By Paolo Valpolini
Exhibited both at the company stand as well as in the UK pavilion, Leonardo’s Miysis DIRCM (Direct Infrared CounterMeasure) is one of the systems in the Italian group’s portfolio which is strongly marketed in the Middle East, and in the UAE specifically. “We have an ongoing strategic campaign for Miysis for the UAE military, as well as for other customers in the Middle East. Our DIRCM system has already been operational in the Middle East for over two years now, and we are riding on the success of having delivered our Miysis DIRCM system to the UK Armed Forces last year ahead of schedule, even despite COVID,” David Gourlay, Head of Leonardo’s DIRCM campaigns tells EDR On-Line.
As with all countermeasures, the Miysis development is threat-driven, and although no details have been provided, it is quite certain that in Scotland, at Leonardo’s plant in Edinburgh, work is underway to further develop what the company deems to be the state-of-the-art system in the DIRCM field. “The threat is becoming more sophisticated, more capable, and the people who are using it are becoming smarter, i.e. they now use those missiles in salvos, which makes self-protection a tricky issue,” Gourlay states. “Miysis DIRCM was designed to be able to beat those new threats and new tactics”.
Leveraging three decades of experience in the DIRCM field, in Edinburgh they are convinced that Miysis is the top system currently available: “jam early, jam hard, is our motto,” David Gourlay tells us, explaining that “we put our laser energy onto the target quicker than anybody else, and we also put our more energy than anybody else with a system this size.”
Another key advantage of the Leonardo DIRCM is that it was natively designed as a multiple-head system. A former Tornado eapon systems officer, David Gourlay talks operationally: “if you are flying level and you have a single DIRCM system underneath your aircraft, it can see left and right, but as soon as you manoeuvre your aircraft, one side is blanked. So if you are equipped with a single head system, if you do any sort of tactical manoeuvring you generate that big blanking area leaving that side unprotected. Thanks to our two-head system we always ensure spherical coverage. These heads do not operate independently, they are in complete synchronisation, so if the threat switches from one side of the aircraft to the other, then we hand over the laser from one side to the other, perfectly synchronised with the jamming.” In some situations the areas covered by each head overlap; “If there is a threat in the overlap region, and this is the only threat, both lasers will jam the threat in a synchronised way, because we always do the safest possible thing, putting as much energy as possible, as quickly as possible, onto that threat.”
While the Miysis as standard is fitted with two heads, its architecture allows to increase the number of effectors, with three-head systems having been installed on large transport aircraft. In these cases overlap between two heads is quite frequent, allowing for the effective protection of platforms that usually generate a considerable thermal signature. “all this with a system which head weighs around 15 kg and is the smallest in its category, while still generating considerable energy, sufficient to protect a Boeing 747,” Gourlay says, highlighting that thanks to its dimensions the system can just as easily be fitted to a light helicopter.
“We are at IDEX because we are fully committed to the UAE. We are working with Abu Dhabi-based Platoon Advanced Technologies, as well as with other partners in the Emirates, depending on the platform,” He explains. “We consider that we are offering the only product that can deliver the laser energy that the UAE need to protect their high heat-signature platforms. There are requirements for multiple types of platforms, including helicopters, turbo-props and jet transport aircraft, and in addition to the UAE we are engaged with a number of countries in the Middle East, and in the Far East as well,” the Head of Leonardo’s DIRCM campaigns concludes.
Images courtesy Leonardo