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Self Protection Suite

Written By Massimo Annulli
749Self Protection Suite

The Architecture of the SPS is based on a very high level of System integration powered by an advanced control scheduler for data fusion, task management, decision support and Inter-Op across the EMS (EW Manager).

SPS normally includes a subset of the following equipment:

  • EWM: Electronic Warfare Manager is the engine of the EW layer of integration and acts as tactical EWC2 for the coordination of all the EW activities of the platform. The EWM is also the core of the EW integration at multi-platform level (EW Network). The EWM is an open architecture based on open computing SW standard in order to be ready to integrate quickly new technologies as new threats emerge.

  • RF domain:

    • RWR: Radar Warning Receiver, used for identifying, avoiding, evading or engaging threats. The typical RWR system consists of wideband antennas for Direction Finding (DF) and Frequency reception, a Frequency Receiver, a processor, an Emitter Library and a Display.

    • RECM: Radar Electronic Counter Measure generates the Electronic counter measures against the threats (missiles, guidance for missiles, tracking radar…) inducing in the victim radar a disturbance (noise), or a wrong information (deception).

    • CHAFF Dispenser: decoy dispenser delivering CHAFF countermeasures (cloud of metal fragments with a Radar Cross Section higher than the platform in order to mask the RF signature of the platform). The dispenser (Counter Measure Dispenser System, CMDS) can eject also FLARES.

    • EAD: Expendable Active Decoy uses miniaturized DRFM technology and solid-state transmitters to jam RF based threats. The EAD is self-contained within a small standard flare cartridge and is launched by the CMDS (Counter Measure Dispenser System)

    • RTD: Radar Towed Decoy is an RF countermeasure designed to work together with the aircraft’s on-board Electronic Warfare System (EWS = RWR+RECM) in order to protect the aircraft and its crew from radar guided missiles by luring the missile toward the decoy and away from the intended target.

  • EO domain:

    • MAW System: Missile Approach Warning System, used for identifying, avoiding, evading or engaging threats not-RF guided. MAW can be active (working like a RADAR) or passive working in IR (sensible to the engine exhaust of the missile) or UV (sensible to missile plume UV radiance).

    • DIRCM: Direct Infra-Red Counter-Measure, direct energy weapon (IR Jammer) using a laser beam to blind the seeker of an IR guided missile, the DIRCM is pointed to the threat by the MWS and normally has its own tracking capability by means of an IR thermal camera.

    • FLARES Dispenser: decoy dispenser delivering flares countermeasures (hot-burning metal fragments with a temperature higher than engine exhaust in order to mask the IR signature of the platform). The dispenser (Counter Measure Dispenser System, CMDS) can eject also CHAFF.

    • LWS: Laser Warning System is a passive type of warning system used for analysing, avoiding, evading or engaging threats, based on the detection of laser emissions from laser guidance systems and laser rangefinders that illuminate the defended platform.

Figure 1: Example of Self Protection Suite for HELO

The minimum SPS suite is composed by: RWR, MWS, CFD (CHAFF & FLARES Dispenser) and EW Manager.

The current and future system trend is to substitute the integration of physical subsystems with functions (former subsystems) running in the same system (SW Defined System).
The Software Defined EW System implements the sensor and actuator processing functions in a common core consisting of a general-purpose processor and fast digital HW.
To complete any functional chain specific receiving and transmitting heads are connected to the common core processing.
Such a design produces a System that shares common resources and can receive and transmit different forms of sophisticated waveforms in any domain of the EM Spectrum (RF, IR, Comms).
System architecture must support modular and flexible capabilities (HW & SW) as part of an open architecture to insure the correct level of flexibility for the future upgrade of the present functions or for the implementation of additional functions.

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