JED - March 2012 - (Page 26)

Next Generation Rotorcraft ASE Systems Reserved for Newer Platforms By John Haystead A truism of all military endeavors is that priorities and plans will necessarily change. So it is that, as we begin the current decade, it’s clear that the DOD’s path forward for providing comprehensive helicopter self-protection has turned away from an all-inclusivesingle-solution approach toward one that provides the most effective EW capability possible, for as many platforms as possible, as soon as possible. The reasons for this are many, with the reality of looming budget cuts certainly leading the way, but another clear reality is the impracticality of trying to shoehorn a new, single-system EW solution into a wide array of disparate rotary-wing platforms, many of which are slated for near- and mid-term retirement. This means that the two major nextgeneration aircraft survivability equipment (ASE) systems, the Navy-led Joint and Allied Threat Awareness System (JATAS) and the Army’s Common Infrared Countermeasures (CIRCM) systems will likely be fielded on fewer platforms. Instead, the primary military rotorcraft users, the Army and Navy/Marines are taking a close look at their inventory of current and planned helicopter platforms, and making an upfront determination of which are best served by a tailored upgrade of their existing ASE systems, and which can efficiently, and cost-effectively, incorporate the nextgeneration capability. That said, the overriding and immediate objective for all the Services remains the same – providing improved warning and protection for all their rotary-wing platforms, particularly against IR-missiles as well as unguided weapon systems, such as rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) and small arms. In terms of technology, this means improved UV, IR or multi-spectral-detection, laser-warning, hostile fire indication (HFI), and countermeasures that include flares, directed IR countermeasures and radar jammers. US ARMY AND THE AAR-57 For the Army, the class of rotorcraft now tagged for upgrade of their current ASE system includes platforms already equipped with the BAE Systems (Nashua, NH) AAR-57(V) Common Missile Warning System (CMWS). At the present time, the Army has no plans to acquire the JATAS system. Says, COL John Leapheart, Army Program Director, Aircraft Survivability Equipment (PM-ASE), “It would be irresponsible at this point in time, given the economic environment and some of the cuts coming across the entire DOD, to throw away the very large investment we’ve made in CMWS and some other systems in order to bring a new truly-integrated system onto the current generation of aircraft. My guidance to the team is that anything we do must fit inside the existing ASE footprint onboard the aircraft. So, we’re not looking to bring a new system onto an existing aircraft. We want to drive integration amongst the systems that are already there.” The Army is now completing testing of the latest CMWS software release, which includes a new HFI function de- veloped under a Quick Reaction Capability (QRC) program. This functionality will be fielded together with the Gen III Electronic Control Unit (ECU), the next-generation processor for the CMWS. The new ECU also potentially allows for additional ASE functionality processing such as radar and laser warning, as well as for directed IR countermeasures. Leapheart says every platform that currently has the CMWS will get the GEN III ECU and, as a result, the HFI QRC. “We’ll start deployment in theater in May of 2012, giving us limited hostile fire capability against small arms and RPGs, and the increased processing power provided by the GEN III ECU will also allow us to expand the threat data base as well as look at other areas for future ASE integration.”

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of JED - March 2012

The View From Here
Conferences Calendar
Courses Calendar
From the President
The Monitor
Washington Report
World Report
US Rotorcraft EW Programs
Technology Survey: DRFMs for EW Applications
Book Review
EW 101
AOC News
2012 AOC Industry/Institute/ University Member Guide
Index of Advertisers
JED Quick Look

JED - March 2012