ATE batting for global business


The local aviation-ware company is on the cusp of success with a new IT update for old aircraft.An SA-developed Avionics and Weapons System (AWS) has been short listed by two international air forces to upgrade their aging fleets with new technology, to give their aircraft a fresh lease of life, a move that will bring foreign currency ashore and showcase local know-how.

The AWS was developed by a consortium of companies that include Midrand-based applied defence-IT company Advanced Technologies and Engineering (ATE) and is optimised for 20th Century Mirage F1, Mirage-3 and Mirage-5 fighter aircraft.

The AWS is a further development of an existing set of avionics hardware and software upgrades that have met international success, principally in Spain, for whom ATE and its partner Thales have upgraded 55 Mirage F1 fighters.

That project focussed on beefing up the aircraft`s ability to accurately attack ground targets and successfully defend itself against aggressor aircraft.

The AWS adds the ability to proactively engage enemy aircraft in air-to-air combat through a modern fire control radar, infrared (IR) short-range missiles for combat and self defence, as well as IR/radar-guided medium range missiles for beyond visual range interception.

AWS is generic and can be offered with a range of avionics equipment from a number of avionics suppliers, says ATE external affairs director Lorris Duncker.

The main potential avionics suppliers are among others Galileo Avionica, Thales and SAAB Avitronics, who have partnered successfully with ATE on the Mirage F1, the SA Air Force`s Hawk project and other programmes.

“As systems house, ATE will be responsible for the system integration using its own mission and weapons computer (MWC), while Galileo Avionica and/or Thales will provide the main mission sensor (radar) and avionics equipment (head-up displays, multi function displays), while SAAB Avitronics will supply the electronic warfare equipment (radar warning receiver).

The Mirage-3/5 AWS is organised around two dual redundant MWCs that control a MIL-STD 1553B mission data bus, as well as a MIL-STD 1553 stores management system weapons bus. The upgrades under consideration by the two unnamed air forces include a man-machine interface revamp that includes the installation of a digital “hands on throttle and stick” flight control processor and up-front control panel.

The on-offer navigation system includes a ring laser gyro inertial system hybridised with a global position system.

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