Navy researchers ask industry for ideas on how to defend against helicopter RPG attacks

ARLINGTON, Va., 19 Aug. 2015. U.S. Navy researchers are asking industry for ways to design equipment that can detect, track, and shoot down incoming rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) that threaten helicopter RPG attacks on U.S. and allied aircraft operating on or near the ground.

Navy researchers ask industry for ideas on how to defend against helicopter RPG attacks
Navy researchers ask industry for ideas on how to defend against helicopter RPG attacks
ARLINGTON, Va., 19 Aug. 2015. U.S. Navy researchers are asking industry for ways to design equipment that can detect, track, and shoot down incoming rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) that threaten helicopter RPG attacks on U.S. and allied aircraft operating on or near the ground.

Officials of the Office of Naval Research (ONR) in Arlington, Va., issued a presolicitation Tuesday (N00014-15-R-BA14) for the Helicopter Active RPG Protection (HARP) program, which seeks ways to defeat an RPG with an expendable countermeasure launched from a tiltrotor aircraft or helicopter.

Unguided anti-aircraft weapons like RPGs pose a unique problem for aircraft survivability equipment (ASE) solutions, ONR officials say. Currently fielded ASE typically try to defeat the guidance systems on anti-air weapons, but are ineffective against unguided threats.

Instead, tiltrotor aircraft and helicopter aircrews depend on tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) to defend themselves from RPGs and other unguided threats, ONR officials say. The kinds of emerging technologies that could defeat RPGs with hard-kill expendables are a particular focus of the HARP Future Naval Capability (FNC) project.

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HARP technology should be developed with open-systems technologies in mind, and proposed HARP architectures should link into existing aircraft survivability equipment, such as the hostile fire indication (HFI) cueing from the AN/AAQ-24(V) Advanced Threat Warning (ATW) sensor.

In particular, Navy researchers want to integrate HARP command and control processing onto an advanced single board computer located in the Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasure (LAIRCM) System Processor Replacement (LSPR).

Researchers want HARP's expendable countermeasure to be compatible with launch from the AN/ALE-47 Countermeasure Dispense System (CMDS). On cueing, the HARP system must sense the inbound RPG, reject false alarms, and shoot down the RPG far enough away so that it doesn't damage the aircraft.

The HARP program has three phases over four years: prototype concept; build a prototype; and build prototype hardware, code prototype software, and demonstrate the system in relevant environments, which include a tethered hovering helicopter. Three or more HARP contractors may be chosen for the potential $14 million program. Contract awards could be as early as July 2016.

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Companies interested should email white papers no later than 5 Oct. 2015 to the Navy's Roger Sullivan at roger.sullivan@navy.mil.

Mail or messenger full proposals no later than 21 Dec. 2015 to Office of Naval Research Document Control Unit, ONR Code 43, 875 North Randolph St., Arlington, VA 22203-1995.

Email technical questions or concerns to the Navy's Roger Sullivan at roger.sullivan@navy.mil. Email business questions or concerns to the Navy's Justin Zerbato at justin.zerbato@navy.mil.

More information is online at https://www.fbo.gov/spg/DON/ONR/ONR/N00014-15-R-BA14/listing.html.

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