The South African Air Force is investing some R2.5 million in maintenance and support services for the self protection systems (SPS) fitted to its fleet of Denel Oryx medium utility helicopter and Lockheed Martin C130B medium transport aircraft.
The order, worth R2 543 860, was awarded SAAB Grintek Defence (Pty) Ltd last week. It is an extension of a R5 million order awarded in 2007. The company notes airborne SPS can radically improve the defensive and operational capabilities of aircraft and helicopters. A full IDAS is capable of detecting multi-spectral threats and comprises radar warning receivers, laser illumination warning systems, ultra violet-frequency missile approach warning (MAW) systems and pyrotechnical dispensers.
The detail of the SAAF’s SPS are not in the public domain but is likely to be a more basic version of the Integrated Defensive Aids Suites (IDAS) based on the MAW-300 system originally developed by Grintek Avitronics (now part of Saab Electronic Defence Systems – EDS) in the late-1990s. The Jane’s Electro-Optic Systems publication records the MAW-300 was designed “to significantly enhance aircraft survivability in hostile air defence environments, by supplying accurate and timely warning of approaching missiles.” This capability can be extended by including radar and laser warning. The MAW-300 later developed into the Multi-Sensor Warning System (MSWS) which evolved into the SAAB EDS Integrated Defensive Aids Suite (IDAS) and Compact-IDAS (CIDAS) systems. It is also a component of the company’s Civil Aircraft Missile Protection System (CAMPS).
SAAB, on its website, says the MAW has a “unique optical design, incorporating filter technology with purpose-built image intensifier tubes and photon-counting focal-plane array processors, [that] ensures high sensitivity equating to long detection range. Each sensor uses a dedicated digital signal processor making use of a distributed, hierarchical data-processing architecture to ensure optimal utilisation of information in real time.”
The pyrotechnics dispensers are controlled via a fully integrated chaff-and-flare dispenser controller that resides in the Electronic Warfare Controller (EWC). “This allows for automatic dispensing under the control of the EWC upon threat-identification. Semi-automatic and manual firing capability is also provided.” SAAB notes the user defines the dispensing programmes and sequences. “The dispensing techniques can be defined in the threat library for the EWC and uploaded to the system on the flight-line.”
In addition to the Oryx and C130, the SPS are also fitted to the Denel AH2A Rooivalk, the AgustaWestland A109, the AgustaWestland Super Lynx 300, the BAE Systems Hawk Mk120 lead-in fighter-trainer and the SAAB Gripen fourth generation fighter.
Maintenance and support services of self protection systems for the Oryx helicopter and C130 aircraft – extension of ELGS/2006/548
LGS/S2010/4611 3 Feb 2011 R2 543 860,00 SAAB Grintek Defence (Pty) Ltd
t/a Saab Avitronics
Maintenance and support services of self protection systems for the Oryx Helicopter and C130 aircraft.
ELGS/2006/548 31 May 2007 R5 000 000,00 SAAB Grintek Defence (Pty) Ltd
t/a Saab Avitronics
Pic: Detail of an SPS on a Denel Rooivalk combat support helicopter.