Pulse news magazine

Volume 29, June 2020

Mission survivability: Detecting and countering next-gen threats

As modern day threats rapidly evolve across all domains, it’s essential that platforms and crews are equipped with solutions to respond faster than ever before.

An Apache attack helicopter soars through the sky with two pilots on board. Hidden from sight, a threat is waiting nearby. But they already know about it because BAE Systems’ advanced technology alerted them to the danger. They have the data to detect and counter the threat, allowing them to complete their mission and come home safely.

As modern day threats rapidly evolve across all domains – space, cyber, air, sea, and land – it’s essential that platforms and crews are equipped with solutions to respond faster than ever before.

Rather than a standalone product, today’s environment demands an integrated suite of solutions that optimize performance while reducing size, weight, and power, better known as SWaP. Products must also serve multi-function purposes, meaning one solution has many capabilities that enable solutions to be designed with reduced SWaP in mind.

BAE Systems’ Countermeasure & Electromagnetic Attack Solutions is one of the Electronic Systems businesses focused on just that – enabling the current and future fleets on the ground and in the skies to detect, counter, and attack next-generation threats with holistic solutions. This business, referred to as CEMA, houses a range of capabilities across the electro-optical, infrared, and radio frequency electronic warfare spectrum.

Leveraging BAE Systems’ more than 60 years of expertise in the EW domain and more than 40 years of experience in aircraft survivability equipment across domestic and international markets, CEMA’s capabilities span the entire EW spectrum. They include broad-band, high-power electronic attack, signal disruption and jamming, threat analysis and response, platform protection and situational awareness, missile threat warning, mission system integration, and IR and RF countermeasures to enhance mission survivability.

“As our ground troops and aircraft crews across all of our armed forces enter highly contested environments, they need advanced threat detection solutions such as missile warning systems to alert them to guided and unguided dangers,” said Dave Harrold, vice president and general manager of the CEMA business. “They also need the information quickly to make decisions and respond with the appropriate countermeasure with layers of protection to complete their mission.”

CEMA’s solutions provide a 360-degree view of the battlespace for ground vehicles and both fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, allowing the see first, act first advantage. This proactive approach equips platforms and crews with both offensive and defensive technologies to detect and defeat inbound threats, tailoring responses to each situation.

As the U.S. Armed Forces look to modernize their fleets with initiatives such as Future Vertical Lift – creating a family of systems to replace most Army helicopters – it’s important to integrate systems with multi-function capability and an open system architecture. This allows critical components of a system, such as hardware or software, to be upgraded without changing the entire system.

“With the U.S. Army leading efforts on multi-domain operations and FVL, it’s important that we collaborate with our customers on solutions to address current and future threats, said Perry Bowden, CEMA’s business development director. “There is a need for modular designs with open system architectures that provide a plug-and-play approach, and that’s what we are focused on as a business. We bring a unique range of capabilities across our portfolio together as an integrated suite of solutions.”

From missile warning sensors, to countermeasure dispenser systems, to towed decoys, and non-kinetic countermeasures, CEMA’s products are compatible with existing fleets and serve as a baseline for next-generation solutions to detect and defeat advanced threats.

“Even as we look to the future to deliver next-generation capability, it’s important to focus on how we can enable our existing fleets to complete their missions today, especially as many will require support services over the next decade,” said Dave Harrold.

BAE Systems looks forward to partnering with its customers to defeat today’s threats and prepare for what’s ahead in this complex and evolving battlespace.

By Chelsey Canavan, Communications, Merrimack, New Hampshire