High-level Protection In A Pod
Saab (Booth C11) has many years of experience devising protection systems for combat aircraft, and here at Singapore 2014 it is showing its latest offering, the ESTL. Formerly known as BOH, it is a modular system that draws on several of the company’s successful missile warning and countermeasures systems to create a cost-efficient means of protecting combat aircraft against current and predicted infrared and radar-guided missile threats.
ESTL brings together a number of components from Saab’s countermeasures portfolio, such as the IDAS (integrated defensive aids system), and packages them into a pod that can be attached to any launcher rail that can mount the AIM-9 Sidewinder or AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles. The pod itself follows the rough form-factor of an AMRAAM-sized missile so that there are no aircraft installation issues. It can replace a missile on a mission-by-mission basis, and can interface with the aircraft’s own defensive and display systems. A wireless communications option is also available.
Saab’s new pod is modular, allowing various options from a menu of components to be incorporated into a single pod to meet mission requirements. Advanced countermeasures functions such as covert sustainable pre-emptive dispensing, missile warning, forward firing of flares and cocktail dispensing are possible.
For detection and tracking of incoming threats the ESTL incorporates Saab’s MAW (missile approach warning) system, which employs ultraviolet imaging technology to rapidly acquire and track up to eight threats simultaneously. ESTL can also include a Saab LWS (laser warning system).
In terms of countermeasures, ESTL mounts the BOP and BOL dispensers. BOP is a pyrophoric decoy launcher that fires them forwards, enhancing levels of protection against new-generation missiles. Capacity is provided for 30 1x1x8-inch or 15 2x1x8-inch decoys. The BOL dispenses chaff bundles or infrared flares electromechanically, and can carry up to 160 payloads in varying proportions. An electronic warfare controller is also incorporated. While a number of configurations is possible, a typical ESTL arrangement would have a MAW and BOP in the forward section, with either a second, aft-facing MAW/BOP or a BOL dispenser in the rear of the pod.