The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded a contract to Leonardo to provide a defensive aids suite (DAS) for the British Army’s new fleet of Apache AH-64E helicopters.

Under related contracts from the MoD and Boeing, Leonardo is responsible for the integration of sensors and countermeasures to strengthen the capability of the helicopter fleet.

Apache combat helicopters fly at low altitudes and are prone to threats such as infrared-guided missiles and anti-tank guided weapons. The contract for the integrated defensive aids suite is aimed at protecting helicopters from these threats.

Sensors included on the system will help identify threats to the helicopter, which will be tackled by accompanied countermeasures.

The countermeasures will be carried out with the help of a computer that coordinates the whole system. It will link the incoming warnings with protection techniques such as chaff or flares.

“The integrated defensive aids suite will be featured in all 50 helicopters being procured by the MoD.”

UK Defence Procurement Minister Guto Bebb said: “UK Apaches provide our armed forces with world-leading capabilities in the field of combat.

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“Today’s announcement will see our aircraft fitted with cutting-edge British protection to rapidly detect and defeat inbound threats.

“This is a welcome boost for UK jobs and investment, which is part of the government’s recently announced Defence Industrial Policy Refresh.”

The latest efforts to integrate sensors and countermeasure systems onto the AH-64E build on the helicopter’s existing built-in Leonardo defensive aids suite computer, known as an aircraft gateway processor (AGP).

The enhancements to the Apache defensive aids suite are expected to improve its situational awareness and survivability.

Leonardo’s SG200-D radar warning receiver is included in the helicopter sensor fit, which will re-use several systems that are currently on-board the army’s fleet of Apache AH Mk1.

Leonardo will carry out the integration in Luton, followed by the installation of the complete system by Boeing on its AH-64E production line in the US.

The integrated defensive aids suite will be featured in all 50 helicopters being procured by the MoD.