GA-ASI Presents Self-Protection Pod (SPP) for Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA)
GA-ASI Presents Self-Protection Pod (SPP) for Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA)

GA-ASI Presents Self-Protection Pod (SPP) for Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA)

The General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GA-ASI) Self-Protection Pod (SPP) is an advanced countermeasures capability designed for remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) to operate in high-threat environments while conducting critical intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. The SPP is equipped with the Terma AN/ALQ-213 Electronic Warfare Management System, which serves as the core component responsible for coordinating and managing the various systems installed in the pod. It enables real-time threat awareness and protection by tracking radio frequency and infrared missile threats and deploying appropriate countermeasures to safeguard the aircraft. As a subsystem and aircraft independent system, the ALQ-213 integrates individual subsystems (sensors and effectors) into one combined system.

The integration of the Leonardo DRS AN/AAQ-45 Distributed Aperture Infrared Countermeasure (DAIRCM) System, designed with a single sensor catering to both two-color IR missile warning and a wide field-of-view gimbal for threat countermeasures, ensures a comprehensive and streamlined approach to identifying and countering potential dangers. This system’s dual capabilities provide unmatched protection against both IR and RF threats, significantly reducing the vulnerability of the aircraft during critical missions. The adoption of Raytheon’s cutting-edge AN/ALR-69A(V) digital radar warning receiver (RWR) represents a pivotal enhancement in threat detection and localization. With its advanced signal identification and location capabilities, the AN/ALR-69A(V) offers a crucial advantage in identifying electronic signals from potential adversaries.

GA-ASI Self-Protection Pod (SPP) Flare Salvo
GA-ASI Self-Protection Pod (SPP) Flare Salvo. (Photo by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc.)

The key features and benefits of the SPP include:
Full-Spectrum Awareness: The SPP leverages state-of-the-art aircraft survivability equipment to provide comprehensive awareness of threats across the entire electromagnetic spectrum.
Surface-to-Air Threat Mitigation: It is capable of mitigating surface-to-air threats, making it suitable for use with current MQ-1C, MQ-9, and manned aircraft.
Enhanced Survivability: The SPP enhances the aircraft’s survivability by countering both infrared and radio frequency threats effectively.
Onboard and Offboard Countermeasures: It utilizes both onboard and offboard countermeasures, increasing the aircraft’s survivability during the entire engagement window.

The dimensions of the Self-Protection Pod are 82 inches x 23 inches x 19 inches (208.3 cm x 58.4 cm x 48.3 cm), and it weighs 386 pounds (175.1 kg). Its power requirements are 115 VAC with 2.5 KvA. Additionally, the uniqueness of the ALQ-213 family of controllers lies in its versatility, as it can be used across various types of aircraft, including fighters, helicopters, and fixed-wing transport aircraft. The ALQ-213’s development focuses on generic solutions rather than dedicated platforms, making it adaptable to different aircraft types. Overall, the SPP equipped with the AN/ALQ-213 system represents a mature and effective solution for protecting aircraft during high-risk missions, offering continuous optimization of operational performance through the use of advanced EW subsystems and countermeasures.

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