Helicopter survivability enhanced with MFRF contract

MERRIMACK, New Hamp­shire — BAE Sys­tems has been award­ed a $34 mil­lion Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) con­tract to devel­op the next gen­er­a­tion Mul­ti-Func­tion Radio Fre­quen­cy (MFRF) Advanced Rotary Wing Mul­ti­func­tion Sen­sor (ARMS) sys­tem for heli­copter oper­a­tions.

Brownouts and white­outs solved with MFRF ARMS sys­tem.
Click to enlarge

The MFRF ARMS sys­tem improves air­craft sur­viv­abil­i­ty in degrad­ed visu­al envi­ron­ments (DVE) while enhanc­ing plat­form lethal­i­ty and min­i­miz­ing size, weight, pow­er and cost. 

“The ARMS sys­tem helps solve the num­ber one cause of heli­copter-relat­ed casu­al­ties and breaks new ground in sil­i­con-based phased array tech­nol­o­gy,” said Dave Logan, vice pres­i­dent and gen­er­al man­ag­er of BAE Sys­tems Tech­nol­o­gy Solutions. 

The sys­tem will be designed to allow for safe take-off and land­ing in brownout or white­out con­di­tions. Oth­er advan­tages of the MFRF sys­tem include cable and obsta­cle avoid­ance, col­li­sion avoid­ance, ter­rain following/terrain avoid­ance, weath­er avoid­ance, land­ing zone assess­ment and ground map­ping. The system’s mul­ti-func­tion­al­i­ty also enables addi­tion­al modes for lethal­i­ty enhance­ments includ­ing tar­get­ing, weapons guid­ance and high band­width data communications. 

A key com­po­nent of the sys­tem is a high­ly-mod­u­lar and scal­able W‑band Active Elec­tron­i­cal­ly Steered Array (AESA) con­struct­ed using only sil­i­con semi­con­duc­tors. The AESA design, which includes over 10,000 ele­ments, is built from a sil­i­con Transmit/Receive “Tile” con­tain­ing 16 ele­ments and beam­former elec­tron­ics in a sin­gle chip. The result is a soft­ware-pro­gram­ma­ble, AESA-based radar/sensor that can be scaled up or down across a wide range of aper­ture sizes. A Soft­ware Devel­op­ers Kit will be designed that allows sys­tem devel­op­ers to rapid­ly define and pro­gram new radar modes into the sensor. 

The ARMS pro­gram is a key ele­ment in an over­all Inte­grat­ed Threat Man­age­ment Sys­tem that pro­vides rotary wing crews with real-time sit­u­a­tion­al under­stand­ing of threats to the air­craft and its mis­sions includ­ing ter­rain obsta­cles, oth­er air­craft, cables and ene­my munitions. 

BAE Sys­tems leads the research team for this pro­gram which includes Mus­tang Tech­nol­o­gy Group, Hon­ey­well Aero­space Defense & Space, Applied Sig­nal Intel­li­gence, Inc. and the Uni­ver­si­ty of Michigan. 

Issued by:
Steven LeCours, BAE Sys­tems
Tel: +1 603 885 6317

BAE Systems 

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