Defense

August 14, 2013

Unique testing helps war fighter, saves lives

Jenny Gordon
Robins AFB, Ga.

When large transport or rotary-wing aircraft support a mission in a deployed location, there’s always the threat of those wanting to harm to the lives and assets onboard.

That includes risks from a range of shoulder-fired, vehicle-mounted and other infrared-guided missiles capable of following the path of an Air Force C-17 Globemaster III or C-130 Hercules, for example.

At Robins Air Force Base, Ga., helping to stop those missiles in their tracks happens through a joint partnership between members of†the 566th Electronics Maintenance Squadron and Northrop Grumman engineers.

Known as Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures, or LAIRCM, this sophisticated technology is a highly-effective and complex missile threat detection system. It combines a missile warning system and†Guardian Laser Transmitter Assembly laser jammer. The countermeasures system uses a laser pointer-tracker.

LAIRCM’s end goal is to not only detect a missile threat, but to track and defeat it by confusing the missile’s guidance system so that it’s destroyed. The processor, or brains of the system’s central processing unit, is tested through various scenarios at a facility on base.

Engineers routinely test the interface unit that pilots use to load various software for different flight plans, preparing them in advance of any type of missile attack depending on location. This workload has been here for about four years.

A simulation can run a signal path all the way through every portion of the processor, giving the operator a three-dimensional view of where a missile originated.

“The plane, via these missile warning sensors, detect when they’ve been fired upon,” said Jeff Lamb, the LAIRCM element chief. “They’re extremely accurate.”

Another unique capability here is the presence of a laser firing range -†a chamber coated with black walls to prevent the scattering and reflecting light as the GLTA laser is fired and tested. “It’s basically a really high-tech laser pointer, similar to what you’d point at with your cat,” Lamb said. “It is tested here on a firing table where we ensure we have a good beam pattern on the right frequency.”

Just how powerful is it? “In less than a one-second exposure, you can be permanently blinded,” he said.
The system can lock into a missile, up to three†at a time,†from a far distance and pick up on the threat even as it’s launched from the ground. It can also track missiles at high altitudes.

“It’s very effective and neat to work on,” said Northrop Grumman’s Doug Crowson, who has worked on the program for several years. “Every time it’s called on, it works.” The team at Robins Air Force Base, Ga.,†is currently in the second year of a $463 million five-year contract with Northrup Grumman to transfer more testing responsibilities here.

Currently, Robins AFB members†perform 20 percent of the testing workload, with 100 percent of the system’s processor workload. In the future as the program expands, Robins AFB†technicians will perform 80 percent of testing, while continuing to maintain and test the processor.

“With Northrop Grumman’s assistance, Robins (AFB)†will develop our own ability to be the source of repair,” Lamb said.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines April 1, 2015

News: Iranian aircraft buzzed U.S. Navy helo in Persian Gulf - An Iranian aircraft buzzed a Navy helicopter operating in the Persian Gulf earlier this month, a U.S. military official said March 31. Active duty suicides up in 2014 - Suicides among active duty members of the military increased in 2014, though reservists and members of the...
 
 

News Briefs April 1, 2015

Germany, France, Italy plan to develop military drones Germany and France plan to work together with Italy to develop military surveillance drones that could also carry weapons. French President Francois Hollande said after meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel March 31 that it is important for Europe to be independent in both manufacturing drones and in...
 
 
Northrop Grumman photograph

AirRobot, Northrop Grumman Remotec sign distribution agreement for unmanned aerial systems

Northrop Grumman photograph An AirRobot unmanned aerial system flies at Fort Benning, Ga.. Northrop Grumman Remotec is the sole reseller of the systems to law enforcement and first responders under a distribution agreement sign...
 

 

Raytheon awarded $528 million AMRAAM contract

Raytheon has been awarded a $528,797,459 fixed-price incentive, firm target contract modification for Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles. Raytheon will provide AMRAAM Lot 29 missiles and other AMRAAM system items. This contract involves foreign military sales. Work will be performed in Tucson and is expected to be complete by January 2018. This award was booked...
 
 

Raytheon, DRS team for Army’s third Generation IFLIR B-Kit

Building on their combined platform integration experience, Raytheon and DRS Technologies have entered into a teaming agreement for the U.S. Army’s 3rd Generation Improved Forward Looking Infrared program B-Kit “Raytheon and DRS have teamed to provide an IFLIR solution that provides our military supremacy in reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition,” said Dr. Taylor...
 
 

U.S. Air Force awards Raytheon $91.5 million for MALD-J

Raytheon Company received a $91.5 million U.S. Air Force contract modification award for the Miniature Air Launched Decoy Jammer missile. The contract modification is for Lot 8. Work will be performed in Tucson and is expected to be complete by June 2017. This award was booked in the first quarter 2015. MALDÆ is a state-of-the-art,...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>