British Tactical Air Defenses Set to LEAPP Forward
Digitization and smaller electronics affect the battlefield in a number of ways. In the area of air defense, it has become possible to make small radars quite powerful, while also connecting them in networks that can provide a combined picture of a broader area. The result is a system that makes short-range assets like shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles far more effective. If careful attention is paid to integration issues, these systems can serve singly as quickly-deployable initial protection for key sites, be combined to extend coverage over a local region, or serve as a form of local distributed backup to guide larger and more advanced missiles if higher-echelon radars are knocked out.
Their usefulness even extends beyond enemy forces. One of the toughest problems involved in coalition warfare is ensuring that simple misunderstandings or lack of a common picture doesn’t lead to “friendly fire” tragedies. A deployable local air control system can minimize those odds.
Britain’s Land Environment Air Picture Provision (LEAPP) program is GBP 100 million contract with Lockheed Martin UK INSYS designed to address these needs, and provide ground forces with a detailed local picture of activity in the air…
May 18/10: The first Saab GIRAFFE AMB radar unit for the United Kingdom’s Land Environment Air Picture Provision (LEAPP) program complete acceptance testing and delivery to Lockheed Martin UK and the UK MOD. Delivery was achieved on time. Saab Group.
April 3/08: Saab announces a GBP 30 million (about $60 million) contract from Lockheed Martin UK INSYS for 5 Giraffe AMB radars, as part of the UK MoD’s LEAPP program. The contract is worth approximately GBP 30 million.
Saab’s Giraffe AMB is a truck-mounted 3-D “agile multiple beam” surveillance radar that is housed in a single 6 m/ 20 ft ISO container with splinter and NBC(Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) protection, mounted on a cross-country truck. Its name comes from the Agile Multi-Beam (AMB) 3-D radar that sits on an extensible “neck,” in order to give it broader surveillance coverage with a range of 20-40 km/ 12-24 miles. The system takes about 10 minutes to set up and activate, and 3 minutes for take-down. Setup can happen at leisure, after all, while take-down may involve enemy aircraft who are moving into anti-radiation missile range.
Unlike conventional 3D search radar that rely on elevation scanning technology, the GIRAFFE AMB covers a large elevation range simultaneously by using one wide beam for transmission and multiple digitally shaped narrow beams for reception. The radar also has uses beyond air surveillance, including emergency military air traffic control, and even coastal surveillance despite the innate “clutter” produced by the sea. If integrated with ARTHUR software, it adds the ability to track “ballistic weapons” like rockets, mortars, and artillery shells, and figure out both their point of impact and their point of origin.
April 2/08: Lockheed Martin UK-led Team Athena signs a GBP 100 million (about $200 million) contract with the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) for the Land Environment Air Picture Provision (LEAPP) program,. The contract award comes after a 2-year assessment phase, during which the Lockheed Martin team provided a version of LEAPP to the MoD as an Urgent Operational Requirement. The contract is expected to sustain up to 100 jobs in Ampthill, Bedfordshire and at other sites in the UK, and the LEAPP system is expected to enter service in 2012. Lockheed Martin UK release | UK MoD.
Team Athena is led by Lockheed Martin UK, and includes:
- Lockheed Martin UK INSYS (system integrator)
- BAE Systems (software development)
- L-3 Advanced Systems Architectures (software development)
- Systems Consultants Services Limited (training)
- Saab AB (Giraffe AMB radar)
- Rockwell Collins UK Ltd. (Link 16)
- QinetiQ (emulators & software development)