Cat and mouse game continues in missile and counter-missile technologies

THE MIL & AERO BLOG, 30 Sept. 2014. Military tactical missile defense has been receiving a great deal of attention lately among the U.S. military services. Based on recent contracts it would seem that top leaders in the Pentagon are intent on making enemy ground-to-air, air-to-air, and ground-to-ground missile technologies all but obsolete.

After big defense cuts, what lies ahead?
After big defense cuts, what lies ahead?
THE MIL & AERO BLOG, 30 Sept. 2014. Military tactical missile defense has been receiving a great deal of attention lately among the U.S. military services.

Based on recent contracts it would seem that top leaders in the Pentagon are intent on making enemy ground-to-air, air-to-air, and ground-to-ground missile technologies all but obsolete.

Perhaps the most striking missile-defense job came earlier this month when scientists at the Air Force Research Lab at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, asked military research firm Leidos Inc. in Reston, Va., essentially to redefine the state of the art in aircraft missile defense.

Related: Air Force Research Lab asks Leidos to redefine the state of the art in aircraft missile defense

The Air Force handed Leidos nearly $50 million to advance the state of the art in aircraft missile warning and countermeasures as part of the Air Force Threat Warning Countermeasures (TWCM) program.

For the TWCM program Leidos will test new kinds of integrated missile threat warning and countermeasures that can include electro-optical, infrared, directional, and proactive countermeasures. The company also will develop ways to detect and counter missiles, lasers, and hostile fire that threaten U.S. and allied military aircraft.

Related: Air Force orders LAIRCM laser missile defense systems for different versions of C-130 aircraft

More conventional means of defending military aircraft from missiles also is receiving attention in the form of a $28 million Air Force order for Northrop Grumman to install laser-based aircraft missile-defense systems aboard 28 U.S. Air Force C-130 aircraft.

Northrop Grumman will provide the company's Large Aircraft Infrared Counter Measures (LAIRCM) system on the C-130s, which detect incoming heat-seeking missiles such as today's popular shoulder-fired varieties and confuse the missiles' guidance systems with directed laser energy.

Related: Army asks Lockheed Martin to push forward with developing counter-mortar and artillery missile

Last summer, meanwhile, the Army announced an upcoming five-year contract to the Lockheed Martin Corp. Missiles and Fire Control segment in Grand Prairie, Texas, to develop the small Extended Area Protection and Survivability (EAPS) missile to protect deployed warfighters with the ability to shoot down enemy rockets, artillery shells, and mortar rounds.

As these programs come to fruition and mature, there won't be many places to hide for enemy rockets and missiles.

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