Cassidian produces anti-missile system for civil aircraft

June 21, 2013 at 1:00 PM
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UNTERSCHLEISSHEIM, Germany, June 21 (UPI) -- Cassidian of Germany has developed a system to protect civil aircraft from attack by missiles, particularly shoulder-fired missiles.

The system is a modified version of the company's military airborne missile protection system, which detects the UV radiation of approaching missiles and launches flares to divert the missile's seeker head.

The AMPS offers an extremely low false-alarm rate and maximum warning time of a missile attack.

Cassidian said only minor modifications are needed for integration of the system into an aircraft's architecture and that the European Aviation Safety Agency is allowing its use on business-sized aircraft flying outside of scheduled air traffic.

"This particularly concerns aircraft operators which offer air transport to crisis areas on behalf of governments or aid organizations and which are particularly exposed to attacks by light IR-guided missiles, the so-called MANPADS (man-portable air-defense systems).

The EASA decision means aircraft operators have more flexibility in their flights. Generally, the use of civil airports and airspaces by aircraft equipped with military systems is heavily restricted since civil aviation infrastructure cannot be used, the company said.

Cassidian, in collaboration German aircraft equipment company EADS Elbe Flugzeugwerke, is working to further develop the system for approval to integrate the AMPS into wide-body civilian aircraft.

In other company developments, Cassidian's Military Obstacle Warning System has been approved for use on NH90 helicopters.

The system is a variant of the SferiSense helicopter laser radar system. Eurocopter, parent company of the aircraft's manufacturer, NHIndustries, gave its approval following a qualification review.

Germany's military will receive the first 150 of the laser-based warning system, which carries the acronym MilOWS. Finland is also to receive the system.

"The military version of the obstacle warning system is a development based on customer requirements that will make flying helicopters in military conditions safer," said Rolf Wirtz, head of Mission Systems at Cassidian. The civil system has been in use with great success for many years with the German Federal Police, for example."

The MilOWS is a laser-based, electro-optical system that detects obstacles, even thin cables at a distance of mile than half a mile, in a helicopter's flight path. It classifies potential obstacles in the categories wires, masts or individual standing objects and produces obstacle symbols that are superimposed onto a Forward Looking Infra Red video. The video is then projected (with images of the surrounding landscape) onto the pilot's helmet visor or multi-function cockpit display.

The detection and visual projections are accompanied by audible alarms

"In completing its qualification flights on the NH90, MilOWS gave impressive proof of its credentials for use in a military setting," Cassidian said. "The Bundeswehr will now have the first military helicopters in the world to be fitted with a laser-based, real-time obstacle warning system.

"These helicopters will thus be able to carry out difficult missions in bad visibility more safely."

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