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MAIR missile warning system carried out first flight

4th September 2019 - 13:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Leonardo has carried out the first flight of its Multiple Aperture Infrared (MAIR) missile warning system.

When integrated onto an aircraft it provides crews with spherical missile warning, hostile fire indication, and day and night imaging and infrared search and track capabilities, and for its first test flight that took place in Italy, it was flown on a rotary testbed to assess its ability to collect data. 

Further flights will now take place to verify MAIR’s full suite of modes, Leonardo says, adding that while the testbed was a rotorcraft, fixed-wing platforms can also carry the system. 

MAIR uses a series of distributed IR sensors to provide spherical coverage of an aircraft, and was developed in response to a growing demand for systems that can respond to the threat of heat-seeking missiles.

In missile warning mode, MAIR is able to detect incoming missiles and differentiate them from other heat sources, delivering detection and early warning with a low false alarm rate, even in cluttered environments. 

This is possible due to MAIR’s processing techniques that draw on Leonardo’s experience in providing IR search and track systems for the Saab Gripen E and Eurofighter Typhoon fighter programmes. 

MAIR can also automatically cue protective measures including Leonardo’s Miysis directed IR countermeasure system in response to threats. 

In this scenario, MAIR would detect, track, classify and declare if an incoming missile is a threat and then pass the information to Miysis, which would subsequently steer the missile away from the aircraft.

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