Sea King undergoes self-defence trial
The infra-red (IR) energy that comes from aircraft as part of their engine exhaust guides IR missiles to their targets. Defending against IR missiles is critical to an aircraft's survivability in a hostile environment.
In the fall of 2008, a team from 12 Wing Shearwater conducted a trial of the selfdefence suite installed on the CH-124 Sea King helicopter. The aim was to gather data that will help to enhance the Sea King's survivability against such threats.
Headed by Captain Chris Spearin and lead technician Sergeant Steve Scriver, a dedicated test team of personnel from the Helicopter Operational Test and Evaluation Facility at 12 Wing conducted the week-long trial with an aircraft from 12 Wing. Defence Research and Development Canada in Valcartier, CF Air Warfare Centre in Trenton, CF Electronics Warfare Centre in Ottawa, and 430 Tactical Helicopter Squadron from 1 Wing Kingston supported the trial.
The Sea King self-defence suite uses two methods of countering IR threats: deployment of flares and activation of an IR jammer. Both lure the missile away from the exhaust gases, and therefore away from the aircraft.
Some key components of the trial included determining which countermeasure loads and specific firing sequences have the greatest effectiveness against current threats. The team also evaluated the Sea King's IR signature, laser warning receivers and IR jamming.
The trial was a great success, providing valuable information to future operators of the aircraft. "Op XENA gave the operational aircrews an opportunity not only to test the entire system," Sgt Scriver said, "but to instil much-needed confidence in the system should they ever be deployed in an operational theatre."
By Capt Chuck Skrok - Canadian Armed Forces
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