Ruag Aerospace and Saab Avitronics are launching a low-cost protection system for helicopters that can be rapidly installed to provide a range of protective features on a per-mission basis. The plug-on device (POD) is an integrated, self-contained unit offering high levels of protection against man-portable and other low-level missile threats.
POD can be mounted on available hardpoints in around 15 minutes, and can easily be “exported” between individual helicopters. It can be powered from sources such as those used for external winches or other systems, or can be battery powered if no external source is available.
A cockpit display panel is provided, but it is a stand-alone system that is not integrated with the aircraft’s avionics, requiring only a bare minimum of integration and re-qualification. The system can autonomously launch countermeasures if required, keeping crew interaction to a minimum, while training requirements for the system are low. An option is a threat display and control unit that provides greater control and analysis functions.
The POD comprises a 50- by 15-by 19-inch pod for each side of the helicopter. Depending on options, the complete POD installation weighs 155 to 220 pounds without battery power. The baseline system has Saab Avitronics MAW-300 missile approach warning sensors (two per pod), each with a 110-degree field of view, and one or two BOP-L chaff/flare dispensers. Options for POD are the incorporation of a radar warning receiver system and the Saab LWS-310 laser warning suite. POD is due to enter flight trials at the end of this year, with production beginning in late 2010.