UK Dstl seeks input to safeguard helicopters against hostile fire
The UK Ministry of Defence's (MoD) Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) is seeking innovative proposals from the industry for development of a combined simulation and field trial capability to protect military helicopters against ground-based man-in-the-loop (MITL) operated weapon threats.
By bringing together the weapons operator, defensive aid suite (DAS) fitted aircraft, aircrew and countermeasures, the capability is expected to help Dstl address future requirements to assess how aircraft manoeuvres, threat warning systems and countermeasures can lessen hostile fire effects from multiple weapon systems.
The capability aims to enable aircrew to develop more effective tactics, techniques and procedures, if facing an attack.
The industry call comes as the helicopter collective training system (HCTS), used for assessment of weapons operator performance during field trials, is set to become obsolete. The Mk7 Lynx helicopter platform to which it is fitted is being retired from operational service.
Dstl Countermeasure Concepts team source Ian Pothecary said that the current challenge for Dstl is to conduct aircrew and the threat operator human performance trials without any need for live fire scenarios.
''Replicating these interactions in simulation, coupled with DAS, is vital to developing credible countermeasures,'' he said. ''What we need from industry are ideas on how to overcome this challenge, for example how do we appropriately simulate the weapon effects, how do we fuse the data from the weapon and aircraft correctly?"
The Dstl also seeks to integrate validated ballistics and representative countermeasures into its helicopter countermeasure assessment system (HCAS), which is built on the Virtual Battle-Space 2 synthetic environment, to help enhance the realism of simulated air-to-ground engagements.
Image: A UK military's Mk7 Lynx multi-role helicopter during its flight. Photo: US Government.