Saab’s camps defense system still on target

 - July 15, 2008, 7:29 AM

Saab’s civil aircraft missile protection system (CAMPS) is on course for delivery to the launch customer toward the end of the year. CAMPS-100 will become Europe’s first certificated anti-MANPADS system for civil aircraft, and has been developed by a partnership of Saab Avitronics (missile warner and dispenser), Saab Aerotech (certification, installation and support) and Chemring in the UK, which provides the pyrophoric decoys and advanced simulation.

A typical CAMPS-100 system comprises four MAW-300 missile approach warning sensors, each offering a 110-degree conical view and seamless handover between sensors, plus two BOA dispensers. Total weight is around 35 kilograms (77 pounds), and there is no requirement for an aircraft interface. Airframe intrusion is minimal and the installation adds only a small amount of extra drag.

The MAW-300’s UV sensors detect the plumes of missiles in the seven-second launch and sustain phase, and a central electronic unit determines whether they will hit or miss. CAMPS has a cockpit control unit option, but is otherwise completely automatic. The system can handle up to eight incoming targets simultaneously, providing an effective counter to the commonly used tactic of paired missile launches.

At the optimum moment the system commands the release of decoys from the BOA dispensers–simple 12-shot launcher tubes triggered electromechanically. They can easily be loaded without the need for specially trained personnel, and the low recoil force (as opposed to standard pyrotechnical squib launch) requires no airframe reinforcement.

Chemring’s CIV-IR decoy is an innovative design with pyrophoric material held in an airtight plastic canister that opens at airspeeds greater than 100 knots. This safety feature means that the flare cannot be inadvertently triggered on the ground. Once the canister is open, the pyrophoric material reacts with oxygen to create a low-visibility decoy with a very high IR signature. The decoy seduces the seekers of weapons such as the SA-7, SA-14 and Stinger away from the aircraft and its hot-spots. Once burned out, the decoy leaves little residue.

Trials of the system began in March last year. South African air charter company Naturelink provided an Embraer EMB-120 Brasilia, which was fitted with four MAW-300s and a single BOA. Trials in South Africa showed that an SA-7 seeker head slewed away from the target by activation of CAMPS.
Saab admits there is currently only a limited market for such a system, the main applications being protection of VIP/government transports and for civilian operators in potentially hostile areas such as aid agencies. Naturelink has a UN support contract and became the launch customer when it ordered one system for a Brasilia. A second, unnamed customer has bought CAMPS for a four-engine aircraft application. The price of CAMPS runs at about $1.6 to $1.7 million, although larger aircraft would require more dispensers.

Certification by EASA continues and has reached the compliance determination phase. By the end of the year the supplemental type certificate can be issued and the first systems delivered.