Self-Protection Task in Maritime Aviation Environment
Maritime Aviation refers to different missions carried out by different platforms; depending on the platforms it can be divided into:
Large Body Aircrafts to exploit Maritime Patrolling and Anti-Submarine Warfare missions.
Helicopters to exploit Search and Rescue, Maritime Patrolling and Anti-Submarine Warfare
Fighters to exploit Air Superiority missions.
All these platforms need to be equipped with the Self-Protection Suite (SPS) to be defended in a multi-spectral domain including the Radio Frequency (RF) and the Electro Optic (EO) domains.
The Self-Protection task is performed in order to generate Electro-Magnetic signals aimed to induce wrong measurements (angle, distance) or to deny the target detection and tracking to a radar or a missile seeker up to the minimum distance possible (burn-through range).
Burn-through range can be defined as the range at which the enemy’s sensors overcomes the jamming effect.
If this distance is very short, the enemy weapon system under jamming will not have enough time to fire or the enemy missile under jamming will not have enough time to re-acquire the target.
Self-Protection task is performed by delivering Electronic Counter Measures (ECM) both in the RF field (RECM and CHAFF) and in the EO/IR one (DIRCM and FLARES) that are used effectively to protect airborne platforms.
ECM actuators can work in different ways, for example by creating electronically false targets in order to confuse the enemy sensors, or by hiding the platform to be protected by means of blinding the enemy sensors with electronic noise-like signals.
A Set of Integrated Sensors, composed of Radar Warning Receiver (RWR), EO Warning Receiver (EOWR) and Laser Warner Receiver (LWR), cues the countermeasures, providing the Warning function, the Identification function and the Designation function.
Countermeasures must have a very deep level of integration in the Self Protection Suite in order to assure the fastest possible reaction.
A dedicated EW layer of integration, coordinated by an EW Command & Control (EWC2), controls and manages all on-board sensors and countermeasures.