BIRD Aerosystems providing protection systems on UN helicopters in Africa


Israel’s Bird Aerosystems has received a contract to provide missile protection systems for United Nations’ Mi-17 helicopters operating in Africa.

The company on 5 August said that its AMPS-MV solution would be installed on UN Mi-17s operating in dangerous and complicated areas in Africa. The UN is already using BIRD’s airborne missile protection system (AMPS), and this is a follow-on order that will allow the UN to install the systems on additional helicopters.

The system is designed to automatically detect, verify, and foil surface-to-air missile (SAM) attacks through the effective use of countermeasure decoys (flares and chaff) and by Directional Infrared Countermeasures (DIRCM) that jam the missile’s infrared seeker. The AMPS-MV includes BIRD Aerosystems’ patented Missile Approach Confirmation Sensor (MACS), which provides confirmation of suspected incoming missile threats detected by the main electro-optical passive sensors, and eliminates false alarms. MACS ensures that only real missiles will be declared by the system and reacted upon, the company said.

Ronen Factor, Co-Chief Executive Officer and Founder at Bird Aerosystems: “The UN Air Operations teams are operating in the most dangerous areas and conflict zones in Africa, and therefore have to make sure that their helicopters are safe and protected against the constantly growing threat of MANPADS. As caring for its soldiers is a primary goal for the UN, we are honoured that once again, they choose to do so using BIRD’s AMPS-MV.”

AMPS-MV has been approved by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and German aviation authority LBA (Luftfahrt Bundesamt) for installation on business jet-sized aircraft. It operates autonomously and comprises MILDS AN/AAR-60 (UV) sensors that automatically detect the missile launch and send the indication/alarm to an EW Suite Controller (MCDU). The MCDU activates the Missile Approach Confirmation Sensor (MACS) that slews to the direction of the incoming threat and verifies the validity of the threat.

Only upon validation of the threat by both MILDS and MACS sensors will the MCDU confirm the threat, initiate the optimized countermeasure dispensing programme, and provide visual and audio alerts to the aircraft crew. AMPS-MV can handle up to eight simultaneous threats.

Bird Aerosystems specialises in airborne missile protection systems and airborne surveillance, information and observation (ASIO) solutions. Its solutions are in use with commercial and military organisations, including NATO forces, the US government, Airbus and other major aircraft manufacturers. It says its AMPS is combat proven and has been operational in Afghanistan and Iraq with over 400 installations on platforms such as the EC155, BK117, EC145, EC635, EC135, Cougar, EC225, C-130, P-3C, B350ER, B200, Bell 407, CH-53, S92, UH-60, Mi-17 and Mi8.