JETEYE enters new phase

BAE Systems has entered Phase III of the US Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) program to protect commercial airliners against infrared guided missiles.



BAE Systems’ JETEYE system is based on the US Army’s Advanced Threat Infrared Countermeasures system to protect military aircraft. The system was flown and tested against simulated man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS), on an American Airlines Boeing 767 in late 2005.



During the 18-month Phase III program, JETEYE will continue flying on the same American Airlines 767 and will also fly on an ABX Air cargo aircraft to continue the reduction of the potential cost to the airline industry by streamlining system installation, reducing aerodynamic drag, and improving reliability and maintainability.



‘We took technology that protects the lives of our service men and women every day and integrated it in a system that has proven its effectiveness on a commercial platform,’ said Burt Keirstead, BAE Systems program director for JETEYE in Nashua, New Hampshire. ‘A key tenet of the Phase III program is to refine the technology, improving reliability and minimizing cost.’



The company is well on its way to exceeding a DHS requirement of 3,000 hours’ mean time between failures, Keirstead added.



Separately, BAE Systems has successfully completed tests on its Skylynx II unmanned aircraft system at Yuma Proving Grounds.



During test flights it met key requirements including acoustic performance, endurance, and payload capability for reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition missions. The aircraft was developed to support missions such as those critical to the US Marine Corps’ unmanned aircraft program.



The Skylynx II flew in a series of flight patterns to demonstrate agility. Using an integrated electro-optical/infrared imaging payload, the aircraft automatically located and tracked vehicle and human targets, transmitting coordinates to a ground station.



‘These demonstrations show the Skylynx II system is capable of satisfying current and future Marine Corps requirements,’ said Tom Herring, vice president of Integrated Solutions for BAE Systems in Los Angeles. ‘This is a very versatile aircraft that can easily be configured to meet specific mission requirements.’



The Skylynx II unmanned air system is said to meet the Marines’ regiment-level need for ease of use, capability, and portability. The fixed-wing aircraft can be launched without a runway and is capable of carrying payloads weighing up to 70 pounds.


The full Skylynx system, consisting of three air vehicles, ground control station, launcher, and remote receive terminal, plus six Marines, can be transported by two CH-46 helicopters or by two High-mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles.