The US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) is looking into a new technology called Hard Kill Self-Protection Countermeasure System (HKSPCS), according to a US Navy request for information document issued to the US government's main contracting website, FedBizOpps, May 3. The systems would be deployed on Lockheed Martin C-130s and other military aircraft, including many made from converted Boeing and Douglas commercial airliners.
The document states that HKSPCS should be designed to shoot down incoming missiles by firing interceptor missiles at them. The interceptors would either be fired internally from the planes themselves or from a pod attached to the manned aircraft. The interceptors could also be carried by unmanned escort aircraft that fly near the surveillance planes.
"With the increasing lethality and guidance mode complexity of long range missile threats, the US Navy is interested in exploring potential alternatives and/or adjuncts to more conventional electronic self-protection solutions," the request for information states.
According to NAVAIR, the deadline for interested contractors to submit proposals is May 21.
The HKSPCS concept comes only a couple of years after the US Air Force awarded Raytheon a $14 million contract to research and develop new missiles, among them the miniature self-defense munition (MSDM), a kinetic self-defense countermeasure that engages enemy aircraft or missiles at close range to the aircraft equipped with it.
In addition, the US Air Force has also been exploring a "loyal wingman" concept, in which a manned fighter would be digitally tethered to and provide defense for unmanned aircraft.