Saab Grintek Defence is manufacturing the core components for the BOZ-101 EC podded self-protection system for the German Air Force’s Tornado jets and is also working on a variety of other self-protection systems for various international customers.
Last month Saab in Sweden announced that it had received three orders for self-protection equipment for the German Air Force’s Tornado fleet totalling 100 MSEK.
The contracts will see the certification and limited production of the BOZ-101 EC podded self-protection system, including the MAW-300 missile approach warning system, as well as development and qualification of a new cockpit control unit for the pod. The pods sold to Germany have a missile approach warner, controller and dispenser. Saab Grintek Defence (part of Saab South Africa) manufactures the missile approach warners and controllers while Saab in Jarfalla, Sweden, does the remainder of the work.
“These orders mark the first contract with Germany for Saab’s MAW-300 missile approach warning system. It is a breakthrough and a strong vote of confidence in Saab as an electronic warfare supplier,” said Micael Johansson, Head of Saab’s business area Electronic Defence System.
A production order is expected from Germany in the second quarter of 2014. Saab is also expecting a follow-on order from the Italian Air Force, which has used a version of the pod, BOZ-102 EC, on its Tornados since 2008.
Saab’s premier military self-protection system is the IDAS (Integrated Defensive Aids Suite) for helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. It features missile, laser and radar warning receivers and chaff and flare dispensers. Its modular system architecture allows IDAS to be configured for any one or any combination of the three sensor types. Saab claims it is the world’s first fully integrated system, as Saab produces every component itself. Another selling point is that the user has complete control over the system’s threat database and library tools, according to Chris Skinner, Vice President, Head of Marketing and Sales and Commercial, Saab Grintek Defence.
Saab says IDAS has been chosen for many different airborne platforms, including the Saab 2000, AgustaWestland A109, Super Lynx 300, Boeing CH-47 Chinook, Denel Rooivalk and Oryx, Eurocopter Cougar, Puma and Super Puma, NH Industries NH90, C-130 and L100 Hercules and Sukhoi Su-30MKM.
In September this year Saab Grintek Defence was awarded additional follow-on orders to supply its IDAS onto India’s Dhruv advanced light helicopter. The Dhruv’s manufacturer, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), is producing helicopters for the Indian Army and Air Force. Deliveries on the latest follow-on order are scheduled to commence in 2014.
India is one of Saab Grintek Defence’s most significant customer to date, and Saab is expecting follow-on orders for the Dhruv. The entire self-protection system on the Dhruv, except for the dispensers, is made in South Africa. So far Saab has been contracted to supply 99 systems, and expects orders for additional systems next year. It is transferring technology to HAL for local involvement, something that will help Saab’s chances in supplying systems for the HAL Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), currently under development.
Saab has developed the IDAS system into the commercial Civil Aircraft Missile Protection System (CAMPS) using almost identical sensors and other features (such as the MAW-300 warner), but instead of dispensing chaff or flares, CAMPS uses pyrophoric ‘confetti’ which reacts with the air to burn at a cool temperature, creating a large heat signature to throw off heat-seeking missiles. The biggest advantage of the system is that it does not pose a fire risk, unlike with conventional flares – this makes it viable as a commercial protection system.
The CAMPS system is designed to work against first and second generation heat-seeking missiles like the SA-7 and SA-14 which have been widely proliferated across the globe, especially following the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya and the disappearance of thousands of SAMS from his stocks.
Skinner said that the CAMPS project was started around 2005 and the first demonstration was done at the Overberg Test Range in the Western Cape in 2007 using an Embraer 120 aircraft. He added that CAMPS had accumulated a couple of good sales and lots of interest. UN and World Food Programme operators and heads of state make the most inquiries for the system, which has or is still being integrated onto civil Hercules, Embraer 120, Dornier 328, Boeing 737 and Boeing 747 aircraft.
Saab also provides self-protection systems for land vehicles, the Land Electronic Defence System (LEDS). This comes in several different versions, including the LEDS 50 laser warning system. The LEDS 150 system currently under development is an active protection system (APS) that operates in conjunction with the Mongoose-1 counter-munition. LEDS 150 claims the possibility to destroy incoming anti-tank projectiles (e.g. RPG-7 rounds) with the Mongoose missile at ranges as close as within 20 metres of the launch vehicle. The munition has in tests deflected 105 mm tank rounds as well as fin-stabilised rods.
A number of partners are involved in LEDS 150, including Denel, which supplies the Mongoose missile, Reutech, which supplies the radar that detects incoming rounds, and Curtiss Wright, which manufactures the directed launcher. Saab is the systems house and integrator.
Saab is looking for a partner to complete development of the LEDS 150. Skinner said that due to the complexity and state of the art technology involved, it was a very R&D resource intensive programme, hence the serious need for an investment partner. Saab is talking to two potential European partners and is hoping for a firm commitment in the next six months, otherwise the company may have to hibernate the programme.
Skinner said LEDS 150 was a proven concept, with trials already been conducted using the Mongoose active countermeasure missile. He said the big thing was integrating and finalising the system. It would take an estimated one and a half years to get the system to production.
LEDS 50 is currently operationally deployed on the CV 90/35 combat vehicles of the Royal Netherlands Army and Saab hopes the LEDS system will be ordered by the Canadians for their new combat vehicle.
Saab also has a marine version of the laser warning system called NLWS for surface vessels and has numerous international successes with this product in both Europe and the Middle East.
Going forward, Saab is looking at new sensor technologies such as active and imaging infrared sensors, as well as partnering with other suppliers with the aim of enhancing technologies such as directed infrared countermeasures (DIRCM) systems.