GKN WESTLAND has finally begun flight-testing of the Northrop Grumman Nemesis directed-infra-red countermeasures (DIRCM) system.

Flight testing on a Sea King testbed began on 27 October, about a year behind schedule. Trial installations are already under way and production systems are expected to be fielded by late 1998.

The UK has ordered 131 systems for installation on ten fixed- and rotary-wing types, but plans to provision a total of 186 aircraft to carry the Nemesis. The system includes an AAR-54 missile-warning system (MWS) which cues the jamming-transmitter turret.

Shielding problems encountered installing the arc-lamp transmitter in the four-axis turret delayed development, the US company says.

The Sea King testbed has a single side-mounted turret. Fielded installations will include single and dual transmitters. The UK plans to upgrade the Nemesis to a laser system and is about to issue a request for proposals for a technology-assessment programme to evaluate laser transmitters. Northrop Grumman says that it will flight-test a laser upgrade early in 1998.

The UK also plans a technology-assessment programme to select a passive missile-warning system for its fast-jet combat aircraft. This is viewed as a precursor to fitting a DIRCM on its fighters.

Northrop Grumman is offering the ultra-violet AAR-54 as well as the MIMS-2000 dual-band infra-red MWS now in development. The UK plans to flight-test candidate systems early in 1998 on a Jindivik drone. Daimler-Benz Aerospace is offering its AAR-60, Lockheed Martin the AAR-57, and Raytheon the AAR-44. Systems are to be fielded after 2000.

nGEC-Marconi has been selected to supply the defensive-aids system for the British Army's GKN Westland WAH-64 attack helicopter. The Helicopter Integrated Defensive Aids System will include GEC-Marconi's Sky Guardian 2000 radar-warning receiver and Series 1223 laser-warning receiver.

The UK company was selected over ITT and Lockheed Martin. GEC-Marconi Defence Systems will integrate a passive missile-warning system and chaff/flare dispenser supplied by yet-to-be announced offshore subcontractors. Growth plans include active radio-frequency countermeasures and directional infra-red countermeasures systems.

Source: Flight International