The series production of Leonardo's new MAIR (Multi Aperture InfraRed) alarm system begins, with a first batch of dozens of units that will be installed on board helicopters including the LUH (Light Utility Helicopter) of the Italian Army, aircraft based on the AW169M. The start of production follows a successfully completed test campaign that demonstrated the system's ability to quickly and accurately detect long-range threats, while continuing to track missiles in flight. The start of deliveries of the MAIR within the LUH program of the Italian Army is expected in 2022.
The MAIR is a "distributed opening" threat alert system. It can fuse data from four to six infrared cameras to simultaneously detect and track incoming missiles as well as hostile fire through their thermal traces. In addition, customers can choose to include a processor capable of delivering day and night images, increasing situational awareness and supporting navigation and landing. The additional module also allows the complete recording of mission data.
The MAIR, in addition to equipping Leonardo's new AW169M multirole helicopter starting from the Italian Light Utility Helicopter program, will be installed on board various other platforms.
Through infrared technology, the MAIR offers significant advantages in terms of response time and tracking accuracy over legacy UltraViolet (UV) systems currently installed on various platforms. Although IR threat detectors are relatively recent on the market, MAIR has the advantage of leveraging Leonardo's experience in IRST sensors for fighter jets. After having perfected the IRST sensors of the Eurofighter Typhoon and Saab's Gripen E, Leonardo continues to invest in the technologies and algorithms underlying their functionality. These systems and the MAIR are capable of filtering out interference, such as solar reflections, and providing accurate and reliable results with a very low false alarm rate. The MAIR can be installed as a stand-alone alarm system or can be integrated in a simple and effective way to countermeasures, as part of a wider platform protection system, on board helicopters, troop carriers, VIP or remotely piloted aircraft. . The fast response time and accurate tracking make it perfectly integrable with Directed InfraRed CounterMeasure (DIRCM) systems, such as Leonardo's Miysis, already ordered by five NATO customers, including the UK and Canada.
The small size, weight and power (SWAP) of the MAIR make it suitable even for very small aircraft. Its design was conceived in relation to the shape and adaptability to existing systems, demonstrating Leonardo's ability to provide a complete upgrade through minimal changes to the overall system of an aircraft.
In addition to equipping its platforms, Leonardo is marketing the MAIR to other international aircraft manufacturers. Several customers are showing a high interest in the system's ability to track threats in a timely manner, which allows countermeasures to gain more response time, as well as its overall level of performance, which matches or exceeds more complex systems and expensive to date on the market.