General Dynamics' North Carolina-based Armament and Technical Products division this summer will perform a $2 million test of a ground-based counter-Manpads system at the US Navy's test facility in China Lake, California.

The counter man-portable air defence system (CMAPS), designed to protect aircraft from Manpads during take-off and landing, uses a portable airport-based network of sensors to detect the launch of a hostile missile and a high-power infrared countermeasure package to corrupt the projectile's guidance system, breaking its lock on the intended target.

Although primarily developed to protect military aircraft, CMAPS could also be deployed at civilian airports, says General Dynamics. The company also says the technology is a viable alternative to aircraft-based countermeasure suites.

Northrop Grumman and Raytheon are developing similar ground-based counter-Manpads systems for the US Department of Homeland Security. Funding for CMAPS, now pegged at $10.4 million, came from the US Department of Defense's technical support working group.

Separate tests in 2006 confirmed that CMAPS properly detected and tracked more than 30 missiles and that countermeasures were effective.

However, the trials this August will include a fully integrated system, with detection, tracking and countermeasures systems all working in tandem to scuttle live Manpads.

Related blog

Related story

  • DIRCM to protect CH-53E from missile threats