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US-based aerospace and defence integrator Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) announced an agreement with Israeli airborne protection systems provider Bird Aerosystems on 24 April 2023 to jointly offer the full spectrum of Bird’s airborne missile protection systems (AMPS) to a wide range of domestic and international customers.

Leveraging SNC’s mission system integration capabilities together with Bird Aerosystems’ AMPS technology allows the companies to maximise opportunities to safeguard warfighters across a wide range of military and civil aircraft.   

As part of the agreement between SNC and Bird Aerosystems, SNC will manufacture AMPS in the United States. Together, the companies intend to pursue US Department of Defense markets, Foreign Military Sales opportunities to US-allied nations and various international commercial markets.  

Bird Aerosystems is a leading provider of innovative airborne solutions designed to protect customers and ensure the security of assets. Its field-proven AMPS family of solutions provides total protection in dense and diverse threat environments by protecting crews and aircraft against all known surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), including man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS), laser-beam-riding (LBR) and radar-guided missiles.

AMPS technology is designed to detect, automatically verify and foil SAM attacks through the use of Bird’s advanced Self Protection Radar Electro Optic System (SPREOS) directional infrared countermeasures (DIRCM) system, which jams a threat missile’s IR seeker. SPREOS, which Bird bills as the most advanced and lightweight DIRCM solution available today, is a patented system for missile approach verification, tracking and laser jamming. Queued by missile warning sensors (MWS), SPREOS can confirm real missiles from false alarms while precisely assessing the nature of the threat, tracking it and cueing an advanced dual-band quantum cascade laser (QCL) to defeat the threat.

SNC is teaming with Bird Aerosystems to jointly offer the full spectrum of Bird’s airborne missile protection systems to a wide range of domestic and international customers. (Photo: SNC/Bird Aerosystems)

Bird AMPS systems have been delivered to the US Army over the last 15 years for diverse programmes around the world. The system is fully compliant with the US Army’s Modular Open System Approach (MOSA) and can easily integrate with other controls and systems. 

 “The partnership between SNC and Bird Aerosystems is a perfect match,” said BIRD Aerosystems Kevin Mangum, a retired US Army lieutenant general, who initiated the co-operation. “It pairs two fast, agile teams that are keenly focused on building and integrating innovative, game-changing capabilities for their customers.”

“For 60 years SNC has remained focused on one priority: protecting the warfighter,” said Tim Owings, executive vice president of SNC’s MST business area. “Evolution into the airborne missile protection systems realm is a natural step for us and one that we very much look forward to as we continue to lead the way in aircraft integration, degraded visual environment capabilities, electronic warfare and JADC2 [Joint All-Domain Command and Control], all in the interest of safeguarding freedom.”

“Bird Aerosystems is supplying its innovative airborne solutions to the US Army as well as to other leading customers worldwide, including the United Nations air operations and a number of NATO members,” said Ronen Factor, Co-CEO and founder at Bird Aerosystems. “We are honoured to co-operate with SNC and are confident that this will allow us further to deepen our activity in the US market.”

Peter Felstead