Raytheon Co. Integrated Defense System (IDS) business recently delivered to the Air Force the first prototype of an Aircraft Self Protection Security System (ASPSS). Using near object detection sensor (NODS) technology, the system provides electronic perimeter security for aircraft parked on the tarmac of an airfield or in a field location. Raytheon also has developed a system — the Vigilant Eagle Airport Protection System — that protects airplanes from man-portable air defense systems threats during takeoffs and landings. The two systems are complementary: Vigilant Eagle protects active aircraft and ASPSS protects parked aircraft. The four-sensor version of ASPSS is a low cost, portable system the Air Force recently accepted after tests at Eglin AFB, FL, under a $2.1 M cost-plus-fixed-fee contract administered by the Electronic Syste Center, Hanscom AFB, Bedford, MA. “This aircraft self protection security system warns of potential close proximity threats to aircraft parked on the ground,” said Mark Russell, Raytheon IDS vice president of engineering. The NODS technology consists of three components: a near object detection sensor the size of a book, a communications module and a personal digital assistant (PDA)-like alarm and display device.
The near object detection sensor and communications modules are mounted on a tripod and placed around the parked aircraft. The PDA-like display unit and another communications module, together known as an annunciator, are carried by security personnel. Each near object detection sensor covers approximately 120° arc and is able to detect the presence of people and vehicles out to 100 meter and beyond. Four sensors can provide overlapping coverage of a single aircraft and more sensors can be arranged to cover multiple aircraft parked together. According to Russell, Raytheon IDS will be delivering a three-sensor solution to the Air Force in the near future and a multiple aircraft version in late summer. In addition to aircraft protection, the technology shows promise for fence line, fixed facilities and commercial applications where cleared zone security is a consideration, Russell said.