Home Europe Indra to deliver electronic defense suit for Spanish NH90 helicopters

Indra to deliver electronic defense suit for Spanish NH90 helicopters

NH90 helicopter
Airbus file photo of Spanish Army NH90 helicopters

The Spanish defense ministry has awarded Indra a contract for the delivery of self-protection systems for 23 NH90 helicopters that will used by all three branches of the Spanish armed forces.

The contract is worth 111 million euros and will have a duration of 7 years. It will see the company equip the GSPA (tactical transport in Spanish configuration) and MSPT (naval variant) versions of this helicopter that will be used by the Spanish Army, Air Force and Navy, with a complete self-protection suite.

These self-protection systems will include the RWR ALR-400FD full digital radar warning receiver and a DIRCM InShield directed infrared countermeasure system.

Indra will also integrate and supply all the other elements of the electronic defense suite, including missile alert sensors (MWS), laser alert (LWS) and the chaff and flare dispenser system (CMDS) that serve as decoys to circumvent attacks.

The helicopters’ ability to fly at low speeds and height and to land virtually anywhere gives them their main operational advantage, but also makes them especially vulnerable to attack. At the same time, threats have grown in sophistication and are now much more effective and difficult to detect.

Radar-guided missiles, for example, use frequency-hopping techniques to conceal themselves while some manpad missile launchers, a cheap and easily available weapon on the black market, employ projectiles with highly sophisticated guidance systems.

To face this challenge, Indra will develop a full band warning receiver, with the ability to monitor the entire electromagnetic spectrum, instead of covering different bands through partial band scanning strategies as was customary until now.

To carry out this task, the company will provide the system with a capacity for direct and instantaneous digitization of the electromagnetic spectrum that will allow it to analyze all signals at an enormous speed and coordinate the rest of the detection and countermeasure elements.

Indra’s InShield DIRCM system is designed to blind the thermal guidance system of missiles launched from the ground with a beam of laser energy. This system is expected to be capable of countering several simultaneous missile launches.

The InShield system was tested in 2017 in the NATO EMBOW exercises aboard a Chinook (CH-47). Indra says it is currently the only DIRCM system on the market that has proven its capabilities in Alliance testing. The system is being integrated for its operation in the Spanish Air Force’s fleet of A400M aircraft.