Leonardo and Thales are being contracted by the Ministry of Defence to demonstrate their Infra-Red protection system in trials in early 2018.
The companies are currently engaged in development activities to bring together two of their most advanced products, Thales’s ‘Elix-IR’ Threat Warning System and Leonardo’s ‘Miysis’ Directed Infra-Red Counter-Measure (DIRCM) system. Together, the systems will offer an ‘end-to-end protection system’ for military and civil platforms, ranging from small helicopters to large troop transports/VIP platforms, against threatening missiles.
Leonardo and Thales are currently integrating the two systems so that hand-over between threat-warning and threat-defeat is optimised to defeat the threat as quickly as possible.
In practice, this will mean that when a threatening missile is fired at a platform equipped with the combined solution, the Elix-IR system will detect, track, classify and declare the missile as a threat to platform and rapidly pass an alert over to the Miysis system. Miysis will then track the incoming threat and accurately direct a high-energy laser onto the missile’s seeker, confusing its guidance system and quickly steering the missile away from the platform. Elix-IR will continue to track the threatening missile throughout its engagement by Miysis.
Threats detected and defeated by the combined system include the inexpensive and widely-used heat-seeking missiles known as Man-Portable Air Defence Systems, or MANPADS, as well as more advanced and emerging threats that are harder to detect and against which flare countermeasures alone are increasingly ineffective.
According to Leonardo:
“Both Elix-IR and Miysis have been extensively tested and their capabilities individually proven on live trials. Leonardo’s Miysis DIRCM was demonstrated during the NATO Trial EMBOW XIV in 2014 where it recorded a 100% success record against generation 1, 2 and 3 MANPADS using NATO jam codes. Flight Trials at Pendine Ranges and previous static trials successfully demonstrated the performance of Thales’s Elix-IR in complex warfighting environments, detecting all threats presented during the trials, including some that had challenged previous hostile fire indicator systems.
Under the contracts, funding from the UK Ministry of Defence will support lab-based and field trials of the integrated system in early 2018 and help evaluate its use for current and future UK air platform protection. The end result will be a highly capable, cost-effective and proven UK system that can automatically detect and defeat incoming threats, keeping crews safe in hostile environments.”
Elix-IR and Miysis are designed and manufactured in the UK and so are readily exportable say the company. While Thales and Leonardo will continue to market the systems individually, they say they will also work together to offer the integrated protection capability around the world when it is considered the best solution for customer requirements.