The US Army has signed a $39 million contract to purchase 300 of BAE Systems’ third-generation Common Missile Warning System (CMWS), the defence contractor announced on 14 January. The order, which includes spare units and engineering and technical services, is part of the army’s effort to equip its aircraft with the latest defensive electronics, says BAE.
The CMWS includes five sensors placed around an aircraft, which detect the ultraviolet signatures of heat-seeking missiles. The sensors pass information to an electronic control unit, which evaluates the threat, sends information to the cockpit and can automatically deploy countermeasures, the company says.
BAE says the third-generation system has seven times more processing power than a second-generation missile warning system. And, unlike earlier versions, the newest CMWS also detects small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades, the company says.
The CMWS has been operational with the US Army since 2005, and is currently installed on US aircraft operating in Afghanistan, such as Boeing AH-64 Apaches and CH-47 Chinooks, Bell OH-58 Kiowa Warriors, Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawks and fixed-wing aircraft, says BAE. The UK also has the system on its Chinooks, Apaches, AgustaWestland Lynxs and Eurocopter Pumas.
“Our Common Missile Warning System has been battle tested, with more than 2,100 systems delivered and integrated on more than 30 different platform types,” BAE says. The system has logged more than 2.3 million flight hours, it adds.
The company expects the US Army will eventually purchase more than 1,300 third-generation CMWS units to be installed on more than 1,000 aircraft during the next two years, at a cost of $496 million.