Laser Detecting Sets Ensure Air Crews’ Safety
In a Connecticut industrial plant, far from the battlefields of Afghanistan, a system that has provided Soldiers with vital protection reached a significant milestone on Dec. 7, which happened to be the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The Army accepted the delivery of the 1,000th AN/AVR-2B Laser Detecting Set (LDS) from the Goodrich Corp. during a ceremony at the contractor’s facility in Danbury, CT. Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy; BG Harold J. Greene, Program Executive Officer Intelligence, Electronic Warfare, and Sensors (PEO IEW&S); and COL John Leaphart, Project Manager Aircraft Survivability Equipment, spoke to an audience of 500 employees, members of the Connecticut National Guard, and state and local officials about the value the sensors provide.
The system operates as part of the Aircraft Survivability Equipment suite on rotary-wing aircraft, which provides the air crew with a warning when the aircraft is illuminated by laser-guided or -aided weapons. The first AN/AVR-2B LDS was delivered in November 2006 with an Army objective ultimately to buy 1,880 systems. LDSs are being integrated onto the AH-64D Apache, HH-60L Pave Hawk, UH-60L Black Hawk, and OH-58D Kiowa helicopters with plans to begin integration on the CH-47 Chinook in FY12.
The ability to be aware of their surroundings and be confident that they will not be surprised by an enemy threat allows air crews to focus on mission objectives while flying sorties. The confidence the AN/AVR-2B provides is the result of a cooperative effort between the government and industry.
“It is crucial for my team to be first-rate, and the teams and organizations that we seek to do business with need to be first-rate as well, because there is no negotiating on the level of protection we provide our Soldiers who deploy in harm’s way,” said Leaphart. “What you do has meaning, it has impact, it has consequence. It matters to our Soldiers who are deployed, it matters to their families, it matters to our taxpayers, and it matters to our country.”
In addressing the crowd, Greene pointed out that a sign of the system’s success is the fact that the program goes unrecognized because the system is continually flying on missions and preventing the loss of air crews, passengers, and aircraft.
The AN/AVR-2B LDS has saved space, been more reliable, and offered greater flexibility while being cheaper than previous systems.
“It is the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Following that event, we sent many Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines off to war, but we also pulled together as a Nation back here and put a tremendous effort with our industrial base into producing the best equipment we could to provide our Soldiers an advantage on the battlefield,” said Greene. “You carry on that tradition today. This is a team sport with those who wear the uniform, supported by those in the community who provide them the best possible equipment, because we never want to send our Soldiers into a fair fight. Our Soldiers have a tremendous advantage, and that is what you are providing. You’re nullifying enemy weapon systems that they could use to kill or injure our brave men and women.”
The performance of the AN/AVR-2B program shows that it is a major success for both of its customers: the Soldier and the American taxpayer.
The AN/AVR-2B LDS has saved space, been more reliable, and offered greater flexibility while being cheaper than previous systems. It offers a 40 percent weight reduction and 30 percent less power consumption—significant benefits for the aviation community where size, weight, and power are at a premium. It is six times more reliable, with 2,500 hours mean time between failures vs. 400 hours over preceding systems.
The LDS is 30 percent less expensive than previous laser detection systems, while offering air crews a multitude of interface options. Since the program’s inception, the AN/AVR-2B has been produced at a rate of 20 systems per month, with a reliability of 100 percent on-time deliveries since production began.
During the ceremony, Malloy discussed the unique role Connecticut has had in supporting the military since the earliest days of the Nation. “From one citizen to another, thank you for your hard work and diligence in this matter,” said Malloy. “We have the best military in the world, the best trained, the best outfitted, most inspired, and we are in our part in our state making sure that they are secure and safe.”
- BRANDON POLLACHEK is the Public Affairs Officer for PEO IEW&S, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD. He holds a B.S. in political science from Cazenovia College and has 12 years’ experience in writing about military systems.