USA — 1000 laser detecting sets ensure aircrew safety

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 UH ‑60 Black Hawk is among the numer­ous rotary wing air­craft that are equipped with the AN AVR-2B Laser Detect­ing Set, which pro­vides air­crew with a warn­ing when their air­craft are illu­mi­nat­ed by laser guid­ed or aid­ed weapons. On Dec. 7, 2011, the sys­tem reached a sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone as the Army accept­ed the 1,000th dur­ing a cer­e­mo­ny in Dan­bury, Conn.
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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.”

US Army

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