ITT Industries is in discussions with the US Army to supply a lower-cost derivative of the ALQ-211(V)1 suite of integrated radio frequency countermeasures (SIRFC) to upgrade its fleet of Boeing AH-64 Apaches. The move comes as Greece looks set to choose the rival BAE Systems helicopter integrated defensive aids system (HIDAS) for its planned purchase of 12 additional Apache attack helicopters.

The US Army shelved plans two years ago to equip the AH-64D Apache Longbow with both SIRFC and the BAE suite of integrated infrared countermeasures (SIIRCM) on the cost grounds. "We're working with the army on a derivative of SIRFC that's an affordable insertion," says Chris Bernhardt, ITT Avionics president. He says a positive response has been received.

To reduce the cost of the system, the US Army is considering separating the SIRFC's jammer and initially ordering the radar-warning receiver element only. SIRFC is a modular suite and seven distinct versions have been produced to date for different platforms, with add-on countermeasure dispensers, different types of jammers, electronic support measures, laser warning and target cueing. "Costs have come down significantly as a result of this strategy," adds Bernhardt.

The ALQ-211(V)2 has been selected for the US Air Force's Bell Boeing CV-22 and the (V)3 for the army's Boeing Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche. The US Army Special Operations Command has ordered the (V)6 and (V)7 for its Boeing MH-47E and Sikorsky MH-60K Black Hawks, respectively, while the (V)4 will equip Chile's and Oman's Lockheed Martin F-16C/Ds and the (V)5 is for Norway's NH Industries NH90 helicopter. The company so far has been unable to find a customer for the baseline (V)1 on the Apache, for which it was originally designed.

International AH-64 operators are reluctant to pay to equip their helicopters with the system until it is adopted by the US Army. Greece is understood to be planning to include HIDAS in its planned order for 12 AH-64Ds. This follows Kuwait ordering the UK system last year. ITT director business development John Chehansky says: "The United Arab Emirates is very competitive". The UAE is due to decide soon on the upgrade of 30 AH-64As.

Source: Flight International