As per various requests I am going to look at some of the MoD funded research programmes, in this case, the Common Defensive Aids System or CDAS.
CDAS has been running for a few years and is part of the wider move to open standards across complex defence technology that includes Advanced Mission Systems (AMS) and Land Open Systems Architecture (LOSA) that includes Generic Vehicle Architecture (GVA), Generic Base Architecture (GBA) and Generic Soldier Architecture (GSA).
Current aircraft defensive aids are diverse, purchased over a numbers of years and platform specific. This makes training, support and upgrading difficult and expensive, often they are unique to the platform and require integration activity.
CDAS is a Technology Demonstration Programme
The programme will demonstrate the benefits of integrating a system through a central controller that can coordinate operation of the various sensors and countermeasures, all interacting through standardised interfaces to maximise overall protection and using centralised display and control.
The principles of modularity, reuse and open architecture are designed to reduce integration and training costs whilst delivering improved levels of protection against evolving threats.
Selex were awarded the initial £20m 4 year contract in 2010 and demonstrated the first iteration in a lab environment a year later with initial flight trials soon after. CDAS has taken many of the successful concepts from the Apache HIDAS and Project BAKER upgrades to the Chinook Mk2 and Mk 3 fleet for deployment to Afghanistan. Project BAKER was part of a trio of projects designed to bring the UK’s disparate Chinook fleet up to a common standard, the others were Project BENIC for communications and Project JULIUS for engines and avionics .
Upon completion of the projects, the UK will be able to field 38 HC.2/2As (HC.4) eight HC.3s (HC.5), and 14 HC.6 aircraft, an impressive fleet.
The initial trials demonstrated that open message formats passed across Mil Standard 1553B and Ethernet interfaces could be used between three different manufacturers systems;
Selex ECLIPSE Pointer Tracker System
The MoD have recently announced news of a successful series of flight tests on a Lynx Mk7 helicopter at Larkhill that also included a QinetiQ mission planner and ground gunfire detector.
All these sensors and countermeasures systems were connected to the ‘CDAS Spine’ and the MoD and DSTL are now evaluating the results of the trial and getting a lot of interest from the US and other nations.
This is a good overview video from Professor Steve Roberts, VP Strategy – SELEX Galileo, speaking at the Aero India 2013 Seminar, well worth a watch
If you do watch the video, there is a fascinating segment at about 16 minutes that describes how the trials used a motion table used in filming the Golden Compass to simulate helicopter movement.
It is this kind of research that will drove down the cost of complex equipment, there is obviously real potential for big savings here, lets hope the MoD can capitalise on the investment