In addition to making virtually any CMS threat management solution more effective and more updatable, a key advantage of most smart dispensers is that they are backward-compatible with legacy countermeasures systems. This means they add all or most of the new capabilities and mission performance enhancements without needing to replace the CMS itself. This is significant because nearly every aircraft built by western countries for battle environment use over the last 50 years – and many that were not – has a countermeasures system on board to defend against external attacks.  A smart dispenser that is backward-compatible means tens of thousands of aircraft in service today can gain its benefits without the downtime or expense required to replace the CMS. A smart dispenser adds even more advantages when paired with a modern CMS that can better use its intelligent capabilities.

Why are Smart Dispensers important?

While both fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft have utilized on-board countermeasures systems for decades, the speed and accuracy with which advanced targeting systems can locate, target, lock-on, and engage a weapons system to fire missiles accurately against an adversary’s aircraft has increased dramatically over that same timespan. Attacks today can take place not only much more quickly than humans can respond to them, but also faster and with more dexterity and lethality than some CMS systems can defend against in their original configuration. In addition, anti-aircraft weapons are smarter, more portable, and more affordable today than ever before, making them accessible by more small countries as well as by violent non-state actors (VNSAs) like ISIS, Hezbollah, Boko Haram, al-Qaeda, and other paramilitary and terrorist groups worldwide. That makes the faster, more aware, more nimble and sophisticated capabilities of smart dispensers a valuable asset to increasing mission success and the survivability of both aircraft and crews.

In addition, by using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to manage the use, movement, and inventories of expendables proactively. Smart Dispensers ensure that older stocks are used first and all expendables are used more effectively and appropriately against both physical and electronic attacks that occur, increasing battle readiness, safety, and available mission length, which can be of great importance to the overall mission impact.

Who uses Smart Dispensers?

Given the inherent military secrecy of countries worldwide, the extent to which individual countries have developed and/or adopted some form of smart dispensers is uncertain, including what percentage have already implemented these technologies in their fleets. It is known that smart dispensers have been developed for and implemented by the United States Department of Defense (DoD) and many of its NATO and other allies to maximize threat management on platforms. This includes many of their current and future jets, troop and equipment transports, UAVs, and helicopters across their military departments, intelligence agencies, and head of state aircraft. There is also rising interest in countermeasures systems with smart dispensers by commercial airlines and operators of corporate business aircraft, especially by those that operate in governmentally unstable regions. However, adoption of these systems commercially is generally kept internal in the interest of operational security.

Related Topics to Explore

Advanced Threat Infrared Countermeasures (ATIRCM) • Aircraft Survivability Equipment (ASE) • Airborne Countermeasures Dispenser Systems • Artificial Intelligence (AI) • Autonomous Control and Decisions Systems • Common Missile Warning Systems (CMWS) • Electronic Countermeasures (ECM) Systems • Infrared (IR) Countermeasures • Machine Learning (ML) • Optical Electronic Warfare Systems (OEWS) • Radar Deception and Jamming • Smarter Defense Systems • Smart Flares • Smart RF Decoys • Target Recognition Systems • Threat Analysis Testing  • Threat Detection and Response • Threat Management Solutions • Threat Warning

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