09 Apr 2018

Leonardo to outfit the MOD with Apache defensive aids

At the FIDAE exhibition in Chile, Leonardo announced the award of a contract to outfit the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) with a defensive aids suite (DAS) for a brand new fleet of Apache AH-64E helicopters.

Under related contracts with both the MOD and Boeing, Leonardo will integrate sensor technology with state-of-the-art countermeasures to ensure the UK Apache continues to rank among the world’s best protected combat helicopters.

For the uninitiated, attack helicopters like the Apache often fly at lower altitudes and comparatively low speeds, making them vulnerable to a wider array of threats – infrared-guided missiles or anti-tank guided weapons, for example.

According to Leonardo, integrated defence aids can help to protect helicopters from a variety of threats in a “joined-up way”. Sensors are able to identify potential threats as and when they emerge, while effective countermeasures are able to negate those threats altogether. Crucially, on-board computers can coordinate both elements, linking threat detection with cutting edge protection techniques.

Minister for Defence Procurement Guto Bebb commented: “UK Apaches provide our Armed Forces with world-leading capabilities in the field of combat. 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.”

Integration will be carried out by Leonardo in Luton, Bedfordshire. The completed system will then be installed by Boeing onto the AH-64E production line in the United States. All 50 helicopters procured by the MOD will have the capability of operating with the integrated defensive aids suite.

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