The Terma Modular Aircraft Survivability Equipment (MASE) pod. (David Oliver)

At ILA 2018, the Danish systems integrator Terma announced that the first Modular Aircraft Survivability Equipment (MASE) equipped Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) NH90 helicopter has successfully passed a comprehensive test programme and is now ready for operational use.

Terma provides MASE pods for a wide range of light attack fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft. The pods house sensors and a countermeasures suite including Directed Infrared Countermeasures (DIRCM) or chaff/flare dispensers (CMDS), electronics and Missile Warning System (MWS) sensors in a compact lightweight and rigid structure.

Installation comprises two pods, one on each side of the aircraft carried on external stores mounts or existing aircraft hard points. Pods are mounted with stand-off from the main body of the fuselage and therefore produce good locations to minimise sensor blind spots and ease safe separation of expendables. The pods are easily transferrable between platforms to allow them to be maximised across assets as required for specific operations and multiple platform types. The modularity of the MASE pod has enabled tailoring for a number of helicopter platforms, including AH-64D, AW-101, Mi-17, Mi-24, and AS 550 Fennec.

As part of the RNLAF NH90 requirements, the Terma system has been optimised to withstand the harsh operating environment that the helicopters are exposed to when operating over salt water. In addition, design considerations have been taken to ensure that the installation is practical to handle and operate from a helicopter deck on a frigate, such as easy access to, and installation of, the pod even in rough weather conditions.

Terma completed a study programme for RNLAF to identify the best possible way of protecting the NH90 aircraft against IR seeking missiles. The study identified a number of solutions all centered around a MWS, the Terma Advanced Countermeasures Dispenser System, and ALQ-213 Electronic Warfare (EW) controller.

by David Oliver