NBAA Convention News

Saab STCs missile defense system

 - October 13, 2010, 7:42 AM

Saab Avitronics has arrived at the NBAA show having just achieved the first supplemental type certificates for its Civil Aircraft Missile Protection System (Camps). The equipment has been approved for use on two twin-turboprop models, and the Swedish company believes that having made the breakthrough of civil certification it is now ready to pursue STCs for business jet applications.<o:p></o:p>

Camps is designed to protect against the threat posed by shoulder-launched missiles (generally known as man-portable air defense systems, or Manpads). According to Saab (Booth No. 1933), about 100,000 Manpads are in open circulation on the world market. Over the past 15 years, there have been 35 recorded attempts to shoot down civil aircraft with Manpads and no less than 24 of them were successful.

To meet civilian requirements for safe, cost-effective operations, Saab has used a new type of electromechanical dispenser for the decoys used to misdirect incoming missiles by creating an alternative heat source for them to track. The pyrophoric CIV-IR decoys, which spontaneously ignite in the air, are also of a new design by the Chemring group. They burn at a lower temperature than conventional flares to achieve a larger radiating area and thus attain the most effective radiation intensity with which to confuse the missiles. The new system meets the requirements of the Wassenaar Agreement on missile protection systems and is installed flush to the aircraft skin to minimize loss of aerodynamic performance.

The decoy dispenser is activated by an electro-optical missile approach warning system, which detects any missile launched toward the aircraft during the crucial phases of takeoff and landing. The system detects ultraviolet light from the missile plume and processes this data in an electronic control unit to determine the incoming weapon’s angle-of-attack. The control unit relays this information to the dispenser system, which immediately calculates the number of decoys and the timing needed to send the missiles off course. Camps can track and deal with multiple missiles simultaneously without any action at the time of the attack on the part of the pilots, who can power, arm and test the system from a control-and-display panel in the cockpit.

Saab can handle all aspects of installing the Camps package. However, it declined to give any indication as to the price of the system.

Camps has now entered service on an Embraer EMB 120 operated by South Africa-based charter group Naturelink, which selected the system primarily to protect flights it makes in the Middle East. The equipment has also been fitted on a Lockheed L-382 (a civilian version of the C-130 military transport) operated for an undisclosed VIP client.