Final testing is planned to complete next month for a new defensive aids system to equip Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) NH90 helicopters.
Terma (Stand S5-375) was contracted in 2014 to integrate its Modular Aircraft Survivability Equipment (MASE) pod onto RNLAF NH90 helicopters to address platform self-protection requirements identified by the company in a 2012 study. This work had identified a number of solutions centered around a missile warning system, Terma’s Advanced Countermeasures Dispenser System (ACMDS), and the company’s ALQ-213 electronic warfare (EW) controller.
The MASE installation adopted for the RNLAF NH90 fleet embodies the ALQ-213 EW controller in the cockpit, plus two self-protection pods − fitted either side of the fuselage on a dedicated carrier bracket − hosting the Hensoldt AN/AAR-60 MILDS-F Missile Warning System and the ACMDS (updated with the latest generation Terma digital sequencer switch). The basic design of the pod installation allows for the introduction of new sensors (for example, laser or radar warning systems) and/ or effectors (such as Directed Infrared Countermeasures).
As part of the RNLAF requirement, the MASE installation has been designed to withstand the harsh salt-laden conditions to which helicopters are exposed when operating in a maritime environment. In addition, the installation design has been engineered to ensure it is practical to handle and operate from a helicopter deck on a frigate; for example, easy access to, and installation of, the pod even in rough weather conditions.
MASE trials on the NH90 began earlier this year.
The RNLAF, Terma and the Netherlands Aerospace Centre will complete final ground trials by the end of September 2017, and flight testing is scheduled to start in October 2017.