Lockheed Martin And USAF Demonstrate First Successful Closed-Loop Infrared Countermeasure Against Live-Fire Missiles
AKRON, OH, 22-MAY-01 -- The U.S. Air Force performed the first successful laser-based threat adaptive jamming of live-fired, surface-to-air heat-seeking missiles at the U.S. Army White Sands Missile Range Aerial Cable Range (ACR), N. M. The missiles were jammed using the Laser Infrared countermeasure Flyout Experiment (LIFE) testbed developed by program prime contractor Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics and Surveillance Systems, Akron, Ohio. Tests conducted at White Sands used man-portable surface-to-air missiles launched from an operationally significant range. Once a missile was detected, the LIFE system responded causing large miss distances, according to Mark Wunderlich, LIFE program manager at the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.
These initial tests demonstrated a major breakthrough for the U.S. Air Force and paves the way toward incorporation of the techniques and technologies from the LIFE system into next-generation aircraft self-protection systems. The recent results confirmed our expectations about the effectiveness of the closed-loop process, said Wunderlich. The next steps for LIFE are continued testing against a wide variety of surface-to-air and air-to-air infrared missiles this summer at White Sands Missile Range. The U.S. Air Force would follow that evaluation with flight-testing on a C-17.
LIFE is a closed-loop infrared countermeasure (CLIRCM) system, capable of performing missile-defeating functions very rapidly and effectively. Quick reaction is possible because of the threat adaptable nature and the ability to select an optimal jamming response. A closed-loop system like LIFE would have robust capabilities against current or future IR threats. This would allow pilots and aircrews to focus on their mission, said John Wojnar, director-advanced programs business development.
The LIFE program, initiated by NE&SS-Akron in 1996, was defined by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Wright-Patterson AFB, as a testbed to evaluate the most advanced aircraft self-protection technologies for detecting, tracking and threat-adaptive countermeasure of IR missiles. The LIFE testbed includes a two-color IR missile warning sensor/processor subsystem, a large array IR track camera, a laser-specific gimbal, closed-loop IRCM signal processing, and countermeasure effectiveness assessment.
Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics & Surveillance Systems, Akron, Ohio, designs and develops ship defense and airborne electronic combat systems, lighter-than-air surveillance systems, simulation and training systems, undersea and antisubmarine weapons systems, digital image processing systems and guidance systems.