Incoming & Hostile: The USN’s JATAS Aircraft Warning System
The US military has been conducting a pair of competitions for defensive warning systems to equip its helicopters and transports. The Army’s CIRCM remains a hot competition as of July 2011, but the US Navy and Marines have picked their winner for the Joint and Allied Threat Awareness System (JATAS).
This missile and gunfire warning system will equip the services’ MV-22B Osprey, MH-60R/S Seahawk, AH-1Z Viper, UH-1Y Venom and CH-53K HLR platforms, replacing ATK’s AN/AAR-47 Missile Approach Warning System.
JATAS and its Predecessors
The goal of JATAS is a cost effective threat awareness system offering 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 threats.
Aircraft protection systems consist of several different elements, which are often made by different companies. The JATAS is controlled by the host aircraft’s mission computer, with operator interface/control being accomplished via the multifunctional display or a separate control indicator. In most cases, command and control of the JATAS will be through Northrop Grumman’s AN/APR-39A/Bv2 Radar Signal Detecting Set (RSDS). JATAS also must interface with existing BAE Systems AN/ALE-47 Countermeasures Dispensing Systems (CMDS), and with a laser based Directed Infrared Countermeasure (DIRCM) in response to attacking infrared missiles.
In the run up to a formal system development selection for JATAS’ Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase, ATK found itself pitted against Lockheed Martin.
ATK’s existing AN/AAR-47 Missile Approach Warning System (MAWS) is a passive missile approach warning system consisting of 4 sensor assemblies housed in 2 or more sensor domes, a central processing unit, and a control indicator. Deployed on helicopters and transport aircraft, the AAR-47 deals with threat missile approach by detecting radiation associated with the rocket motor, letting the crew know that an attacking missile is coming and which direction it’s coming from, and automatically firing decoy flares. Detection algorithms are used to tell the difference between a missile and non-threatening/ stationary sources of heat or ultraviolet radiation. The latest AN/AAR-47B(V)2 offers improved detection performance, clutter detection, and is capable of detecting RPGs and incoming tracer ammunition fire.
Their partner, BAE Systems, makes the AN/AAR-57 Common Missile Warning Systems (CMWS), which is the standard warning system for US Army helicopters and aircraft.
Lockheed Martin’s team included Finmeccanica’s DRS Infrared Technologies for missile warning sensors, and Goodrich ISR Systems’ for the laser warning system (they make the existing AN/AVR-2A). Both offer good base technologies, and Lockheed Martin had developed its own Hostile Fire Indicator under an NRL contract. Even so, the weight of experience and integration left this team looking for an upset win.
EADS North America sells the parent firm’s AN/AAR-60 MILDS, which equips many helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft in Europe and beyond. They were left on the sidelines in this competition.
Contracts & Key Events
JATAS is a US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) program, managed from Patuxent River, MD.
July 20/11: ATK Defense Electronic Systems in Clearwater, FL wins the JATAS down-select, and receives a $109.2 million fixed-price-incentive-fee Engineering and Manufacturing Development contract for the US Navy and Marine Corps.
Work will be performed in: Nashua, NH (40.2%); Woodland Hills, FL (27.6%); Clearwater, FL (12.9%); Danbury, CT (7%); Melbourne, FL (6.2%); Dallas, TX (6%); and other sites in the United States (0.1%). Work will be completed in September 2015. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured through full and open competition via FAR Part 15; 2 offers were received (N00019-11-C-0071).
August 31/10: Lockheed Martin’s team delivers 3 prototype JATAS systems to the U.S. Navy for testing. Each JATAS prototype system is a tightly integrated package with a laser warning sensor to detect laser guided threats; a missile warning sensor to detect missile and hostile fire threats; and an open architecture processor to process sensor data and provide threat declaration.
The firm confirms that Goodrich ISR Systems in Danbury, CT provides their JATAS laser warning system, while DRS Infrared Technologies in Dallas, TX provides the missile warning sensors. Lockheed Martin.
Sept 25/09: Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, Orlando, FL wins a $33.1 million cost-plus-incentive-fee contract for tJATAS’ Technology Demonstration Phase, including demonstration of a prototype. Under a recently completed Naval Research Laboratory Hostile Fire Indicator contract, Lockheed Martin successfully demonstrated a fully-capable hostile fire indication system, which gives them at least 1 technology to apply to their bid.
Work will be performed in Orlando, FL (79%); Dallas, TX (12%); and Danbury, CT (9%), and is expected to be completed in January 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via an electronic request for proposals; 3 offers were received (N00019-09-C-0099). See also Lockheed Martin.
Sept 25/09: ATK Integrated Systems in Clearwater, FL receives a $32.2 cost-plus-incentive-fee contract for JATAS’ Technology Demonstration Phase, including demonstration of a prototype.
Work will be performed in Nashua, NH (41%); Clearwater, FL (21.5%); Woodland Hills, CA (21.5%); Dallas, TX (10%); and Danbury, CT (6%), and is expected to be completed in January 2011. This contract was competitively procured via an electronic request for proposals; 3 offers were received (N00019-09-C-0100). See also ATK.
Aug 7/08: Alliant Techsystems (NYSE: ATK) and BAE Systems have teamed to compete for the upcoming U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Joint Allied Threat Awareness System (JATAS) program. The team brings the current US military incumbents together: ATK’s AAR-47 in the Navy/USMC, and BAE’s AAR-57 that equips Army helicopters. ATK.