 gas turbines Rolls Royce Allison 571 KF 6000 kW (2 x 8160 Hp) (prototype)
Auxillary systems:
2 Auxillary engines: MTU 6R 183 TE52 275 kW
2 Lift fan engines: MTU 12V TE92 735 kW
2 Manoeuvering engines: MTU 6R TE 92 370 kW
440V 60Hz 3 phase 4 polar 228 kW
2 x 80 cm KaMeWa water jets
Main gun:
76mm Oto Melara Super Rapid


Main material source

Images are from public domain unless otherwise stated

Main image – photo by Torbjørn Kjosvold

Mi-171SH-HV/VN Military Transport Helicopter

JSC Russian Нelicopters unveiled Mi-171SH-HV military transport helicopter at the MAKS-2017 International Aviation and Space Show held in Moscow, Russia, in July 2017. It is a new variant in the Mi-8/17 family of multi-mission helicopters.

Designed for use by the special forces, the Mi-171SH-HV variant comes with advanced navigation and surveillance equipment, powerplant and combat efficiency. It can be used for a wide range of missions, including ground attack and personnel / cargo transportation.

Mi-171SH-HV design and features

Alexander Listopad

The Mi-171SH-HV military transport helicopter is designed by JSC Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant based on the Mi-8/17. It is manned by three crew members and is capable of carrying up to 28 personnel.

by NickJ 1972

The composite five-blade main rotor assembly improves the helicopter’s performance. The tail rotor assembly has four blades configured in X-shape.

Aviation video

The helicopter’s take-off and landing operations are supported by a landing gear assembly consisting of two single-leg main gears and a double-wheeled nose gear.

The fuselage is outfitted with sliding doors on each side of the cabin for passengers. A hydraulic cargo ramp at the rear allows for loading and unloading of cargo.

Stanislav Bazhenov

Stanislav Bazhenov

Aviation video

The helicopter has a payload capacity of approximately 4,000kg and a maximum take-off weight of 13,500kg.

Armament of Mi-171SH-HV multi-mission helicopter

Ilya Solovey

by NickJ 1972

The Mi-171SH-HV military transport helicopter variant is equipped with six external hardpoints for carriage of missiles, rockets, weapons and guided bombs.

Rockets S-8

B-8V20A rocket pod –

The S-8 unguided aircraft rockets designed to destroy any ground targets and are used on almost all Russian-made military helicopters and aircraft.

The rockets are powered by a versatile solid fuel rocket motor.

Their construction has incorporated progressive methods for body forming from ready-made rolled aluminum, original design (locking of folding fins) and process solutions aimed at reducing manufacturing man-hours, costs and increasing operational reliability.

Nikolay Krasnov

Currently, the following types of rockets are offered for export:

  • S-8KOM – with HEAT fragmentation warhead;
  • S-8BM – with concrete-piercing (penetrating) HE warhead;
  • S-8T – with tandem HEAT fragmentation warhead;
  • S-8DF – with FAE warhead;
  • S-8OM – with illuminating warhead;
  • S-8PM – with chaff warhead;
  • S-8TsM – with target designating (smoke) warhead.

Operating temperature range of all rocket versions is ±60º C, the caliber – 80mm.


Designed to destroy armored, light armored and soft-skinned materiel. Owing to the fragmentation effect, the rocket also inflicts damage on manpower.


Up to eight Ataka anti-tank guided missiles, four mounted on each side, are used to destroy main battle tanks with explosive reactive armour. Two OFAB-250 high-explosive fragmentation incendiary bombs are carried to defeat light armoured targets and fuel stores.

Ataka anti-tank guided missiles

Ataka anti-tank guided missiles –

The guided missile is performed in two versions 9M120 and 9M120F differing in the warhead type. Intended to fire from Shturm-V systems deployed on Mi-23V, Mi-28, Mi-8AMTSh, and from Shturm-S systems mounted on the 9P149 combat vehicle.

Technical data

Missile Versions:

Caliber, mm 130
Length, mm 1830
Weight, kg 49.5
Firing range, m 1000…5800
Maximum flight velocity, m/s 550
Allowance of ammunition:
Mi-24V (Mi-28) helicopter 8 (16)
9P149 combat vehicle 12
Operational conditions:
— height range above sea level, m 0…4000
— temperature range, °C ±50

9M120 Antitank guided missile

Equipped with a HEAT warhead and is intended to engage tanks of all types, including those screened by ERA.

Penetration at normal to the homogeneous armor with ERA — 800 mm.

Warhead type — tandem, extendable.

9M120F Guided missile

Equipped with a HE/fuel-air explosive warhead and is intended to suppress fire emplacements, bunkers, soft-skinned and lightly armored vehicles, aviation materiel, and sheltered personnel.

Blast effect in TNT equivalent — up to 9.5 kg.


A UPK-23-250 gun pod with GSh-23 twin-barrelled autocannon is fitted to provide a high rate of fire against enemy aircraft. The helicopter carries two 12.7mm-calibre Kord machine guns near the left and right doors. An additional two 12.7mm-calibre bow machine guns are suspended on the truss structure.

UPK-23-250 gun pod

UPK-23-250 gun pod –

The UPK-23 is a gun pod of a fairly simple design. The round aerodynamic pod houses a single fixed twin barrel GSh-23L autocannon at the front and associated ammunition at the rear. For operation the pod requires external power which is provided by the aircraft. Since the cannon is fixed it is aimed by pointing the aircraft in the direction of the target. Compared to the SPPU-22 pod with similar but flexible armament the UPK-23 is much lighter.


The UPK-23 features a single twin barrel GSh-23L autocannon and 250 rounds of 23x115mm ammunition. The cyclic rate of fire is 3.000 rpm and the maximum effective range is 2 km. The 23mm rounds are effective against infantry, soft skin vehicles and light armored vehicles.


The UPK-23 is most commonly found on the Mi-24 Hind attack helicopter and armed version of the Mi-8 Hip transport helicopter, but is used ground attack fighters such as the Su-17, Su-25 and MiG-23 as well. For fixed wing aircraft the slightly heavier SPPU-22 gun pod with flexible armament usually is a better option. The UPK-23 remains available although it is unknown if these are newly produced or refurbished pods. Source

12.7mm-calibre Kord machine guns

12.7mm-calibre Kord machine gun –

12.7 mm tank mounted machine-gun with an electric release can be installed on various moving and stationary objects for fighting low flying aerial threats, for destroying lightly armored and unarmored materiel, weapons and concentrated enemy personnel.

Technical data

Calibre, mm 12,7
Firing rate, shot/min 600-750
Muzzle velocity of a bullet, m/s 820-860

The machine-gun is designated for the defeat of non-armoured and lightly armoured technical facilities and living force of enemy at the distances of up to 2000 m as well as for the defeat of low-flying air targets at slant distances of up to 1500m. It can be used both as a hand machine-gun and as machine-gun mounts on combat technical facilities such as helicopters, boats, vehicles and so on. Source


Mi-171SH-HV’s weaponry also includes two S-8 rocket launchers and a 7.62mm PKM medium machine gun, which is mounted at the rear.

Survivability features

The cockpit and cargo cabin floors are equipped with a spall liner, which is made using removable lightweight Kevlar armour to provide increased protection for the occupants. Kevlar armour is also installed on the left and starboard sides near the portholes.

The energy absorption ability of the seats provides superior protection to the crew members.

The crashworthy design of the landing gear provides improved survivability for the personnel during landing operations.

Avionics of Mi-171SH-HV variant

Aviation video

Aviation video

The Mi-171SH-HV multi-mission helicopter features a glass cockpit with new flight-navigation equipment, digital autopilot, and reliable analogue instruments.

The cockpit with night vision goggle compatibility offers high-combat survivability for the helicopter in hostile environments, during both the day and night.

Situational awareness for the crew is provided by electro-optical systems mounted in two gyro-stabilised platforms located below the nose section.

The Mi-171SH-HV variant also incorporates forward-looking infrared radar (FLIR) system, searchlight, dual-band antenna, and infrared emitter.

by NickJ 1972

– installation of two rotating spherical covers of the electro-optical navigation and aiming system on the sides of the abdomen of the bow of the fuselage, directly in front of the bow landing gear. While the left spherical cover hides the optics of the navigation electro-optical system, which facilitates piloting at night and in difficult meteorological conditions, the electro-optical system installed in the right spherical cover is used to search and track targets and guide weapons.


One weather radar type A813S Kontur-10S with mechanically rotated slot antenna. This type of radar is located inside the tip of the fuselage and in addition to monitoring dangerous meteorological phenomena, it is also used for navigation. It is able to detect dangerous meteorological phenomena (in automatic mode) at a distance of 150 km. In case of turbulence, its detection range (in automatic mode) is then 100 km. While the city (the size of Velký Novograd) is able to detect this type of radar at a distance of 150 to 200 km (when flying at an altitude of 7,000 m), a surface vessel weighing 2,000 t at a distance of 50 to 70 km (when flying at an altitude of 3,000 m), the coast at a distance of 250 km (when flying at an altitude of 7,000 m). Source


The Mi-171SH-HV is installed with the President-C air defence complex developed by KRET to counter threats from enemy surface-to-air missiles, man-portable air defence missile systems (MANPADS) and other short-range anti-aircraft missile systems equipped with infrared and radar homing guidance systems.

President-C air defence complex

The President-S was designed by developers in Russia to offer unparalleled protection against MANPADS missiles.

Comprehensive protection is provided by:

– Optical-electronic interference stations that protect the helicopter by forming a directed interference at the infrared seeker.

– UV detector for detecting and transmitting the location of air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles as soon as they are launched

– Equipment for the detection of laser irradiation and locating the coordinates of its location

-Control unit, which provides integrated control and information processing and controls all elements of the system simultaneously.

– Multi-panel display and a system that distinguishes false targets.

-A flare-dispensing system

The optical-electronic system President-S was developed on the basis of heavy analysis of various protection systems of the previous generations. The President-S is unique due to the fact that it implements several sub-systems of detection and countermeasures into one, giving it the ability to effectively counter heat-seeking missiles. As soon as a missile is launched at the helicopter, the UV finder immediately relays the missile’s coordinates to the control system, which simultaneously sets off the flare dispensers and activates the optical-electronic interference stations. It also alerts the helicopter’s crew of the attack via system-generated voice messages and digital information on the multi-panel displays. The coordinated work of all sub-systems results in the homing missile losing “sight” of the real target. Source

Ilya Savinykh

Engine and performance

Aviation video

Powered by two advanced turboshaft engines, the Mi-171Sh-VN military transport helicopter offers a cruise speed of 260km/h and a maximum speed of 280km/h. It is provided with increased thrust-to-weight ratio over its base variant and has the ability to fly at high altitudes under difficult climatic conditions.

2 x TV3-117VM

Main advantages of the engine:

  • Low specific fuel consumption;
  • Low weight-to-power ratio;
  • High reliability;
  • Long service life;
  • High maintainability;
  • High repairability;
  • Emergency power condition allowing to complete a flight with one engine inoperative;
  • Possibility for installing a dust protection device.


2 x VK-2500 (option)

Main advantages of the engine:

  • low specific fuel consumption;
  • low weight-to-power ratio;
  • high reliability;
  • long service life;
  • high maintainability;
  • high repairability;
  • steady operation in harsh dust and smoke conditions;
  • possibility of long-lasting maritime operation;
  • sustaining constant power at high ambient temperatures in the mountainous terrain.




Russian Helicopters

Characteristic Мi-8/17

Maximum take-off weight up to
13,000 kg
Number oftransported troopers up to
36 persons
Number ofwounded personnel transported onstretchers
12 persons
Payload incargo cabin
4,000 kg
Payload onexternal sling
4,000 kg

Dimensions of cargo cabin:

Length x breadth x height
5.34×2.34×1.8 m
effective area
12.5 m2
effective space
23 m3
Operational ceiling
6,000 m

Flight range at maximum take-off weight (with emergency fuel reserve for 30 minutes):

with main fuel tanks
580 km
with two auxiliary fuel tanks
1,065 km.
Maximum flight speed
250 km/h .

Engines contingency power:

2,100 h. p.
VK-2500 (option)
2,700 h. p.

Primary weapons:

Missiles (Shturm-V suite)
Rockets S-8
Gun armament of cal. 23 mm
Small weapons (up to 8 fire posts):
nose machine gun PKT
aft machine gun PKT
sub-machine guns AKM, side machine guns PKand RPK


Transportation and operational landing of up to 36 troopers
Transportation of up to 12 wounded on stretchers under medical attendance
Transportation of cargo up to 4,000 kg in cargo cabin
Transportation of cargo up to 4,000 kg on external sling
High-efficiency killing of enemy personnel, armored vehicles, surface targets, facilities, fortified fire posts and other moving and fixed targets
Fire support of landing troops
Escorting of military convoys
CSAR (combat search and rescue)
Civil operations (search-and-rescueoperations, fire fighting, etc.)

Self-defense suite:

Engine-exhaust IR suppressors
Flares dispenser
Armored plates for cockpit protection
Armored plates for protection of vital helicopter systems
Armored plates for protection of aft machine gun operator
Self-sealed fuel tanks
Fuel tanks filled with foam polyurethane
Explosion protection of fuel tanks

Additional special equipment:

Extended starboard sliding door (in addition to standard portside door)
Rappelling equipment, at hovering, up to 4 persons at once
Parachute equipment
Stretchers (up to 12 pcs)
Night vision goggles
Searchlight (including with IR filter)
FLIR system
4,000 kg external sling, 150 kg and 280 kg external hoists, 300 kg door hoist
Loudspeaker station
Emergency ditching system
Oxygen equipment
Auxiliary fuel tanks
Avionics of leading Western and Russian manufacturers
Optional equipment of transport helicopter Mi-171


Main material source

Images are from public domain unless otherwise stated

Main image by Oleg Podkladov

ATR 72 MP Maritime Patrol Aircraft

The ATR 72 MP is a maritime surveillance aircraft developed by Alenia Aermacchi. Built based on the ATR 72-600 platform, the ATR 72 MP serves as a low-cost, consistent, sea-surface surveillance platform for the military forces across the world.

The aircraft helps to detect, locate and rescue people from broken ships and aircraft. It offers cost-effective surveillance and exclusive economic zone patrol and search-and-rescue (SAR).

The equipment installed on the aircraft, such as sensors, communications equipment and mission systems can be customised depending on the mission requirement.

ATR 72 MP aircraft orders and deliveries

The delivery ceremony of the first two, of the four, P-72Bs ordered by the Guardia di Finanza , whose deliveries will be completed by 2022, took place in Turin at the Caselle Torinese production site of Leonardo’s Aircraft Division .  –

The Italian Air Force awarded a contract for delivery of four ATR 72 MP maritime patrol aircraft to replace its ageing Breguet Atlantic aircraft, in December 2008.

A $137.4m contract was awarded to Alenia Aeronautica in November 2011 for providing logistical support for four ATR 72 MP aircraft of the Italian Air Force.

Design features of ATR 72 MP patrol aircraft

The ATR 72 MP is manufactured with composite materials, which make the aircraft highly resistant to damage and corrosion. The airframe is designed to install sensors and other function-specific modules such as bubble windows and an in-flight operable door.

Marina Militare

NickJ 1972

NickJ 1972

Compared to its predecessor the ATR 42 MP, this aircraft has significant endurance, more interior space and the latest control systems.

The ATR 72 MP has an operational empty weight of 14,586kg and maximum take-off weight of 23,000kg. The aircraft can carry a payload of 5,000kg.

ATR 72 MP aircraft cockpit and avionics

The ATR 72 MP aircraft is equipped with a glass cockpit that integrates five LCD screens as a standard fitment, along with commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) components for better interface and high resolution graphics.

The SELEX Galileo airborne tactical observation and surveillance (ATOS) mission system is installed with four interchangeable strategic operator stations to simplify the operations. It includes three sensors including an electro-optical turret FLIR system Star Safire HD, AESA SELEX Galileo Sea Spray 7000E search radar and an ESM (Electronic Support Measures) sensor from Elettronica.

The 360° operated turret helps to identify targets around the clock using its wide elevation range.

FLIR system Star Safire HD

The multimode, X-band 360° search radar enables long-range target detection, tracking and identification of approximately 100 targets at a time using track while scan application (TWS).

AESA SELEX Galileo Sea Spray 7000E search radar

A380spotter Proudly European

The Seaspray 7000E Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) multi-mode surveillance radar provides an unrivalled surveillance capability as the primary sensor on airborne assets to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

The Seaspray range of radars has been delivering high performance surveillance capabilities to armed forces and paramilitary users for over 40 years. Seaspray 7000E is a member of the successful Seaspray family of surveillance radars, which also comprises the Seaspray 5000E and Seaspray 7500E.

It combines a state-of-the-art AESA with a Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) processor to deliver a leading edge capability covering air-to-surface, air-to-air and air-to-ground environments. The company is proud that the UK Royal Navy selected the Seaspray 7000E as the launch Customer, and it is now fully integrated into the state-of-the-art AW159 Lynx Wildcat.


AESA technology and flexible waveform generation capability enables Seaspray 7000E to deliver peak performance in all modes. Use of multiple low power, solid state Transmit/Receive Modules (TRM) makes the radar more reliable than conventional radar systems. This results in a significant cost benefit over the life of the system. Superior performance in detecting small targets, such as Fast Inshore Attack Craft (FIAC) in high sea states, through use of composite mechanical and electronic scanning.

▪ Excellent performance
▪ Low cost of ownership
▪ True multi-mode operation
▪ Superior reliability, enabling mission success
▪ Ease of installation
▪ Easy to use
▪ Mode interleaving
▪ Flexible system integration options.


The ATR 72 MP aircraft includes automatic identification system (AIS) and a V/UHF 360° direction-finding device to locate the direction of range radio emitters between 30MHz and 470MHz frequencies.

The side-looking airborne radar (SLAR) installed on the aircraft helps to detect water pollution from long range and trace underwater activities close to the sea surface. The Hyper Spectral Scanner (HSS) of the aircraft helps to find the type of polluting agent.


Leonardo Aircraft

The MU90 is a NATO-standard-calibre (323,7mm) fire-and-forget LWT of 304 Kg and 2850 mm length, designed to counter any type of nuclear or conventional submarine, acoustically coated, fast-evasive, deploying active or passive anti-torpedo effectors. The torpedo can be deployed from surface vessels, fixed/rotary wing aircraft or missile. Pre-arrangements to cope with submarine-launched SLAAM threats have been incorporated in the weapon as well as Hard-Kill (anti-torpedo torpedo), continental shelf mine and submarine launching capability. Designed and built with outstanding technologies, the weapon features any-task any-environment capability.


  • Minimum speed: 29Kts
  • Maximum speed: >50Kts
  • Speed change step: 1Kts
  • Max to Min Speed change time: 3 seconds
  • Range: 11,000m at maximum speed, and 23,000 at minimum speed.


  • Operational bands: 6
  • Operational bandwidth: >>10KHz
  • Acoustic coverage: 120°H x 70°V
  • Max. Active detection Range: >2500m
  • Echo sounding navigation: yes
  • Simultaneous targets: up to 10


ATR 72 MP self protection system and countermeasures

Self protection systems on the ATR 72 MP aircraft include chaff and flare dispenser and a warning system for radars, missiles and lasers. The standard aircraft configuration includes ESM and self-protection systems for reconnaissance and operations in mission critical battlefield.

All ELT/160 RWR?


  • Very High Interception Probability
  • Full azimuth coverage
  • Wideband radio frequency coverage (E to K)
  • Automatic warning of high priority emitters
  • Capability to operate also with raw data libraries (mission data)
  • Capability to automatically analyse, classify, display and record also unknown emissions (emissions not pre-loaded in the library)
  • Capability to operate as an EW Controller that exploits/performs functions for multi-sensor coordination
  • Lightweight
  • Flight line re-programmable
  • Easy field maintainability (LRU philosophy)

All versions can be interfaced with multi-function displays (some versions are provided with their synthetic display). Source

ELT/741 ESM system?


  • Very High Interception Probability
  • Full azimuth coverage
  • Wideband radio frequency coverage (C to K bands)
  • Automatic warning of high priority emitters
  • Dedicated functions for data collection, recording and accurate processing
  • Fast and unambiguous threat identification exploiting all of the measured emission parameters (e.g.: FREQ, PW, PRI, TOA, ARP, MOP)
  • Capability to operate also with raw data libraries (mission data)
  • Automatic analysis, classification, display and recording of even unknown emissions
  • Capability to operate as an EW Controller that exploits/performs functions for multi- sensor coordination
  • Lightweight
  • Flight line re-programmable
  • Easy field maintainability (LRU philosophy)

All versions can be interfaced with multi-function displays and integrated with ECM systems and platform data bus. Source

Engine details of ATR 72 MP

The power plant of the aircraft includes two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW 127M turboprops, which each provides a maximum take-off power of 2,750shp.

2 x Pratt & Whitney Canada PW 127M turboprops

The PW100/PW150 engine family is the benchmark for low fuel consumption on routes of 350 miles or less. That means they consume 25% to 40% less fuel and produce up to 50% fewer CO2 emissions than similar-sized regional jets. Our engines are also biofuel compatible. Airlines and governments count on the reliability and versatility of our engines to fly in many challenging environments.

PW118 to PW127 Engines – two-spool, two-stage centrifugal compressors

  • All rotors integrally bladed
  • Each driven independently by low pressure and high pressure compressor turbines
  • No variable geometry
  • Easy electric start – no APU required


The engine is fitted with a Hamilton Sundstrand 568F six-blade, variable-pitch propeller.

ATR 72 MP aircraft performance

The ATR 72 MP aircraft can cruise at a maximum speed of 459.29km/h. It can fly at an operational altitude of 7,620m, but has a maximum endurance of ten hours at 1,524m altitude.

The aircraft can take-off from runways as short as 1,170m and land on runways as short as 630m.

The aircraft can be operated in extreme weather conditions and altitudes. It features a Hotel Mode, which enables the aircraft to operate from remote bases.

Main material source

Images are from public domain unless otherwise stated

Main image by Marina Militare

SHALDAG-Class Fast Patrol Boat

The SHALDAG-Class fast patrol boats (FPBs) are built by Israel Shipyards Limited (ISL) to meet the challenging coastal security requirements of navies across the globe.

Also deployable by the coast guard and border police units, the patrol boat is specifically designed to offer immediate response and high-speed interception during emergency situations.

The SHALDAG-class can support a range of missions such as maritime patrol, interception of terrorist activities, drug trafficking, prevention of illegal immigration, and search-and-rescue (SAR) operations.

SHALDAG-class orders and deliveries

Shaldag MK III –

Argentina placed an order with ISL for the supply of four SHALDAG MK II boats in December 2016. The first two vessels were delivered to the Prefectura Naval Argentina (Argentina Coast Guard) in April 2018.

The FPB is also in service with the Israeli Navy (Israeli Sea Corps), Azerbaijani Navy, Sri Lanka Navy, Nigerian Navy, Cyprus Port and Marine Police, and the Equatorial Guinea Navy.

SHALDAG-class fast patrol boat design


The fast patrol boat features a deep-V hull and superstructure made of welded marine aluminium alloy. Its design offers low resistance and superior seakeeping characteristics, including very low slamming in rough seas.

The hull is partitioned into six parts, including a fore peak, accommodation compartment, ammunition store and sanitary areas, engine room, auxiliary room, and steering compartment.

The very shallow draft of the boat ensures operations near the shore or beach. Crew movement at all speeds is further assisted by the dry dock on the vessel.

The SHALDAG-class boat is designed to carry between ten and 14 personnel on-board, based on its configuration. It can also carry optional payloads, including a rescue boat or an FPB.

SHALDAG-class variants

The SHALDAG-class is available in three versions, namely SHALDAG MK II, SHALDAG MK III/IV, and SHALDAG MK V.

Shaldag MK II –

The SHALDAG MK II has an overall length of 24.8m, maximum beam of 6m, and a maximum draft of 1.15m. It has the capacity to carry eight to ten crew members and can travel up to 650nm at a standard speed of 33kt. The endurance of SHALDAG MK II is four days.



The SHALDAG MK III/IV is 26.7m-long and 6m-wide, while it has a maximum draft of 1.2m. The variant can attain a range of up to 700nm without any mid supplies and can endure at sea up to four days. The maximum crew-carrying capacity of the variant is 12.





The SHALDAG MK V is an advanced variant compared to the other two variants in terms of performance and physical attributes. It has an overall length of 31.2m, draft of 1.25m, and moulded beam of 6.4m.

Shaldag MK IV –

The maximum endurance and range of the vessel are six days and 1,000nm, respectively. The boat can carry up to 14 crew members.



The displacements of the SHALDAG MK II, MK III/IV and MK V variants are 58t, 64t and 95t, respectively.

Shaldag MK V –


Mini-Shaldag –


The fast patrol boat can be armed with a 23mm-25mm TYPHOON automatic gun, two 12.7mm or 7.62mm MINI-TYPHOON heavy machine guns, and other manually operated guns of similar configuration.

23mm-25mm TYPHOON automatic gun

Typhoon armed with 25 mm gun on Shaldag class fast patrol boat of the Israeli Navy – Wikimedia Commons

The TYPHOON™ 25mm, a combat-proven and globally top-selling RCWS, is in operational use in various navies worldwide ‒ either as a secondary gun for large vessels or the main gun for patrol boats. It enables comprehensive ship perimeter protection, especially in the littorals, and is supported by an integrated ballistic computer with an advanced Electro-Optic and Fire Control System. Source

It can also carry up to eight short-range anti-ship missiles to engage targets at sea or on the coastline.

“Shaldag” patrol boats train on Mediterranean Sea, simulating various real life situations – Wikimedia Commons

Spike Extended Range (ER)

Israel Shipyards

The extended-range (8km) version, Spike-ER, also has a larger warhead. It is designed for mounting on light combat vehicles but can also be removed and fitted onto a tripod. The vehicle package includes the missile in its canister, a remotely controlled turret with target acquisition system and electronics and gunner’s station with multifunction display, control panel and handgrip.

Israel Shipyards

A bi-directional fibre-optic datalink provides Spike-ER with a fire and steer mode, in addition to the other two modes. This means that the gunner does not need to lock-on to the target before launch, but can choose the target after launch and steer the missile to the target’s most vulnerable point or hand over to fire-and-forget.

Rafael has developed a version of Spike-ER with a penetration, blast and fragmentation (PBF) warhead which only explodes after penetration of the target (e.g. a wall), minimising collateral damage.

A Spike-ER launcher has been developed for helicopters. The four-round launcher requires no modifications to the helicopter, other than software integration. It can be fitted to a variety of helicopters, including AH-64 Apache (which can carry 16 missiles), AH-1S Cobra, A-129, MD-500, Mi-24 and others. Source

Navigation and sensor systems on-board SHALDAG-class

Shaldag MK IV –

The integrated navigation system on-board the vessel includes a laser range-finder, high-definition cameras, thermal imaging equipment, and a control console with 15in multi-functional displays.

Israel Shipyards

Israel Shipyards

The sensor suite integrates an X-band surface search radar, and Rafael TOPLITE or IAI POP electro-optical system (EOS) for surveillance and fire control during day and night.

Propulsion and performance

Shaldag MK V –

The SHALDAG-class FPB is powered by two independently operated MTU diesel engines of 16V2000 or 12V4000 type. The engines propel two MJP 550DD or 650DD water jets.

2 x MJP 550DD or 650DD water jets

The SHALDAG MK II has a maximum speed of 45kt, while the SHALDAG III/IV and SHALDAG V can attain maximum speeds of 43kt and 40kt, respectively. The vessels can also carry 13,000l of fuel and 1,000l of fresh water.

Main material source

Images are from public domain unless otherwise stated

Main image Israel Shipyards

Main image Wikimedia Commons

Updated Feb 22, 2021

Cavour Aircraft Carrier

On 22 November 2000, a contract was drawn up between Fincantieri and the Italian Ministry of Naval Defence to supply an aircraft carrier vessel, known as the nuova unita maggiore (NUM) or ‘new major vessel’, to the Italian Navy.

Building work on the new vessel, which was originally to be called the Andrea Doria but has been named the Cavour, began at Fincantieri’s shipyards in Riva Trigoso and Muggiano in July 2001.

The Cavour was launched in July 2004 and began sea trials in 2006. The aircraft carrier was delivered to the Italian Navy in April 2008 and entered service in June 2009. Cavour took part in the Haiti earthquake relief operations in early 2010.

Cavour aircraft carrier design


The ship has a standard displacement at full load of 27,100t, an overall length of 244m and a sustained speed of 27kt. The carrier’s runway is 180m×14m with a 12° ski jump. It can accommodate up to 1,292 people on board, including five flag officers/VIPs, 486 ship’s crew, 211 aircrew, an amphibious command force of 140, San Marco Battalion of 360, and an additional 90 troops.


A strong feature of the ship is its high flexibility in operational terms. It is able to carry out the functions of an aircraft carrier as well as the transport of wheeled and tracked vehicles, for both military and civil missions. The aircraft hangar can accommodate 100 light vehicles or 24 main battle tanks for amphibious missions. The ship can also support four LCVP landing craft. There are two 30t elevators for aircraft and two 15t elevators for armaments.



Aircraft Carrier Cavour Exits Drydock During F-35B Upgrade

November 26, 2019 (Google Translation) – The Cavour aircraft carrier out of the dry dock “Edgardo Ferrati” of the Naval Arsenal of Taranto, after having completed the work of careening began last July 20.

From December 2018 the aircraft carrier of the Navy is continuing the modernization and restructuring works, including the important periodic careening operation in addition to the metallization of the flight deck to contain the thermodynamic impacts of the F 35B aircraft. The work on the hull was carried out by applying a cutting-edge painting cycle in terms of protecting the marine environment.

F-35B: Details

Donato Tornotti

The modernization works will end in the spring of 2020 and were carried out by the personnel of the main national reference industries in the naval field, such as the Fincantieri and the Leonardo, but also thanks to the small-medium enterprise in Taranto, in addition to the workforce competition arsenalizie.

The choice made by the Navy to carry out the transformation works of the Cavour aircraft carrier in the Arsenale of Taranto is an expression of the commitment that the Armed Forces put in support of the city in consideration of the fallout, in economic terms, on the induced territory. Furthermore, thanks to the acquisition of new knowledge, technical, technological and logistic engineering skills, the aim was to enhance the local shipbuilding industry and to face the future needs of the fleet units for the next four years, such as the new Frigates and the new Multipurpose Patrol ‘Height.

The Maritime Military Arsenal is thus confirmed as the most important defense production company, strongly integrated in the productive fabric of the city of the two seas and a driving force for development and growth prospects for national and local industry.

At the end of the maintenance activities, the aircraft carrier Cavour will have to undergo a preparatory training period for the next departure for the United States, where it will conduct some tests with the F 35B aircraft on board.

The ship and its airborne component embarked are specialized capabilities of the Navy , decisive for the security of the country, such as flexible and remotely projectable tools capable of ensuring the defense of national interests “on the sea and from the sea”.

With the entry of new aircraft on the line, the Navy, the US Navy and the British Royal Navy will be the only marinas in the world to have aircraft carriers capable of operating with the F 35 aircraft . Source


Aircraft carrier function

The vessel is equipped with a flight deck suitable both for operations with helicopters and with short launch, vertical take-off fighter planes. It has a hangar / garage of approximately 2,500m² which can also accommodate wheeled and tracked land vehicles.

The Aviation (flickr)

The Aviation (flickr)

The ship can support eight VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) aircraft such as AV-8B Harrier or F-35 joint strike fighter VTOL variant, or 12 helicopters, such as the EH101, NH 90 or SH-3D, or a mix of platforms.

Landing operations are supported by the Telephonics AN/SPN-41A radio frequency all-weather instrument approach landing system and the Galileo Avionica SPN-720 advanced precision approach radar and the Thales tactical air navigation (TACAN) system.

Telephonics AN/SPN-41A

The Transmitting Set AN/SPN-41A is an electronic landing aid that provides proper flight path data to an approaching aircraft as the aircraft flies into range of ownship radar landing system or into visual contact with ownship optical landing system. The AN/SPN-41A has two separate transmitters (azimuth and elevation) with individual antennas used for sector scanning. The azimuth transmitter is installed on the ship’s stern at the centerline of, and slightly below the landing deck runway; while the elevation transmitter is located above the flight deck in th e vicinity of the after end of the island to provide the glide slope signal. The AN/SPN-41A uses one-way transmission, ship to air, to a receiver in the aircraft where the angular information is displayed on a cross-pointer indicator. With the vertical needle for azimuth guidance and the horizontal needle for vertical guidance, the aircraft becomes perfectly aligned with the runway centerline, on a standard glide path to the ship’s deck, when both needles are precisely centered. Though not technically a radar system, the AN/SPN-41A operates utilizing pulse mode in the Ku-band. AN/SPN-41 and AN-SPN-41A systems are installed aboard CV, CVN, LHA, and LHD class ships. The AN/ARA-63 aircraft approach control system uses the AN/SPN-41 and the AN/TRN-28 transmitting sets. It provides primary or backup instrument approach capability. Source

Galileo Avionica SPN-720 advanced precision approach radar


SPN-720 Shipborne Precision Approach Radar SPN-720 is a solid-state , Low Probability of Intercept (LPI) naval Precision Approach Radar, recognised as the smallest PAR available on the market

Main Features
  • CV NATOP Mode III landing, manual approach, ICAO compliant during which the radar controller relays continuous updates to the pilot on his position and direction via a secure VHF Channel
  • Frequency agile monopulse tracking with operating range from 60 m up to 12 nautical miles
  • The SPN-720 automatically adjusts the parallax error between the radar location and the landing path and can be operated as a stand-alone system or integrated with the ship Combat Management System
  • Provide simultaneous control of two aircraft. The Man-Machine Interface features two consoles each fitted with a PAR Display and an Air Search Display. The two consoles can operate in master/slave mode or dedicated to the assistance of one of the two simultaneous landing aircraft


Italian MoD

For the purposes of moving aircraft and vehicles embarked, two elevators are installed for aircraft and there are two access ramps to move vehicles from the quayside to the hangar / garage.

The Aviation (flickr)

The Aviation (flickr)


The Aviation (flickr)

Further features of the ship include a hospital facility with three operating rooms, wards for hospitalised patients, X-ray and CT equipment, a dentist’s surgery and a laboratory.

Cavour weapons

C550-Cavour-68 via

The carrier is armed with two Sylver eight-cell vertical launch systems for the Eurosam (jointly owned by MBDA and Thales) SAAM/IT missile system, which fires Aster 15 missiles. The Aster 15 missile has a 13kg warhead and a range of 30km. The missile’s guidance is inertial with data uplink and active radar terminal homing. For increased manoeuvrability in the terminal phase, the missile uses a ‘PIF-PAF’ direct thrust control system with gas jets.

2 x Sylver eight-cell vertical launch systems


Aster 15

The ASTER 15 and ASTER 30 are integrated on the SAAM (ASTER 15), PAAMS (ASTER 15 and ASTER 30) and SAMP/T (ASTER 30) air defense systems. These systems will be employed by the armed forces of France, Italy and the United Kingdom.

The two-stage ASTER missiles are provided with two different solid propellant boosters resulting in the ASTER 15 and the ASTER 30 models. The ‘Pif-Paf’ control system enables the ASTER missile to counter high maneuverable missiles achieving a direct impact (hit-to-kill). The ‘Pif-Paf’ propulsion combines conventional aerodynamic control with control by gas jets acting through the centre of gravity of the missile. Until mid-course the guidance of an ASTER missile is based on the Inertial Navigation System (INS) updated through an uplink, in the terminal phase the guidance is provided by an active Radiofrequency seeker. The final stage of the ASTER missile is a ‘dart’ equipped with the seeker, a sustainer motor, a proximity fuze and a blast fragmentation warhead.

The ASTER 15 is a short range missile intended for self-defense (point defense) purposes against highly maneuverable threats. The ASTER 15 is integrated on the SAAM and beginning in 2006 in the PAAMS system. Source

Primary sensor for the SAAM/IT is the Selex Sistemi Integrati (formerly Alenia Marconi Systems) Empar G-band multi-function phased array radar, which provides simultaneous surveillance, tracking and weapons control. The first ship-launched missile firing of the SAAM/IT system took place in December 2002.

The vessel is equipped with two Oto Melara 76mm super rapid guns and three 25mm anti-aircraft guns.

2 x Oto Melara 76mm super rapid


OtoBreda 76/62SR Super Rapid with DAVIDE/STRALES guidance system

The Oto-Melara / Oto-Breda 76/62SR 76mm (3-inches) 62-caliber Super Rapid gun is a lightweight, automatic loading, rapid fire naval gun system used against shore, sea and air targets.

Manufacturer: 1963-2001 Oto-Melara / 2001- OtoBreda
Produced: Compact: 1963- / Super Rapid: 1988-

Technical data:
Caliber: 3 inches / 76,2 mm
Barrel lenght: 186 inches / 4,72 meters (= 62 caliber)
Weight: 7900kg, empty (Super Rapid)
Shell: 76 x 900 mm / 12,34 kilograms
Elevation: – 15° to + 85°
Traverse: 360°
Rate of fire: Compact: 85 rpm / Super Rapid: selectable from single shot up to 120 rpm
Muzzle Velocity: 925 m/s (1100 m/s – DART)
Magazine: Compact: 80 rounds / SR: 85 rounds
16 kilometers with standard ammunition
20 km with extended range ammunition
up to 40 km with VULCANO ammunition


– Compact
– Super Rapid
– Stealth casing
– DAVIDE/STRALES radio frequency guidance system for DART guided ammunition

– HE (high explosive) – 6,296kg / Range 16km / effective range 8km (4km vs. air targets at elev. 85°)
– MOM (multi-role OTO munition)
– PFF (pre-formed fragmentation) – anti-missile ammunition
– SAPOM (semi-armored piercing OTO munition) – 6,35kg / Range 16km
– SAPOMER (semi-armored piercing OTO munition, extended range) – Range 20km
– DART (driven ammunition reduced time of flight) – sub-calibre guided ammunition against multiple targets
(missiles and maneuvering targets at sea) 4,2kg in barrel / 3,5kg in flight / 660mm lenght / effective range >8km
– VULCANO (76mm unguided and guided extended range ammunition) – under development

Oto-Breda 76/62SR 76mm (3-inches) Source

3 x 25mm anti-aircraft guns


Manufacturer: Oto-Melara (now OtoBreda)
Caliber: 25mm
Weight: 1050 kg without ammunition / 1200 kg ready to fire
Lenght: 3,85 meters
Ready to fire rounds: 252

Ammunition 25x80mm:
– High Explosive Incendiary with Tracer (HEI-T)
– Semi Armor Piercing High Explosive Incendiary with Tracer (SAPHEI-T)
– Armor Piercing Discarding-Sabot (APDS)
– Armor Piercing Fin-Stabilized Discarding-Sabot (APFSDS)

Elevation: – 15° / + 50°
Traverse: 315°
Rate of fire: 570 rpm max.
Range: up to 2000 meters

Combat systems



The Aviation (flickr)

The Aviation (flickr)



Selex Sistemi Integrati (formerly AMS) is the integrator for the vessel’s combat system and also supplies systems including RAN 40L 3D D-band long-range radar, RASS RASS 30X/I surface radar, surveillance radar, SIR-R interrogation friend or foe (IFF) system and navigation system. Other members of the combat system team include Elettronica, Galileo Avionica and Oto Melara.


The Aviation (flickr)

The European Multifunction Phased Array Radar (EMPAR) is a rotating passive electronically scanning array (PESA) system that operates in the C-band. The radar provides information regarding the altitude, bearing, and distance of airborne objects within a 150 km radius.[i]With 60 rotations per minute, the radar offers a continuous 360-degree view.[ii] It has simultaneous tracking of up to 300 different targets and, in cooperation with the Principal Anti-Air Missile System (PAAMS) or the Surface-to-Air Anti-Missile System, can engage up to 12 targets at once.[iii] EMPAR can also be integrated with the Principal Anti Air Missile System (PAAMS), providing guidance to Aster 15 and Aster 30 missiles which are used for medium- and long-range air defense.[iv]

Quick Facts

Role and Mobility Threat Detection and Tracking; Ship-Mobile
Frequency C-Band
Range 150 km
Air Defense Interceptor Systems Principal Anti-Air Missile System (PAAMS) and Surface-to-Air Anti-Missile System (SAAM/IT)
Targets Supersonic Aircraft, Supersonic Anti-Ship Missiles, and Cruise Missiles
Status/Exports Operational; Italy, France, Algeria
Producer Selex ES


RAN 40L 3D D-band long-range radar


The RAN-40L alias MM/SPS-798 (MM stands for Marina Militare, a nomenclature for the Italian Navy, similar to the US-Army/Navy’s nomenclature AN/…) is an L-Band 3D Long Range Early Warning Radar with fully solid-state active phased array antenna using monopulse techniques. Radar coverage is obtained by phase-scanning in elevation, while mechanically rotating in azimuth. Source

General data:
Type: Radar Altitude Max: 30480 m
Range Max: 398.2 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0.4 km Generation: Early 2000s
Properties: Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) [Side Info], Moving Target Indicator (MTI), Pulse Doppler Radar (Full LDSD Capability)
Sensors / EW:
RAN-40S – (Type 1850M VSR, RAT-31DL) Radar
Role: Radar, Air Search, 3D Long-Range
Max Range: 398.2 km


RAN 30X/I surface radar

The RAN-30X surveillance radar represents the state of-the-art of 2D X-Band surveillance radars. It can operate as a primary sensor for combined surface and air surveillance on board patrol vessels or as a specialized anti-sea skimmer sensor on board major Surface Combatant Vessels.

RAN-30X features up to 4 operational roles:
▪ Surface and air surveillance mode (detection and tracking of small air/surface targets)
▪ Navigation and helicopter control (high antenna rotation speed for navigation close to the coastline)
▪ Over-the-horizon (OTH) detection (low antenna rotation speed and long range detection capability)
▪ Anti-sea skimmer missile detection. This mode has an high antenna rotation rate to ensure the detection and tracking of very small targets manoeuvring in clutter environment and featuring very low Radar Cross Section (RCS).

Each mode is designed with a proper set of transmitted waveforms.

The reflector antenna performs two different beams (in linear and circular polarisation) to cope with different applications:
▪ The first beam is a cosecant square one (up to 25°- beam width of elevation coverage) used in
Surveillance and Heli modes
▪ The second beam (providing a higher gain ) is a pencil beam one, applied for anti-missile detection and Over-the-Horizon mode.

The antenna is designed to house the IFF antenna in a back-to-back configuration.

RAN-30X receiver is designed to provide a very high linearity and sophisticated processing. It employs triple conversion with a carrier sample technique. An automatic and adaptive STC algorithm is implemented against the returns from clutters and wide target radar
cross sections. Source


Other systems include the Whitehead Alenia Sistemi Subacquei (WASS) SNA-2000 mine avoidance sonar, two radar / electro-optic fire control systems and a Galileo Avionica SASS (silent acquisition surveillance system) infrared search and track system.

Whitehead Alenia Sistemi Subacquei (WASS) SNA-2000 mine avoidance sonar

General data:
Type: Hull Sonar, Active-Only Altitude Max: 0 m
Range Max: 1.1 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0 km Generation: Early 2010s
Sensors / EW:
SNA-2000/I – (Mine Avoidance Element) Hull Sonar, Active-Only
Role: Hull Sonar, Active-Only Mine & Obstacle Avoidance
Max Range: 1.1 km


Galileo Avionica SASS

SASS is a new InfraRed Search and Track (IRST) system developed for the Italian flag ship: the aircraft carrier CAVOUR. SASS has been validated at sea by the Italian Navy and has been selected for the Italian Future European Multi Role Frigates (FREMM).


  • High sensitivity/ high resolution/ dual band IR head
  • Accurate stabilisation against sea motion
  • Long range passive surveillance
  • Automatic target detection and track initialisation
  • Multi-target tracking of air and surface targets
  • Panoramic and blown up images, in two different bands
  • Flexible interface with other on-board systems and with

combat management systems

  • High reliability and easy maintenance on-board.




The carrier is fitted with two 20-barrel Oto Melara / Selex SCLAR-H decoy launchers for 105mm or 118mm multipurpose rockets. SCLAR-H provides fully automatic soft-kill defence against missile threats by confusion of enemy sensors before missile firing; decoying of the missile homing system during its flight and illumination of targets.

2 x 20-barrel Oto Melara / Selex SCLAR-H decoy launchers

Google translated – Use: SCLAR is a multiple rocket launcher system produced by Breda Meccanica Bresciana, generally used by ships to launch fake targets such as flares and chaff. It has a 105 mm caliber, which can be elevated and swiveled, and it can also launch explosive rockets within a 10 km radius. The launcher is designed for the accurate distribution of false targets, thus providing passive defense for the ship against radar and IR search missiles; the typical modes of operation (at various intervals) include: Confusion (dilution); concealment; Distraction; Dump;

Its main features are:
– possibility of loading different types of rockets simultaneously (Chaff, IR, bengal);
– automatic selection of rockets to launch;
– possibility of repeated engagements, due to the availability of a large number of rockets, loaded into individual sealed containers;
– automatic control by the ship’s electronic war suite;
– full coordination with the ship’s active defense systems; – operating capacity in all weather conditions and in NBC condition (automatic operation); Source

Two SLAT torpedo defence systems are installed. SLAT has been developed by EUROSLAT, a consortium consisting of WASS (Whitehead Alenia Sistemi Subaqua), DCN and Thales Underwater Systems.

2 x SLAT torpedo defence systems

Electronic countermeasures (ECM) and electronic support measures (ECM) systems have not been specified.

RESM – (Horizon, FREMM) ESM

General data:
Type: ESM Altitude Max: 0 m
Range Max: 926 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0 km Generation: Early 2010s
Sensors / EW:
RESM – (Horizon, FREMM) ESM
Role: ELINT w/ OTH Targeting
Max Range: 926 km


Cavour aircraft carrier propulsion


The Cavour is powered by combined gas turbine and gas (COGAG) propulsion. The four LM2500 gas turbines, developing 22,000kW each, are manufactured by FiatAvio of Turin under a licence agreement from the US company, General Electric (GE). The four turbines drive two gear units which provide 60,000shp each.

Auxiliary power is provided by six Wartsila CW 12V200 generating sets, rated at 2,200kW each. Two shaft generators are rated at 2,200kW each.

The vessel is fitted with two pairs of active stabilising fins and twin rudders and has bow and stern thrusters.


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Updated May 09, 2020

H160M Guepard Joint Light Helicopter

The H160M Guepard is a new medium-lift helicopter being developed by Airbus Helicopters for the French Armed Forces, under the Joint Light Helicopter (Hélicoptère Interarmées Léger – HIL) programme.

The helicopter is intended for use by the French Army, Navy, and Air Force to perform multiple missions including commando infiltration, air intercept, fire support, and anti-surface warfare.

A scale model of the H160M was on display at the Euronaval 2018 exhibition held in October 2018, while the full-scale model of the H160M Guepard rotorcraft will be exhibited during the Paris Air Show 2019.

Details of the HIL programme

The Airbus H160 was preferred for the HIL programme in 2017 and was originally scheduled to be launched in 2022. The launching of the new helicopter in 2021, ahead of its original schedule, would, however, enable delivery of the first H160Ms to the French Armed Forces from 2026.

Airbus Helicopters

The programme will involve the delivery of a total of 169 helicopters to the three armed forces. The French Army will receive 80 helicopters, while the navy and air force will receive 49 and 40 rotorcraft, respectively.

The H160M helicopter will replace five legacy helicopter types in service with the three military services.

H160M Guepard joint light helicopter design and features

H160M is a military version of the H160 medium-lift utility helicopter, which was first unveiled at the Heli-Expo show held in Orlando, Florida, US, in March 2015. Based on a civil platform, the H160M will ensure simplified maintenance and reduced operating costs than the old-generation of rotorcraft in its class.

The modular design of the H160 also allows for the integration of mission systems to configure the H160M platform for deployment in multiple missions.

The H160M will feature a composite fuselage to achieve weight reductions and fuel savings. It will be equipped with cutting-edge technologies such as Blue Edge five-bladed main rotor, which can reduce the acoustic signature by 50% and increase the lift by 100kg when compared to conventional rotor blades.

Direction générale de l’armement

Direction générale de l’armement

The helicopter will also feature a Spheriflex bearingless main rotor hub, which is designed to minimise weight and optimise damage tolerance. Its main rotor will have a diameter of 13.4m. The tail assembly will include a canted Fenestron anti-torque tail rotor.


H160M’s undercarriage will feature a tricycle-type landing gear with a nose unit and two main units. The nose wheel will be fitted with twin wheels, while the main units will be installed with a single wheel unit each.

The helicopter can be armed with MBDA’s Sea Venom (ANL) anti-ship missiles (ASMs) to perform anti-ship warfare missions. The over-the-horizon missile can engage targets within the range of 20km.

MBDA’s Sea Venom (ANL) anti-ship missiles

IG @fototombuysse Tom Buysse

MBDA is developing Sea Venom/ANL, an helicopter-launched, over-the-horizon anti-ship weapon system, jointly funded by the UK and French Governments. It is the next generation multi-role surface attack weapon.

Capable of defeating the most challenging target set presented by today’s open water and littoral maritime operations, the new weapon features significant advances on both Sea Skua and AS15TT.

The new design will maintain some of the characteristics of Sea Skua and AS15TT and retain compatibility with existing logistic footprints, thereby allowing current users of these systems to upgrade easily.

Sea Venom/ANL offers:

  • Reduced modifications to existing ship storage and handling equipment
  • High helicopter load-out
  • Minimal impact on logistics and through-life costs


FN® M240D


The spade-gripped FN® M240D is the U.S. standard pintle-mounted medium machine gun for naval, vehicle, and combat aircraft applications. An optional egress kit is available consisting of a buttstock, pistol grip trigger assembly and bipod to enable a vehicle’s crew to instantly convert the M240D for ground combat. The M240D’s cold hammer-forged MIL-SPEC barrel has a hard-chromed bore for longer life and improved accuracy. The receiver is solid machined steel and is equipped with a top-mounted MIL-STD-1913 optical rail. The crossbolt safety and curved trigger help enhance operator control. Includes one spare barrel.



  • CALIBER: 7.62x51mm NATO
  • OPERATION: Open-bolt
  • WEIGHT: 22.9 lb.
  • BARREL LENGTH: 21.7″
  • HEIGHT: 9″
  • RATE OF FIRE: 650 – 950 RPM


FN® HMP250/HMP400 Pod

Julien Maire

FN has developed a broad spectrum of machine gun pods designed for rotary-wing and subsonic fixed-wing combat aircraft capable of carrying the FN® M3P .50-caliber machine gun and multiple 2.75″ air-to-ground rockets with the FN® RMP variant. FN Pod Systems provide war fighters with a significant firepower advantage in every operational engagement, which is why they are currently in use by a number of NATO nations on both subsonic fixed and rotary-wing combat aircraft. The HMP250 variant is a slightly smaller version of the HMP400, which has a 400 Rd capacity.

Julien Maire


  • CALIBER: .50
  • MAG CAPACITY: Customer Specified
  • WEIGHT (EMPTY): 194 lb.
  • WEIGHT (LOADED): 257 lb.
  • HEIGHT: 16.1″
  • LENGTH: 71.3″
  • RATE OF FIRE: 950 – 1,100 RPM


  • CALIBER: .50
  • MAG CAPACITY: Customer Specified
  • WEIGHT (EMPTY): 197 lb.
  • WEIGHT (LOADED): 305 lb.
  • HEIGHT: 17.1″
  • LENGTH: 76.4″
  • RATE OF FIRE: 950 – 1,100 RPM


Cockpit and cabin

H160M’s cockpit will accommodate up to two crew members. It will be equipped with the Helionix avionics suite, which integrates up to four multi-functional displays.

Airbus Helicopters and the French defence procurement agency (DGA) have selected the FlytX avionics suite for their future H160M Joint Light Helicopter. Source

FlytX avionics suite

FlytX is based on the Avionics 2020 concept unveiled at the 2013 Paris Air Show and comprises an intuitive touchscreen interface designed by pilots for pilots.


Military helicopters are called on to perform reconnaissance, fire support, surveillance and search-and-rescue missions in increasingly saturated environments. Pilots must be able to observe hostiles, evade obstacles and successfully complete their missions while flying the helicopter and monitoring information from its onboard systems.


Direction générale de l’armement

Fully mission-oriented, the FlytX solution has been developed to enable maximum efficiency. The technology used in FlytX is designed to reduce pilot workload, so that they can focus on their mission objective at every decisive moment. Source

The spacious cabin offers an internal volume of more than 7m³ and can house up to 12 armed personnel.

H160M Guepard joint light helicopter engines

pkllim pkllim @ig – cropped

The H160 Guepard will be powered by two Safran Arrano turboshaft engines supplied by Safran Helicopter Engines. The engine will feature a two-stage centrifugal compressor, a reverse-flow combustion chamber, and a single-stage power turbine. It is expected to deliver a maximum power output of 1,300hp.


The power-plant will reduce fuel consumption by 15% when compared to its counterparts and will also increase the payload-range performance of the H160M. The time between overhauls (TBO) of the Safran Arrano engine is 5,000 hours.


2 x Safran Arrano turboshaft engine (Arrano 1A)


The 1A is the first variant of the Arrano, intended to power Airbus Helicopters’ revolutionary new twin-engine H160. In early 2015, Airbus Helicopters announced its decision to select the Arrano 1A as sole engine on the H160, in part, on its ability to deliver extra power when operating in hot-and-high conditions. The Arrano-powered H160 made its first flight on January 27, 2016. Source


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Visby class corvette

The Visby Class of stealth corvettes were built for the Swedish Navy by the Swedish company Kockums (a subsidiary of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems of Germany).

Construction began in 1996 at Kockums’ Kalrskrona yard. The lead ship of the class, Visby (K31), was launched in June 2000 and was delivered to the FMV (the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration) in June 2002 for fitting with weapons and combat systems. The second, HMS Helsingborg (K32), was launched in June 2003 and delivered in April 2006. Harnosand (K33) was launched in December 2004. HMS Visby and Harnosand were officially delivered to the FMV in June 2006.


Visby (K31) – WarshipPorn @reddit

The other hulls are: Nykoping (K34), launched in August 2005 and delivered in September 2006, and Karlstad (K35), launched in August 2006.

Two corvettes, HMS Helsingborg and Harnosand, were delivered to the Swedish Navy in December 2009. The Swedish Navy has cancelled an option on a sixth vessel (Uddevalla K36).

The first four Visby corvettes for the Swedish Navy are for mine countermeasures (MCM) and anti-submarine warfare (ASW). The last vessel will be primarily for the attack and anti-surface warfare role.

Karlstad (K35) and Nykoping (K34) – prahatravel @flicker

A helicopter, such as the AgustaWestland A109M selected by Sweden, can land, take off, and refuel on the upper deck.


The design of the Visby aims to minimise the optical and infrared signature, above water acoustic and hydroacoustic signature, underwater electrical potential and magnetic signature, pressure signature, radar cross section and actively emitted signals.


The picture is a compilation of several drawings, what FMV calls General Arrangements. It shows the location of most equipment and the different types of space are color-coded according to their function. Performance for most machines is also included and various types of equipment are also color coded. Note that the space marked ELA 3 next to the battle line indicates the computer hall. The space RAH is the radio cabin, which may be called the ship’s most secret, where the cryptos are stored. The space of the signal bridge deck sounds nice, but this is where you put the heavy ball guns. Also note that the flagpole is not stealth and will be taken into sharp position. Upload this image separately so you can have it as a reference. Source translated by google

A stealth corvette of the YS 2000 design has a detection range of 13km in rough seas and 22km in calm sea without jamming. In a jammed environment, the Visby would be detected at a range of 8km in rough sea and 11km in calm sea.


The hull material is a sandwich construction comprising a PVC core with a carbon fibre and vinyl laminate. The material provides high strength and rigidity, low weight, good shock resistance, low radar and magnetic signature.

K33 HMS Haernosand – Arne Lütkenhorst @flickr

Signature reduction measures

The most obvious part here are the radar cross section reduction measures. A lot of thought have gone into this, below you see the back of the 57 mm cannon which has had its shape adapted.

Many less noticeable aspects include the coating of the bridge windows with indium tin oxide and gold which prevents radar returns from objects inside. Hatches and vents are also adapted with things such as a honey comb grid which also prevents returns, while radar absorbent materials have also been added in selected areas. The antennas are retractable into the hull as are the floodlight and fog horn, and even the navigation lights have been adapted to not stand out. They are fitted with quadruple redundant LED lights to avoid giving off a heat signature which brings us to the next point.

The aspect of thermal signature


Great lengths have been taken to prevent the ship from being detectable with thermal imaging. As the largest heat source are the engines and in particularly the gas turbines, the exhaust is water injected which brings down the temperature to just above room temperature before the exhaust exits the hull.


This picture shows the air intake for the low speed diesel machinery, here you can see the radar reflecting honeycomb material (Ra) which the air passes through. After that it enters the filter and then on to the diesels. In case the sea waters splashes the honey comb and causes icing during the winter a pneumatic hatch below (Ö) automatically opens to allow air to continue flowing, this is however not stealthy.

The paint of the ship’s hull has also been specifically developed to reduce the IR signature.

The hull structure

It is in basically a composite design of carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) with an exterior carbon fibre laminate, a middle section of divinycell – which is a light weight material – and more carbon fibre on the inside. This material reduces the hull weight significantly, down to about 50% of an equivalent steel hull.


The carbon fibre conducts electricity which is both good and bad. Good in that it provides shielding of radio signals and bad in that it creates galvanic corrosion. Most of the hull is built with vacuum injected laminate and the rest is hand fitted. The ships were built in three sections which were then joined together. The hull has been designed so as to be able to negotiate a mine detonation under the keel without snapping. To aid in damage control and general operations stress load sensors are fitted throughout the hull, these allow the crew to assess the hulls integrity and make decisions based on it. Source

Command and control

The vessel’s CETRIS C3 (command, control and communications) system consists of the Saab Systems 9LV mk3E combat management system, the MAST decision support aid and the integrated communications system.

The 9LV mk3 is based on open system architecture and uses the Windows NT operating system.


The SaabTech CEROS 200 radar and optronic fire control system has been ordered for the Visby and will be fully integrated into the combat management system.



CEROS 200 Fire Control Radar

Saab’s CEROS (Celsius Tech Radar and Optronic Site) 200 is a ship-based search and tracking radar system capable of engaging targets above supersonic speeds. The CEROS employs a variety of sensors such as infrared, electrooptical, televisual, and laser. According to a publication by Saab, CEROS is able to detect sea-skimming missiles via its patented CHASE algorithm. Saab explains that this algorithm mitigates the effect of multiparty wave interference, which is when signals are sent to a receiver by multiple sources. For example, a missile may emit a signal to a receiver, which then sends it to command and control at the same time that a signal directly from the missile reaches command and control. In this instant, the two signals would arrive with different phase shifts — think: a sine wave placed in front of another, so that there’s no exact overlap. This can result in the ghosting effect sometimes observed on television in which images appear to have a shadow duplicate on them. Source

General data:
Type: Radar Altitude Max: 30480 m
Range Max: 46.3 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0.2 km Generation: Early 1990s
Properties: Moving Target Indicator (MTI), Pulse Doppler Radar (Full LDSD Capability)
Sensors / EW:
CEROS 200 Tracker [9LV Mk3E CETRIS] – Radar
Role: Radar, FCR, Weapon Director
Max Range: 46.3 km

K33 HMS Haernosand –

The communications system has a high-capacity digital communications switch, developed by Danish company Maersk Data Defence (formerly Infocom) together with Karlskrona, which interconnects the voice and data communications channels. The system provides internal communications or open conference lines and access to external communications with various radio links and land-based networks.


HMS Visby

Visby vessels were not initially fitted with an air defence missile system, but could later be equipped with one. It has been reported that the Swedish government has selected the Umkhonto surface-to-air missile system, produced by Denel of South Africa. Umkhonto has infrared guidance, range of 12km and ceiling of 10,000m. The system is capable of engaging up to eight targets.

The corvettes are equipped with eight Saab Bofors Dynamics RBS 15 mk2 anti-ship missiles. The RBS 15 mk2 uses active Ku-band radar homing and has a range of more than 200km. The missile has a high subsonic speed, Mach 0.9, and is armed with a 200kg warhead. The missiles will be installed below deck and be fired through special hatches to maintain the vessel’s stealth. The missiles’ exhaust plumes will be managed in separate canals.

RBS 15 mk2 anti-ship missiles



The RBS15 is a long range, sea-skimming, fire and forget, anti-ship missile for use from aircraft, ships and ground vehicles. It features a tactical flexibility trajectory with a large number of waypoints and altitudes to hide the launching location increasing the survivability of the launching platform. It is suitable for blue sea operations and littoral warfare. The missile has two lateral boosters for extended range, without the booster the RBS15 only weighs 630 kg. The RBS15 guidance system consists of a GPS/INS and radar altimeter navigation system and a terminal phase active radar seeker. The RBS15 missiles are countermeasures resistant and several of them can be programmed to reach the target area simultaneously from different directions to better penetrate the ship’s air defenses. Source

K32 HMS Helsingborg –

Anti-submarine warfare

The Visby is equipped with a suite of ASW 127mm rocket-powered grenade launchers, depth charges and torpedoes. There are three fixed 400mm torpedo tubes for Saab Underwater Systems Tp 45 anti-submarine homing torpedoes.

Tp 45 anti-submarine homing torpedoes


Source: Jimmie Adamsson/Försvarsmakten via

The Torped 45 is a lightweight torpedo intended for ASW and surface targets, providing multiple-target active/passive homing combined with wire guidance. It is designed and manufactured by Saab Dynamics. It was designed for the Swedish Navy, based on the experience gathered from the well proven 43-series of torpedoes.

Torpedo 45 can be launched from a variety of platforms including stationary, surface vessels, submarines and helicopters. It was specifically designed to operate against shallow-water targets and surface vessels. It is controlled using wire guidance and has a hydro-acoustic homing system for the final phase. The torpedo has features that are unique for lightweight torpedoes.

  • It combines wire guidance and homing control
  • It can be launched from submarines, surface vessels and helicopters
  • It can be wire-guided from a flying or hovering helicopter (no parachute necessary)
  • Its warhead has a main charge large enough to take out any conventional submarine or seriously damage light surface vessels

In exercise torpedo launches, the warhead is replaced by an exercise head carrying identical homing equipment. Instead of explosives, the exercise head has a tape recorder for logging a number of torpedo functions, communication with fire-control and hit indications. After each run, the recordings are analysed and torpedo and fire-control functions are checked.

The Torped 45 is set to be replaced by the newer Torped 47 in Swedish Service fully 2024. Source

General data:
Type: Torpedo Weight: 320.0 kg
Length: 2.9 m Span: 0.4 m
Diameter: 0.4 Generation: None
Properties: Search Pattern, Bearing-Only Launch (BOL), Re-Attack Capability
Targets: Submarine
Sensors / EW:
Torpedo Seeker – (Tp 45 Passive Anti-Submarine, Small-Caliber) Hull Sonar, Passive-Only
Torpedo Seeker, Passive-Only
Max Range: 1.9 km
Tp 451 – (1997, Tp 43X2) Torpedo
Subsurface Max: 7.4 km.





The Visby is equipped with a Bofors 57mm 70 SAK mkIII general purpose gun. The gun has a fully automatic loading system containing 120 rounds of ready-to-fire ammunition. The gun fires up to 220 rounds a minute to a maximum range of 17,000m.

Bofors 57mm 70 SAK mkIII general purpose gun

K32 HMS Helsingborg – MilitaryPorn

Work on these weapons began in 1962 based largely upon experience gained with the Bofors 57 mm/60. Compared with that weapon, the major improvements of the Mark 1 were a higher rate of fire, the use of new munitions including an improved proximity fuse, water cooling for the gun tubes and a new electro-hydraulic system for rapid training and elevation. The Mark 1 was exported to Malaysia and (the former) Yugoslavia.

K33 HMS Haernosand – Arne Lütkenhorst @flickr

The Mark 2 was a lighter weight mounting and used a new servo system that reduced aiming errors and damping time. The gun barrel for this mounting used a special monobloc steel that eliminated the water jacket Bofors claimed that this gun was dual-purpose in that it was accurate and agile enough to destroy sea-skimmers and that it could put more explosives into a surface target in thirty seconds than any gun smaller than 10 cm (3.9″). In reviewing this weapon, the US Navy concluded that it was heavy when compared to the OTO-Melara 35 mm and 76 mm weapons. About 25 Mark 2 guns were manufactured.

The Mark 3 is the latest version. This mounting uses the same ammunition as the Mark 2 but also can fire “smart” ammunition. The Mark 3 is offered with an optional low radar profile (RCS) mounting which hides the gun barrel when not in use. It is claimed that the Mark 3 has a mean time to repair of 30 minutes and can be installed on ships as small as 150 tons (152 mt). This mounting uses a small radar mounted on the gun barrel to measure muzzle velocity for fire control purposes. The dual-hoist system allows instant switching between ammunition types, but rounds must be removed manually in case of misfire. This mounting can open fire at 45 degrees training and 35 degrees elevation from the stand-by condition in 2.2 seconds. The mounting is normally remotely controlled, but can be used in a gyro-stabilized local control mode.

Bofors was taken over by United Defense, which in turn has been taken over by BAE Systems. Source

Mine countermeasures (MCM)

The Visby carries Saab Bofors Underwater system ROVs (remotely operated vehicles) for mine hunting and the Atlas Elektronik Seafox ROV for mine disposal. The minehunting ROVs are a development of the Double Eagle mkIII.

Atlas Elektronik Seafox ROV


Wikimedia Commons

This fibre-optic guided, one shot mine disposal vehicle is used for semi-autonomous disposal of naval mines and other ordnance found at sea. It is able to automatically relocate previously acquired positions of underwater objects within minutes with the integrated homing sonar.After relocating, these objects can be identified using the onboard CCTV camera and destroyed by the use of a built-in, large caliber shaped charge. The one-way concept significantly reduces the disposal time and extends the operational envelope.


The system has been fully qualified for military purposes and has been introduced in large numbers into various navies. It is deployable from a wide range of carrier platforms, including dedicated MCM vessels, surface combatants, craft of opportunity, rubber boats and helicopters.

The SeaFox system is a mine disposal system based on the most advanced concept using the Expendable Mine Disposal Vehicle principle (EMDV).

Small, unmanned underwater drones are used for direct disposal of historical and most modern mine types; identical, reusable vehicles (without charge) are used for inspection, identification and training purposes.

The system is effective against long and short tethered mines, proud ground mines and floating mines.

The SeaFox system mainly comprises a console, a launcher and the SeaFox vehicles. The system can be delivered as a stand-alone or a fully integrated version.


In case of stand-alone the console contains all electronics, software, displays and operating elements to guide the vehicle automatically or manually towards the target and to relocate, identify and destroy it. In the fully integrated version, a Multi Function Console or any existing console can be used.

The two different vehicles ensure quick disposal of mines during operation with the combat vehicle (SeaFox C) as well as cost-saving identification with the reusable identification version (SeaFox I). Source

The Visby corvettes are fitted with the Hydra multi sonar suite from General Dynamics Canada (formerly Computing Devices Canada), which integrates data from a Hydroscience Technologies passive towed array sonar, C-Tech CVDS-26 dual-frequency active Variable Depth Sonar (VDS), C-Tech CHMS-90 hull-mounted sonar and data from the ROVs.

Hydroscience Technologies passive towed array sonar

The Towed Array Sonar has a length of 1,300 meters and has microphones set at one meter intervals. The Visby Class have an active and a passive component and can be lowered to a depth of 100 meters. It is seen here in its stored position located between and above the water jets. Source

General data:
Type: TASS, Passive-Only Towed Array Sonar System Altitude Max: 0 m
Range Max: 27.8 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0 km Generation: Early 2000s
Sensors / EW:
Hydra TASS – (Visby) TASS, Passive-Only Towed Array Sonar System
Role: TASS, Passive-Only Thin Line Towed Array Sonar System
Max Range: 27.8 km


C-Tech CVDS-26 dual-frequency active Variable Depth Sonar (VDS)

General data:
Type: VDS, Active/Passive Sonar Altitude Max: 0 m
Range Max: 27.8 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0 km Generation: Early 2000s
Sensors / EW:
CVDS-26 Hydra – (Visby) VDS, Active/Passive Sonar
Role: VDS, Active/Passive Variable Depth Sonar
Max Range: 27.8 km


C-Tech CHMS-90 hull-mounted sonar

General data:
Type: Hull Sonar, Active-Only Altitude Max: 0 m
Range Max: 1.1 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0 km Generation: Early 2000s
Properties: Classification [Class Info] / Brilliant Weapon [Automatic Target Aquisition], Shallow Water Capable (Full) [Classification Flag Required]
Sensors / EW:
CHMS-90 Hydra – (Visby) Hull Sonar, Active-Only
Role: Hull Sonar, Active-Only Shallow Water High-Definition Mine & Obstacle Avoidance
Max Range: 1.1 km



David Oliver

Saab Microwave Systems (formerly Ericsson) Sea Giraffe AMB 3D C-band multi-role radar provides air and surface surveillance and tracking and target indication to weapon systems. It features 3D agile multi-beam technology and can handle multiple threats up to 20,000m (65,000ft) at elevations up to 70°.

Sea Giraffe AMB 3D C-band multi-role radar


Today the Sea Giraffe AMB has the designation AN/SPS 77 V(1) for the US Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship, LCS 2/4 and AN/SPS 77 V(2) for LCS 6 and higher.

Sea Giraffe AMB comprises the following main hardware units:

  • Antenna Unit (AU)
  • Transmitter Unit (TRU)
  • Signal and Data Unit (SDU)
  • Power Distribution System (PDS)

The following extended capabilities for the Sea Giraffe AMB baseline product configuration are available:

  • Stealth Radome
  • 360˚ mortar/rocket detection and alert (C-RAM)
  • Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) interrogator antenna
  • IFF interrogator
  • Improved detection range and redundancy with an additional transmitter unit

The stealth radome is built with Frequency Selective Surfaces (FSS) to minimise the Radar Cross Section (RCS) and infrared signature of the above-deck parts of the Sea Giraffe AMB. The radome is capable of carrying equipment on the top, for example an ESM, ELINT and/or a COMINT. The counter rocket, artillery and mortar alert function detects, tracks and classifies very small ballistic objects in severe clutter. The point of impact, the ballistic trajectory as well as the impact position are calculated. A warning signal of impact position is given well in advance, allowing the ship to perform an evasive manoeuvre in order to avoid being hit.



Radar type Stacked beam 3D radar
Antenna type 3D phased array, digital beam forming
Frequency C (G/H)-band
Elevation coverage > 70 degrees
Rotation rate 60 RPM
Instrumented range 180 km


ECCM (electronic counter countermeasures) capabilities include ultra-low antenna sidelobes and both frequency and code agility. The antenna has a rotation rate of 30rpm for surveillance and 60rpm for air defence.

There is also an I-band surface search and I/J-band fire control radar.


The CS-3701 tactical radar surveillance system (TRSS) from EDO Reconnaissance & Surveillance Systems provides electronic support measures (ESM) and radar warning receiver (RWR) functions.

CS-3701 tactical radar surveillance system (TRSS)

The ES-3701S is a high-performance radar electronic support measures (ESM) system for surface naval applications. The ES-3701S ESM system provides complete radio frequency (RF) coverage with direction finding (DF) from communication through radar bands. The ES-3701S provides situation awareness, targeting, self-protection and surveillance. The system has been interfaced to many combat management systems (CMS) and uses a Windows graphical interface, which can also be run on multifunction consoles.

Precision Radar ESM Capabilities

  • High probability of intercept for instantaneous emitter detection
  • High sensitivity for long-range detection
  • Accurate angle of arrival (AOA) on every pulse
  • Wideband, narrowband and low-band subsystems for comprehensive signal exploitation using advanced sapience emitter processing algorithms
  • High-sensitivity frequency-modulated continuous wave (FMCW) radar detection and identification (-95dBm)
< 1 second reaction time
Processes 1 MPPS signal environment
20,000 emitter mode library capacity


General data:
Type: ESM Altitude Max: 0 m
Range Max: 926 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0 km Generation: Early 2000s
Sensors / EW:
ES-3701 Seawatch – ESM
Role: ELINT w/ OTH Targeting
Max Range: 926 km


Visby Class vessels are equipped with the MASS (multi-ammunition softkill) decoy system from Rheinmetall Waffe Munition (formerly Buck Neue Technologien) of Germany.

MASS can launch up to 32 omni-spectral projectiles in a time-staggered configuration against anti-ship missiles and guided projectiles. The MASS decoy covers radar, infrared, electro-optic, laser and ultraviolet wavebands.

MASS (multi-ammunition softkill) decoy system


MASS has been designed to provide multi-spectral protection against guided weapons in all relevant wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum (including radar, infrared and electro- optical). Suitable for installation on a wide range of platforms, it can be integrated into an existing command and weapon control system, or operated as a standalone system.

Typically MASS consists of between one and six trainable launchers, each able to fire 32 standard Omni-Trap munitions. Each launcher comes with a control unit and a data interface (Ethernet/ RS422 or other standard interface).

At IDEX the company is showcasing two new options: MASS_OCR with an off-board corner reflector (OCR) payload; and the new standalone MASS Stand Alone with Sensor Suite for smaller units.

The MASS_OCR introduces a new corner reflector countermeasures payload, designed to produce a ship-like radar response, which can be used in either the distraction or seduction modes. Each launcher unit can be configured with two OCR rockets programmed to deploy the corner reflector to a range of between 35m and 850m. The reflector payload itself is suspended beneath a parachute, sustaining the effect for over 60 seconds.

With the MASS Stand Alone with Sensor Suite, Rheinmetall has engineered a self-contained system with its own control unit, power supply and sensor suite (a radar warner and a laser warning system) and typically one or two MASS decoy launchers. Source



The Visby is equipped with a combined diesel and gas (CODAG) turbine arrangement. Four TF 50 A gas turbines from Honeywell and two MTU 16V 2000 N90 diesel motors are connected to two gearboxes which run two Kamewa waterjet propulsors.

K33 HMS Haernosand – Arne Lütkenhorst @flickr

4 x TF 50 A gas turbines

Vericor’s TF50B marine gas turbine is an aeroderivative that powers numerous ships, for example the Visby-class corvettes of the Swedish Navy or mega yachts, such as the Pershing 115. For commercial applications, Vericor has developed the new Integrated Turbine Control Panel which combines the control functions for gas turbine and reduction gearbox, the cockpit interface and the local operating panel into one single unit.


  • Compact, lightweight
  • High operational readiness
  • Operates on LNG, natural gas and / or marine diesel fuel
  • Smallest installed volume / lowest installed weight
  • Modular engine design reduces maintenance cost
  • Simplified installation with cold end drive and cantilever mount
  • Precise digital engine control and monitoring
  • No warm up required / start capability down to -50°C
  • Low vibration and ultra low emission levels
  • Single, twin and tri-pack configurations

The high-speed machinery consists of two pairs of gas turbines (Vericor TF50A, Tr and Tr2) of 4.2 MW each. The exhaust gases blow out through the heat insulated exhaust pipe (Avg) and further back into the vessel. The turbines draw in 30 m³ of air (In) per second. Therefore, they have their own air intakes with radar grilles on the ship’s side. Source translated by google

Technical Data

Power (kW)* 3,800 – 4,200
Weight (lbs/kg)** 1,445/657
Length flange to flange (in/mm) 52/1,321
Height (in/mm) 41/1,046
Width (in/mm) 35/889
Output speed (rpm) 16,000

*Average engine performance at ISO conditions 15 deg. C, no inlet, exhaust or gear losses

**Weight is for gas turbine complete with lube, fuel and control system


2 x MTU 16V 2000 N90 diesel motors


The motors provide a maximum speed of 15kt for long duration and 35kt for short duration. The ship has rudders and bow thrusters for harbour manoeuvring.


Here, the water jet units (VJ) are stowed in a stop position, angled 30 degrees inwards. Each unit weighs 10 tonnes and is made of non-magnetic bronze. What is not done in bronze is instead made in composite material or titanium. The pump housing is specially developed by KaMeWa to be as quiet as possible.

Between the units is a pair of shiny cylinders in stainless (Int). These are the pistons for the interceptor blades. These can be described as two long razor blades that are flush with the transom, approximately 150 mm high and 20 mm thick, and serve as a trim plane. But instead of needing a big blade in the stern, you just put down a small knife. The blades are actively controlled by a gyro system that compensates for rolling, stomping and side winds. The system depresses the blade on the ship’s side that goes into the water, so it is pressed again. The blades can operate at 35 knots and improve both comfort and weapon performance.

The exhaust pipes from the high-speed engines are not visible, because they come out under the “shelf” and point straight down. Between the exhaust pipes is the trailing headphone cover (F-VDS). The big hatch at the top of the picture is the mine hatch, from which you drop mines and sink bombs. The sneak-fit stern lights, the hatch for the snare sonar TAS and a pair of belt throwers are not visible in the picture. Source translated by google

K31 HSwMS Visby – corax71 (flickr)

Technical specifications

Overall length 73 m
Beam 10.4 m
Displacement 640 tonnes (fully equipped)
Draught 2.4 m
Crew 43
Hull material Sandwich construction carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP)
High-speed machinery 4 gas turbines, total rating 16 000 kW
Low-speed machinery 2 diesel engines, total rating 2600 kW
Propulsion 2 waterjet propulsors
Speed >35 knots

Technical data source

Main material source

Images are from public domain unless otherwise stated

Main image K34 HSwMS Nyköping – Tyler Rogoway