The Ministry of Defence say that the UK’s Chinook helicopters will be enhanced with state-of-the-art defensive systems while the RAF’s C-17 Globemaster fleet will receive a software and hardware upgrade.
For C-17, upgrades will include enhancements to the ‘Beyond Line of Sight’ satellite-enabled communication equipment, a wider field of view via the ‘Head-Up Display’ in the cockpit to help increase pilot situational awareness and widening the scope of the current free-fall parachuting capability.
The five-year Chinook helicopter contract managed by DE&S will see the installation of state-of-the-art Infra-Red Suppression Systems (IRSS) across some of the fleet, offering better protection from threats posed by new missile systems using the heat (infra-red) signature of the aircraft to target.
IRSS technology will counter with ‘blanking plates’ on the helicopters which mask the hot components and redirect airflow to cool the exhaust gases, making it more difficult to target.
According to a news release:
“The RAF will be boosted by an investment of almost £400 million to enhance the capabilities of two of its vital assets – the C-17 Globemaster aircraft and the CH-47 Chinook helicopter. UK’s C-17 fleet – which recently played a key role in the UK’s evacuation from Afghanistan – will receive a £324 million investment. This will upgrade software and hardware to improve airlift capability as part of a contract with the US Air Force. The UK’s fleet of Mk5 and Mk6 Chinook helicopters will be enhanced with state-of-the-art defensive systems, as part of a £64 million contract with Boeing Defence UK (BDUK) which will make them harder for adversaries to detect.”
Minister for Defence Procurement, Jeremy Quin said:
“Whether evacuating people in Kabul, transporting people to hospital during Covid-19 or providing crucial logistics on the battlefield, the C-17 and Chinook provide an invaluable service to our Armed Forces across the globe. This investment ensures our aircraft are equipped with cutting-edge technology to face a myriad of emerging threats from adversaries.”