Keeping our oceans safe is not an easy task even for the best-engineered high-tech hardware.
Antennas need to cope with some of the world’s harshest and most isolated ocean environments. Intense cold, extreme corrosion, ice, rain, hail, vibration and the constant jarring force of the waves must all be overcome on a daily basis. Added to this is the requirement for maximum product reliability, given that shore-based workshops and specialist technicians are far away.
These are among the challenges being successfully met by South African-based Alaris Antennas, a designer and manufacturer of high-technology antennas. Among Alaris’ most successful products is the DF-A0037, a direction-finding antenna in service with naval peacekeeping forces from Europe, Asia and Australasia. It is capable of monitoring signals and tracking their direction of source (direction finding) in the high frequency (HF), very high frequency (VHF) and ultra-high frequency (UHF) bands. The product is used in applications such as intelligence gathering, counter-piracy, counter-smuggling, deterring illegal fishing and general security tasks.
The DF-A0037 was first unveiled in 2010 and, according to Alaris Holdings CEO Juergen Dresel, continues to be refined and customised to meet the requirements of each naval customer.
“It is a mature, proven product that is in great demand and we see strong future potential in markets such as the United States and South America. It is also under consideration by South Africa,” he says. “We have filled a niche in which we have a market-leading expertise and a solid track record. The DF-A0037 requires more than just antenna knowledge. It entails wider system knowledge so that, on a naval vessel, the competing frequencies of other equipment can be filtered out to enable the product to operate at maximum efficiency. This necessitates specialist know-how in which we have a strong competitive advantage.”
The DF-A0037 was originally developed as a land-based mobile direction-finding antenna system , but later modified for the more demanding maritime environment. Key specifications include:
- DF frequency range: 1 – 3600 MHz
- DF Type: Five element correlative interferometer
- Number of frequency bands: Three
- Monitoring frequency range: 1 – 3600 MHz
- Mechanical design: Hardened for harsh maritime environments
Using the core competencies in research and development, engineering and manufacturing possessed by its operating companies – Alaris Antennas (South Africa) and COJOT (Finland) – Alaris Holdings provides electronic peacekeeping and communication products for a variety of applications. These include electronic counter-measures to prevent the remote detonation of bombs, jamming of enemy communications, monitoring of enemy communications and signal direction finding. The products may be mounted on vehicles, aircraft, drones, ships and submarines, or carried by individuals.
In the civilian environment, the company’s technology is used by test and measurement businesses and frequency regulatory bodies.