DANBURY, Conn. — In a Connecticut industrial plant, far away from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, a system that has provided Soldiers with a great amount of protection reached a significant milestone on Dec. 7, which happened to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The Army accepted the delivery of the 1,000 AN/AVR-2B Laser Detecting Set, or LDS, from the Goodrich Corporation during a ceremony at the contractor’s facility in Danbury, Conn. Connecticut Governor Daniel Malloy, Brig. Gen. Harold Greene, Program Executive Officer for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare & Sensors, and Col. John Leaphart, project manager for Aircraft Survivability Equipment, spoke to an audience of 500 employees in attendance along with members of the Connecticut National Guard, various state and local officials regarding the value the sensors provide.
The system operates as a part of the Aircraft Survivability Equipment suite on rotary wing aircraft, which provides aircrew with a warning when the aircraft is illuminated by laser guided or aided weapons. The first AN/AVR-2B was delivered in November 2006 with an Army objective to ultimately buy 1,880 systems. LDSs are being integrated on the, AH-64D Apache, HH-60L Pavehawk, UH-60L Blackhawk, and OH-58D Kiowa with plans to begin integration on the CH-47 Chinook in fiscal year 2012.
The ability to be aware of their surroundings and confident that they will not be surprised by an enemy threat allows aircrews to focus on mission objectives while flying sorties. The confidence the AVR-2B provides is the result of a cooperative effort between the government and industry.
“It is crucial for my team to be first rate and for the teams and organizations that we seek out to do business with need to be first rate as well because there is no negotiating on the level of protection we provide our Soldiers that deploy in harm’s way,” stated Leaphart. “What you do has meaning, it has impact, it has consequence, it matters to our Soldiers that are deployed, it matters to their families, it matters to our taxpayers and it matters to our country.”
In addressing the crowd Greene pointed out that a sign of the systems success is directly related to the fact that program goes unrecognized because the government/industry team has developed a systems that is continually flying on missions and preventing the loss of aircrew, passengers and aircraft.
“It is the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, following that event we sent many Soldiers, Sailor, Airmen and Marines off to war, but we also pulled together as a nation back here and put a tremendous effort with our industrial base into producing the best equipment we could to provide our Soldiers an advantage on the battlefield,” said Greene. “You carry on that tradition today. This is a team sport with those who wear the uniform supported by those in the community that provide them the best possible equipment, because we never want to send our Soldiers into a fair fight.”
“Our Soldiers have a tremendous advantage and that is what you are providing,” Greene continued. “You’re nullifying enemy weapons systems that they could use to kill or injure our brave men and women.”
The common theme throughout the ceremony which is made evident by some of the statistics surrounding the AN AVR-2B program is that it is a major success for both of its customers: the Soldier and American taxpayer.
AN AVR-2B has been a benefit for the aviation community in numerous ways for platforms where size, weight and power are at a premium. LDS has saved space, been more reliable, offered greater flexibility while being cheaper than previous systems. It offers a 40 percent weight reduction, 30 percent less power consumption and is six times more reliable than previous systems. The current system operates with 2,500 hours Mean Time Between Failures versus 400 hours over preceding systems.
In addition to serving Soldiers in the field, the LDS served as a success for the taxpayer as it has come in at 30 percent less expensive than previous laser detection systems while offering aircrew a multitude of interface options. Since the inception of the program, the AVR-2B has been produced at a rate of 20 systems per month with a reliability of 100 percent on-time deliveries since production began.
During the ceremony Malloy discussed the unique relationship Connecticut has had in supporting the military since the earliest days of the nation by pointing out that Gen. George Washington had considered the state to be the “Provision” state because of its unique ability to supply the nation. The 1,000th delivery of the AVR 2B is a symbol of the states industrial base’s continued support to America’s men and women in uniform.
“From one citizen to another, thank you for your hard work and diligence in this matter,” said Malloy. “We have the best military in the world, the best trained, the best outfitted, most inspired and we are in our part in our state making sure that they are secure and safe.”