PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Md., 27 Sept. 2009. Two U.S. defense contractors are moving ahead with a project to develop next-generation electronic warfare and electro-optical aircraft self-protection avionics for Navy and Marine Corps helicopters and other aircraft called the Joint and Allied Threat Awareness System (JATAS), which provides pilots with missile warning, laser warning, and ground fire protection from other threats.
The Lockheed Martin Corp. Missiles and Fire Control segment in Orlando, Fla., and the Alliant Techsystems Inc.(ATK) Integrated Systems sector in Clearwater, Fla. -- along with partner BAE Systems in Nashua, N.H. -- are starting the technology demonstration phase of JATAS under terms of contracts awarded Friday from Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md.
JATAS must interface with the existing AN/ALE-47 countermeasures dispensing system (CMDS), as well as with a laser based directed infrared countermeasures as part of an electronic warfare response to attacking heat-seeking missile threats.
The third-generation JATAS will start replacing the ATK AAR-47s and BAE Systems AAR-57s over the next two decades. The JATAS program seeks to build threat awareness system to enhance aircraft survivability by providing:
-- advanced missile warning capability;
-- aircrew warning of laser-based weapon systems such as range finders, illuminators, and beam riders; and
-- a hostile fire indication for small arms, rockets, and other ground-fire threats.
Controlling the JATAS will be the host aircraft's mission computer, while the host aircraft multifunctional display or a separate control indicator will handle operator interface and control. In most cases, command and control of the JATAS will be through the AN/APR-39A/B(V)2 radar signal detecting set (RSDS).
For the JATAS technology demonstration phase, Lockheed Martin is receiving a $33.1 million contract, and the ATK-BAE Systems team will receive a $32.2 million contract. Both teams will design and build a prototype JATAS system for Navy and Marine Corps aircraft.