Mi-17-(Bird-Aerosystems)
The Czech Air Force’s Mi-17 helicopters are having their AMPS self-protection systems upgraded as a result of lessons learned during operational deployments.

Bird Aerosystems will upgrade the AMPS self-protection system equipping the Czech Air Force’s Mi-17s.

The company announced in a press release on 11th September that it would upgrade the Airborne Missile Protection Systems (AMPSs) equipping the Mil Mi-17 (NATO reporting name Hip) series medium-lift utility helicopters flown by the Vzdušné Síly Armády České Republiky (Czech Air Force/CAF).

Bird Aerosystems began the installation of the AMPS-M variant of the AMPS installed on the CAF Mi-17s towards the end of last decade. The AMPS-M uses ultraviolet optronics to detect the hot exhaust of incoming missiles. It protects aircraft against infrared (IR) guided surface-to-air missiles fired from Man-Portable Air Defence Systems. Once detected the crew are alerted, IR countermeasures are launched and evasive manoeuvres performed to defeat the threat.

Provision will also be made for the future installation of Bird Aerosystem’s Missile Approach Confirmation Sensor (MACS). MACS provides additional confirmation of incoming threats to reduce false alarm rates using a Ka-band (33.4 gigahertz/GHz to 36GHz) radar.

Timetable

Shaul Mazor, Bird Aerosystems’ vice president of marketing, told Armada that work would start on the upgrade in the coming weeks. He expects the upgrade to be completed by the end of 2020 with the aircraft returning to operational missions by 2021.

Work is to be performed in the Czech Republic and in Israel: “We have a challenge of completing the program on-time with all the COVID-19 flight restrictions. We will try to minimize the number of people who will travel to the Czech Republic and alternatively send as much of the equipment as will be possible to Israel,” Mr. Mazor emphasised.

The CAF flies 19 Mi-17 series helicopters. While details on the exact number of aircraft to receive the upgrade remain confidential, Mr. Mazor did say that the majority of these aircraft will benefit from the improvements.

by Dr. Thomas Withington