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C4iSR: Air

Leonardo-Thales aircraft protection system successfully tested against multiple MANPADS missiles

10 October 2018

Leonardo's Miysis directed infrared countermeasure (DIRCM) system has been successfully tested against different types of man-portable air-defence system (MANPADS) missiles detected by a Thales Elix-IR multi-function threat warning system (TWS), the companies announced in a 9 October press release.

Leonardo's Miysis DIRCM system (pictured) has been successfully tested against different types of MANPADS missiles detected by a Thales Elix-IR TWS. (Leonardo)Leonardo's Miysis DIRCM system (pictured) has been successfully tested against different types of MANPADS missiles detected by a Thales Elix-IR TWS. (Leonardo)

David Gourlay, Leonardo's DIRCM campaign manager, said the trials were contracted by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) in May. The ministry’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) supported the trials, which were hosted by the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) at an undisclosed location in Sweden.

Leonardo and Thales integrated the system through Leonardo’s defensive aids suite (DAS) controller advanced electronic warfare computer. The integrated system was contained in a Terma pod for the trials.

During the trials, Elix-IR detected, tracked, classified, and declared infrared (IR) missiles as a threat and warned Miysis, which then tracked the incoming missile and directed a jamming laser at the missile's seeker. This entire process took less than two seconds, according to Gourlay.

Gourlay said several MANPADS systems were fired each day over the two weeks of the trials and were successfully countered by the Miysis DIRCM, including when two missiles were fired simultaneously from the same position. The trials were conducted with and without jamming. Miysis used a jamming waveform developed by Dstl to disrupt the missile's guidance system and divert the missile from its target.

With several MANPADS firings a day, the trials provided data for Dstl to evaluate the integrated system's capability to protect current and future UK fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft.

Leonardo and Thales funded the integration of the system. Brendan Nolan, vice-president for sales at Leonardo, said the company was “well-positioned if there's a funded requirement” from the MoD. The ministry first identified the requirement for a system to protect aircraft from MANPADS without using flares in the 1980s.

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