Tim Ripley

GEC-Marconi is hoping to attract the interest of Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopter operators following the launch of its Helicopter Integrated Defensive Aids Systems (HIDAS) suite to overseas air forces at Dubai '97.

Bill Mawer, GEC-Marconi Avionics sales and marketing director, says the company is using the show to talk to major users of the Apache "Éto explain the success of HIDAS in the United Kingdom and bring it to a wider market."

Company spokesman Richard Coltart says many Apache operators had been waiting for the UK to select its defensive-aid suite earlier this month before deciding on systems to protect their own machines from missile threats.

"This system is very relevant for the Middle East," he says. "Many Apache export customers do not have electronic warfare fits on their helicopters."

Earlier this month, the UK Ministry of Defence selected the HIDAS to equip its WAH-64Ds after a nine-month contest for the $75-million contract.

Mike White, head of marketing for airborne systems, says the Apache's battlefield role means it has a particular need for self-protection.


"HIDAS is the first fully-integrated defensive-aid system in the world to be offered on a helicopter," he says.

"In modelling of multi-missile engagements we have demonstrated significant improvements in protection over non-integrated defensive systems, which more than justify the extra cost of the HIDAS.

Coltart says the system's design approach takes account of the increasingly common use of aircraft such as the Apache in support of peacekeeping operations.

"In this latter role, the military tactics of choice often take second place to political considerations, so weapon systems that might not pose a threat to helicopters flying nap-of-the-earth become a very real hazard when crews are constrained to operations at a minimum height of 2,000ft (600m).

"HIDAS can be configured to meet individual customer requirements and the needs of different airframes.

"The complete system selected for the UK Apache comprises a full suite of radar, laser and missile-warning sensors for situational awareness and threat detection and identification. An intelligent counter-measures dispensing system is also included."






Source: Flight Daily News