PAS 2011: ITT prepares to restart EW countermeasure production
ITT is set to re-launch production of its ALQ-136 electronic warfare countermeasure system after a period of five years as part of a strategy to target international customers, company executives have told Shephard.
According to Christopher Carlson, director business development for electronic warfare systems at ITT, the company is looking to 'aggressively' market the sensor to potential customers on the back of the US Army and Boeing's AH-64 Apache attack helicopter.
Having supplied some 1,200 systems to army Apaches, US Special Operations Command CH-47 Chinooks and US Marine Corps Cobras, Carlson said there was potential for the sale of some 400 countermeasures abroad.
'The US [armed forces] are not looking to buy in the immediate future but we are working closely with them for international customers,' he said.
The sensor comprises an RF radar jammer designed to protect attack helicopters and special operations aircraft from surface-to-air guided missile threats, especially relevant for current operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, Carlson observed.
Confirming that ITT had made 'firm' offers to Apache customers in six countries, Carlson said he expected two contracts to be signed by the end of the year for a total of around 75 systems. Current Apache customers include Egypt, Greece, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates. However, he was unable to comment on specific customer details. Signature of the contracts would see the immediate reinstatement of the production line at ITT's facility in New Jersey.
The contracts would also include testing and evaluation of various 'technology uplifts' which ITT has planned for the ALQ-136. According to Carlson, this will comprise improvements to electronics including processors and replacing analogue with digital technology.
In addition, Carlson described how ITT was considering integrating IR, acoustic and ultra-violet hostile fire indicators into the countermeasure system with a demonstration scheduled to take place later in the year for the US Army. This, he added, could form the basis for the army's Common IR Countermeasure requirement in light and mid-weight configurations.
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