BIRD Aerosystems to showcase special mission aircraft solutions at Africa Air Force Forum

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Israeli company BIRD Aerosystems will be showcasing its airborne surveillance and aircraft self-protection solutions at the inaugural Africa Air Force Forum in Senegal later this week.

“Installed on hundreds of aircraft operating worldwide, BIRD’s solutions are operationally deployed by different customers in Africa, including forces of the UN operating in Mali, Somalia, and other conflict zones,” the company said.

Its AMPS-MV airborne missile protection system, for example, was recently added to another customer’s Mi-17 helicopters operating on behalf of the United Nations in Africa; BIRD Aerosystems has received a number of contracts over the years for self-protection systems for Mi-17 helicopters operating for the UN in Africa. 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 (including BIRD’s SPREOS) that jam the missile’s infrared seeker.

In late 2020 BIRD Aerosystems revealed that an unidentified African customer had ordered its SPREOS (Self Protection Radar Electro-Optic System) directional infrared countermeasures (DIRCM) system for its VIP and military aircraft fleet. That year, the company announced it had delivered its Airborne Missile Protection Systems to a VIP customer in Africa to protect a presidential Boeing 737 aircraft. The AMPS system included an AeroShield POD and Missile Approach Confirmation Sensor.

BIRD Aerosystems says it specialises in airborne missile protection systems and Airborne Surveillance, Information and Observation (ASIO) solutions – five years ago the Angolan Air Force began operating a Cessna Citation jet configured by BIRD for the maritime surveillance role. It was fitted with Leonardo’s SeaSpray active electronically scanned array (AESA) multimode surveillance radar and a Controp electro-optical (EO) sensor in a belly fairing. The aircraft also has an automatic identification system (AIS) receiver and satellite communications systems.

In May last year the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) took delivery of the first of two Cessna Citation CJ3 maritime surveillance aircraft as part of its Deep Blue maritime security project, after being fitted with BIRD’s Airborne Surveillance, Intelligence and Observation maritime solution as well as its Mission Management system (MSIS). The ASIO solution includes a search radar and electro-optical/infrared gimbal.

Ronen Factor, Co-CEO and Founder at BIRD Aerosystems, said “operationally proven, BIRD solutions allow forces operating in Africa to protect their aircraft and crew, and provide them with cutting-edge abilities for surveillance and maritime patrol missions.”

Senegal is hosting the inaugural Africa Air Force Forum (AAFF) on 26 and 27 October. Key themes include countering asymmetrical continental threats by way of enhanced air operations, and low intensity conflicts. The forum will also host networking exercises and interactive platforms. The forum is touted as enhancing collaborative approaches to combatting regional security challenges on the continent.

Chief of Senegal’s Air Force Staff, Brigadier General Papa Souleymane, welcomed the global aerospace community to the meeting of air force leadership. “The forum will provide a setting to talk about the evolving role air operations have in counter-insurgency efforts and highlight the importance of the region’s forces to co-operatively address enhancing the security landscape”.

Over 20 speakers have been lined up for the event with a similar number of African air force chiefs expected.