Rome, 20th-21st April 1993

Official Record

Office of the Clerk of the Assembly of WEU




Wednesday, 21st April 1993


Current state of industrial studies on anti-missile systems in Europe (continued)


Observation and warning: mastery of complex systems

Mr. GRICOURT (Matra Marconi Space, France). -

Trial EUROWISAT programme

For the mission of detecting missiles in the propelled stage, two basic satellite configurations are possible: either a constellation of ten to twenty satellites in low orbit (solution suitable for worldwide cover) or two geostationary satellites at an altitude of 36 000 km in a fixed position over the area to be observed. In our case, we have a threat that is limited in extent and we propose a more economical solution based on geostationary satellites. The following slide illustrates the global coverage from the ground that is possible by using two geostationary satellites separated by about 60_ (one satellite over Gabon, the other over the Sea of Oman). Three zones can be distinguished, the two extremities (rectangles on the right and left) which correspond to simple observations by each of the satellites. The central zone is covered by both satellites, making stereo sighting possible. Inter alia, it will improve the system's detection performance.

Compared with the American programme, the complexity and performance of the proposed solution are closer to those of DSP than of FEWS. The proposed satellite would be composed of a Telecom-type three-axis stabilised platform and an optical payload using mosaic infrared sensors. This configuration is well within Europe's reach at reasonable cost. It must be understood that, whereas the Americans want to observe the whole world and, at the same time, be able to cope with a strategic attack, all we want is a means capable of detecting tactical ballistic missiles in a far smaller geographical area.

In terms of optical observation, the basic difficulty concerns the detection of plumes of liquid or solid missiles on extremely variable surface backgrounds. As a result, there are difficult technical problems relating to infrared sensors and the accuracy of the geostationary satellite's plotting. The following slide illustrates a possible trial semi- operational satellite (stage 1.l) based on a future experimental platform of a Telecom satellite. This geostationary satellite would accumulate, in peacetime, enough data on surface backgrounds in infrared and on missiles (by observing firing ranges) to make up for about fifteen years of lost time in this area and prove the worth of the proposed technical concept. It would then allow the development of the entire operational stage 1-2 system.

The development logic illustrates the approach just described:

IR sensor activities must be launched in 1994: the first models would be mounted in the trial optical payload at the end of 1997. The satellite platform, launched in 1995, would take this payload on board at the beginning of 1999 for firing at the end of the same year. Work carried out in orbit would be of direct benefit to the operational satellites due to be launched in 2005.

Mr. ROCHE (Director, Systemes Matra Defense, France). - Conclusion In conclusion, a European system can be established progressively by allowing each European country to decide, at each stage, to meet one or another of its requirements at European or national level in the light of its own balance of cost and requirements. From the very first stage, these systems would be built in such a way as to allow interoperability with United States systems in the best interests of national forces, European forces as a whole and Atlantic Alliance forces as a whole.

Europe has all the know-how required to produce all or part of these systems, including architecture and concept capabilities. We propose to make available to WEU this know- how and our experience drawn from the Matra Group's research in international co-operation with the United States and other countries, with Matra Marconi Space for space systems, with Matra Defense for missile systems and with Matra Cap Systemes for C3I command systems.