Sweden’s flagship company Saab Group, which also owns Gripen International and late last January opened its representative office in New Delhi, recently won two significant contract awards from the Ministry of Defence, one worth US$24 million for supplying the CIDAS integrated all-digital defensive aids suite for the 16 armed Dhruv ALH helicopters now being built by HAL for the Indian Air Force (IAF), and the other for supplying the LEDS-150 active protection system (APS) for the Indian Army’s T-90S+ and T-90M main battle tanks (MBT). Presently, the DRDO’s Bangalore-based Defence Avionics Research Establishment (DARE) and SaabTech are co-developing the MILDS AN/AAR-60 missile approach warning system (MAWS), which forms only one component of the CIDAS defensive aids suite. The MAWS is of South African origin and was further co-developed by EADS ewation (Germany) and Grintek Ewation (South Africa) after decided to merge by 2001. This was followed by SaabTech taking a stake in Avitronics (part of Grintek). SaabTech now owns both the South African companies (Grintek and Avitronics) as well as the EADS-Grintek joint venture. Therefore, in conclusion, the prime contractor for supplying the CIDAS defensive aids suite is SaabTech. The CIDAS will also find its way on board the HAL-developed Light Combat Helicopter, whose first prototype will be rolled out this March. In addition, the CIDAS will also most likely be on board the to-be-upgraded Ka-28PL, Ka-31 and Sea King Mk42B helicopters of the Indian Navy, and also on the 60 armed Dhruv ALHs that the Indian Army will be procuring for its projected Combat Aviation Brigade, which will also be employed for vertical envelopment operations in support of expeditionary amphibious warfare campaigns. A version of CIDAS also exists for combat aircraft and will in all probability be selected for installation on board the Su-30MKI in the near future, since the Su-30MKIs lack on-board missile approach warning systems and laser warning systems. Another aircraft to be equipped with CIDAS will be the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) now being co-developed by HAL and Russia’s United Aircraft Corp.
The contract for supplying the LEDS-150 APS suite for installation on board 987 T-90 MBTs has been won against stiff competition, and follows the Army HQ’s issuance of RFPs on April 24 last year. A total of six companies (Israel Military Industries, RAFAEL, BAE Systems, Raytheon, Rosoboronexport, Saab, and Germany’s IBD Deisenroth Engineering) were invited for submitting bids for supplying 1,657 APS suites worth $270 million. APS suites offered were Russia’s Kolomna-based KBM Engineering Design Bureau’s Arena-E, Israel Military Industries’ Iron Fist, RAFAEL Advanced Defence Systems’ Trophy, Raytheon’s Quick Kill, Saab’s LEDS-150 and Deisenroth Engineering’s AMAP-ADS. Eventually, the LEDS-150 was selected and its procurement contract was inked last month. The Land Electronic Defence System (LEDS) combines active signature management, soft-kill and hard-kill mechanisms to provide full spectrum active protection to armoured vehicles. Full hemispherical coverage is provided to detect incoming threats and alert the crew. When installed in full configuration, the LEDS-150 offers MBT-comparable protection to light and medium combat vehicles against engagement by weapons like RPG-7s, anti-tank guided-missiles, KE ammunition, mortars and field artillery shells. The LEDS-150 typically comprises laser warning sensors, ADC-150 active defence controller AD, a number of munition confirmation and tracking sensors, and high-speed directed launchers, which allow the combination of soft- and hard-kill countermeasure deployment capability to the platform, optional displays, and interconnecting harnesses. The hard kill feature of the LEDS-150 is characterised by its capability to physically destroy the efficiency of the terminal ballistic capability of attacking munitions without residual penetration of the protected vehicle. The hard kill system detects and tracks a single or simultaneous threats and calculates if the attacking munition will hit the platform or not. The system determines the best inertial intercept position and provides the slew and firing commands to the launchers. The Mongoose-1 countermeasure missile is launched at a predetermined time to intercept and neutralise the detected munition off-board at a distance of between 5 metres and 15 metres from the vehicle to minimise the collateral damage to own forces.--Prasun K. Sengupta