This is a reproduction of an article in the Journal of Electronic Defence, November, 1995.


Brazil, along with Chile, represents South America's EW high rollers. Current and recently concluded competitions cover the spectrum of EW.

The biggest program now up for grabs covers the upgrade of 47 F-5Es and 4 F-5Fs. The effort will include a new radar, head-up display, one or two multifunction displays, a modern fire control system, Mil-Std-1553 data bus architecture and, potentially as an option, an RWR and chaff/flare dispenser. According to Northrop Grumman's Smith, whose company will be one of the major competitors, the resulting capability will be similar to an F-16A or B, "possibly slightly beyond that in terms of modem avionics." The competition should garner intemational interest, with "most probably in excess of 10 companies vying for this," predicted Smith. Interested firms are expected to include Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) and Singapore Aerospace, in addition to Northrop Grumman. The North American company's team is expected to include such firms as Westinghouse, Teledyne, Base 10, AlliedSignal and Honeywell. The list of EW companies looking to supply the RWR to one or more teams could include Litton, Loral, Thomson, Elisra and Dassault.

On the surveillance side, Tadiran of Israel in the last year defeated Watkins-Johnson of the US for what sources described as a ground-based mobile "ELINT/EW" system worth approximately $40 million. The use of such electronic surveillance is a Brazilian strong suit, according to a JED source at a SIGINT firm, who described the Brazilians as "pretty savvy guys in terms of understanding what ESM is and what it could do for them and why they need ELINT."

But the biggest&emdash;and most publicized&emdash;surveillance effort is the SIVAM environmental surveillance program won by Raytheon last year. Now that some legal headaches have been cleared up, a contract for the deal is expected to be signed in the near future. The signing will provide some balm for Watkins-Johnson's wounds&emdash;the company will supply both radios and DF equipment to the project&emdash;and may lead to further business for Raytheon.

"When Brazil finally gives the go ahead and that thing takes off, then I think the other big countries will want a similar and a complementary capability," said Burgher. The "complementary capability," Raytheon hopes, will be for a smaller surveillance aircraft, such as the company's Guardian package. Other sources agreed that SIVAM-type programs will be fairly popular in South America in the future.

Meanwhile, EW firms working in Brazil will likely find themselves alongside a fair amount of native expertise. For example, the recently privatized EMBRAER aerospace firm has already worked with Northrop Grumman on its country's F-5s and will undoubtedly have a piece of the action in the upcoming upgrade. The country also has significant naval expertise, as exemplified on the new Niteroi-class frigate upgrades, which include self-protection equipment developed in-country. The Brazilian firm Elebra will supply the ET/SLQ-1 jammer, while the Instituto de Pesquisas da Marinas will provide a chaff decoy system. In addition, Racal will replace the existing RDL-2 ESM systems with the firm's Cutlass BlB.

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