$10M Adds “Disco Balls” to Canada’s New Helicopters

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ALQ-144 on Apache(click to view full) BAE Systems received a $10.4 million contract from General Dynamics Canada to provide 31 AN/ALQ-144A(V)5 countermeasure systems, spares, and integrated logistics support for Canada’s 28 new CH-148 Cyclone maritime helicopters, a variant of the H-92 Superhawk medium-lift helicopter. Under an agreement with overall program prime contractor Sikorsky International Operations Inc., General Dynamics Canada will be responsible for integrating the multi-sensor mission systems into the Cyclones. BAE Systems’ ALQ-144A (also known as “the disco ball”) is a lightweight countermeasures set that protects helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft against surface-to-air and air-to-air infrared homing missiles by creating multiple apparent sources of heat radiation. It also equips other Canadian helicopters, and more than 6,000 ALQ-144 systems are currently in use throughout the world. Writing in a February 2003 issue of Aviation Week & Space Technology, however, David Rockwell of the Teal Group didn’t sound dazzled: Dead disco duck? “Improved IRCM systems are especially needed for thousands of helicopters. The deployment of U.S. Army AH-64A Apaches to Kosovo in 1999 showed that Apache pilots have lost faith in the Army’s current IRCM system, BAE Systems’ AN/ALQ-144(V). The Apaches never went into battle, in large part due to the perceived […]

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