AAI Test & Training has been awarded a contract to supply additional man-portable aircraft survivability trainer (MAST) systems to the US Army Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation (PEO-STRI).

Awarded under the simulation, training and instrumentation omnibus contract II vehicle, the contract covers the production, testing and supply of 52 MAST systems, and follows its designation as an army programme of record, with approval of the MAST capability production document in December 2012.

AAI Test & Training programmes vice-president Steve Mensh said the designation confirmed the system’s reliable performance, as well as positive results experienced by the army since adopting the technology.

"Training with the MAST provides aircrews the confidence they need in their mission-critical missile warning systems," Mensh said.

Equipped with a light-emitting diode ultraviolet, and emitter threat simulator, the MAST is capable of simulating launch characteristics of the infrared man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS), in support of live training exercises for aircrews addressing surface-to-air missile (SAM) threats.

Fully compliant with the AN/AAR-47 missile warning and AN/AAR-57 common missile warning system, MAST can generate a threat declaration in the aircraft cockpit.

"Training with the MAST provides aircrews the confidence they need in their mission-critical missile warning systems."

Based on environmental and situational conditions, the system can replicate a SAM engagement sequence, including seeker lock and break lock capabilities.

The SAM engagements, recorded by the system during exercises, can subsequently be used for after-action reviews and debriefing aircrews.

Combining a weapon effects simulation system to disclose the MAST location following its firing, the system also demonstrates interoperable with aircraft instrumentation systems, including the smart on-board data interface mode (SMODIM), enabling force-on-force training at combat training centres.

The army still has three unexercised options on the contract, which was awarded in April 2011, and could achieve a maximum potential value of $43m for a total of 300 systems.

Image: A Mongolian soldier practices with an SA-18 MANPADS at the Pacific Alaskan Range Complex, US. Photo: courtesy of Jonathan Snyder, US Air Force.

Defence Technology