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NAVAIR Today: Aviation Systems Programs

 

 

Current programs and equipment include:

  • Aircrew Endurance
  • Combat Survivor Evader Locator System
  • Ejection Seat Endurance
  • Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS), Night Vision Cueing and Display (NVCD)
  • Legacy Aircrew Chem Bio Respirator Protective Assembly
  • Navy Aircrew Common Ejection Seat

The NVCD is a good example of PMA-202’s recent work. Having achieved full operational capability in December 2015, the NVCD is a capability that builds on the daytime attributes of the JHMCS, allowing the cueing of weapons and sensors at night while also providing the JHMCS standard “head up display” data over the eye in addition to camera video recording of the pilot’s viewpoint.

 

ASW Sensors

PMA-264 plays a critical role in the acquisition, development, and sustainment of airborne anti-submarine warfare systems. The program office supports the fleet, the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft Program Office, the H-60 Helicopter Program Office, the Persistent Maritime and the Unmanned Aerial Systems Program Office, and the Navy and Marine Corps Multi-mission Tactical Unmanned Air Systems Program Office, overseeing programs and systems including:

  • Sonobuoys
  • Multi-Static Active Coherent
  • High Altitude Anti-Submarine Warfare (HAASW)
  • Airborne ASW Intelligence

HAASW is a high priority for PMA-264. The program will allow the Navy’s new P-8A Poseidon to conduct its mission at higher-than-traditional fixed-wing ASW altitudes by employing a suite of modified sonobuoy sensors. Higher altitudes will enable greater communications range with large area buoy fields and greater coverage from other onboard non-acoustic sensors.

p-8a poseidon

A P-8A Poseidon assigned to the Bureau of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 20 replicates the characteristics of an MK-54 torpedo. U.S. Navy photo by Greg L. Davis

Working in coordination with the new High Altitude Anti-Submarine Warfare Weapon Capability Air Launch Accessory (ALA) – an add-on kit for the U.S. Navy Mk. 54 lightweight torpedo that allows the weapon to glide through the air from altitudes as high as 30,000 feet – HAASW will give the P-8A the ability to attack submarines from long ranges.

 

Common Aviation Support Equipment

PMA-260 manages the procurement, development, and fielding of Common Ground Support Equipment and Automatic Test Equipment that supports every type/model/series aircraft within naval aviation.

The range of equipment PMA-260 supports includes:

  • Aircraft Fluid Service Units
  • Automatic Wire Test Set
  • Common Radio Frequency Communication/Navigation Test Set
  • Consolidated Automated Support System (CASS)
  • Electronic Consolidated Automated Support System (eCASS)
  • Reconfigurable Transportable Consolidated Automated Support System
  • Heavy Maintenance Crane
  • Hydraulic Power Supplies
  • Intermediate Level TACAN Test Set
  • Jet Engine Test Instrumentation
  • Large Landbased Air Conditioner
  • Mid Range Tow Tractor
  • Shipboard Helo Handler

The 21st century update of the Navy’s Consolidated Automated Support System is an example of a program PMA-260 is fully engaged in. eCASS provides shore-based and afloat intermediate and depot level maintenance and repair capabilities for all naval aircraft, ship, and submarine electronics systems. Currently in Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP), eCASS is expected to be fielded and operational in 2017 and will begin replacing the aging legacy CASS stations at Naval Air Systems Command and Naval Sea Systems Command activities.

 

Department of the Navy Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures

PMA-272 is NAVAIR’s Advanced Tactical Aircraft Protection Systems Program Office. The unit manages the development, demonstration, and acquisition of operational advances in strike aircraft survivability equipment.

Now deployed on the USMC’s CH-53E, CH-53D, and CH-46E medium-lift and heavy-lift assault support helicopters, the AN/AAQ-24(V)25, DoN LAIRCM system is managed by PMA-272. The system combines an advanced, two-color Infrared Missile Warning System (MWS) and Directed Laser Countermeasures to defeat shoulder-launched missiles, meeting the Marine Corps’ urgent needs for a “… state-of-the-art, reliable, carrier-based and land-based Missile Warning System (MWS) and Infrared Countermeasure (IRCM).”

 

Global Positioning Systems

NAVAIR’s PMW/A-170 is a program office with dual roles. The unit oversees the Air Navigation Warfare (NAVWAR) Program. NAVWAR provides Global Positioning System (GPS) protection for naval air platforms by giving the warfighter continued access to GPS through the use of anti-jam antenna systems designed to counter GPS electronic warfare threats due to intentional and unintentional interference. Typical installations replace a platform’s existing GPS antenna with a larger NAVWAR antenna and separate antenna electronics, while leaving a platform’s GPS receiver in place. Future designs may combine the NAVWAR antenna and antenna electronics into one unit.

PMW/A-170 is also the Navy’s Communication Program Office, providing broadband satellite service to ships and potentially aircraft as well as other communications products that may have naval aviation applications.

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Jan Tegler is a writer/broadcaster from Severna Park, Md. His work appears in a variety...