Installation is first step towards equipping special-operations rotorcraft with directable jammer able to defeat SAMs

The US Army is to begin installing BAE Systems' AAR-57(V) missile warning system on special-operations helicopters in the much-delayed first step towards equipping the aircraft with a directable infrared jammer able to defeat surface-to-air missiles (SAMs).

BAE began deliveries of the Common Missile Warning System (CMWS)in mid-September, under a contract for 26 shipsets awarded in March to support Operation Enduring Freedom. The company has completed development of the associated ALQ-212(V) Advanced Threat Infrared Countermeasures (ATIRCM) directable jammer. "We expect a production contract within the next year," says business development manager Chris Ager.

Initial deliveries of the ATIRCM, which combines lamp and laser jamming, will be for US Army special operations helicopters. A competition is pending to equip US Air Force special operations Sikorsky MH-53s. BAE plans to offer the ALQ-212(V), while Northrop Grumman will offer its laser-based Large Aircraft Infrared Counter-measures (LAIRCM) system, under development for USAF Boeing C-17s and Lockheed Martin C-130s.

The LAIRCM is a derivative of the lamp-based AAQ-24(V) directional infrared countermeasures (DIRCM) system being fitted on over 50 US Air Force special-operations C-130s. Northrop Grumman says production installations have begun on MH-130 Combat Talon I and IIs and testing is under way on two AC-130 gunships. The LAIRCM is in low-rate initial production and will be installed on 79 C-17s and C-130s, as well as USAF Bell Boeing CV-22 tiltrotors.

Under the joint DIRCM programme, the UK is installing the AAQ-24(V) on over 120 aircraft. It will also be fitted to new C-130Js and AgustaWestland EH101/Merlin helicopters. Denmark has ordered the lamp-based DIRCM to equip its EH101s, while Australia will equip its Boeing 737-based airborne early warning and control aircraft with the laser-based LAIRCM.

CMWS has been in production for the UK's AgustaWestland-built Boeing Apache AH1s since December 2000 as part of BAE's Helicopter Integrated Defensive Aids System suite, which does not include directable infrared countermeasures. CMWS has also been selected by the UK for Nimrod MR4 and ASTOR, both without directable IRCM. Active US Army AH-64Ds, Boeing CH-47s and Sikorsky UH-60s are due to be equipped with CMWS/ATRICM from 2004. BAE is offering pod- and pylon-mounted CMWS for fixed-wing aircraft.


Source: Flight International