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TECH SPACE
Airbus Defence and Space in radar technology study
by Richard Tomkins
Unterschleissheim, Germany (UPI) May 13, 2013


Canadian contract for Bell Helicopter
Mirabel, Quebec (UPI) May 13, 2013 - The Canadian government has contracted Bell Helicopter to produce 15 light-lift aircraft for the country's Coast Guard.

The award, worth nearly $158 million, was announced by Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Gail Shea and Minister of Infrastructure, Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs Denis Lebel.

"Renewing the Canadian Coast Guard fleet of helicopters will improve the Coast Guard's air support capability from coast to coast and in Canada's North," Shea said. "Our government has invested more in the Coast Guard than any other government in Canadian history, ensuring its men and women have the equipment they need to perform the important work we ask of them."

Under the contract, Bell will supply the Coast Guard with 15 of its model 429 helicopters, which have a cruise speed of 178 mph and a range of 449 miles.

The first helicopter will be delivered in May of next year. One helicopter a month is expected to be delivered after that.

Bell Helicopter is headquartered in the United States but has an aircraft manufacturing plant in the province of Quebec in Canada.

Canada says the contract given to Bell will stimulate economic growth and create Canadian jobs.

"The aerospace industry is important to Quebec's economy," said Lebel. "I am proud to see that once again, Quebec workers are benefiting from our government's investments in the renewal of our Canadian Coast Guard fleet.

"This contract will support the growing aerospace industry in Quebec. It will attract a skilled and youthful workforce to the area and drives economic prosperity."

Airbus Defense and Space is to explore the feasibility of using a radar technology originally developed for the military in civil aviation.

The technology is passive radar, which the company started developing in 2006.

"Conventional radar uses a rotating antenna to sweep the sky, actively sending out radio pulses and detecting those which are reflected back from aircraft," the company said. "Airbus Defense and Space has developed a so-called 'passive radar' system that doesn't emit any radiation, but instead analyses radiation reflections from other emitters, such as radio and television stations, to detect objects."

Passive radar measures the differences between the original broadcast signal and the signals reflected from aircraft to determine the plane's position.

"The difference is that a passive radar system that relies on signals already in the air avoids creating additional emissions in populated areas, releases bandwidth for other uses and addresses the problem of misleading echoes from wind farms," Airbus said.

The study was commissioned by Britain's Civil Aviation Authority. The monetary value of the contract, however, was not disclosed.

A working passive radar system by the company has already shown a capability to detect aircraft from a distance of 124 miles. In 2011, Airbus Defense and Space announced the development of a software and hardware radar modification to lesson signal interference from wind turbines.

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