Wednesday, March 4, 2015

US to supply Missile Warning Systems to India

US to supply Missile Warning Systems to India

The IAF C 130 showing It's AN AAR 47 MAWS in the Tail

Detailed Image representation of AN AAR 47 Fittings

         With the new government keen on developing the relationship of India with the global power USA has help forge several hundred deals. The governments have adopted the new motto --- "Chalein Saath Saath: Forward Together We Go". The governments have stressed on bilateral ties in trade, commerce, banking, industries and military systems. 

  The US-India military forces and command believes in freedom, democracy, and government by rule of law, and to increase security trough out the globe. These interests also include maintaining security and stability, defeating violent religious extremism and terrorism, preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction and associated materials, data, and technologies, and protecting the free flow of commerce throughout the globe prospering every country.

        The Missile Approach Warning System (MAWS) that reliably warns on incoming missile attacks and allows timely activation of countermeasures to increase the platform’s survivability. Using the MAWS the countermeasures like the chaff or the flares can be automatically deployed diverting the incoming missile away from the platform. The MAWS is a fourth generation warfare system which is under production and can be used on virtually every platform ranging from helicopters, Fighter jets, AEW&C aircrafts and wide bodied jets.

     With the Indian government showing renewed interest in remote missile protection platforms the US government has come in terms with the Indian counterpart to provide Missile Approach Warning System (MAWS) under the Foreign Military sale (FMS) contract. These systems are designed and developed by US based “Ortbital ATK” which is a pioneering company in threat assessment and neutralization systems. The MAWS is a crucial system to be incorporated on Air borne platforms specially the slow moving platforms. These slow platforms cannot be expected to follow a fixed course of evasive action when a SAM is fired towards them. With MAWS enabled these platforms can effectively out manoeuvre the intercepting missile and thereby saving the platform and the lives contained within.

      The Indian armed forces operate an array of Air borne platforms that perform crucial tasks involving troop movement, essentially supplies transport, surveillance aircrafts, drones, helicopters, AEW&C aircrafts and an array of other systems. Most of these platforms operate with extremely dangerous proximity to hostile forces. Hence these platforms are always vulnerable to be attacked by the hostile forces using SAM (Surface to Air Missile). Most of these platforms are huge aircrafts or slow moving under powered helicopters, these systems when fired upon cannot engage in an effective way of out manoeuvre these missiles. But these platforms are equipped with the state of the art Counter measures which when used in a effective way can easily mislead these missiles. The very main purpose of implementing MAWS is to integrate these counter measures to a digitized platform that automatically engages the missile using the build-in counter measure systems on board the platform.

         The MAWS developed by the Orbital ATK is the primary such system to be incorporated on various platforms that are being operated by the US Navy and US Air force. The system has been integrated with more than 16 air borne platforms. These platforms which include the rotary and fixed aircrafts like CH 53, C 5 have adopted the AN/AAR 47. A recent release of the Pentagon documents have confirmed the offer USA has made to India but there has been no mention of the contract values or numbers.

            The AN/AAR 47 basically works with an digitized and integrated warning system that is in turn integrated to the communication module of the pilot or the control command of the platform. The AN/AAR 47 is an radar based warning system. The system used the primary radar of the platform to effectively track any incoming hostile air borne missiles. When the system does detect a threat to the platform immediately alerts the operator of the platform of the possible in bound threat. The system is also capable of warning the user of any possible acquiring methods being deployed by the enemy their by providing the user time to perform required evasive manoeuvres. With the implementation of this system on a platform it enables the user platform to automatically dispense the counter measures that are in built to a platform.

            The main feature of this system is to provide timely warning against Infrared MAN Portable Air Defence System (MANPADS). Detecting a MANPADS is an extremely demanding task and these MANPADS do not signal their presence till the launch of the missile, they do have a detectable radiation since they do not rely on active IR, radar guidance or a laser designator. These fire-and-forget systems and lock on and engage a target, speed to the target and destroy it in seconds. But these systems however, have a very small but still visible radar signature and also since propelled by propellant a IR signature. But this signature can be visible only for a very short period of duration. To counter these missiles if the old counter measures are to be used they may be hampered by the decisions of a pilot. But if the counter measures are integrated with the MAWS the system automatically deploys the flares without any delay thereby saving the platform from a possible attack.

Components of AN AAR 47 MAWS system

         The AAR-47 missile warning system consists of 4 Optical Sensor Converters (OSC), a Computer Processor and a Control Indicator. A single optical sensor converter is positioned towards each side of the aircraft and is integrated with an infrared camera which can detect any incoming missiles. With the space on a aircraft being very limited the whole size of the component has to be extremely compact and yet powerful the AAR-47 is a very compact system and is around 32 pounds and takes very negligible space on board a aircraft.

      The system has a good combat proven record. The system was incorporated by 2006 in the US forces and has helped the forces several times from the time of induction. During the Iraq war operation a V 22 which was preparing to land was engaged by the rebels and a RPG was fired, with RPG being fired from a very close proximity the pilots had a very short time of frame to react to the threat. But the ‘V 22’ was integrated with the MAWS and the AN/AAR 71 had picked up the threat even before the pilot could implement a action plan. The MAWS simultaneously fired the counter measures which saved the helicopter and mainly crew on board.

        As of now the HAL manufactured Rudra ALH under the service of the Army uses the SAAB supplied IADS (Integrated Air Defence Suite) and the Older and heavier Mi 24 helicopters uses the Ukrainian supplied ADROS DIRCM system. But the recently inducted transport aircraft “American C 130 J “uses the Orbital ATK AN/AAR 47. There has been no information regarding the MAW the Indian Light Combat Helicopter would be using. The system can be seen being integrated on various current platforms and for the next projects implemented by HAL.

Recently Upgraded USAF A 10 showing it's AN AAR MAWS

Editor Karthik Kakoor


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