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Typhoon Radar

Old 19th Nov 2014, 14:01
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Typhoon Radar

E-Scan contract placed:

BBC News - Eurofighter radar deal secures 500 jobs in Edinburgh
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Old 19th Nov 2014, 15:21
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1bn Euros just for integration (the development and testing work is all done and paid for)? Anyone with any knowledge as to how these sums are worked out care to elaborate on where this number came from?

**and just to note, I am a journalist, and while I won't use your information directly (my editor doesn't like me attributing quotes to internet monikers) I may use it as the basis for further inquiries.
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Old 19th Nov 2014, 15:43
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Originally Posted by melmothtw
1bn Euros just for integration (the development and testing work is all done and paid for)?
Development and testing are far from 'done and paid for'...

A slightly more informative article from Flight Global...

AESA radar deal lifts Eurofighter sales prospects - 11/19/2014 - Flight Global

-RP
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Old 19th Nov 2014, 15:47
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e-scan? has it a button to raise the scanner marked "e-up"? If so - shades of the Bungling Baron? Good news for all the wiggly amp tefal-heads at Selex.
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Old 19th Nov 2014, 16:47
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Good news for all the wiggly amp tefal-heads at Selex.
......

Who have designed and built some of the finest kit ever seen in any aircraft.

They'll always be Ferranti to me!
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Old 19th Nov 2014, 19:39
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Deliverance

How many hours have you had sat behind AI24 FOXHUNTER, then? As your 50/50 experience is a bit different to mine!

I reckon I had a failed gadget about 10% of the time and it never failed on me once on over 40 Operational Combat Air Patrols over Bosnia and Iraq.

LJ

Last edited by Lima Juliet; 20th Nov 2014 at 06:18.
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Old 19th Nov 2014, 20:45
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If I recall, Ferranti supplied parts of Foxhunter, and sat in store for years waiting for the GEC parts to be ready.....


Reliability. Can't speak for Foxhunter. Tornado always was different and its radar wasn't managed by, for example, the Fire Control and Surveillance IPT. (The 1989 IPT model, not the inefficient 1999 one we all know and love).

The RAF endorsed a multi-million upgrade to Blue Parrot (Buccaneer) near the end of its life to raise the System MTBF from 3.5 hours to around 6, which they deemed acceptable. At the same time the superb Blue Fox (SHAR 1, and more akin to Foxhunter) System MTBF was just over 30 hours and considered excellent by the RN.

Part of the problem was it was the job of what are now called Requirement Managers to keep the MTBR (Removals, which places the demand on logistic support regardless of whether it is a NFF or not) as close to the MTBF (actual verified Failures) as possible. Too big a gap is often down to poor fault diagnosis, poor training, poor pubs etc. When these "RqM" posts were disbanded the work was never done, and the MTBF and MTBR gap widened to a ridiculous degree. In 1989 it got to the stage in, for example, Sea King HAR Mk3, that complete radars were being hooked out every day, on every tail number. The MTBR was in low single figures; in fact minutes at one point. But the MTBF was in the 60s, well above spec. THAT'S where the money goes when you chop a handful of key posts as a "savings" measure.
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Old 19th Nov 2014, 21:55
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How much experience do you have with Typhoon RADAR, as its this system that is being upgraded not the RADAR of a retired aircraft!
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Old 19th Nov 2014, 23:07
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If I recall, Ferranti supplied parts of Foxhunter, and sat in store for years waiting for the GEC parts to be ready.....
Indeed they did Tuc, Not surprising seeing FMCW was something that Ferranti had been working on since 1951 (years before any other radar firm in the UK). I'd concur about Ferranti radar kit, of all the stuff I've worked on, the best. Worst bit of kit, I've ever work on for reliability was American.
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Old 20th Nov 2014, 06:17
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Deliverance

Fair enough, mate, maybe the 2 FL Sqns I was on had a better Avionics Trade Manager! Certainly, 10% (1 in 10) isn't fantastic, but it's better than 50% (1 in 2).

My experience on Ops was always better as the jets were better husbanded and also the climate was normally better (warm and dry) than good old Blighty. That always meant that the failure rate was far better. Also, if you had an 'iffy' jet you would crew out for the spare in good time - as you pointed out having the main RADAR fail 'sausage side' is always a bit of an issue!

LJ
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Old 20th Nov 2014, 08:37
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My experience of Foxhunter is much more like Leon's, if that high. That was early nineties. Perhaps I just hit it at the right time.
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Old 20th Nov 2014, 08:54
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always seemed to be that when we got shiny new kit, the excuse was "its brand new, you've got to expect a few teething problems". Then there was a short happy period (of variable length depending on usage and quality of original design). Then we were into the "ah well, that is getting on a bit now so you've got to expect a few problems"
I always thought is was some sort of 'trade-training' deal the MoD had with BAE etc in order to keep our fine techies at the top of their game!
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Old 20th Nov 2014, 09:40
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Actually, Blue Circle performed exactly as expected throughout its life.
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Old 20th Nov 2014, 09:53
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Actually, Blue Circle performed exactly as expected throughout its life.
Should this be added to the Procurement Successes thread, or was it late/over budget?

S-D
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Old 20th Nov 2014, 10:05
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Deliverance, sorry to hear of your experience with the AI24, but I concur with LJ and Courtney (with 2500 hours plus from Z list pre Stage 1+ onwards to base that on). That said, maybe I too was always lucky to be on Squadrons with some brilliant avionics technicians, who always seemed to work wonders despite some trying times when spares were in short supply.
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Old 20th Nov 2014, 11:51
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Originally Posted by Deliverance View Post
I just wish it could be taken for granted that the components that make up the weapons system just worked. It can be done, just not in the RAF it seems.

Seemed to work on jindys fine
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Old 20th Nov 2014, 15:32
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Deliverance

Bloodhound Mk 2 (all the stuff I worked on came out of Ferranti at Wythenshawe), though most of the radar stuff was done at Edinburgh.

The US system was part of that piece of junk better known as Radar Type 93.

Leon and Courtney have hit the nail on the head, Quality and Experience of technical staff plays wonders or disaster on the serviceability of radar equipment, be it on the line, in the 2nd line workshop or at a deeper level. Have one or two wizz kids of JNCO's or OR's and a good Trade Manager on your repair organisation and your serviceability will be top notch. Have a couple of monkeys in the repair organisation that break everything they touch, the opposite. The other thing you have is though some bits of kit may be built by the same firm, the design team developing and making those bits will be completely different, thus one bit to kit will be top notch, while the other will be a complete pile of poo.

As the experience levels of your staff gets higher, the more serviceable the kit gets, age of equipment does have an effect, however if the kit is set up correctly it should be less of an issue. By setting up correctly I mean measuring the output at the test point and if it's on the verge of being outside of tolerance, try to get the reading to the middle of the spec. If that cannot be done the item being serviced is on the way out and should be replaced (if you have the spares of course). Most of the real long term defects I've seen in 30 years of doing electronics have been because the last person to do the servicing didn't do that (the reading was in spec (just), so he moved on to the next step of the servicing).
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Old 21st Nov 2014, 01:25
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OK, I'll bite!

Just over 2500 hrs on the F3. From pre Z-List, (whatever they called prior to Z-list...apart from concrete)?? to Stage 2 fully spammed.

I'm in with Courtney and LJ, the set at the start was awful. In the end it was the best you could ever get from a HPRF RADAR that lacked MPRF. It's failure rate was not great. but also not that bad! On firing up the jet you could see from the PWAZ and A-Scope if you had a dud.

I seem to remember that once they realized that some of the LRUs (7+9) and (2+ something), needed to be matched and tuned, everything got a lot better.

47 Missions sausage side, no RADAR aborts...I did get hit by lightning on the way home once...that shut the whole jet down, bar the FBW.


Wasn't the F15A radar an utter disaster when it first came to the front-line?

Courtney,

On the F-15, how many times were you lead nosed?
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Old 21st Nov 2014, 02:33
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MAINJAFAD, O-P:
As a former USMC avionics tech (A-6E, F/A-18A* FLIR/l a s e r** systems, "I" level), I can say definitively that you both hit the nail right on the head with regards to tolerances.

If "good enough" was accepted to send a LRU out the door, it was guaranteed that the matching LRUs in 30%-40% of the aircraft it could be installed on were also at the edge of tolerances, and the combination would result in an immediate "fault" condition.

The only way to make sure of success was to align everything to as close to "ideal" spec as possible.


Additionally, as Leon Jabachjabicz noted, operating environment had a major effect. At MCAS El Toro (Santa Ana, CA) the air was normally moderately dry, and we were far enough inland to not get salty air (actually, the normal breezes/winds were from the more arid areas further inland), and we had little problem with corrosion.

At MCAS Iwakuni, Japan and NAS Cubi Point, Philippines, however, the air was more moist and hot - leading to corrosion of cable pins, etc. This was even more pronounced aboard ship - to the point that ~70& of the faults that LRUs (line-replacable units) came in with could be cleared by simply unplugging all the internal cabling, spraying cleaner on all the pins & contacts, and re-connecting them. This quickly became our standard "first action", even before hooking it up to the test bench to run a diagnostic.

The problem was that the humidity was allowing a fungal film to grow on the connector pins, which blocked the low-power current flows of digital electronics. This was normally invisible - but if left untreated it would become visible, and even begin pitting the plating on the pins!

MAINJAFAD also has a point on the "design & make" aspect. The AN/ALQ-126 Defensive ECM system on the A-6E (and other aircraft) was a very low MTBF item in the early 1980s-with MTBRs around 10 hours. The LRU was a two-deck box, full of circuit boards that were covered with IC chips. When Sanders developed the -126, they "had a brilliant idea" - to "make maintenance easier", they put almost all of the IC chips in plug-in sockets (the sockets were soldered to the boards). Over 90% of failures were cleared by "simply" reseating all of the >300 IC chips in the LRU - a process which took several hours, but which had to be done, as invariably in each LRU there were multiple chips that had vibrated loose enough to break connection - despite the "hold-down clamps" Sanders had installed to prevent that.

The solution was developed and tested by my A-6E squadron ( VMA(AW)-242 Black Bats at that time) while on deployment to MCAS Iwakuni the summer of 1984 - my good friend Kevin convinced his superiors to let them modify 3 -126 LRUs by removing all of the sockets and soldering the chips directly to the board. The modified LRYs immediately went to over 100 hours between failures, and once NAVAIR approval was granted to modify all the LRUs in the squadron, the MTBF eventually settled at about 200 hours - a 20-fold increase. Troubleshooting and repair time also dropped dramatically, as now there was usually only one point of failure, which was easily and quickly located and replaced.

Sad to say, when the change was made official throughout the Navy/Marine Corps aviation community, the credit was given to the squadron's avionics maintenance warrant officer. He had argued strongly against Kevin's suggestion, but once the test worked well, he had submitted the "Bennie-sugg" (Beneficial Suggestion Program) paperwork with his own name as "originator of suggestion", thus the credit (and financial award) were given to him, and NOT to the ones actually responsible.




* While my squadron ( VMA(AW)-121 Green Knights at that time) was deployed aboard CV-61 Ranger in 1985-1987, I also worked on the S-3A FLIR, and worked beside the guys working on the cameras from the F=14 TARPS recon pod.

** stupid board auto-scramble function - can't even spell l a s e r properly without it changing things... [email protected]
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Old 21st Nov 2014, 07:47
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As an ex Air Radar Fitter your quoted MTBFs would have been like manna from heaven on the Javelin and early Lightning. The remarks about the quality and experience of the maintainers rings so true. First time I applied for aircrew (as a J/T) the Eng O refused to sign my application as 'he could not afford to lose me' ! Instead I got a spec rec for promotion. Escaped eventually !
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