Paris Air Show

Paris 2011: Selex sets itself apart in Europe’s electronic warfare stakes

 - June 20, 2011, 5:03 AM

Selex Galileo is the largest supplier of airborne electronic warfare (EW) equipment in Europe, and third only in the world behind BAE Systems North America and Northrop Grumman. This part of the Italian group’s business is in the hands of UK-based operation, which now boasts annual revenues of nearly £600 million ($980 million) and an order book of well over £1 billion ($1.64 billion). It produces radar and laser warning receivers, missile warning systems, radio frequency jammers and (through a partnership with Northrop Grumman) directed infrared counter measures (DIRCM).

According to Steve Roberts, chief technology officer, today’s surface-to-air threats are diverse, mobile and proliferating. “Small countries are buying the SA-15, and the Chinese have Crotale and S-300-like systems,” he said. And the EW equipment to counter them must have wideband frequency coverage, which means all the way from 5Ghz to 40GHz.

The company was the first to provide an integrated defensive/offensive EW system–the Zeus for British Harriers. Today, the Praetorian system that protects the Eurofighter Typhoon is the key line of business. Working as part of the EuroDASS consortium, Selex Galileo produces the 20 major line replaceable units, the 16 antenna assemblies, the 10 radomes and the various smaller parts that make up this sophisticated ESM-ECM and missile warning system. Selex Galileo additionally provides a laser warning system for UK Royal Air Force Typhoons.

But the helicopter integrated defensive aids system (HIDAS) that Selex Galileo developed for the UK AH-64 Apache attack helicopter fleet possibly has greater potential for wide-ranging export sales. It comprises the company’s Sky Guardian radar warning receiver and Series 1223 laser warner, plus a BAE Systems missile warner and a Thales countermeasures dispensing system. Boeing now offers HIDAS on Apaches that are sold internationally. Greece and Kuwait have chosen it. 

Selex Galileo claims world leadership in the information management aspects of EW. The self- protection system control software that the company has developed can be applied to various sensors and platforms. The company now offers the aircraft gateway processor (AGP), a black box that Roberts described as “a defensive aids PC with multiple interfaces onto which you can hang your hardware.” Boeing has adopted the AGP for the Block II Apache program for the U.S. Army.

Mindful of the need to protect an increasing range of larger aircraft such as those providing border surveillance, plus the strong growth in UAVs, Selex Galileo has developed an ESM system named SAGE and a lightweight RWR named SEER. They are modular, compact and lower-cost. Flight trials have been successfully conducted on a variety of platforms, the company said.