A Soldier uses the Man-Portable Aircraft Survivability Trainer as an M176 Pyrotechnic Simulator launches in the background. (U.S. Army photo)
By Eric Kowal, Picatinny Arsenal Public Affairs
PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. — Army engineers have developed an advanced system to train aircraft crews to protect aircraft and crewmembers against threats such as shoulder-fired, surface-to-air missiles.
Since the Vietnam War, such anti-aircraft missiles, especially those known as man portable anti aircraft missiles or MANPADS, have played a critical role in the shooting down military aircraft and their crews.
In order to enable aircraft and crews to survive these missile threats, the U.S. military has developed and deployed a continuously improving suite of aircraft survivability equipment , or ASE assets, that include electronic jammers, lasers and counter-measure flares.
These ASE assets have proven to be very effective at decoying or destroying these threat MANPADS, said James Wejsa, chief of the Pyrotechnic Technology and Prototyping Division of the U. S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey.
However, there has been no significant development and deployment of any realistic improvements in aircraft MANPAD threat training. That is about to change, as Army researchers complete the new system called Man-Portable Aircraft Survivability Trainer. Picatinny engineers said the system is entering the production and fielding support phase.
“This is a realistic training system that we are very excited to be a part of developing and fielding for use in training our aviators,” Wejsa said. “These MANPAD threats are real and very deadly to combat and combat support aircraft if not properly protected.”