By John Keller
WASHINGTON–The U.S. Navy is looking for infrared sensor technology to enhance the AN/AAR-47 missile warning system, to help defend helicopters from small arms fire, anti-aircraft artillery (AAA), and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs).
The Hostile Fire Indication (HFI) capability (solicitation number N00173-08-R-KS03) will be compatible with the AN/AAR-47 installation and will use infrared sensors to help helicopter air crews detect and evade ground fire.
The AN/AAR-47 from ATK Integrated Systems in Woodland Hills, Calif., is for helicopters and transport aircraft, and warns of approaching surface-to-air missiles by detecting their missile plumes and automatically dispenses flares to confuse incoming missiles. It does not, however, help defend against small arms fire, AAA, and RPGs.
Infrared sensors may be able to protect combat helicopters from ground fire via enhanced situational awareness. Shown is a pilot in an AH-64 Apache attack helicopter simulator. (Image courtesy of Boeing.)
Scientists at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington want to demonstrate a prototype system next fall that can provide real-time warning of man-portable surface-to-air and air-to-air threats and that are capable of displaying medium-wave infrared imagery to the aircrew for enhanced situational awareness in poor visibility.
The HFI processor may be a prototype processor that is not yet within the AAR-47 constraints, Navy officials say. A full solicitation will be issued soon, which will include a detailed statement of work.
Prototype system testing will be at the U.S. Army Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., and will involve equipment mounted on a platform suspended from a crane roughly 100 feet off the ground.
Navy officials also are interested in how the prototype performs in the presence of urban background clutter, through use of pre-recorded airborne data with inserted flash and tracer signatures.
For more information, contact Kirsten Stanley at the Naval Research Laboratory by phone at 202-767-3090, or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Additional information is available online at http://www.fbodaily.com/archive/2008/06-June/05-Jun-2008/FBO-01585572.htm.