The SKR program provides USSOCOM with an affordable replacement for today’s aging TF/TA multi-mode radars employing Cold War radar technology. The required capabilities of the SKR include a TF/TA capability with a low probability of intercept and low probability of detection feature, color display of weather and weather intensity, a high-resolution display of prominent terrain features, and detection and location of other aircraft and ships. In December 2006, the SKR program awarded a contract for system design and development of a common TF/TA radar system to integrate the system onto the MH-47G-class of aircraft and to conduct flight testing.
USSOCOM anticipates benefiting from a total lower cost of ownership attained through higher reliability typical of modern avionics systems and a high degree of commonality across MH-47, MH-60, MC-130H and CV-22 aircraft. Since contract award, the program has completed several major reviews, including a systems requirements review, systems functional review, preliminary design review and critical design review. The SKR program has also fabricated prototype radars. In 2010, the program will initiate a rigorous test program, including contractor- conducted flight testing on both fixed wing and rotary wing platforms. Low-rate initial production is planned for FY12.
Infrared-guided missile systems have become the adversary’s weapon of choice due to their passive nature (low probability of detection prior to launch), simple operation, low cost and availability. At least 80 nations on six continents employ infrared (IR)- guided surface-to-air missiles that can be carried and launched by
one person. To address this evolving threat, USSOCOM teamed with the United Kingdom to execute a cooperative acquisition program with merged requirements. This was the first successful program of this type. The front-end production qualification and performance certification phase of the effort was completed in
early 1999, and final installation occurred in 2004.
The AN/AAQ-24 DIRCM system ensures fast, accurate threat location through onboard missile-warning sensors. The threat information is passed through the system’s main computer to the externally-mounted transmitters, which contain an infrared fine-tracking sensor to slew the transmitter to the threat, as well
as the IR lamp-jamming energy source. The transmitter acquires and tracks the missile while maintaining a high-powered beam of modulated IR energy on the target throughout its full range of maneuvering motion, with the engagement ending in missile defeat. DIRCM was designed in modular fashion to allow multiple
installation configurations on a wide range of fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft.
The success of the DIRCM system is self-evident. The U.S. Air Force requirement has grown to well over 400 aircraft, resulting in the transition of program management and sustainment responsibilities for all common components to the Department of the Air Force. USSOCOM will continue to sustain the SOFunique components until upgrades to a laser-based system are completed.